FOLLOW US:

 

The real incident of the Satanic Verses VS the fictitious novel by Salman Rushdie

Differentiating between the real incident of the Satanic Verses and the fictitious novel by Salman Rushdie is of utmost importance. The authentic incident sheds light on the fallibility within the claimed divine revelation, challenging the existence of a heavenly Allah and suggesting that Muhammad himself was responsible for the revelation, resulting in human errors within it.

No other event exposes the human errors within the alleged divine revelation as clearly as the original incident of the Satanic Verses. Unfortunately, a vast majority of people, including Muslims, are unaware of this significant event.

The lack of awareness can be attributed to the confusion caused by Mr. Rushdie's fictional novel, also titled "Satanic Verses," which bears little resemblance to the actual incident. Regrettably, this misunderstanding has prevented the true incident of the Satanic Verses from reaching the masses. Presently, people struggle to distinguish between reality and fiction.

Islamic apologists have capitalized on this situation, exploiting it to incite hatred among Muslim youth against the West.

While Mr. Rushdie cannot be held responsible for this situation, as he is an intelligent writer who observed contradictions within the purported divine revelation, he was neither an Islamic scholar nor equipped to withstand the ensuing life-threatening attacks. The responsibility to make the world aware of the original incident primarily lies with scholars of Islamic studies and perhaps ex-Muslims as well.

In the realm of Islamic Studies, significant scholarly research on the incident of the Satanic Verses emerged in 2017 with the publication of Mr. Shahab Ahmed's book titled "Before Orthodoxy: The Satanic Verses in Early Islam." This groundbreaking work encompasses a collection of 50 traditions related to the incident.

Mr. Shahab Ahmed, a brilliant individual, authored an extraordinary book. However, it remains incomplete as he intended to write the second and third volumes before his untimely death in 2015 at the age of 48 due to leukemia. His passing was a profound loss. Nevertheless, we are fortunate that the first volume of his remarkable work was published in 2017 even after his demise. We express gratitude to all those involved in making the publication of this book possible.

Let us now present the actual incident of the Satanic Verses, highlighting its importance and emphasizing why it is crucial for the entire world to be aware of it.

Table of Contents:

 

Background and Summary of 50 Traditions on the Incident of Satanic Verses

In ancient Mecca, the pagan society was characterized by illiteracy and superstition. They worshipped multiple gods and were open to the introduction of new deities, as evidenced by the presence of 360 idols in the Ka'ba, each representing different tribes. However, they fiercely opposed anyone who questioned the authenticity of their gods, particularly because their economy was intertwined with the worship of these deities. The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca brought wealth and prosperity to the city.

When Muhammad established his new religion, he made the mistake of challenging the pagan gods, asserting that they were false. This threatened the Meccans' religious and economic interests, as they feared losing the significance of their gods. Prior to Muhammad, both Jews and Christians had made similar attempts to disprove pagan gods, but they had failed.

Consequently, the people of Mecca vehemently reacted against Muhammad and his followers. The situation became so hostile that many of his followers were forced to flee Mecca and seek refuge in Abyssinia to save their lives.

Realizing his error, Muhammad devised a new plan to reconcile with the Meccans. He aimed to convince them to accept Allah as a new god and himself as a prophet by praising their pagan gods. As part of this plan, Muhammad began expressing his "desire" for Allah to acknowledge the high status of the Meccan gods.

During a gathering of the Quraysh, Muhammad claimed that Allah had started revealing messages to him through the angel Gabriel. It was on this occasion that he recited Surah an-Najm.

Within Surah an-Najm, Muhammad also acknowledged the pagan goddesses and praised their elevated status and ability to intercede. This praise consisted of a total of four verses.

وَاللاتِ وَالْعُزَّى وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةِ الأُخْرَى، فَإِنَّهُنَّ الْغَرَانِيقُ الْعُلَى وَإِنَّ شفاعتهن لَتُرْتَجَى

Verse 1: Have you pondered upon al-Lat and al-Uzza, the goddesses?

Verse 2: And Manat, the third goddess?

Verse 3: These (3 goddesses) are like high flying cranes (i.e. they are of high status);

Verse 4: Verily their intercession is accepted.

Upon completing Surah an-Najm, Muhammad prostrated himself, and the Quraysh also followed suit, accepting the elevated status of their goddesses.

The pagan goddesses were given a resemblance to high-flying cranes while 'high flying', metaphorically meant flying high close to the heavens where Allah is physically present - to act as intercessors.

However, Muhammad's plan ultimately failed, as people observed clear contradictions in the divine revelation. Previous revelations had consistently denounced pagan gods as false deities, while this new revelation affirmed their authenticity, high status, and ability to intercede.

Consequently, the Meccan pagans easily concluded that Allah did not exist in the heavens and that Muhammad himself was fabricating these revelations. They ridiculed Muhammad even more after this incident.

Faced with the failure of his plan, Muhammad resorted to a new narrative. He claimed that Allah had not revealed anything about the elevated status of the pagan gods, but rather, it was his own mistake. He asserted that Satan had led him astray, resulting in the utterance of the two Satanic Verses.

In this newly made story, Muhammad told Quraysh that:

  • Muhammad received a visit from Gabriel in the evening, who requested him to repeat the verses previously revealed to him.
  • Consequently, Muhammad recited before Gabriel the verses that praised the gods worshipped by the Quraysh, unaware that these were the Satanic verses.
  • Upon hearing this, Gabriel informed Muhammad that those verses were not the ones originally conveyed by Allah, but were in fact the Satanic verses that Satan had caused him to recite.
  • Following this revelation, Muhammad proclaimed that Allah had sent two additional verses as divine revelation, which are as follows:

(Surah Hajj 22:52-53) وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا إِذَا تَمَنَّىٰ أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنسَخُ اللَّـهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللَّـهُ آيَاتِهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۔ لِيَجْعَلَ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ وَالْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَفِي شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ

And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی), the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire (Arabic: um'niyyatihi أُمْنِيَّتِهِ), so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again (by deleting the abrogated Satanic verses). And Allah is Knowing and Wise. He (Allah) makes, what is thrown in by Shaitan (Satan), a Test for those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy and disbelief) and whose hearts are hardened.

