A Beginner’s Review of the Qur’an, Part One: Context Matters

A friend gave me the book What Every American Needs to Know About the Qur’an: A History of Islam and the United States by William J. Federer.

I think my friend is concerned that I just don’t understand the fullness of the evil of Islam. So I am using this book as the starting point for this topic.

There are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and about 2.1 billion Christians.

In this country, although the public perception is rather high regarding what percentage of the 325,000,000 U.S. citizens are actively involved in religion (regular church attendance and regular tithing), significant studies show the average guess to be off by more than half, with only 20 to 30 percent of U.S. Christians actively engaged in religious practices.

Unsurprisingly, the ratio is about the same for the estimated 3,000,000 Muslims citizens and immigrants who reside here.

Are we about to be overrun with Muslim zealots in an ongoing Jihad? Is Christianity about to be eclipsed by Islam? Are all Muslims taught to hate the infidel and seek to convert or kill Christians?

The first step in answering these questions is to learn more about Islam and the Qu’ran so that we are not shooting in the dark at phantoms.

In his book, Federer sites no specific Qu’ran translation, but claims that all Muslims want to rid the earth of all non-believers.

He cites many disconcerting verses within its chapters, called suras. I compared his quoted suras to the first online version of the Qu’ran (Sahih International) I could find.

This review only addresses the Qu’ran itself and does not comment on the rest of Federer’s book.

I discovered that many of the suras quoted by Federer were done so out of context, meaning that to understand what was really being said, you had to read a couple of suras before and even after the quoted one; you know, in context.




Federer’s suras are quoted first, followed by the quote in context.

Federer: Infidels are those who declare: ““God is the Christ, the son of Mary.”” (Sura 5:17)

Sura in Context: Sahih International, 5:17

“They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, ‘Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?’

“And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is over all things competent.”

Federer: Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. (Sura 9:123)

Sura in Context: Sahih International, 9:120

“It was not [proper] for the people of Madinah and those surrounding them of the bedouins that they remain behind after [the departure of] the Messenger of Allah or that they prefer themselves over his self.

“That is because they are not afflicted by thirst or fatigue or hunger in the cause of Allah, nor do they tread on any ground that enrages the disbelievers, nor do they inflict upon an enemy any infliction but that is registered for them as a righteous deed. Indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of good.”


“Nor do they spend an expenditure, small or large, or cross a valley but that it is registered for them that Allah may reward them for the best of what they were doing.”


“And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.”


“O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.”

Another sura that suggests only self-defense:

4:90, Sahih International

“Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people.

“And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.”

Federer quotes this sura twice but with different translations:

When you meet the infidel in the battlefield, strike off their heads. (Sura 47:4)

“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom. (Sura 47:4)”

Sahih International, 47:1

“Those who disbelieve and avert [people] from the way of Allah – He will waste their deeds.”


“And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition.”


“That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, and those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah present to the people their comparisons.”


“So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command].

“And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.

“Mohammed is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the infidels.” (Sura 48:29)

Federer: Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them. (Sura 2:191)

Sahih International, 2:190

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.”


“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah* is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”


“And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”


“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.”


“[Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.”

Federer: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger… will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. (Sura 5:33)

Sahih International, 5:27

“And recite to them the story of Adam’s two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], “I will surely kill you.” Said [the former], “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].”


“If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.”


“Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers.”


“And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.”


“Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, “O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?” And he became of the regretful.”


“Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.

“And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.”


“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.

“That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,


“Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Click Here for Part Two


The True American Order

America Is In Crisis.

Some people are immune to the sound of that drum, hearing only a Chicken Little cry of “the sky is falling.”

More, however, are beginning to sense that something really is wrong and want to solve our problems.

Without fail, in every lecture and class I give, the question always comes up: “OK, I believe you. Now what?” or “I already know America is in crisis. So what do we do about it?”

Keep in mind that this inquiry comes after two to four hours of lecture or classroom experience where I was just explaining the solution. So why are they asking me this question?

Is it them or me?

After serious contemplation, I remembered something Dr. Skousen told me once.

