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Opinions by Various Journalists and Writers from Across the World

 Querying the Koran

Orthodox Muslims believe that this ancient Islamic text is the unchanging Word of God. One scholar is daring to question it

Abul Taher / Guardian / Tuesday August 8, 2000

A German academic fears a violent backlash from orthodox Muslims because of his "blasphemous" theory that the Koran has been changed and revised. Such a backlash is not to be taken lightly; the Salman Rushdie affair is a solemn reminder of the power of an angry Muslim community. After the author wrote his novel Satanic Verses, which was considered by Muslims to be blasphemous, a fatwa , or religious decree, was pronounced against him in 1989 that left him fearing for his life. Rushdie has only recently reappeared in public after nearly 10 years in hiding.

According to Muslim belief, the Koran is the eternal, unaltered Word of God, which has remained the same for 14 centuries.

But Dr Gerd R Puin, a renowned Islamicist at Saarland University, Germany, says it is not one single work that has survived unchanged through the centuries. It may include stories that were written before the prophet Mohammed began his ministry and which have subsequently been rewritten.

Puin's conclusions have sparked angry reactions from orthodox Muslims. "They've said I'm not really the scholar to make any remarks on these manuscripts," he said.

The semitic philologist, who specialises in Arabic calligraphy and Koranic palaeography, has been studying Sa'na manuscripts, ancient versions of the Koran discovered in Sa'na, the capital of Yemen.

So controversial are his findings that the Yemeni authorities have denied him further access to the manuscripts.

He says they shed new light on the early development of the Koran as a book with a "textual history", which contradicts the fundamental Muslim belief that it is the unchanging Word of God.

Any questioning of the authenticity of the Koranic text as the Word of God can expect a hostile reaction. The fatwa , or death sentence, was issued against Rushdie for hinting in Satanic Verses that the Koran may include verses from other sources - chiefly Satan.

Academics offering radical interpretations of the Koran put their lives at risk. In 1990, Dr Nasr Abu Zaid, formerly a lecturer in Koranic Studies at Cairo University, provoked a national outcry in Egypt over his book The Concept of the Text. There were death threats from Muslim extremists, general public harassment, and in 1995 he was branded an apostate by Egypt's highest court. The court forced him to divorce his wife because under Islamic law, marriage between an apostate and a Muslim is forbidden.

Zaid's proposal was arguably less radical than Puin's. Zaid's book argued that "the Koran is a literary text, and the only way to understand, explain, and analyse it is through a literary approach". A Muslim, Zaid remained in Egypt for a time to refute the apostasy charges, but fled with his wife to Holland in the face of increasing death threats.

Puin believes that he will not receive the same reaction, because unlike Zaid or Rushdie he does not have a Muslim name.

His claim that the Koran has changed since its supposed standardisation, and that pre-Islamic texts have crept in, would nonetheless be regarded as highly blasphemous by Muslims. He has not yet written a book on his radical findings, but says it is "a goal to achieve" in the near future.

Dr Tarif Khalidi, lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, warns that the book may generate a controversy similar to Satanic Verses. "If Dr Puin's views are taken up and trumpeted in the media, and if you don't have many Muslims being rational about it, then all hell may break loose."

Khalidi fears Muslims will not accept Puin's work on the Sa'na manuscripts as having been done with academic objectivity, but see it as a deliberate "attack on the integrity of the Koranic text".

The manuscripts, thought to be the oldest surviving copies of the Koran, were discovered in the ancient Great Mosque of Sa'na in 1972, when the building was being restored after heavy rainfall, hidden in the loft in a bundle of old parchment and paper documents. They were nearly thrown away by the builders, but were spotted by Qadhi Isma'il al-Akwa, then president of the Yemeni Antiquities Authority, who saw their importance and sought international assistance to preserve and examine them.

Al-Akwa managed to interest Puin, who was visiting Yemen for research purposes in 1979. Puin in turn persuaded the German government to organise and fund a restoration project. The restoration revealed that some of the parchment pages dated from the seventh and eighth centuries, the crucial first two centuries of Islam, from which very few manuscripts have survived.

Until now, there were three ancient copies of the Koran. One copy in the Library of Tashkent in Uzbekistan, and another in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, date from the eighth century. A copy preserved in the British Library in London, known as the Ma'il manuscript, dates from the late seventh century. But the Sa'na manuscripts are even older. Moreover, the Sa'na manuscripts are written in a script that originates from the Hijaz - the region of Arabia where the prophet Mohammed lived, which makes them not only the oldest to have survived, but one of the earliest copies of the Koran ever.

Puin noticed minor textual variations, unconventional ordering of the chapters (surahs), as well as rare styles of orthography. Then he noticed that the sheets were palimpsests - manuscripts with versions written even earlier that had been washed off or erased.

These findings led Dr Puin to assert that the Koran had undergone a textual evolution. In other words, the copy of the Koran that we have is not the one believed to have been revealed to the prophet.

This is something that Muslims would find offensive.The idea that the Koran is the literal Word of God, unchanging and permanent, is crucial to Islam.The traditional Muslim view holds that the Koran was revealed to Mohammed by God in fragments between 610 and 632 AD. The revealed verses were "recorded on palm leaves and flat stones and in the hearts of men [meaning memorised]," and remained in this state during the prophet's lifetime.

About 29 years after Mohammed's death during the rule of the third Muslim caliph, Uthman, a standard copy of the Koran in a book form, was made, because already divergent readings and copies were circulating in the growing Islamic empire. This Uthmanic recension, according to the Muslim view, was produced with meticulous care, based on earlier copies of the Koran made according to the instructions of the prophet.

Orthodox Muslims insist that no changes have occurred to the Koran since the Uthmanic recension. But this view is challenged by the Sa'na manuscripts, which date from shortly after the Uthmanic recension.

"There are dialectal and phonetical variations that don't make any sense in the text", says Puin. "The Arabic script is very defective - even more so in the early stages of its literature."

Like other early Arabic literature, the Sa'na Koran was written without any diacritical marks, vowel symbols or any guide to how it should be read, says Puin. "The text was written so defectively that it can be read in a perfect way only if you have a strong oral tradition." The Sa'na text, just like other early Korans, was a guide to those who knew it already by memory, he says. Those that were unfamiliar with the Koran would read it differently because there were no diacritical and vowel symbols.

As years went by, the correct reading of the Koran became less clear, he says. People made changes to make sense of the text. Puin gives as example Hajjaj bin Yusuf, governor of Iraq from 694-714 AD, who "was proud of inserting more than 1,000 alifs [first letter of the Arabic alphabet] in the Koranic text".

Professor Allen Jones, lecturer in Koranic Studies at Oxford University, agrees.

"Hajjaj is also responsible for putting the diacritical marks in the Koran. His changes are a defining moment in the history of the Koran".

After Hajjaj's changes in around the 700s, "the Koranic text became pretty stable", he says.