The two new verses of Surah al-Hajj served multiple purposes, which can be summarized as follows:

  • First Purpose: One objection raised by the pagans was why Muhammad, being the chosen prophet of Allah, could be misled by Satan. To address this objection, Muhammad clarified through these verses that his momentary misguidance did not undermine the divine nature of his religion. He explained that all previous prophets had also experienced similar temptations from Satan due to their human desires.
  • Second Purpose: Muhammad needed to eliminate the presence of the Satanic Verses, which praised the pagan goddesses, from the Quran. To achieve this objective, the new verses revealed that Allah had abrogated and rectified what the devil had inserted. This emphasized that Allah's true verses were made precise again, nullifying any influence from Satan.
  • Third Purpose: The pagans questioned why Allah had allowed Satan to misguide Muhammad and why any mistakes in the verses were not corrected immediately. In response, Muhammad offered an explanation that Allah had permitted Satan's interference as a "test" for those whose hearts harbored diseases or weaknesses. This excuse presented it as an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their steadfastness and faithfulness. (Note: It is worth noting that Muhammad utilized this tactic of declaring perceived "mistakes of Allah" as "tests from Allah" on various occasions throughout his life).

Therefore, the following modifications were made by Muhammad in the Quran under the concept of 'abrogation' and to restore the Verses to their intended precision:

First Modification:

In the name of 'Naskh (نسخ)', Muhammad removed two verses, known as the Satanic Verses, from Surah an-Najm. These verses praised the pagan goddesses. The abrogated verses were:

(Surah an-Najm, verse 19) Have you thought upon al-Lat (goddess) and al-Uzza (goddess)

(Surah an-Najm, verse 20) And Manat, the third (goddess)?

(Abrogated Verse 1) These (3 goddesses) are of high status;

(Abrogated Verse 2) Verily their intercession is accepted.'

Note: These abrogated verses are not present in the current Quran.

Second Modification:

After the removal of the Satanic Verses, Muhammad later added new verses to Surah an-Najm, with the purpose of refuting the legitimacy of those pagan goddesses. The new verses were as follows:

(Surah an-Najm, verse 21) Are you to have the males, and He (Allah) the females (referring to the pagan goddesses as intercessors)?

(Surah an-Najm, verse 22) What a strange distribution.

(Surah an-Najm, verse 23) These are nothing but names that you and your ancestors have invented, for which God has revealed no authority. They follow nothing but conjecture and the desires of their own selves, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.

 Third Modification:

Muhammad introduced an additional verse to Surah an-Najm, aiming to provide him with protection regarding his previous 'desire' where he expressed a wish for Allah to reveal something favorable about the pagan gods. The new verse was as follows:

(Surah an-Najm, verse 24) Or should man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)?

Fourth Modification:

Muhammad included more new verses in Surah an-Najm to negate the 'intercession' of the exalted pagan goddesses he had acknowledged in the Satanic Verses. These new verses suggested that although angels also reside in the heavens (similar to the high-flying pagan goddesses), their intercession is not granted unless permitted by Allah. The new verses are as follows:

(Surah an-Najm, verses 25 & 26) ... How many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing unless God gives permission to whomever He wills and approves?

Therefore, after all these modifications and deletion of verses in the name of “abrogation” (نسخ) and making them precise, today Surah an-Najm is present in this form in the Quran:

(Quran 53:19-26):

(Verse 19) Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza? 
(Verse 20) And Manat, the third one, the other? 
[The 2 abrogated Satanic Verses] These are the beautiful goddesses like high flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted. (Note: These 2 abrogated verses are not present in Quran now, as Muhammad already deleted them from Quran in name of abrogation)
[Later revealed verses in order to deny the Satanic Verses]
(Verse 21) Are you to have the males, and He (Allah) the females?
(Verse 22) What a bizarre distribution. 
(Verse 23) These are nothing but names, which you have devised, you and your ancestors, for which God sent down no authority. They follow nothing but assumptions, and what the ego desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.
(Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)  
(Verse 25) To God belong the Last and the First.
(Verse 26) How many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves? 

But Muhammad was so ashamed of this incident that he felt compelled to repeatedly bring up more and more 'excuses.' Consequently, he claimed once again that additional verses had been revealed regarding the incident of the Satanic Verses, and they are as follows:

(Quran 17:73-75) And indeed, they were about to tempt you away from that which We revealed to you in order to [make] you INVENT about Us something else (i.e. the Satanic Verses); and then they would have taken you as a friend. And if We had not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little (i.e. Muhammad's DESIRE to reconciliate with them). Then [if you had], We would have made you taste double [punishment in] life and double [after] death. Then you would not find for yourself against Us a helper.

This verse itself stands as evidence that it was revealed in connection to the incident of the Satanic Verses.

Muhammad sought to deflect the blame for the Satanic Verses away from Allah and onto himself. It was crucial to absolve Allah of any responsibility, emphasizing that Satan has no power over Allah and that He is infallible. Failure to do so could have jeopardized the foundation of the entire new religion of Muhammad.

To strengthen his position, Muhammad revealed the subsequent verse, creating the impression that Allah was displeased with him for this mistake and even threatened him with double punishment.

However, an important question arises: punishment is typically reserved for intentional mistakes. According to the Quran, Muhammad did not recite the Satanic Verses deliberately; he genuinely believed that Allah had fulfilled his desire, and Gabriel had brought those verses from Allah. If Allah had allowed Satan to misguide the prophet, why should the prophet be subjected to double punishment for an unintentional error?

All the verses mentioned above were revealed in response to the incident of the Satanic Verses. However, later Muslims dispersed these verses throughout different chapters of the Quran, intentionally preventing readers from finding them in one place to avoid raising questions about the incident of Satanic Verses.

The words DESIRE and INTERCESSION in these verses make it impossible to deny the incident of Satanic Verses

Please note that Islamic apologists today deny that verses 19 to 26 of Surah an-Najm have anything to do with the incident of Satanic Verses, as they deny the occurrence of this incident altogether.

Nevertheless, the presence of the words DESIRE and INTERCESSION in these verses is very important, as it makes it impossible for them to deny the occurrence of this incident. 

Let us look at Suran an-Najm, Verse 53:19-26, once again:

(Verse 19) Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza? 
(Verse 20) And Manat, the third one, the other? 
[The 2 abrogated Satanic Verses] These are the beautiful goddesses like high flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted. (Note: These 2 abrogated verses are not present in Quran now, as Muhammad already deleted them from Quran in name of abrogation)
[Later revealed verses in order to deny the Satanic Verses]
(Verse 21) Are you to have the males, and He (Allah) the females?
(Verse 22) What a bizarre distribution. 
(Verse 23) These are nothing but names, which you have devised, you and your ancestors, for which God sent down no authority. They follow nothing but assumptions, and what the ego desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.
(Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)  
(Verse 25) To God belong the Last and the First.
(Verse 26) How many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves? 

The presence of verse 24 in Surah an-Najm  ( أَمْ لِلْإِنسَانِ مَا تَمَنَّىٰ  Or shall man have whatever he 'desires'?), provides evidence supporting the authenticity of the incident known as the Satanic Verses as mentioned in the 50 Traditions.