Suddenly, it all became clear. What follows is my best attempt to answer my students’ question, “So what do we do about it?”

First Things First

In Russell Kirk’s Roots of American Order , he spends 500 pages explaining who we are and where we came from. However, for many of us, the essence of these concepts gets lost in the journey.

Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind and Robert Bork’s The Tempting of America both make the same case:

There is an American Order.

That is what Kirk is really talking about. He is asking the question, “Is there an American way of life that made this country a ‘Light on a Hill,’ ‘A Refuge of the World,’ and ‘The Hope of Humanity?”’

He claims that yes, there is, and that we have forgotten our American Order, the system to employ it, and the responsibility to lead out.

The reasons that this has happened are not mysterious or even hard to understand.

And now that the results of the loss of that order are visible to all; there are political “carpet baggers” who are using our present crisis as a means to enlarge personal power and wealth, all at the cost of individual liberty. (See Federalist Paper 1)

We are told that the solutions to the American Crisis can only be provided at the national level, that the congress and the executive branch are our only hope to tackle these crises, or at the very least that it can only be solved at the national party level.

And mostly, we are told, over and over again, that the American people must have this party or national leadership if these problems are to be solved. Many citizens have accepted this propaganda.

This is reminiscent of the party line of those British Empire supporters who opposed John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and company in their struggle for the protection of rights and ultimately liberty (See Revolutionary writings of John Adams).


Getting Our Hands Dirty

In a letter to his wife Abigail John Adams once wrote,

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

“My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

Different situations require different focus and preparation, and once a problem has been clearly identified, we then need to establish the best solution to solve that problem.

Often it requires the problem-solvers to try a different path, to stray from the regular, normal approach (which is often broken or not applicable) and create a whole new method to solving the problem.

At the very least it requires an acknowledgment that we — and all other generations — have the responsibility of getting our own hands dirty.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius suggested this as a solution for national

“The ancients who wished to illustrate the highest virtue throughout the empire first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their own states, they first regulated their own families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their own selves.

“Wishing to cultivate their own selves, they rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts.

“Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost, their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.

“Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their own selves were cultivated.

“Their own selves being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole empire was made tranquil and happy.”

Only We Can Solve Our Problems

I agree with Confucius. Ultimately, we as individuals must be the long-term solvers of our problems because we are the creators of our problems.

Yes, I know that many politicians have been or are dishonest, self-serving and corrupt. I also agree that political leaders at all levels often approach their offices from a “Big Government” mentality, and this is also destructive to personal rights and liberty.

I see this in my own little town of 2,000 citizens. But why does this happen? Why does government always expand and grow and take over?

The simple answer is because we allow it. We prefer to let others assume the often boring, monotonous, frustrating, tedious, and stressful work of governance. We prefer to entertain ourselves with an almost nonstop diet of movies, computer games, sports, and other diversions.

Most of us have become so engrossed in the accumulation of wealth or things that we neglect our natural spousal, familial, and even community duties; we prefer to let others dictate and make decisions on all but our most personal issues.

This has gone on for decades. When on extreme occasion, an issue arises (almost always after-the-fact) that pricks us so hard as to wake us from our fog of self-indulgence, we become indignant, angry, and even hostile. We demand change now although every poorly thought out, self-centered solution we offer has little or no substance behind it.

This produces a civic disruption, which generally leads to one of three ends: either a long unproductive and unresolved stalemate—expending huge amounts of energy, a compromise that resolves the immediate concern, but ultimately does not solve the problem, or an eventual collapse back into our miasmic self-indulgence.

When will it be time for us to man up and shoulder our citizen responsibilities? I really don’t mean to offend anyone or point a finger at us, I have been guilty of this apathy myself, but I think that our national, state, and community problems are almost at a point of requiring an intervention.

What happens if we don’t make some serious, long-term changes? In terms of providing solutions, the last elections were mediocre to abysmal.

When are we going to figure out that the system is broken? Party will not save America. The executive branch will not save America. The legislative branch will not save America.