Puin accepts this up to a point, but says that certain words and pronunciations were standardised in the ninth century. He says the Uthmanic text was the skeleton upon which "many layers of interpretation were added" - causing the text to change.

This is blasphemy, according to orthodox Muslims, and is not entirely accepted by other academics.

Jones admits there have been "trifling" changes made to the Uthmanic recension. Khalidi says the traditional Muslim account of the Koran's development is still more or less true. "I haven't yet seen anything to radically alter my view," he says.

He believes that the Sa'na Koran could just be a bad copy that was being used by people to whom the Uthmanic text had not reached yet. "It's not inconceivable that after the promulgation of the Uthmanic text, it took a long time to filter down."

Puin's other radical theory is that pre-Islamic sources have entered the Koran. He argues that two tribes it mentions, As-Sahab-ar-Rass (Companions of the Well) and the As- Sahab-al-Aiqa (Companions of the Thorny Bushes) are not part of the Arab tradition, and the people of Mohammed's time certainly did not know about them.

"These are very unspecific names, whereas other tribes are specifically mentioned," said Dr Puin.

His researches have shown that the ar-Rass lived in pre-Islamic Lebanon and the al-Aiqa in the Aswan region of Egypt around 150AD, according to the Atlas of Ptolemy. He argues that pre-Islamic sources entered the Koran, presumably when the growing Islamic empire came into contact with those regions and sources.

Khalidi says finding pre-Islamic registers in the Koran does not discredit the Muslim belief in any way, because it does not threaten the integrity of the Koran. "The Koran was revealed at a particular time in the vocabulary of the age", he says.

Puin also questions another sacred belief that Muslims hold about the Koran, that it was written in the purest Arabic. He has found many words of foreign origin in the text, including the word "Koran" itself. Muslim scholars explain the "Koran" to mean recitation, but Puin argues that it is actually derived from an Aramaic word, qariyun, meaning a lectionary of scripture portions appointed to be read at divine service. He says the Koran contains most of the biblical stories but in a shorter form and is "a summary of the Bible to be read in service".

Orthodox Muslims have always held that the Koran is a scripture in its own right, and never a shortened version of the Bible, even if both texts contain the same prophetic tradition.

Khalidi says he is weary of constant attempts by western Islamicists to analyse the Koran in a parallel way to the Bible. Puin, however, sees the need for a "scientific text" of the Koran, and this is what he intends to achieve. He says that Muslims believe that "the Koran has been worked on a thousand years ago" and "is not a topic anymore".

Not all Muslim reaction to him has been hostile. Salim Abdullah, director of the German Islamic Archives, affiliated to the powerful pan-Islamic Muslim World League, has given him a positive response.

"He asked me if I could give him the permission to publish one of my articles on the Sa'na manuscripts", said Puin. Warned of the possible controversy it could raise, he replied: "I am longing for this kind of discussion on this topic."


Responses to Islamic Awareness


Muhammad Spoke the Satanic Verses - The Evidence and Proof



    One of the most embarrassing events in Muhammad's life occurred when Satan put his words in Muhammad's mouth. Muhammad spoke Satan's words as the word of God. This event is documented by several early Muslim scholars and referenced in the Hadith and Quran. Later Muslims, ashamed that their self declared prophet spoke Satan's words, denied the event occurred. A myriad of excuses and denials have been put forth by these later Muhammadans to cover up Muhammad's sinful error.

    It must be pointed out again that the "Satanic Verses" event is not something made up by non-Muslims. The event is recorded by the earliest Islamic sources available on Muhammad's life. No one should think that it is a story made up by people who are critical of Islam. It is an episode directly found in the early Islamic records.

    This topic is one of the most controversial in Islam. Satan caused Muhammad to recite his words as God's words. The background to this event is that Muhammad and his followers were being persecuted for attacking the pagan faiths of Mecca, and he did not want to further offend his Arab tribesmen, and, he wanted them to become his followers, i.e. Muslims. In fact Muhammad wished that God would not reveal anything further to him that would further alienate his fellow Arabs. So when opportunity arose, he spoke what Satan put into his heart and mind as God's word.

    In the Old Testament (OT), if someone caused the people to worship other gods he was put to death - Deuteronomy 13:1 - 5:

    "If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents, and the omens or the portents declared by them take place, and they say, "Let us follow other gods" (whom you have not known) "and let us serve them," you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. ... But those prophets or those who divine by dreams shall be put to death for having spoken treason against the Lord you God ... So you shall purge the evil from your midst." [1]

    This is exactly what Muhammad did - he advocated the worship of pagan deities as intercessors with God. Later, after Muhammad admitted his mistake and took back the words, he had the audacity to say that God made light of the event! God has never made light of sin or false prophets.

    Think about it, which of the Old Testament prophets ever spoke the words of Satan? Those prophets loved their people, but they persisted in speaking the truth to them, not compromising the word of God to gain peace and converts as Muhammad did.


    Muslims frequently use the phrase "bring forth the proof". Well, the proof is presented here.

    This event is documented by the four early biographical writers of Muhammad's life: Ibn Ishaq, Wakidi, Ibn Sa'd, and Tabari. The Hadith and Quran also contain direct references. Additionally several other Islamic scholars on Hadith (traditions) support the event's occurrence.

    One Islamic book on Muhammad's life provides the following list:

    "... many of the traditionalists have recorded it with reference to the chains of its narrators. Among them more commonly known are: al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Mardauyah, Ibn Ishaq, Musa ibn 'Uqba, and Abu Ma'shar. It is all the more strange that Ibn Hajar, a recognized authority on traditions insists on the truth of this report and says, "As we have mentioned above, three of its chains of narrators satisfy the conditions requisite for an authentic report." [2]

    I have found four of the early Islamic biographical sources for this story in English. Therefore, prior to a discussion and analysis of the event, their writings should be reviewed. What first follows are the four accounts related from the 4 early sources:

    1)  Tabari's "History", published by SUNY, and translated by Watt [3],
    2)  the "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", (The Book of the Major Classes), translated by S. Moinul Haq [4],
    3)  the "Sirat Rasulallah" (The Life of Allah's Prophet) by Ibn Ishaq, translated by A. Guillaume [5],
    4)  Wakidi's biographical material on Muhammad also includes the story of Muhammad speaking Satan's words. I have not been able to find Wakidi's entire work in English but Wakidi's work is quoted by W. Muir in "The Life of Mahomet" [6].
    5)  A sub source from #3 above is found in "New Light on the Life of Muhammad", by A.. Guillaume [7]. This source is from a manuscript containing information from other sources as well as Ibn Ishaq. The writer of the manuscript, Yunus ibn Bukayr, heard Ibn Ishaq's lectures at Kufa (located in modern Iraq), and made notes.
    6)  Additional supporting evidence will be provided from the Sahih Hadith of Bukhari [8].
    7)  Finally, verses from the Quran will be provided as concurring evidence that Muhammad spoke the Quranic verses [9]


    NOTE: My comments will be in [ ] type brackets. Author's brackets will be in ( ) type brackets.