  • It is important to note that verse 24, which focuses on fulfilling human desires, is totally unrelated (out of context) to the preceding verses that discuss the denial of the high status of pagan gods. 
  • Similarly, this "desire" also has nothing to do with the proceeding verses (which talk about the intercession of angels). 

Given this context, the inclusion of verse 24 at this particular point appears illogical and lacks coherence.

However, if we accept the incident of Satanic Verses indeed happened (as mentioned in those 50 Traditions), then verse 24 of Surah an-Najm immediately starts making perfect sense and perfect logic at this place. It proves that the writer of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad) later included this verse 24 (about getting what man desires) here, in order to counter the incident of Satanic Verses, in which he had previously told Meccans about his 'desire' for reconciliation with them. 

Similarly, the word 'intercession' in verse 26 of Surah an-Najm also proves that indeed this verse was also linked to the incident of Satanic Verses. 

(Surah an-Najm, Verse 26) How many angels are there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves? 

Once again, it is evident that the inclusion of the verse regarding the 'intercession of angels' lacks any relevance to the surrounding verses. It is out of place and fails to contribute any logical or meaningful connection to the context of the preceding or subsequent verses.

However, if we accept that the incident of Satanic Verses indeed happened (as mentioned in those 50 Traditions), then verse 26 immediately starts making perfect sense and perfect logic at this place, while the two abrogated/deleted Satanic Verses were talking about the "intercession" of pagan goddesses.

It proves that the writer of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad) revealed this new verse about the intercession of angels here in order to refute the Satanic Verses, which affirmed the intercession of pagan goddesses. 

Abrogation & Deletion (in the name of making Verses precise AGAIN) also proves that verses of Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj are LINKED to each other:

Islamic apologists deny any link between these verses of Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj as they deny the whole incident of Satanic Verses and those 50 Traditions about them. 

However, Surah al-Hajj is a witness that indeed abrogation & deletion (in the name of cleaning filth) of Quranic verses took place. 

(Surah Hajj 22:52) And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires', the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire, so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again (by deleting the abrogated Satanic verses). And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

So, which were the verses which were abrogated and then deleted in the name of making the Quran precise again? 

The 50 traditions are unanimous that it was Surah an-Najm, in which Satanic Verses were abrogated and then deleted for making the Quran precise again. Thus, these verses of Surah al-Hajj and Surah an-Najm are directly linked to each other and are about the same incident. 

Therefore, if Islamic apologists today deny any link between these verses of Surah al-Hajj and Surah an-Najm, then they have to tell us: 

  • Which were those verses that were abrogated and then deleted.
  • And why were they abrogated and why were they deleted?

Similarly, the occurrence of the word "DESIRE" (' tamannā تمنی') in both verses of Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj also proves they are LINKED with each other

(Suran an-Najm, Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)

(Surah Hajj 22:52) And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی), the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire (Arabic: um'niyyatihi أُمْنِيَّتِهِ), so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again (by deleting the abrogated Satanic verses). 

Thus, these Quranic Verses themselves prove that those 50 traditions are correct about the incident of Satanic Verses. 

The Incident of Satanic Verses in Traditions:

Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari recorded the following tradition (link): 

حدثنا ابن حميد قال حدثنا سلمة قال حدثني محمد بن إسحاق عن يزيد بن زياد المدني عن محمد بن كعب القرظي قال لما رأى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تولى قومه عنه وشق عليه ما يرى من مباعدتهم ما جاءهم به من الله تمنى في نفسه أن يأتيه من الله ما يقارب بينه وبين قومه وكان يسره مع حبه قومه وحرصه عليهم أن يلين له بعض ما قد غلظ عليه من أمرهم حتى حدث بذلك نفسه وتمناه وأحبه فأنزل الله عز وجل (والنجم إذا هوى ما ضل صاحبكم وما غوى وما ينطق عن الهوى - فلما انتهى إلى قوله - أفرأيتم اللات والعزى ومناة الثالثة الأخرى) ألقى الشيطان على لسانه لما كان يحدث به نفسه ويتمنى أن يأتي به قومه تلك الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن ترتضي فلما سمعت قريش فرحوا وسرهم وأعجبهم ما ذكر به آلهتهم فأصاخوا له والمؤمنون مصدقون نبيهم فيما جاءهم به عن ربهم ولا يتهمونه على خطأ ولا وهم ولا زلل فلما انتهى إلى السجدة منها وختم السورة سجد فيها فسجد المسلمون بسجود نبيهم تصديقا لما جاء به واتباعا لامره وسجد من في المسجد من المشركين من قريش وغيرهم لما سمعوا من ذكر آلهتهم فلم يبق في المسجد مؤمن ولا كافر إلا سجد إلا الوليد بن المغيرة فإنه كان شيخا كبيرا فلم يستطع السجود فاخذ بيده حفنة من البطحاء فسجد عليها ثم تفرق الناس من المسجد وخرجت قريش وقد سرهم ما سمعوا من ذكر آلهتهم يقولون قد ذكر محمد آلهتنا بأحسن الذكر قد زعم فيما يتلو إنها الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن ترتضي وبلغت السجدة من بأرض الحبشة من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقيل أسلمت قريش فنهض منهم رجال وتخلف آخرون وآتى جبريل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا محمد ماذا صنعت لقد تلوت على الناس ما لم آتك به عن الله عز وجل وقلت ما لم يقل لك فحزن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عند ذلك حزنا شديدا وخاف من الله خوفا كثيرا فأنزل الله عز وجل وكان به رحيما يعزيه ويخفض عليه الامر ويخبره أنه لم يك قبله نبي ولا رسول تمنى كما تمنى ولا أحب كما أحب الا والشيطان قد ألقى في أمنيته كما ألقى على لسانه صلى الله عليه وسلم فنسخ الله ما ألقى الشيطان وأحكم آبائه أي فإنما أنت كبعض الأنبياء والرسل فأنزل الله عز وجل (وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي إلا إذا تمنى ألقى الشيطان في أمنيته فينسخ الله ما يلقى الشيطان ثم يحكم الله آياته والله عليم حكيم) فاذهب الله عز وجل عن نبيه الحزن وآمنه من الذي كان يخاف ونسخ ما ألقى الشيطان على لسانه من ذكر آلهتهم إنها الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن ترتضي بقول الله عز وجل ذكر اللات والعزى ومناة الثلاثة الأخرى (ألكم الذكر وله الأنثى تلك إذا قسمة ضيزى) أي عوجاء (إن هي إلا أسماء سميتموها أنتم وآباؤكم - إلى قوله - لمن يشاء ويرضى) أي فكيف تنفع شفاعة آلهتكم عنده فلما جاء من الله ما نسخ ما كان الشيطان ألقى على لسان نبيه قالت قريش ندم محمد على ما ذكر من منزلة آلهتكم عند الله فغير ذلك وجاء بغيره وكان ذانك الحرفان اللذان ألقى الشيطان على لسان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قد وقعا في فم كل مشرك فازدادوا شرا إلى ما كانوا عليه وشدة على من أسلم 

Translation:

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 desired from 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:

(Surah an-Najm, verses 1 to 3)'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:

(Surah an-Najm, verses 19 and 20) Have you thought of al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?