Syncing Our Actions and Values

Back to my discussion with Dr. Skousen. Twenty years ago, in a quiet dinner setting, he related his experience with a coalition of national leaders from South America who had hired him to teach them and help them set up a system of governance that would lead to the affluence evinced in the United States.

He was very excited with the prospects.

He did his due diligence, studied their culture, the prominent religions, and the current system of governance.

He created a proposal to introduce principles of liberty and wealth into their culture that would modify their countries enough to enter the domain of liberty and prosperity.

He said all was going well until the last meeting. He indicated to them that there were a couple of more things that needed to be modified before all of this would work. The leaders gave him their full rapt attention.

He said that as he had prepared to meet with them, he had discovered many beautiful and wonderful aspects of their culture that were very much in tune with the principles he was suggesting and the desired end result they were seeking.

However, there were two common practices that would spoil the apple cart and he was there to suggest that these leaders be the ones to promote the end of such practices if they desired to succeed.

“What practices?” they questioned.

Dr. Skousen very gently pointed out that the practice of having mistresses and the system of corruption that was currently in place were not conducive to liberty and prosperity and would need to end.

Dr. Skousen said that these leaders objected and said that these were part of who they were and that the aristocracy would not stand for such changes. This led to a fairly speedy end of the meeting.

Dr. Skousen got on the plane the next day and a great opportunity to bring unprecedented liberty and prosperity to the average South American was lost.

I am not suggesting that you have a mistress or the equivalent (although if you have one, we probably need to talk). I am suggesting that if we are not happy with the state of the nation or the condition of our city or state, it is likely things are happening that are contrary to principles of liberty and prosperity and that we are out of sync with natural law.

No form of government or set of laws alone can protect liberty, create prosperity, or fulfill the end of man. All of the solutions for our current crisis are in the archives of our bygone American Order.

Our heritage speaks of it. Our ancestors lived by it. If we are to return America to her greatness, if we are to improve our lot and leave a national legacy to our great grandchildren, if America once again is to be that light on a hill, the golden door, the hope of humanity, we will need to search out our American Order and restore it.



Year End Activities

As our school year wrapped up we had just a few things left to do before the snow arrived.





































Apply now to be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship, only four seats left for the 2018 school year.

Monticello College Accepting Enrollment Now for 2018


If you have ever considered attending Monticello College, TAKE A LOOK at what we are doing.


The following is a list of lectures and books covered during the first semester at Monticello College:


How to Take Notes and Prepare for Class Discussion

How to Read a Book/What are the Liberal Arts?

Who is Plato, Who is Socrates?

Who is Machiavelli?

Who is John Locke?

Who are Epicurus, Cicero, Epictetus, and Aurelius?

(Student Body) Foundations of  Liberty Lecture #1

Who is Skousen?

Who are Adams, Jefferson, and McCullough?

Permaculture & Biodynamics

Composting & Bio-char

Workshop: Fire Making Techniques

Utah Statehood

What are Auxiliary Precautions?

Colonial History/Articles of Confederation/Constitution/Federalist Papers

Workshop: Regional Edible Wild Plants

Who is Bastiat?/Who is Wister?

Foreign Language Block – Hebrew I (one week immersion)


Submit an Application Here! 


BOOKS/READINGS (This list will be read, discussed, and written about)

DeMille: A Thomas Jefferson Education

Brooks: Three Words of Caution

Gonzales: Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why

Brooks: A Model of Leadership Education

Plato: Apology, Crito, Meno        

Machiavelli: The Prince

Locke: Second Treatise on Civil Government

Ebenstein: Great Political Thinkers (5th Ed.)

Moses: Old Testament, Deuteronomy,  and Ten Commandments

Documents of State:

Magna Charta

Mayflower Compact

Declaration of Independence

Lowenfels: Teaming With Microbes

Forstchen: One Second After

Skousen: The 5,000 Year Leap

McCullough: 1776

Madison, et al: The Federalist Papers

Compilation: The Anti-Federlist Papers

Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice

Bastiat: The Law

Wister: The Virginian

Schneider: A Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe

Sessions: Universal Model – A New Millennial Science

Euclid: Elements


Other Activities

Farm Day

One-on-One Mentor Meetings

TREK (hiking, survival etc.)