    TABARI volume 6, page 107


    The messenger of God was eager for the welfare of his people and wished to effect a reconciliation with them in whatever ways he could. It is said that he wanted to find a way to do this, and what happened was a follows. (170)
    Ibn Humayd - Salamah-Muhammad b. Ishaq - Yazid b. Ziyad al-Madani - Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qurazi: When the messenger of God saw how his tribe turned their backs on him and was grieved to see them shunning the message he had brought to them from God, he longed in his soul that something would come to him from God which would reconcile him with his tribe. With his love for his tribe and his eagerness for their welfare it would have delighted him if some of the difficulties which they made for him could have been smoothed out, and he debated with himself and fervently desired such an outcome. Then God revealed:(171)

    "By the Star when it sets, your comrade does not err, nor is he deceived; nor does he speak out of (his own) desire..."

    and when he came to the words:

    Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?

    Satan cast on his tongue, because of his inner debates and what he desired to bring to his people, the words:

    "These are the high flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted with approval. (172)

    When Quraysh heard this, they rejoiced and were happy and delighted at the way in which he spoke of their gods, and they listened to him, while the Muslims, having complete trust in their prophet in respect of the messages which he brought from God, did not suspect him of error, illusion, or mistake. When he came to the prostration, having completed the surah, he prostrated himself and the Muslims did likewise, following their prophet, trusting in the message which he had brought and following his example. Those polytheists of the Quraysh and others who were in the mosque (173) likewise prostrated themselves because of the reference to their gods which they had heard, so that there was no one in the mosque, believer orunbeliever, who did not prostrate himself. The one exception was al-Walid b. Al-Mughirah, who was a very old man and could not prostrate himself; but he took a handful of soil from the valley in his hand and bowed over that. Then they all dispersed from the mosque. The Quraysh left delighted by the mention of their gods which they had hared, saying,"Muhammad has mentioned our goes in the most favorable way possible, stating in his recitation that they are the high flying cranes and that their intercession is received with approval."

    The news of the prostration reached those of the messenger of God's companions who were in Abyssinia and people said, "The Quraysh have accepted Islam." Some rose up to return, while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the Messenger of God and said, "Muhammad, what have you done? You have recited to the people that which I did not bring to you from God, and you have said that which was not said to you." Then the messenger of God was much grieved and feared God greatly, but God sent down a revelation to him, for He was merciful to him, consoling him and making the matter light for him, informing him that there had never been a prophet or a messenger before him who desired as he desired and wished as he wished but that Satan had cast words into his recitation, as he had cast words on Muhammad's tongue. Then God cancelled what Satan had thus cast, and established his verses by telling him that he was like other prophets and messengers, and revealed:

    "Never did we send a messenger or a prophet before you but that when he recited (the Message) Satan cast words into his recitation (umniyyah). God abrogates what Satan casts. The God established his verses. God is knower, wise. (174)

    Thus God removed the sorrow from his messenger, reassured him about that which he had feared and cancelled the words which Satan had cast on his tongue, that their gods were the high flying cranes whose intercession was accepted with approval. He now revealed, following the mention of "al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other," the words:

    "Are yours the males and his the females? That indeed were an unfair division! They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers."

    to the words:

    to whom he wills and accept (175)

    This means, how can the intercession of their gods avail with God?

    When Muhammad brought a revelation from God canceling what Satan had cast on the tongue of His prophet, the Quraysh said,"Muhammad has repented of what he said concerning the position of your gods with God, and has altered it and brought something else." Those two phrases which Satan had cast on the tongue of the Messenger of God were in the mouth of every polytheists, and they became even more ill-disposed and more violent in their persecution of those of them who had accepted Islam and followed the messenger of God.

    Those of the companions of the messenger of God who had left Abyssinia upon hearing that Quraysh had accepted Islam by prostration themselves with the messenger of God now approached.When they were near Mecca, they heard that the report that the people of Mecca had accepted Islam was false. Not one of them entered Mecca without obtaining protection or entering secretly. Among those who came to Mecca and remained there until they emigrated to al-Madinah and were present with the prophet at Badr, were, from the Banu Abd Shams b. Abd Manaf b. Quasyy, Uthman b. Afafan b. Abi al-As b. Umayyah, accompanied by his wife Ruaqyyah the daughter of the messenger of God; Abu Hudhayfah b. Utbah b. Rabiah b. Abd Shames, accompanied by his wife Sahlah bt. Suhalyl; together with a number of others numbering thirty three men.

    Al-Qasim b. Al-Hasan - al Husayn b. Daud - Hajja - Abu Mashar - Muhammad b. Kab al-Qurazi and Muhammad b. Qays: The messenger of God was sitting in a large gathering of Quraysh, wishing that day that no revelation would come to him from God which could cause them to turn away from him. Then God revealed:

    "By the Star when it sets, your comrade does not err, nor is he deceived..."

    and the Messenger of God recited it until he came to:

    "Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?"

    when Satan cast on his tongue two phrases:

    "These are the high flying cranes; verily their intercession is to be desired. (176)

    He uttered them and went on to complete the surah. When he prostrated himself at the end of the surah, the whole company prostrated themselves with him. Al-Walid b. al-Mughirah raised some dust to his forehead and bowed over that, since he was a very old man and could not prostrate himself. They were satisfied with what Muhammad had uttered and said, "We recognize that it is God who gives life and death, who creates and who provides sustenance, but if these gods of ours intercede for us with him, and if you give them a share, we are with you."

    That evening Gabriel came to him and reviewed the surah with him, and when he reached the two phrases which Satan had cast upon his tongue he said, "I did not bring you these two." Then the messenger of God said, "I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to him words which He has not spoken." Then God revealed to him:

    "And they indeed strove hard to beguile you away from what we have revealed to you, that you should invent other than it against us...

    to the words:

    "and then you would have found no helper against us" (177)

    He remained grief stricken and anxious until the revelation of the verse:

    "Never did we send a messenger or a prophet before you... to the words...God is knower, wise. (178)

    When those who had emigrated to Abyssinia heard that all the people of Mecca had accepted Islam, they returned to their clans, saying,"They are more dear to us"; but they found that the people had reversed their decision when God cancelled what Satan had cast upon the messenger of God's tongue.



    170)  This section is also omitted by Ibn Hisham, perhaps because he felt it was discreditable to the Prophet.

    171)  Surah 53; the verses quoted are 1-3 and 19-20.

    172)  An alternative reading to turtada is turtaja, meaning, "is to be desired or hoped for"

    173)  The sacred area around the Ka'bah was not, of course, and Islamic mosque at this period, though the word masjid, "place of prostration, mosque,"seems to have been applied to it.