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

(Satanic Verse 1) 'These are the high-flying cranes;

(Satanic Verse 2) verily their intercession is accepted with approval. 

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 an-Najm, 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 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 ... The Quraysh left delighted by the mention of their gods which they had heard, saying,'Muhammad has mentioned our gods 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.'

...  Then (later) 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 canceled what Satan had thus cast, and established his verses by telling him that he was like other prophets and messengers, and revealed:

(Surah al-Hajj, verses 52 and 53) And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی), the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire (Arabic: um'niyyatihi أُمْنِيَّتِهِ), so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in، then Allah makes His verses precise again. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. 

Thus, God removed the sorrow from his messenger, reassured him about that which he had feared and canceled 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:

(Surah an-Najm, verses 21 to 26) 'Are yours the males and his the females? That indeed was an unfair division! They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers ...to whom he wills and accepts ' 

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 polytheist, 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.

Imam Suyuti recorded this incident from an "authentic" chain of narration (link):

وأخرج ابن جرير وابن المنذر وابن أبي حاتم وابن مردويه بسند صحيح، عن سعيد بن جبير قال: قرأ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بمكة النجم، فلما بلغ هذا الموضع { أفرأيتم اللات والعزى ومناة الثالثة الأخرى } ألقى الشيطان على لسانه تلك الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن لترتجى. قالوا: ما ذكر آلهتنا بخير قبل اليوم، فسجد وسجدوا، ثم جاءه جبريل بعد ذلك قال: اعرض عليَّ ما جئتك به. فلما بلغ: تلك الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن لترتجى. قال له جبريل: لم آتك بهذا؛ هذا من الشيطان فأنزل الله { وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي }.

Translation:

Imam Ibn Jarir and others recorded through 'Sahih' (authentic) chain of narration from Saeed Ibn Jubayr that the prophet started reciting Surah Najam in Mecca. When he came to verse (Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?), then the devil threw (alqa) upon his tongue: “Those are the elevated cranes: truly their intercession is dearly hoped!”

Upon that the pagans said to Muhammad that he never before praised their idols. The Prophet prostrated and the pagans too prostrated along with him.

In the evening, Jibrael came and asked Muhammad to recite that which he earlier brought to him. When Muhammad recited the satanic verse, then Jibrael told him that he didn't bring that verse to him, but it was from the Satan. Thus, Allah revealed at that time: (Quran 22:52: And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he "desires'' (Arabic: Tammana تمنی), the devil threw in his desire, so God erases what the devil throws in ...).

If you want to read all 50 traditions, then please buy the book of Mr. Shahab Ahmed. 

Criticism:

  1. This incident occurred five years after Muhammad had received prophethood. It raises the question of why Muhammad, after five years, did not possess knowledge about whether the pagan gods were false or true deities of high status.

  2. Even the Meccans (Quraysh) noticed this apparent "contradiction" in the revelations and began mocking Muhammad for it. It seems perplexing that Muhammad himself did not recognize the contradiction and immediately refute the so-called Satanic Verses.

  3. Furthermore, during the revelation of the verses, how was Satan able to influence Muhammad in the presence of Gabriel? Why didn't Gabriel intervene to prevent Satan's influence? According to Islam, only humans cannot see Satan, but angels are not oblivious to the devil's presence.

  4. Even if we assume that Gabriel was unable to see Satan, he could still hear what Muhammad was reciting to the gathering of pagans. Why didn't Gabriel warn Muhammad on the spot and prevent him from making such a grave mistake? Gabriel should have alerted Muhammad and rectified the situation before allowing him to leave the gathering of the Quraysh.

  5. What's even more perplexing is that when Gabriel later visited Muhammad, Gabriel seemed unaware that Satan had misled Muhammad in reciting the Satanic Verses or of what transpired during that gathering. Gabriel only became aware of the incident after instructing Muhammad to revise the verses that he brought to him earlier in the day.

  6. During the entire incident, Allah did not intervene and allowed Muhammad to praise the pagan gods. However, in the evening, Allah suddenly became active and immediately revealed the verses of Surah Hajj, comforting Muhammad by stating that all previous prophets had also been misguided by Satan due to their desires.

  7. But why would Allah allow Satan to misguide His messengers? Allah offers the excuse that it was a "test." However, the question arises: a test for whom? If Muhammad himself was led astray, failed the test, and started believing that the pagan gods held high status, then how could anyone else have a chance to pass this so-called "test"? Therefore, all those present, including Muhammad, prostrated to the pagan gods, and even the Muslims failed to recognize and denounce the Satanic Verses. They all failed the test unanimously. Hence, even if we assume the existence of Allah, the question arises about the "wisdom" of Allah. Why would He conduct a test with a guaranteed 0% success rate when His own prophet fell victim to Satan's influence?

  8. Subsequently, Allah busied Himself with removing the contamination of the Satanic Verses from the Quran. And after deleting the Satanic Verses from the Quran, Allah boasts about himself that people should look at His power and that He has the ability to clean the filth. So, people should believe in Him.

PS:

The recurring use of the excuse of a "test" in the Quran is peculiar. Whenever the writer of the Quran faced unanswered questions, he resorted to this same excuse. For instance, when the Jews rejected Muhammad as a prophet of God, he became angry, and the writer of the Quran ordered a change in the Qibla direction (from Jerusalem to Mecca). When objections arose, the writer of the Quran once again invoked the excuse of a "test" to determine who would stand firm with Muhammad (Quran 2:143). Even more perplexing is that not a single person, whether Muslim or hypocrite, abandoned Muhammad due to the change in Qibla. In this case, the success rate was 100%, with everyone passing the test, including the hypocrites. So, what was the purpose of such a test if everyone, including the hypocrites, would pass it? The reality is that this "test" is a feeble excuse, and the real reason for the change in Qibla was animosity towards the Jews.

Islamic Aqeedah (Belief): Even a 'donkey' is able to see Satan, but Prophet and Gabriel could not

Islam asserts that even a humble creature like a donkey possesses the ability to perceive Satan's presence and alert others to it. However, it appears contradictory that Prophet Muhammad and Gabriel, who hold significant spiritual stature, were unable to see Satan. Consequently, Satan exerted dominance over both Muhammad and Gabriel, influencing the revelation.

Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation (Link):

The Prophet said, 'When you hear the crowing of cocks, ask for Allah's Blessings for (their crowing indicates that) they have seen an angel. And when you hear the braying of donkeys, seek Refuge with Allah from Satan for (their braying indicates) that they have seen a Satan.'

In another instance, the Prophet Muhammad expresses his strength by recounting an encounter in which he not only perceived Satan but also metaphorically symbolizes overpowering him, almost strangling him to the point of death.

Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation (Link):

The Prophet once offered the prayer and said, 'Satan came in front of me and tried to interrupt my prayer, but Allah gave me an upper hand on him and I choked him. No doubt, I thought of tying him to one of the pillars of the mosque till you get up in the morning and see him.

On one hand, Muhammad has a such high status that even a dream of a normal person becomes immune to Satan while the prophet Muhammad is present in his dream, but on the other hand, Muhammad was himself not immune to misguidance from Satan.

Sahih Bukhari, Book of Interpretations of Dreams (Link):

The Prophet said, 'Whoever has seen me in a dream, then no doubt, he has seen me, for Satan cannot imitate my shape.

On one hand, Muhammad holds such a high status that even the dreams of ordinary individuals become protected from Satan's influence when the Prophet Muhammad is present in those dreams. However, on the other hand, Muhammad himself was not immune to the potential misguidance from Satan.

Sahih Bukhari, book of creation (Link):

I went to Sham (and asked. 'Who is here?'), The people said, 'Abu Ad-Darda.' Abu Darda said, 'Is the person whom Allah has protected against Satan, (as Allah's Messenger said) amongst you'. The sub narrator, Mughira said that the person who was given Allah's Refuge through the tongue of the Prophet was `Ammar (bin Yasir).

Here you can see the 'contradictions' in the so-called divine revelations, which will ultimately lead to only one conclusion that it was Muhammad who was himself making those revelations. 

50 Traditions in Islamic sources regarding the Incident of Satanic Verses:

As we mentioned above, the late Mr. Shahab Ahmed wrote an amazing book 'Before Orthodoxy: The Satanic Verses in Early Islam', in which he collected 50 traditions from many Sahaba (i.e. the 1st generation of Muslims) and tābi‘īn اَلتَّابِعِينَ (i.e. 2nd generation of Muslims) about the incident of Satanic Verses. You can buy this book if you want to read all these 50 traditions in English. Here, we are giving only a short list of those 50 traditions along with the name of Sahaba and tābi‘īn اَلتَّابِعِينَ who narrated it:

Riwāyahs 1 to 7: From Muḥammad b. Ka‘b al-Quraẓī
Riwāyah 1: From the Rayy Recension of the Sīrah of Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq
Riwāyah 2: Abū Ma‘shar’s Report from Muḥammad b. Ka‘b and Muḥammad b. Qays
Riwāyah 3: al-Wāqidī’s Report from al-Muṭṭalib b. Ḥanṭab and the Banū Ẓafar
Riwāyahs 4 to 6: Summary Reports from Muḥammad b. Ka‘b al-Quraẓī
Riwāyah 4: A Summary Report from Muḥammad b. Ka‘b in the Tafsīr of Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī
Riwāyah 5: A Summary Report from Muḥammad b. Ka‘b in the Tafsīr of Ibn Abī Ḥātim al-Rāzī
Riwāyah 6: A Summary Report from Muḥammad b. Ka‘b in the Tafsīr of Abū al-Shaykh al-Iṣbahānī
Riwāyah 7: From the Maghāzī of Yūnus b. Bukayr
Riwāyahs 8 to 13: From ‘Urwah b. al-Zubayr
Riwāyah 8: From Abū al-Aswad’s Egyptian Recension of ‘Urwah’s Maghāzī
Riwāyah 9: al-Bayhaqī’s Citation of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah, and Ibn Kathīr’s Citation from Ibn Abī Ḥātim of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah
Riwāyah 10: al-Dhahabī’s Citation of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah
Riwāyah 11: Abū Nu‘aym al-Iṣbahānī’s Citation of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah
Riwāyah 12: al-Suyūṭī’s Citation from Ibn Abī Ḥātim’s Tafsīr of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah
Riwāyah 13: al-Kilā‘ī’s Citation of the Maghāzī of Mūsā b. ‘Uqbah
Riwāyahs 8 to 13: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 14 and 15: al-Zuhrī from Abū Bakr ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. al-Ḥārith
Riwāyah 14: Probably from al-Zuhrī’s Tafsīr with a ṣaḥīḥ mursal isnād
Riwāyah 15: Probably from al-Zuhrī’s Kitāb al-maghāzī
Riwāyahs 14 and 15: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 16 to 20: From Abū al-‘Āliyah al-Baṣrī
Riwāyah 16: Cited by al-Ṭabarī with a ṣaḥīḥ mursal Basran isnād
Riwāyah 17: Also Cited by al-Ṭabarī with a ṣaḥīḥ mursal Basran isnād
Riwāyah 18: Cited by al-Suyūṭī in the Durr from the Tafsīrs of al-Ṭabarī, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abī Ḥātim by an Unspecified ṣaḥīḥ isnād
Riwāyah 19: Cited by al-Suyūṭī in the Durr from the Tafsīrs of al-Ṭabarī, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abī Ḥātim al-Rāzī
Riwāyah 20: Cited by Yaḥyā b. Sallām al-Baṣrī in his Tafsīr
Riwāyahs 16 to 20: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 21 and 22: From al-Suddī
Riwāyah 21: In the Tafsīr of ‘Abd b. Ḥumayd al-Samarqandī
Riwāyah 22: In the Tafsīr of Ibn Abī Ḥātim al-Rāzī
Riwāyah 23: From Muḥammad b. al-Sā’ib al-Kalbī
Riwāyahs 24 to 26: From Qatādah b. Di‘āmah
Riwāyah 24: Cited by Yaḥyā b. Sallām al-Baṣrī in His Tafsīr
Riwāyah 25: al-Ṭabarī’s Citation of Tafsīr Muḥammad ibn Thawr ‘an Ma‘mar ‘an Qatādah, and of al-Ḥasan b. Yaḥyā’s Citation of Qatādah in the Baghdādī Transmission of the Tafsīr of ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Ṣan‘ānī
Riwāyah 26: From the Tafsīr of ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Ṣan‘ānī
Riwāyahs 24 to 26: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 27 to 30: From Muqātil b. Sulaymān
Riwāyah 27: Muqātil’s Commentary on Qur’ān 22:52 al-Ḥajj
Riwāyah 28: Muqātil’s Commentary on Qur’ān 53:19–26 al-Najm
Riwāyah 29: Muqātil’s Commentary on Qur’ān 109 al-Kāfirūn
Riwāyah 30: Muqātil’s Commentary on Qur’ān 39:43–45 al-Zumar
Riwāyahs 27 to 30: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 31 to 33: From Mujāhid b. Jabr
Riwāyah 31: From Mujāhid’s Commentary on Qur’ān 22:52 al-Ḥajj Cited by Ibn ‘Aqīlah
Riwāyah 32: From Mujāhid’s Commentary on Qur’ān 39:45 al-Zumar Cited by al-Wāḥidī
Riwāyah 33: From Mujāhid’s Commentary on Qur’ān 17:73 al-Isrā’ Cited by al-Tha‘labī
Riwāyah 34: From al-Ḍaḥḥāk b. Muzāḥim al-Balkhī
Riwāyahs 35 to 44: Attributed to ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās
Riwāyah 35: From ‘Aṭiyyah b. Sa‘d al-‘Awfī
Riwāyah 36: From Abū Ṣāliḥ
Riwāyah 37: From ‘Aṭā’ b. Abī Rabāḥ al-Makkī
Riwāyah 38: Cited Directly from Ibn ‘Abbās in the Gharā’ib al-Qur’ān of Niẓām al-Dīn al-Naysābūrī
Riwāyah 39: From Abū Sāliḥ; from ‘Ikrimah the mawlā of Ibn ‘Abbās; and from an Unnamed Source
Riwāyahs 40 to 44: Sa‘īd b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbās
Riwāyahs 40, 41 and 42: ‘Uthmān b. al-Aswad ← Sa‘īd b. Jubayr
Riwāyah 40: In the Mukhtārah of al-Ḍiyā’ al-Maqdisī with a Deficient isnād
Riwāyah 41: In the Tafsīr of Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī with an Unacknowledged ṣaḥīḥ isnād
Riwāyah 42: In the Asbāb al-nuzūl of al-Wāḥidī with an isnād Stopping at Sa‘īd b. Jubayr
Riwāyahs 43 and 44: Shu‘bah ← Abū Bishr ← Sa‘īd b. Jubayr ← Ibn ‘Abbās
Riwāyah 43: Cited from Yūsuf b. Ḥammād al-Baṣrī in the Musnad of al-Bazzār with Two Cautionary Remarks
Riwāyah 44: Cited from Yūsuf b. Ḥammād al-Baṣrī in the Mu‘jam al-Kabīr of al-Ṭabarānī and in the Tafsīr of Ibn Mardawayh, with an Interesting Remark
Riwāyahs 35 to 44: Conclusions
Riwāyahs 45 to 47: From Sa‘īd b. Jubayr without Attribution to Ibn ‘Abbās
Riwāyah 45: Cited by al-Ṭabarī from Sa‘īd b. Jubayr via Shu‘bah and Abū Bishr Ja‘far b. Abī Waḥshiyyah
Riwāyah 46: Cited by Ibn Abī Ḥātim al-Rāzī from Sa‘īd b. Jubayr via Shu‘bah and Abū Bishr Ja‘far b. Abī Waḥshiyyah
Riwāyah 47: Cited by al-Suyūṭī in the Durr without an isnād
Riwāyahs 40 to 47: Conclusions
Riwāyah 48: From ‘Ikrimah, the mawlā of Ibn ‘Abbās
Riwāyahs 49 and 50: From al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī
Riwāyah 49: Cited from al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī in al-Nukat wa-al-‘uyūn of al-Māwardī
Riwāyah 50: Cited from al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī in Aḥkām al-Qur’ān of al-Jaṣṣāṣ

