Posted by Zia H. Shah MD - Twitter: @ZiahShah1
Epigraph: “Say, ‘We believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.’ (Al Quran 3:85)
The frieze, which is a sculpture installed in a wall, were sculpted by Adolph Weinman in 1932. Weinman sculpted 18 people through history who have had an impact on our concept of law, as well as allegorical figures depicting some great legal concepts. It includes four prophets of God, according to the Islamic tradition, Moses, Muhammad, Solomon and Confucius.
The 18 lawgivers: Menes (first king of the first dynasty of Egypt); Hammurabi (king of Babylon, creator of the Code of Hammurabi); Moses (shown holding the Ten Commandments); Solomon (king of Israel); Lycurgus (legislator of Sparta); Solon (lawgiver of Athens, codified and reformed Athenian law); Draco (first lawgiver of Athens); Confucius (Chinese philosopher); Octavian (first emperor of the Roman Empire); Justinian (Emperor of Byzantine, father of the Justinian Code); Mohammed (shown holding the Koran); Charlemagne (Roman emperor, founder of the Holy Roman Empire); King John (shown holding the Magna Carta); Louis IX (King of France, creator of the first appeals court); Hugo Grotius (author of the first book on international law); William Blackstone (English law professor whose work influenced English and American law); John Marshall (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 1801-1835); Napoleon (Emperor of France, influenced the Napoleonic Code)
The above information is collated from the Supreme Court web site.
Islam believes in God’s revelation to all people over the centuries and suggests evolution of religion with successive prophets and revelation of scriptures until the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who brought a universal message to unite mankind under one God. The Holy Quran says:
Indeed, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent. (Al Quran 35:25)
Say ye (Muhammad): ‘We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob and his children, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to all other Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between any of them; and to Him we submit ourselves.’ (Al Quran 2:137)
And remember the time when We gave Moses the Book and the Discrimination, that you might be rightly guided. (Al Quran 2:54)
This Messenger of Ours (Muhammad) believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers: all of them believe in Allah, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers, saying, ‘We make no distinction between any of His Messengers;’ and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. We implore Thy forgiveness, O our Lord, and to Thee is the returning.’ (Al Quran 2:286)
The stone sculptures of the 18 lawgivers, from Hammurabi to John Marshall, in the USA supreme court, are meant to signify the law’s foundation in a stable society. Included is Moses with the Ten Commandments.
The artwork, which is high above the justice’s mahogany bench, was designed by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman for the building, which opened in the 1930s. Muhammad is between Charlemagne and Justinian.
Moses (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה, Modern Moshe Tiberian Mōšéh ISO 259-3 Moše ; Arabic: موسى Mūsā ) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the Qur’an, and Baha’i scripture, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet. Also called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew (מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, Lit.“Moses our Teacher/Rabbi”), he is the most important prophet in Judaism, and is also considered an important prophet in Christianity and Islam, as well as a number of other faiths.
Solomon (Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה, Modern Shlomo Tiberian Šəlōmō ISO 259-3 Šlomo; Arabic: سليمان Sulaymān, alsocolloquially: Silimān; Greek: Σολομών Solomōn), also called Jedidiah (Hebrew יְדִידְיָהּ), was, according to the Book of Kings, the Book of Chronicles and the Qur’an a king of Israel and the son of David. The conventional dates of Solomon’s reign are circa 970 to 931 BC. He is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah split. Following the split, his patrilineal descendants ruled over Judah alone.
The Hebrew Bible credits Solomon as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and portrays him as great in wisdom, wealth, and power, but ultimately as a king whose sin, including idolatry and turning away from Yahweh, leads to the kingdom’s being torn in two during the reign of his son Rehoboam. Solomon is the subject of many other later references and legends, most notably in the 1st-century Apocryphal work“Testamentum Solomonis“. In later years, Solomon also came to be known as a magician and an exorcist, with numerous amulets and medallion seals dating from the Hellenistic period invoking his name.
Confucius (551–479 BCE) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius’s thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism.
Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.
Confucius’s principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and in traditional interpretations) of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, an early version of the Golden Rule.
Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن عبد المطلب ) (c. 570 – c. 8 June 632), also transliterated as Muhammad (Arabic: محمد), was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims and Bahá’ís to be a messenger and prophet of God and, by most Muslims, the last prophet sent by God for mankind.[n 1] Non-Muslims regard Muhammad as the founder of Islam. Muslims consider him to be the restorer of an unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.
Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “God is One“, that complete “surrender” to Him (lit. islām) is the only way (dīn)[n 2] acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.
US Supreme Court Chamber: The Frieze under discussion is above this bench