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The U.S. Supreme Court and Islam

13 January 2011 Uncategorized 11 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

The United States Supreme Court honors Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, as a source of law and justice.

The U.S. Supreme Court and Islam

By Elias Abdullah

The United States Supreme Court honors Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, as a source of law and justice alongside Moses, Solomon, and Confucius. He is depicted in the Courtroom Frieze among the great law-givers of mankind.

Muslims understand that depictions of the Prophet are unlawful. However, in this case, this depiction created by a non-Muslim was done with the intention of honoring Islam and making the statement that Islam is an important part of American life and history. From the Supreme Court’s website:

The Prophet of Islam. He is depicted holding the Qur’an. The Qur’an provides the primary source of Islamic Law. Prophet Muhammad’s teachings explain and implement Qur’anic principles. The figure above is a well-intentioned attempt by the sculptor, Adolph Weinman, to honor Muhammad and it bears no resemblance to Muhammad. Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet.

At this critical time in America’s relationship with the Muslim world, it is important to recognize this work of art as a symbol of the friendship America’s founding fathers had with Islam, as reflected in the Treaty of Friendship, one of the earliest treaties between the United States and a Muslim country, Morocco:

This is a Treaty of Peace and Friendship established between us and the United States of America, which is confirmed, and which we have ordered to be written in this Book and sealed with our Royal Seal at our Court of Morocco on the twenty fifth day of the blessed Month of Shaban, in the Year One thousand two hundred, trusting in God it will remain permanent…

This sentiment is repeated again the the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and Tripoli:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims), and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In the same tradition, the 96th United States Congress (1976) passed a resolution honoring Islam on its 14th centennial:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring),

  • Sec. 1. That Islam is hereby recognized for the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contribution it has made to mankind since its founding.
  • Sec. 2. The Congress takes note of the contribution of Islam and wishes success to the fourteenth centennial commemoration.
  • Sec. 3. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Congress pledges its efforts to achieve better understanding, reductions of tensions, and the pursuit of improved relations with all nations of the world.
  • Sec. 4. The Congress requests that the President forward a copy of this resolution to the Chief of State of each country where Islam has a significant following and where celebrations will mark this important international event.

In conclusion, while Muslims will disagree with the artist’s method, they certainly can agree on the artist’s respect for Islam and its fundamental tenet, Justice.

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. (Quran 16:90)

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 624]


  1. Thanks for posting this! =)

  2. This is awesome! But, while offensive to Muslims, depictions of the honorable prophet are considered free speech here in America. Please don’t kill those that do so, or you may be indeed saying that you value your religion over the values of this country… and like another article on this site, you would be saying that you are NOT American.

  3. @Stan:

    I think you missed the point, whilst we consider it offensive to depict the prophet, not for any reason other than it could lead to idol worship, there is a big difference to a depiction that is meant to honour someone, and a depiction that is meant to insult.None Muslims drawing or sculpting images of Mohammed (PBUH) that are meant to show respect will in turn be respected, but people who draw the prophet as a pig or carrying a bomb do not deserve respect. Free speech is a great right to have, but with free speech must be a degree of responsibility. Placing everything under the banner of free speech is what leads to the evils of this world, and insulting the prophet of 1.5 billion people for no reason other than bigotry and lack of understanding is not free speech, it is hate speech.

  4. nice post, I naver knew these facts about US.

  5. I visited the courtroom and saw the sculptures my self, It was overwhelming. It made me realize that unlike what many think about Islam and Muslims is of no importance since there are those who show respect to our faith and acknowledge Mohamed (PBUH) as a kind and wise man. Let’s not go back to the dark ages and disrespect that art work. The reason Muslims tend to stay away from depictions of the prophet was because he was sent by God at a time where Man was worshiping idols and had turned away from God. We as Muslims should see this artwork as an honor to our heritage and beliefs.
    Thank you again for the Post, for many Muslims and Non-Muslims did not know this.

  6. This is not freedom of speech. And it is beyond artistic license…is offensive to Muslims, though they dare not say…a slippery slope to demonization and gas chambers, Gitmo’s and such…as their final solution!

    Those who worship cherish the abomination of their Christ Crossed, can not comprehend this abuse…And you Muslims fail to see the symbolism of the sword held on top of the Koran! A blasphemy, and propaganda if there ever was one.

    Muhammad, the most fair, just, noblest, and gentlest of men, caricatured: With Sword on the Koran – Was that his message? [Freedom of religion. Every one to his own belief system – Sura109: “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”] – was not that it?

    Muslims too naive, oppressed and terrorized to stand up to this atrocity…but who would dare challenge the ultimate sacred Eucharist of the Republic – the Nazi Holocaust ‘Milk Cow’ that must not be infringed, or you face the wrath of the Uber‘Chosen’…and the horrific extermination of Native Americans can have no reference, even a vestige, in their very own land!

    I have no problem with the above, or say in how the State is run, or what abominable subliminal message is artistically symbolized, broadcast into developing minds, might is always right…its the hypocrisy cloaked as free speech that gags!!!

    [Please Note: Even this portrayal of law givers facing the original law giver Moses is problematic, incorrect. Moses, in his people, failed the covenant. As punishment, Moses was debarred from the entering the ‘Promised Land’ dead or alive, even his burial place was excised from history by the Almighty – even though that of the Patriarchs can be traced!

    Next came Jesus to correct the excesses of, “vipers, the Chosen People” and to up hold The Law of Moses, The Torah. But his teachings were abrogated by the self proclaimed pseudo apostle Paul; later Jesus himself was turned into a magical paganized prop for Christian naivete and Church avarice.

    Finally, Muhammad came to warn of this schism that had developed between the ‘People of the Book’. He came with blessings for ALL Mankind. And to Seal the Final Covenant – The Noble Quran.]

  7. @El Cid:

    Whoah, calm down man. First of all, the sculptor had good intentions. He probably didn’t know about the Islam’s ban on depiction of Rasulullah, peace be upon him. I agree that Muhammad peace be upon him shouldn’t be depicted. Depicting the prophets would 1) cause the artist to espouse cultural/ethnic bias (e.g. European Christian artists depicted Jesus peace be upon him as a white man) and 2) a ridiculous depiction would diminish the prophet’s message.

  8. Islam Is The Great Religion. the sculptor Mr. Adolph Weinman Tried His best Shaping Prophet Muhammad, I have No Comment On That, But The Thing Is That Prophet Muhammad Is Honored In The US Forever. Thanks American Supreme Court For Their Respect To This Great Prophet of Islam. Now We have To save Islam From The hands of JAMAT & SAUDI WAHABI BASED ISLAMIC TERRORISTS & EXTREMISTS Who Want To give Islam A Bad Shape By Their So Called JIHAD, SHARIAH LAW Etc. Islam Is Not Considered Great Without Prophet Muhammad.
    America Is Not Considered Super Power Without Honoring Prophet Muhammad. Thnaks America, Once Again You Will Be Standing Great If You Continue Fight With Radicals Who harm ISLAM.
    Jamah Islamih Is Today’s HUB of Terrorism. It has Many Allies With Different Names All Over The World Funded By Saudis, We Must Stand Against It. May God Bless America Who Honored Prophet Muhammad. Thanks To All.
    Please Visit Us To Know More About Islam:

  9. @stan,
    in islamic perspective, i would rather die for islam than for my country. any blasphemous act against islam will never be condoned…..

  10. What’s up, I check your new stuff regularly.
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  11. ..why everyone has to say ‘peace be upon him’ because there is no guaranty of peace for him..

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