Complete Transformation: During the first 200 years, all Muslims believed in the incident of the Satanic Verses, whereas in the last 200 years, all Muslims deny it

Muslims underwent three stages regarding the incident of the Satanic Verses:

First Period: During the initial 200 years, all Muslims universally accepted the incident of the Satanic Verses based on the teachings of the Quran and Traditions.

Second Period: Following that, there was a period where some Muslims accepted the incident while others rejected it.

Third Period: In the last 200 years, the majority of Muslims almost universally deny that the incident of the Satanic Verses ever occurred, also based on the teachings of the same Quran and Traditions.

How did the perception of the Satanic Verses incident shift from being considered 100% true to being viewed as 100% false? What caused this transformation?

The problem arose when the "contradictions" in the "divine revelation" were exposed during the incident of the Satanic Verses. Despite presenting various excuses, Muslims were unable to conceal the human errors in those instances.

Another contributing factor was the emergence of the doctrine within the Muslim community that "Prophets are protected from being misguided by Satan." Mr. Shahab Ahmed clearly expressed this doctrine in the following words:

Among the doctrines that emerged from the mid-2nd/8th century onwards was that of `ismat al-anbiya', literally the protection of the Prophets', meaning God's Protection of them from sin and error. The idea of the `ismah of the Prophets, which seems to have originated among the Shiah, was embraced as a doctrinal principle in some form or another by almost every Muslim sect and theological or legal school. With the spread of the concept that Muhammad constituted the model personality whose normative conduct (sunnah), as recorded in the klactith, was to be imitated by every Muslim, the idea that he should not sin must have appeared both logical and persuasive. Also, with the establishment of the legal principle that the Muslim community itself was protected from agreement upon error in the interpretation of Di-vine Law, it was hardly possible for the exemplar of the Law to be allowed to err himself.

Reference: Ahmed, Shahab. “Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic Verses.” Studia Islamica, no. 87, 1998, pp. 67–124. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1595926. Accessed 8 June 2021.

Hence, subsequent generations of Muslims were compelled to outright deny this incident in order to defend the honor of Islam. Consequently, they resorted to fabricating falsehoods and feeble excuses as a means to disavow it.

However, the predicament with fabrications is that they often contradict one another, necessitating the invention of numerous additional lies to conceal a single falsehood.

This same predicament befell the later generations of Muslims. Initially, they became divided into two groups, each refuting the other based on the teachings of the same Quran and Traditions.

The first group of Muslims outright denied the occurrence of this incident, asserting that there are no Quranic verses related to it, and all the traditions pertaining to this incident are weak. Therefore, they concluded that the incident never actually took place.

On the other hand, the second group of Muslims accepted the occurrence of the incident but sought to preserve the honor of Islam through the employment of 'Taweel' (figurative interpretation in Arabic).

The second group found themselves compelled to refute the first group since this incident is indeed mentioned in the Quran itself and is supported by 'authentic' traditions transmitted through different chains of narration. Thus, denying its existence altogether became an untenable position.