    174)  22:52. The translation deviates here from that of Pickthall in order to make it correspond with what is required by Tabari's account. The meanings for tamanna and umniyyah, "recite" and "recitation", are well attested (see Lisan s.v.M-N-Y). An alternative rendering for this verse would be: "Never did we send a messenger of a prophet before you but that when he formed a wish Satan threw (some vanity) into his desire..."

    175)  53:21-23, 26, Tabari explains diza, "unfair," as meaning 'awja, "crooked."

    176)  Surah 53. This version of the false verses has la-turja, "to be desired or hoped for."

    177)  7:73, 75

    178)  22:52


    Hijrah to Abyssinia - page 98

    Boycott - page105

    Satanic verses spoken by Muhammad- page 107

    Muslims return from Abyssinia - page 109

    Boycott repealed - page 112

    From Ibn Sa'd's "Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir", Volume 1, parts 1 and 2, pages 236 - 239, translated by S. Moinul Haq, published by the Pakistan Historical Society.

    [NOTE:  I have corrected some spelling and punctuation errors and changed some archaic language].


    Muhammad Ibn Umar informed us; he said: Yunus Ibn Muhammad Ibn Fudalah al-Azfari related to me on the authority of his father (second chain) he (Ibn Sa'd) said: Kthir Ibn Zayd related to me on the authority of al-Muttalib Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Hantab; they said: "the apostle of Allah had seen his people departing from him. He was one day sitting alone when he expressed a desire: "I wish, Allah had not revealed to me anything distasteful to them."

    Then the apostle of Allah, approached them (Quraysh) and got close to them, and they also came near to him. One day he was sitting in their assembly near the Ka'bah, and he recited: "By the Star when it sets", (1) till he reached, "Have ye thought upon Al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other". (2) Satan made him repeat these two phrases: "These idols are high and their intercession is expected". The apostle of Allah repeated them, and he went on reciting the whole surah and then fell in prostration, and the people also fell in prostration with him. Al-Walid Ibn al-Mughirah, who was an old man and could not prostrate, took a handful of dust to his forehead and prostrated on it. It is said: Abu Uhayhah Sa'id Ibn al-As, being an old man took dust and prostrated on it. Some people say: It was al-Walid who took the dust; others say: It was Abu Uhayhah; while other say: Both did it. They were pleased with what the apostle of Allah had uttered. They said: "We know that Allah gives life and causes death. He creates and gives us provisions, but our deities will intercede with Him, and in what you have assigned to them, we are with you." These words pricked the apostle of Allah.

    He was sitting in his house and when it was evening, Gabriel came to him and revised the surah. Then Gabriel said: "Did I bring these two phrases?" The apostle of Allah said: "I ascribed to Allah, what He had not said."

    Then Allah revealed to him: "And they indeed strove hard to beguile you (Muhammad) away from that which We have inspired you, that you should invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted you as a friend. And if We had not made you wholly firm you might almost have inclined to them a little, Then had We made you taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying then had you found no helper against Us.""(1)

    Muhammad Ibn Umar informed us; he said: Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah related to me on the authority of al-Zuhri, he on the authority of Abu Bakr Ibn Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Harith Ibn Hisham; he said: "This prostration became know to people till the news reached Abyssinia and the Companions of the apostle of Allah that the people of Makkah fell in protraction and joined Islam including al-Walid. Ibn al-Mughirah and Abu Uhayhah who prostrated behind the prophet. The people said: "When such persons have joined Islam, who else remains in Makkah?" They said: "Our relatives are dear to us." So they returned. Where they were at a distance of one hour's walk from Makkah, they confronted some horsemen of Kinanah. They inquired about the Quraysh and their affairs. The horse men said: "Muhammad spoke well of their deities, so they followed him but then they turned apostate. He began to abuse their gods and they began to harm him. We left them in this struggle." They discussed that they should return to Abyssinia; but then they said: "We have reached here, so let us enter (the town), see the Quraysh and visit our families and then return.""

    Muhammad Ibn Umar informed us; he said: Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah related to me on the authority of al-Zuhri, he on the authority of Abu Bakr Ibn Abd al Rahman; he said: "They entered Makkah and none entered it except under (some one's) protection; Ibn Masud stayed for a short time and returned to Abyssinia."

    Muhammad Ibn Umar said: "They had left (Makkah) in the month of Rajab in the fifth year. There they remained in the months of Shaban and Ramadan. The incident of prostration took place in Ramadan, and they returned in Shawwal in the fifth year."



    page 237
    1)  Quran 53:1
    2)  Quran 53:19-20

    page 238
    1)  Al-Quran,17:73-75.


    First Hijrah to Abyssinia - pages 235, 236, 11 men, 4 women, month of Rajab in fifth year after Muhammad claimed to be an apostle

    The Blockade against Muhammad's tribe the Hashimites - page 241

    Satanic Verses spoken by Muhammad - pages 236 - 239.

    1st return to Mecca - pages 238 - 239

    Second Hijrah to Abyssinia - pages 239

    Return from Abyssinia just after Khaybar - page 240

    FROM IBN ISHAQ'S "SIRAT RASULALLAH", translated as, "THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD" by A. Guillaume, page 165 - 167.

    "(Tabari). Now the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing to attract them as far as he could. It has been mentioned that he longed for a way to attract them, and the method he adopted is what Ibn Hamid told me that Salama said M. B. Ishaq told him from Yazid b. Ziyad of Medina from M. B. Ka'b al-Qurazi: When the apostle saw what his people turned their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he brought them from God he longed that there should come to him from God a message that would reconcile his people to him. Because of his love for his people and his anxiety over them it would delight him if the obstacle that made his task so difficult could be removed; so that he meditated on the project and longed for it and it was dear to him. Then God sent down "by the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not deceived, he speaks not from his own desire," and when he reached His words "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat the third, the other (5), Satan, when he was mediating upon it, and desiring to bring it (sc. reconciliation) to his people, put upon his tongue "these are the exalted Gharaniq (1) whose intercession is approved. (2)" When Quraysh heard that, they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of their gods.and they listened to him; while the believers were holding that what their prophet brought them from their Lord was true, not suspecting a mistake or a vain desire or a slip, and when he reached the prostration (3) and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he brought and obeying his command, and the polytheists of Quraysh and others who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever prostrated, except al-Walid b. Al-Mughira who was an old man who could not do so, so he took a handful of dirt from the valley and bent over it. Then the people dispersed and Quraysh went out, delighted at what had been said about their gods, saying, "Muhammad has spoken of our gods in splendid fashion. He alleged in what he read that they are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved."

    The news reached the prophet's companions who were in Abyssinia, it being reported that Quraysh had accepted Islam, so some men started to return while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said, "What have you done Muhammad? You have read to these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what He did not say to you." The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for He was merciful to him, comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. The God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise. (4). Thus God relieved his prophet's grief, and made him feel safe from his fears and annulled what Satan had suggested in the words used above about their gods by his revelation. "Are yours the males and His the females? That were indeed an unfair division" (i.e. most unjust); "they are nothing but names which your fathers gave them" as far as the words "to whom he pleases and accepts" (5) i.e. how can the intercession of their gods avail with Him?