Service Projects

City Council and County Commission Meetings

Planting, Growing, Harvesting Crops

Animal Husbandry (breeding, birthing, daily care, harvesting etc.)

Shooting Range


NOW IS THE TIME to begin the enrollment process for Monticello College for the 2018 School Year (April to November).

Students will spend 35 hours a week in study/class and another 20-30 hours a week working on the farm, engaged in the physical fitness program, time on the rifle range, hiking etc.

Below is a sample of the first year syllabus:

May 2018

Great Books Seminar

T 3           

Sunrise Solitude (SS)


Study – Plato: Apology, Crito – CL

F 4     


Physical Training (PT)


DiscussPlato: Apology, Crito – CL

Study – Plato: Meno – CL

OED – Vocabulary Discussion

S 5           



San Juan County Commission Meeting 9am or Farm Day

Study – Plato: Meno – CL

Mentor Meeting

M 7           




Discuss – Plato: Meno – CL

Lecture: Who is Machiavelli?

Study – Machiavelli: The Prince* 37p/5rh CL

Mentor Meeting

T 8           



10:00am Student Body FOL Lecture

Study – Machiavelli: The Prince

W 9      




Study – Machiavelli: The Prince* 37p/5rh CL

T 10     



Farm Day (work on rifle range)

Study – Machiavelli: The Prince* 37p/5rh CL

Writing Lab Orientation (all years)


Submit an Application Here! 


















































2018 Scholarships at Monticello College

We are a small liberal arts college that teaches the classics of western and eastern civilization and the manual arts of farming, construction, and survival. For the past 2 years our enrollment has doubled and we have good reason to believe that it will double again in 2018.

Based on the applications we have already received for next year, what appears to be a growing trend of annual doubling of enrollment, and the fact that all students are required to live on campus, housing is going to be at a premium in 2018. Application post marks or email dates will be used to secure limited housing until it is gone, the rest of the applications will go on a waiting list.

All new students will receive a $1,000 scholarship upon acceptance. This means that the sooner you apply the sooner you are eligible to  receive the scholarship.

Recently our students sent a group letter to the Monticello College Board of Trustees, here is a part of what they said:

Dear Monticello College Board of Trustees,

No words can really express how we feel about our experience here at Monticello College, but here is an attempt. We started out the school year in April by installing solar panels to generate our own electricity.


Learning the responsibility that comes with being off-grid has been fun although challenging at times. We are definitely a lot more conscious of our energy usage than we ever were before. We have also learned to reduce greatly the use of or live entirely without a lot of things we use to think where necessities.  


Watching the sunrise every morning in our Sunrise Solitude routine, thinking about ways to change ourselves and the future is quite literally enlightening. The MC Physical Training Program has been for us both mentally and physically strenuous. But not only have we become much stronger physically, we have learned to overcome hard tasks that have been placed before us and have learned that we are mentally tougher than we thought ourselves capable.


We are so grateful for the greenhouses and apple orchard fence that we were able to put in this year. Not only do we  have a critter free growing area, we are growing the best tasting tomatoes, greens, beets, and carrots in the entire world! We have learned a lot about how to tend plants properly. There is more to growing vegetables than just planting and watering.


We are thriving in an environment that encourages us to think for ourselves, to start projects of our own. Most of these projects have come from seeing a need and fulfilling it.


Learning the process of studying has been such a growing experience for all of us. Studying the words of the Great Thinkers has been life changing for sure! We are starting to scratch the surface of ancient wisdom that has been preserved through the ages. For this we are extremely grateful and to be honest, most of the time we just stand back in awe and wonder at the vast expanse of wisdom there is and wish we could learn it all at once.  

If this sounds like a good fit for your college age student, contact us for more information (435 590-1661) or click here to apply. We are accepting applications for the 2018 school year now (school year – April thru November).