What led the Salaf, the early Muslim generations of the first 200 years, to unanimously assert that the Quran itself serves as evidence for the occurrence of the incident of the Satanic Verses?

Ibn Taymiyyah, despite being an extremist Muslim and an apologist for Islam, wrote about this incident (link):

والمأثور عن السلف يوافق القرآن بذلك ... وأما الذين قرروا ما نقل عن السلف فقالوا هذا منقول نقلا ثابتا لا يمكن القدح فيه والقرآن يدل عليه بقوله ۔۔۔

And what has been transmitted from the early generations of Salaf (i.e. this incident is authentic) aligns with the Quran in this matter... As for those who have affirmed what has been transmitted from the early generations, they have stated that it is a confirmed transmission that cannot be criticized, and the Quran proves it through its verses too...

So, the question is, why did the Salaf (early Muslims of the first 200 years) unanimously assert that the Quran itself serves as evidence for the occurrence of this incident? 

The answer is, the presence of the words DESIRE and INTERCESSION in these verses of Surah an-Najam make it impossible to deny this incident. 

Let us look at Suran an-Najm, Verse 53:19-26, once again:

(Verse 19) Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza? 
(Verse 20) And Manat, the third one, the other? 
[The 2 abrogated Satanic Verses] These are the beautiful goddesses like high flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted. (Note: These 2 abrogated verses are not present in Quran now, as Muhammad already deleted them from Quran in name of abrogation)
[Later revealed verses in order to deny the Satanic Verses]
(Verse 21) Are you to have the males, and He (Allah) the females?
(Verse 22) What a bizarre distribution. 
(Verse 23) These are nothing but names, which you have devised, you and your ancestors, for which God sent down no authority. They follow nothing but assumptions, and what the ego desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.
(Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)  
(Verse 25) To God belong the Last and the First.
(Verse 26) How many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves? 

The presence of verse 24 in Surah an-Najm  ( أَمْ لِلْإِنسَانِ مَا تَمَنَّىٰ  Or shall man have whatever he 'desires'?), provides evidence supporting the authenticity of the incident known as the Satanic Verses as mentioned in the 50 Traditions.

  • It is important to note that verse 24, which focuses on fulfilling human desires, is totally unrelated (out of context) to the preceding verses that discuss the denial of the high status of pagan gods. 
  • Similarly, this "desire" also has nothing to do with the subsequent proceeding verses, which are talking about the intercession of angels. 

In light of this context, the placement of verse 24 at this specific point appears incongruous and lacks coherence.

However, if we interpret verse 24 regarding the fulfillment of human "desires" within the context of the abrogated and deleted Satanic Verses and the entire incident surrounding them (where Muhammad "desired" reconciliation with the Meccans), then verse 24 of Surah an-Najm immediately assumes a logical and meaningful position.

Furthermore, it indicates that the author of the Quran (i.e., Muhammad) subsequently included this verse 24 (regarding the attainment of one's desires) here in order to counter the Satanic Verses, where he had previously expressed his 'desire' for reconciliation with the Meccans.

Likewise, the mention of 'intercession' in verse 26 of Surah an-Najm also lends credence to the connection between this verse and the incident of the Satanic Verses.

(Surah an-Najm, Verse 26) How many angels are there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves? 

Once again, it becomes apparent that the inclusion of the verse concerning the 'intercession of angels' lacks contextual relevance to the surrounding verses. It appears disconnected and fails to establish any logical or meaningful connection with the preceding or subsequent verses.

However, if we consider verse 26 regarding intercession in light of the context of the two abrogated and deleted Satanic Verses (which addressed the intercession of pagan goddesses), it suddenly acquires a coherent and logical placement within the text.

This suggests that the author of the Quran (i.e., Muhammad) introduced this new verse about the intercession of angels at this point to counter the influence of the Satanic Verses, which endorsed the intercession of pagan goddesses.

The occurrence of abrogation and deletion, aimed at enhancing the precision of the verses, further establishes the connection between the verses of Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj  

Interestingly, Islamic apologists reject any association between these verses from Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj, as they dismiss the entire incident of the Satanic Verses and the collection of 50 traditions related to it.

Nonetheless, Surah al-Hajj itself testifies to the reality of abrogation and deletion as a means of purifying the Quranic verses from impurities.

(Surah Hajj 22:52) And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires', the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire, so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again (by deleting the abrogated Satanic verses). And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

So, which verses were the subject of abrogation and deletion in order to refine the precision of the Quran?

According to the unanimous consensus of the 50 traditions, it was Surah an-Najm where the Satanic Verses were abrogated and subsequently removed to restore the precision of the Quran. Hence, these verses from Surah al-Hajj and Surah an-Najm are directly interconnected and pertain to the same incident.

Therefore, if present-day Islamic apologists refute any correlation between these verses from Surah al-Hajj and Surah an-Najm, they must provide an explanation:

  1. Which specific verses were abrogated and subsequently removed?
  2. What were the reasons behind their abrogation and removal?

Likewise, the presence of the word "DESIRE" ('tamannā تمنی') in both verses of Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj establishes a clear connection between them.

(Suran an-Najm, Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)

(Surah Hajj 22:52) And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی), the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire (Arabic: um'niyyatihi أُمْنِيَّتِهِ), so God 'abrogates' what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again (by deleting the abrogated Satanic verses). 

Hence, these Quranic verses serve as compelling evidence that corroborates the accuracy of those 50 traditions regarding the incident of the Satanic Verses.

Consequently, the early Muslims of the first 200 years, known as the Salaf, unanimously agreed that the Quran itself attests to the occurrence of the incident of the Satanic Verses.

Even Sahih (authentic) Traditions also prove the occurrence of this incident

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani is considered to be one of the highest authorities upon Hadith by Muslims. He refuted the first group and wrote in his book “Fath-ul-Bari” (link):

وكلها سوى طريق سعيد بن جبير إما ضعيف وإلا منقطع ، لكن كثرة الطرق تدل على أن للقصة أصلا ، مع أن لها طريقين آخرين مرسلين رجالهما على شرط الصحيحين أحدهما ما أخرجه الطبري من طريق يونس بن يزيد عن ابن شهاب حدثني أبو بكر بن عبد الرحمن بن الحارث بن هشام فذكر نحوه، والثاني ما أخرجه أيضا من طريق المعتمر بن سليمان وحماد بن سلمة فرقهما عن داود بن أبي هند عن أبي العالية ۔۔۔ ثم نقل تضعيف ابن العربي والقاضي عياض القصة ثم قال - : ۔۔۔ فإن الطرق إذا كثرت وتباينت مخارجها دل ذلك على أن لها أصلا ، وقد ذكرت أن ثلاثة أسانيد منها على شرط الصحيح ، وهي مراسيل يَحتجُّ بمثلها مَن يحتجُّ بالمرسل ، وكذا من لا يحتج به ، لاعتضاد بعضها ببعض ۔۔