    When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet's tongue came from God, Quraysh said: "Muhammad has repented of what he said about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought something else." Now those two words which Satan had put upon the apostle's tongue were in the mouth of every polytheist and they became more violently hostile to the Muslims and the apostle's followers. Meanwhile those of his companions who had left Abyssinia when they heard that the people of Mecca had accepted Islam when they prostrated themselves with the apostle, heard when they approached Mecca that the report was false and none came into the town without the promise of protection or secretly. Of those who did come into Mecca and stayed there until he migrated to Medina and were present at Badr with him was Uthman B. Affan... with his wife Ruqayya d. of the apostle and Abu Hudhayfa b. Zutba with his wife Sahla d. of Suhayl, and a number of others, in all thirty-three men (1). ...


    The apostle's companions who had gone to Abyssinia heard that the Meccans had accepted Islamand they set out for the homeland. But when they got near Mecca they learned that the report was false, so that they entered the town under the protection of a citizen or by stealth.


    Page 165
    5)  Sura 53: 1-20

    Page 166
    1)  The word is said to mean "Numidian Cranes" which fly at a great height.
    2)  Another reading is "turjada" "to be hoped for".
    3)  Mentioned in the last verse of the Sura.

    4)  Sura 22:51. The following verse is not without relevance in this context: "that He may make what Satan suggested a temptation to those whose hearts are diseased and hardened."
    5)  Sura 53:19-27

    Page 167
    1)  A parallel tradition from M.b. Ka'd al-Qurazi and M.B. Qays is given by Tabari 1195 - 6.


    First Migration to Abyssinia - page 146
    Boycott - page 159
    Mo speaks Satanic Verses - page 165, 166
    Muslims in Abyssinia return from Abyssinia - pages 167, 168
    Annulling of the boycott - page 172


    "The manuscript agrees with Salama's report from Ibn Ishaq that the emigrants returned from Abyssinia because they heard of the conversion of Quraysh in consequence of the concession to polytheism, but strangely enough it does not quote the offending words. Presumable they were deliberately omitted and readers must have known what they were because otherwise the narrative would be unintelligible. Tow verses are referred to, but the second is not quoted. In view of its interest I give a translation of the manuscript:

    "(The emigrants) remained where they were until they heard that the people of Mecca had accepted Islam and prostrated themselves. That was because the chapter of The Star (53) had been sent down to Muhammad and the apostle recited it. Both Muslim and polytheist listened to it silently until he reached his words "Have you seen (or, "considered") al-Lat and al-Uzza?" They gave ear to him attentively while the faithful believed (their prophet). Some apostatized when they heard the "saj" of the Satan and said "By Allah we will serve them (the Gharaniq) so that they may bring us near to Allah". The Satan taught these two verses to every polytheist and their tongues too to them easily. This weighed heavily upon the apostle until Gabriel came to him and complained to him of these two verses and the effect that they had upon the people. Gabriel declined responsibility for them and said "You recited to the people something which I did not bring you from God and you said what you were not told to say". The apostle was deeply grieved and afraid. Then God send down by way of comfort to him: "Never did we send an apostle or a prophet before you but when he wished Satan cast a suggestion into his wish" as far as the words "Knowing, Wise"" (Sura 22:51)."



    W. Muir quotes Wakidi as writing:

    "On a certain day, the chief men of Mecca, assembled in a group beside the Kaaba, discussed as was their wont the affairs of the city; when Mahomet appeared and, seating himself by them in a friendly manner, began to recite in their hearing the 53 Sura.... "

    "And see ye not Lat and Ozza, and Manat the third besides?"

    "When he had reached this verse, the devil suggested an expression of the thoughts which for many a day had possessed his soul; and put into his mouth words of reconciliation and compromise, the revelation of which he had been longing for from God, namely;

    "These are the exalted Females, and verily their intercession is to be hoped for"

    "The Coreish were surprised and delighted with this acknowledgement of their deities; and as Mahomet wound up the /Sura with the closing words

    "Wherefore bow down before God, and serve Him"

    "the whole assembly prostrated themselves with one accord on the ground and worshipped. Walid alone, the son of Mughira, unable from the infirmities of age to bow down, took a handful of earth and worshipped, pressing it to his forehead."

    "And all the people were pleased at that which Mahomet had spoke, and they began to say,
    "Now we know that it is the Lord alone that give life and takes it away, that created and supports. These our goddesses make intercession with Him for us; and as thou has conceded unto them a portion, we are content to follow thee". But their words disquieted Mahomet, and he retired to his house. In the evening Gabriel visited him; and the prophet recited the Sura unto him. And Gabriel said, "What is this that thou has done? Thou has repeated before the people words that I never gave unto thee". So Mahomet grieved sore, and feared the Lord greatly; and he said, "I have spoken of God that which He had not said." But the Lord comforted His prophet, and restored his confidence, and cancelled the verse, and revealed the true reading thereof (as it now stands), namely,

    "And see ye not Lat and Ozza, and Manat the third beside? What! Shall there be male progeny unto you, and female unto him? That were indeed an unjust partition! They are naught but names, which ye and your Fathers have invented, etc."



    All four of the biographies agree on all the primary facts:

    1) Muhammad did not want to further offend the Meccans and he did not want God to reveal something to him that would cause further offence.

    2) Muhammad desired a revelation that would bring peace between he and the Meccans.

    3) When Muhammad began to recite the chapter called "The Star", Satan interjected some words and thoughts into Muhammad's heart and mind. This was coupled with Muhammad's own desires; thus Muhammad spoke Satan's words.

    4) Later, Gabriel rebuked Muhammad for having spoken Satan's words. Muhammad admitted his sinful error and was then comforted by Allah.

    The accounts are very similar. Each contains minor different details, but all agree totally on the relevant essentials points; Muhammad spoke the Satanic verses. The fact that all of the earliest Islamic sources agree on the event is substantial evidence that it occurred.


    There are references to the event found in Bukhari. Although the actual Satanic verses are not recorded by Bukhari, part of the event is related:

    6.385 Narrated Ibn Abbas:
    The Prophet performed a prostration when he finished reciting Surat an-Najm, and all the Muslims and pagans and Jinns and human beings prostrated along with him.

    What is of note here is that the Hadith states that after Muhammad spoke "The Star", the pagans prostrated. This is exactly what the four biographers state. Remember, the pagans were totally opposed to Muhammad. They disliked him; he frequently insulted their faith. Yet here, something Muhammad said, caused them to prostrate with him and the Muslims, in "one accord". Muhammad had said something persuasive to move them to bow in worship. Of course it was the Satanic verses. There is no allusion to anything else in the biographical material. Neither is anything specifically recorded in Sahih Hadith or the Quran that refers to other than the Satanic Verses event.

