Voltaire – François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)

The world famous French Enlightenment writer and philosopher

After quoting the first two pages of the Holy QurÁn, Voltaire notes:
“These words are said to have incomparably more energy in Arabic. Indeed, the Koran still passes for the most elegant and most sublime book which has been written in that language.”

In another place he says:

“…we cannot condemn his doctrine of one only God. These words of his 122nd sura, “God is one, eternal, neither begetting nor begotten ; no one is like to him”; these words had more effect than even his sword in subjugating the East … (The Koran is) combined with laws which were very good for the country in which he lived, and all which continue to be followed, without having been changed or weakened, either by Mahometan interpreters or by new decrees.”

“The Alcoran is not an historical book, in which the author has aimed at an imitation of the sacred writings of the Hebrews, and of our holy gospels ; neither is it a book purely containing a body of laws, like those of Deuteronomy and Leviticus; nor is it a collection of psalms and spiritual songs, nor a prophetic vision and allegory, like the apocalypse : It is a mixture of all these several kinds of writing; a body of homilies, in which we meet with some historical facts, some visions, some revelations, and some laws, both civil and religious. The Alcoran is become the code of jurisprudence, as well as of the canonical law, with all the Mahometan nations.”

A Philosophical Dictionary, m. de Voltaire, under “Alcoran”, vol. 1, pg. 34-39 and pg. 136-140; W. Dugdale, London, 1843

The Works of m. de Voltaire, vol 22, pg.38; J. Newbery, R. Baldwin, W. Johnston, S. Crowder, T. Davies, J. Coote, G. Kearsley & B. Collins, London , 1763