    Note again how this Hadith lines up with the four biographies.


    There are three passages in the Quran that reference the event. These passages are recorded in the biographical material. The first is the actual passage found in chapter 53, called "The Star", (An-Najm), verses 19 through 26 or so. This passage has already been mentioned.

    The second passage is in chapter 22, called "The Pilgrimage", (Al-Hajj), verses 52, 53:

    "Never have We sent a single prophet or apostle before you with whose wishes Satan did not tamper. But God abrogates the interjections of Satan and confirms His own revelations. God is all-knowing and wise. He makes Satan's interjections a temptation for those whose hearts are diseased, whose hearts are hardened ...

    The third passage is chapter 17, called "The Night Journey", (Al Isra), verses 73 - 75:

    "They sought to entice you from Our revelations - they nearly did -hoping that you might invent some other scripture in Our name, and thus become their trusted friend. Indeed had we not strengthened your faith, you might have made some compromise with them and thus incurred a double punishment in this life and in the next. Then you should have found none to help you against Us."

    All of these verses are mentioned in the biographical material. All of them were revealed in relation to Muhammad speaking Satan's words.

    Note how Tabari records Muhammad's admittance of sin and repentance after Gabriel confronted him with his error. Afterwards, God supposedly comforts Muhammad with the verses from chapters 17 and 22. Ibn Sa'd records the same sequence of verses. After he admitted his sinful error, Muhammad was comforted by Gabriel. Who was this Gabriel?

    See the webpage below for more material dealing with Muhammad interactions with "Gabriel" and Satan..


    One of the greatest Islamic scholars who wrote a Tafsir was Zamakhshari. He commented on this event as well.Here is his writings, quoted from "The Quran and its Exegesis, by Helmut Gatje, pages 53 - 55, published by Oneworld, Oxford, England [10].

    "The faithful rendering of the revelation Zamakhshari on Sura 22:52/51

    We have never sent any messenger of prophet before thee, but that Satan cast into his fancy, when he was fancying; but God annuls what Satan casts, then God confirms His signs - surely God is All-knowing, All-wise.

    .. The occasion of the sending down of the present verse is the following: As the members of the tribe of the messenger of God turned away from him and took their stand against him and his relatives also opposed him and refused to be guided by what he brought to them, then, as a result of the extreme exasperation concerning their estrangement and as a result of the eager desire and longing that they be converted to Islam, the messenger of God sheltered the wish that nothing would come down to him that could make them shy away. Perhaps he should have been able to use that for the purpose of converting them and causing them to be dissuaded from their error and obstinacy. Now this wish continued in him until the sura called "The Star" (that is, Sura 53) came down. At that time he found himself with this wish in his heart regarding the members of his tribe. Then he began to recite, and when he came to God's words "and Manat, the third, the other" (Sura 53:20), Satan substituted something in accordance with the wish which the messenger of God had sheltered, that is, he whispered something to him which would enable the messenger to announce his wish. In an inadvertent and misleading manner, his tongue hurried on ahead of him, so that he said: "These (goddesses are the) exalted cranes. Their intercession (with God) is to be hoped for."...Yet, the messenger of God was not clear at this point until the protection of God "isma" reached him and he then became attentive again.

    Some say that Gabriel drew his attention to it, or that Satan himself spoke those words and brought them to the people's hearing. As soon as the messenger of God prostrated (for prayer) as the end of the sura, all who were present did it with him and felt pleased (that is, the unbelievers felt pleased that their goddesses had been accepted as intercessors with God).


    A)  It must be pointed out again that the "Satanic Verses" event is not something made up by non-Muslims. The event is recorded by the earliest Islamic sources available on Muhammad's life. And these men were devout Muslim scholars. They spent their lives studying, analyzing, and writing about Muhammad and Islam. They were real Islamic scholars, unlike today's amateur "Islamic scholars" like Ahmed Deedat and Jamal Baidawi. Also, these sources provide chains of narration - isnaad, showing that the event is traceable to the earliest Muslims.

    Regarding these early Islamic scholars, William Muir writes in "The Life of Muhammad" that:

    "Pious Mussulmans of after days, scandalized at the lapse of their prophet into so flagrant a concession to idolatry, would reject the whole story. But the authorities are too strong to be impugned. It is hardly possible to conceive how the tale, if not founded in truth, could ever have been invented."

    B)  One of the terms Muhammad used to describe the pagan Goddesses - Manat, Uzza and al-Lat was "gharaniq" translated as "high flying cranes".

    In "Muhammad and the Religion of Islam", by John Gilchrist, published by Jesus to the Muslims, page 118, Gilchrist writes: [11]

    "The Arabic word "gharaniq" refers to certain cranes which fly at a great height. The pagan Meccans, impressed by the splendor of these birds, therefore described their goddesses by an analogous reference to them. When Muhammad quoted the very words used by the Meccans to exalt their goddesses, they said to one another "Muhammad has spoken of our gods in excellent fashion".

    In the area there were cranes that flew at high altitudes. It was quite logical for Muhammad to thus describe the idols as "high flying", metaphorically flying in the heavens close to Allah - to act as intercessors.

    C)  Another note of interest, Muhammad claimed that his Quran was above human invention. He challenged anyone, including "jinn" to produce something like the Quran. Well, we see that Satan was able to do so. Gabriel had to confront Muhammad with the fact that those "Satanic Verses" were not Allah's words. And note, all of the Muhammadans, i.e., Muhammad's followers, also prostrated when Muhammad prostrated. They did not realize that a false Quran had been spoken. Obviously, this "Quran" is not that special; even Satan was able to bring forth similar material.


    As was stated at the beginning, many fundamentalist Muslims today are embarrassed and ashamed that the man they follow was used by Satan to speak Satan's words. It is understandable that Muhammadans are ashamed; what kind of prophet speaks Satan's words?

    I will examine several of their arguments against the occurrence of the event. But note, there are numerous arguments and the scope of this paper is not to address each and every one. Most of them are subjective and lack substance; they are not worth the time of a reply.

    One set of denials is put forth by a set of Muslim writers M S M Saifullah, Qasim Iqbal, Jason Hannan, Mansur Ahmed & Muhammad Ghoniem. Much of their work is copied from other Muslim's works. What follows are some of their arguments.

    Denial / Complaint #1

    The fundamentalist Muslim usually complain about someone criticizing their religion. And to cover the weakness of their position, they personally attack Christians or others who put forth the criticism. So, to start with, they complain about Christians identifying Muhammad with the Beast of Revelation 13. Here is their first complaint:

    "The word Maometis means The number of the beast, i.e., 666, by which Muhammad was known in the Middle Ages. The names Mahoun and Mahound refer to Muhammad, imagined by credulous Europeans to be a pagan God. These derogatory names were concocted by "love-thy- neighbor", "turn-thy-cheek" Christians who maintained an open policy of defamation against Islam and Muhammad throughout the Middle Ages. Apparently, this policy still exists today, though in a more sophisticated apparatus."

    Response #1

    Shouldn't a false prophet be pointed out? If a man speaks Satan's words as God's, shouldn't this be revealed? Further, Islam denies the Sonship, Crucifixion, Messiahship, and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - shouldn't this be exposed? Additionally, didn't Muhammad order that all Jews and Christians be driven out of the Hijaz, i.e. the land where Muhammad lived? Didn't Muhammad have 800 males, some as young as 12 massacred? Didn't Muhammad allow the rape of female slaves? Didn't Muhammad torture a man just to obtain money? Didn't Muhammad order the deaths of female slaves for just mocking him? So then, to equate this evil man with the "Beast" of Revelation is no stretch. Why it may offend Muslims, I encourage all Muslims to take a deeper look at the man they follow. I encourage all sincere Muslims to re-examine a man upon whom they are staking their eternity. I have examined Muhammad, and I find him evil. I find him as the greatest false prophet in history.

    So then, to equate this evil man with the "Beast" of Revelation is no stretch. While it may offend Muslims, I encourage all Muslims to take a deeper look at the man they follow. I encourage all sincere Muslims to re-examine a man upon whom they are staking their eternity. I have examined Muhammad, and I find him evil. I find him as the greatest false prophet in history.

    Denial / Complaint #2

    Muslim fundamentalists try to make it seem that only one man transmitted the event of the "Satanic Verses" spoken by Muhammad. They write:

    "This would not be difficult to understand, given the fact that the so-called 'Satanic verses' were transmitted from al-Wāqidī to Ibn Sa'd. Ibn Sa'd (d. 230/845), who was the secretary of al-Wāqidī (d. 207/823), ...

    In other words, neither al-Wāqidī nor Ibn Sa'd were eye-witnesses to the revelation of 'Satanic verses'; they were simply the transmitters...Claiming that the issue of so-called 'Satanic verses' incident is true just because al-Tabarī or Ibn Sa'd mentioned them amounts to a deliberate distortion of the facts."

    Response #2

    No, it is not a deliberate distortion of the facts. First of all, the story is transmitted by the four early biographers of Muhammad's life: Ibn Ishaq, Wakidi, Ibn Sa'd, and Tabari. Ibn Sa'd did use Wakidi's material, but he also was a scholar in his own right and did a great deal of research. Didn't he write a 15 volume work on the early Muslims? Ibn Sa'd was much more than just a mere copyist. Tabari used Ibn Ishaq's material as well as Wakidi's, and others. But Tabari did not simply write anything he came across. He too was more than a mere copyist. Tabari was also one of the greatest scholars of Islam. He wrote a 39 volume history mostly related to Islam, as well as a thorough Commentary (Tafsir) on the Quran. Obviously Tabari thought that the story had enough merit to be included in his writings.

    Additionally, there is corroborative material in both the Sahih Hadith and Quran supporting the story. Therefore, no facts are being distorted. These men were reputable Islamic scholars. They rank among the greatest in Islamic History. To say that the story is true based upon what they wrote is no distortion.There is nothing in the Quran or Hadith contradicting the story.

    Denial / Complaint #3

    Fundamentalist Muslims try to discredit the event by saying that the verses in the Quran related to the event were revealed at a much later date than the incident occurred. Here is their argument:

    "The verses of Sūrah al-Isrā' (17:73-5) which were revealed, according to the story, to 'admonish' the Prophet for allegedly reciting the 'Satanic' verses, in fact were not revealed until after the event of the Mi'rāj. The Mi'rāj or the Ascent of the Prophet, according to historical sources, occurred in the tenth or eleventh year of the Prophetic call, i.e., two or three years before the Hijrah to Madinah. If this is so, then it implies that the 'Satanic' verses were not detected or for some reason no mention was made about the alleged interpolation of the verses for five or six years and only afterwards was the Prophet admonished for it. Can any sensible person believe that the interpolation occurs today, while the admonition takes place six years later and the abrogation of the interpolated verses is publicly announced after nine years."

    Response #3

    This argument rests upon the chronological time of the revelation of 17:73 - 75. The early Muslim sources - Tabari and Ibn Sa'd, say these verses were revealed around the time the Satanic verses were spoken by Muhammad, not at the time of the Miraj.

    Additionally, the Quran is haphazardly composed. Verses that Muhammad spoke in Medina were mixed in with verses that he spoke in Mecca. Frequently, Muhammad told that verses he spoke at one time were to be recited with verses revealed at a much earlier time. To this date, Islamic scholars have not been able to determine a unified chronological sequence of the revelation of the Quran's chapters. While there are certain portions that can be put in some logical sequence, much of its chronology is indeterminate; the Quran is a hodgepodge of verses that have been spliced together. So, to base an argument on the supposed chronological order of the Quran is akin to building a house upon sinking sand. It cannot stand.

    This complaint / denial argument has also been defeated by John Gilchrist in "Muhammad and the Religion of Islam". Let me quote from page 120:

    "The other argument is weak in that there is no concrete proof that the first part of Surah 53 refers to the miraj which followed the emigration to Abyssinia. As shown already, it almost certainly refers to one of Muhammad's initial visions, limited by the Quran itself to the two he had when his ministry began. Unfortunately one finds that virtually all Muslim arguments of a factual nature against this story are equally weak."

    Gilchrist goes on to quote Bell on the composition of the Quranic verses of 22:51-53:

    "The surah has in fact become quite disjointed. Verses 51 - 53 addressed to the prophet personally, are quite out of connection. (Bell, "The Quran Translated", Volume 1, page 316.)

    Denial / Complaint #4

    Some poor Muslim scholars or students have put together an argument that rests upon the internal evidence of the chapter. Basically, they link both the Satanic verses with their replacement verses. Here is their argument:

    "Let us now turn to some internal evidence. It has been said in the story that the 'Satanic' interpolation occurred in Sūrah an-Najm (53:19) which delighted the idolaters present in the Ka'bah and as a gesture of friendship and good-will, they all bowed down with the Prophet. In order to comment on the story it would seem necessary to read the verses in the Qur'ān, adding the alleged 'Satanic' verses, and find out what is actually meant to be conveyed here. It would read as follows.

    Have ye seen Lat and 'Uzza, And another, the third (goddess), Manat? [These are the high-flying ones, whose intercession is to be hoped for!] What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female? Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair! these are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord! [Qur'ān 53:19-23]

    If one reads the bold part of the alleged Satanic verses quoted above, one fails to understand how God on the one hand is praising the deities and on the other hand discrediting them by using the subsequent phrases quoted above. It is also difficult to see how the Quraysh leaders drew the conclusion from this chapter that Muhammad as making a conciliatory move and was adopting a policy of give and take.

    Response #4

    The Muslims who put together this argument did not bother to do their homework. Otherwise they would have read in Tabari that the Satanic verses were cancelled out by the critical verses of the goddesses. I have previously posted this out of Tabari:

    "Thus God removed the sorrow from his messenger, reassured him about that which he had feared and cancelled the words which Satan had cast on his tongue, that their gods were the high flying cranes whose intercession was accepted with approval. He now revealed, following the mention of "al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other," the words:

    "Are yours the males and his the females? That indeed were an unfair division! They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers."

    to the words:  "to whom he wills and accept"".

    Consequently, the entire Muslim argument here falls apart. The Satanic verses were not initially revealed with the verses that cancel them. Unfortunately, this type of slipshod work is the state of the art of today's Islamic "scholarship".

    Denial / Complaint #5

    Muslims claim that if Muhammad's followers heard him allow the worship of idols, they would have seen his hypocrisy and stop following him. The argument is as follows:

    "In the meantime the Muslims were supposedly asking Allat, Manat and Uzza for intercession! Had the genuine state of affairs truly been this ridiculous, it would have been impossible for Muhammad to have maintained such a loyal following. It is obvious that Watt and other Orientalists accept part of the story and reject the related parts along with their destructive implications, apparently because they are unable to find any link or sequence."

    Response #5

    Again, we have a case of today's Muslims not doing their homework. The early sources state that Muhammad's followers listened to Muhammad proclaim the worship of the deities and that they continued to follow him, not suspecting any error on Muhammad's part. Again, here is a quote from Tabari:

    "When Quraysh heard this, they rejoiced and were happy and delighted at the way in which he spoke of their gods, and they listened to him, while the Muslims, having complete trust in their prophet in respect of the messages which he brought from God, did not suspect him of error, illusion, or mistake. When he came to the prostration, having completed the surah, he prostrated himself and the Muslims did likewise, following their prophet, trusting in the message which he had brought and following his example. Those polytheists of the Quraysh and others who were in the mosque (173) likewise prostrated themselves because of the reference to their gods which they had heard, so that there was no one in the mosque, believer or unbeliever, who did not prostrate himself."

    Denial / Complaint #6

    Today's Muslims point out that there is no mention of the "Satanic Verses" found in Sahih Hadith. Here is the Muslim position:

    "Had there been any element of truth in the story, it could have caused a great scandal against Islam and the Prophet and every detail of this scandal must have found its place in the hadīth literature. Why is the authentic hadīth collection conspicuously silent about the scandalous part of the story? Does it not lead to the conclusion, contrary to the established fact, that hadīth literature itself is very defective as it failed to record such an important event which led the Prophet and his Companions to read 'Satanic' verses for weeks, months or perhaps even years without realizing the error, all the while asking for the intercession of Lat, Manat and Uzza? In fact, al-Bukhārū, Muslim, Abū Dāwūd, Nasā'ī and Ahmad b. Hanbal all record the story, but only to the extent that was true. They all mention that the Prophet did recite Sārah an-Najm and that, at the end when he prostrated, the idolaters present were so overawed that they also joined him in prostration. These leading Muhaddithūn do not mention the blasphemous story which other sources have recorded. -

    Response #6

    It has been already established that Bukhari's Hadith does contain an indirect reference to the event. Additionally, many other sources of Hadith also record the event. Just because the Sahih Hadith do not specifically mention it does not mean it never happened. The later collectors of Hadith could have been embarrassed, as Ibn Hisham was, and decided to leave the event out of their collections.

    Another part of this Muslim argument says that the pagans were so overawed when they heard "The Star" chapter, that they bowed in prostration. However, these pagans had already heard Muhammad recite much of the Quran, and they rejected it. Further, if they were "overawed", why did the persecution against the Muslims grow immediately worse? The evidence, i.e., the early Islamic sources tell us that they prostrated themselves because Muhammad allowed their worship. As the pagans told Muhammad:

    "We recognize that it is God who gives life and death, who creates and who provides sustenance, but if these gods of ours intercede for us with him, and if you give them a share, we are with you."


    The evidence proves that Muhammad spoke the Satanic verses. The four early biographers of Muhammad's life detail the story. Many traditions (Hadith) also establish it. There are references to it in the Sahih Hadith. Finally, there is specific references to it in the Quran. No one, with an open mind and honest heart, can doubt the event. It may make Muslims uncomfortable that Satan used their prophet, but in the least they should be forthright and honest about it and admit it to themselves. If they wish to follow a man who spoke Satan's words, that is their business.

    Of course the ramifications are large. Muhammad had a strange relationship with Satan. Was it really Gabriel choking Muhammad in the cave?

    How many other words were influenced by Satan? Why would God make light of a prophet speaking Satan's words as God's? Didn't God command in the Old Testament that false prophets should be put to death? Didn't Jesus predict that false prophets would come and mislead many? (Ref. Matthew 24:11).

    Muhammad had a deal with the devil. Satan led, he followed. If Muhammad began to get off course, Muhammad was corrected. Islam's denial of Christ's identity, is Satan's stronghold upon millions of people. Muslims follow one of the false prophets Jesus foretold.

    One Christian writer addressing this question asked:

    "Muslims today who simply dismiss the account of these writers as fabricated and unhistorical must at least answer the question why such reputable persons would fabricate it. The question is not new. But, it seems, a serious Muslim response is hard to find."

    To this date, a serious Muslim response is still hard to find.


    Further reading: Sir William Muir's conclusion regarding the historical validity of the reports.


    [1]  "Holy Bible", New Revised Standard Version, published by Thomas Nelson.

    [2]  "Sirat Un Nabi", page 214, by Allama Shibli Nu'mani, translated by M. Tayyib Bakhsh Budayuni, Volume 1, published by Kazi Publications, Lahore Pakistan.

    3]  "Tabari's History", pages 107 - 113, translated by W. M. Watt, published by SUNY, N.Y., USA.

    [4]  "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", pages 236 - 239, (Book of the Major Classes), by Ibn Sa'd, translated by S. Moinul Haq, published by the Pakistani Historical Society.

    [5]  "The Life of Muhammad", pages 165 - 167, (translation / re-composition of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah" ("The Life of the Prophet of God", the most authentic extent biography of Muhammad's life), by A. Guillaume, published by Oxford, London, England.

    [6]  "The Life of Mahomet", Volume 2, pages 150 - 152, by W. Muir, quoting "Kitab al-Wakidi", published in London.

    [7]  "New Light on the Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, published by Manchester University Press, Cambridge, England.

    [8] "Sahih Hadith of Bukhari", translated by Khan, published by Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India.

    [9]  "The Quran" translated by N.J. Dawood, published by Penguin, London, England.

    [10]  "The Quran and its Exegesis", by Helmut Gatje, pages 53 - 55, published by Oneworld, Oxford, England.

    [11]  "Muhammad and the Religion of Islam", by John Gilchrist, page 118, published by Jesus to the Muslims, Durban, South Africa.

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