All the paths of this hadith are either weak or cut off, except for that of Sa`id ibn Jubayr… However, the profusion of the chains show that the story has a basis, furthermore, there are two other “mursal” chains whose narrators are those of Bukhari and Muslim. The first one is that narrated by al-Tabari through Yunus ibn Yazid from Ibn Shihab [al-Zuhri]: “Abu Bakr ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham narrated to me,” etc. The second is what al-Tabari also narrated through al-Mu`tamir ibn Sulayman and Hammad ibn Salama from Dawud ibn Abi Hind from Abu al-`Aliya…. Contrary to what Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi and al-Qadi `Iyad have claimed whereby the story has no basis at all…. When the paths of a hadith are many and distinct, it shows that the report has a basis…. So, as I said, there are three sound but ‘mursal‘ chains for it, among them what meets the criteria of the two Sahihs but for the fact that they are ‘mursal‘. These constitute proof for both those that accept ‘mursal’ reports as proofs and those that do not, due to the mutual strengthening of the chains.

The evidence from the Quran itself is so explicit that there is no need for additional traditions to confirm the occurrence of the Satanic Verses incident. 

To shed light on the tactics and deceptions employed by some Muslims in the name of "Ilm-ul-Hadith" (Science of Hadith), we have provided a list of 50 Hadiths pertaining to this incident.

Furthermore, Sahih Bukhari briefly mentions this incident twice, offering shorter versions that still substantiate its occurrence.

From companion Ibn Abbas in Sahih Bukhari (link):

Narrated Ibn `Abbas:

The Prophet prostrated while reciting An-Najm and with him prostrated the Muslims, the pagans, the jinns, and all human beings.

And from companion 'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud in Sahih Bukhari (link): 

Narrated `Abdullah bin Mas`ud:

The Prophet recited Surat an-Najm (103) at Mecca and prostrated while reciting it and those who were with him did the same except an old man who took a handful of small stones or earth and lifted it to his forehead and said, 'This is sufficient for me.' Later on, I saw him killed as a non-believer

Islamic apologists, in their attempt to refute the existence of the Satanic Verses incident, argued that these two traditions do not explicitly mention the Satanic Verses. However, this raises the question of why the pagans would prostrate alongside Muhammad and the Muslims if such an incident did not occur.

To address this, Islamic apologists put forward the following excuse:

"It was the beauty of the Quran which made Pagans automatically fall down and to prostrate to Allah when they heard this verse: (Suran an-Najm 53:62: So prostrate to Allah and worship Him)."

However, there is a flaw in this argument put forth by Islamic apologists:

  • Nowhere in these two traditions of Sahih Bukhari is it mentioned that the pagans prostrated due to any perceived "beauty" of the Quran.
  • The Quran mentioned prostration to Allah in several places in the Quran, but pagans never prostrated upon them.  Does this imply that the remaining verses of the Quran lack any beauty that the pagans didn't prostrate there?
  • Furthermore, the preceding verses of the verse of prostration in Surah An-Najm (53:62) actually present a contrasting narrative, i.e. (1) The pagans of Mecca were mocking the Quran, (2) They were playing around with the Quran, and (3) To them, the Quran was not beautiful at all, but rather filled with falsehoods.

How could then the pagans prostrate with Muhammad and other Muslims after hearing it? Just read these verses yourself which are witness of mocking of the Quran by pagans. 

(Suran an-Najm, verses 59 to 62) Do you then wonder at this recital (the Quran)? And you laugh at it and weep not, while ye amuse yourselves (while playing games with it)? So, prostrate to Allah and worship [Him].

Therefore, the preceding verses of the Quran contradict the arguments put forth by Islamic apologists, and it becomes clear that if the pagans prostrated alongside Muhammad, it was undoubtedly due to the occurrence of the Satanic Verses incident. This indicates that Muhammad did indeed praise their goddesses, leading the Meccan pagans to also prostrate alongside him.

The second group attempted to alter the interpretation of the incident of the Satanic Verses by employing various "Taweels" (i.e., figurative interpretations)

The second group of Muslims acknowledged the occurrence of the incident of the Satanic Verses based on Quranic verses and numerous traditions. However, they attempted to dismiss it by resorting to "Taweel" (تأويل), which is a figurative interpretation.

In reality, Taweel is nothing more than a feeble excuse that lacks substantiation and is merely based on conjecture. Furthermore, Taweel is not aligned with the principles of justice; rather, it is a means of deceiving and undermining justice. Unfortunately, many Muslims still rely on Taweel to protect the reputation of their religion.

Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani belonged to this second group and documented the various Taweels concocted by Muslims to defend the honour of Islam.

To begin with, Ibn Hajar accepted this incident based on multiple traditions. He writes (link):

All the paths of this hadith are either weak or cut off, except for that of Sa`id ibn Jubayr… However, the profusion of the chains show that the story has a basis, furthermore, there are two other “mursal” chains whose narrators are those of Bukhari and Muslim. The first one is that narrated by al-Tabari through Yunus ibn Yazid from Ibn Shihab [al-Zuhri]: “Abu Bakr ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham narrated to me,” etc. The second is what al-Tabari also narrated through al-Mu`tamir ibn Sulayman and Hammad ibn Salama from Dawud ibn Abi Hind from Abu al-`Aliya…. Contrary to what Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi and al-Qadi `Iyad have claimed whereby the story has no basis at all…. When the paths of a hadith are many and distinct, it shows that the report has a basis…. So, as I said, there are three sound but ‘mursal‘ chains for it, among them what meets the criteria of the two Sahihs but for the fact that they are ‘mursal‘. These constitute proof for both those that accept ‘mursal’ reports as proofs and those that do not, due to the mutual strengthening of the chains.

Then Ibn Hajar argued the necessity of presenting Taweel, in order to save the honour of Islam. He continues (link):

 وإذا تقرر ذلك تعين تأويل ما وقع فيها مما يستنكر وهو قوله : " ألقى الشيطان على لسانه : تلك الغرانيق العلى وإن شفاعتهن لترتجى " فإن ذلك لا يجوز حمله على ظاهره لأنه يستحيل عليه - صلى الله عليه وسلم - أن يزيد في القرآن عمدا ما ليس منه ، وكذا سهوا

This said, it is required to interpret the incident (i.e. to do TAWEEL) and address what appears to be reprehensible, namely the statement 'the devil interjected the Satanic Verses upon the Prophet's tongue (i.e. "Those pagan goddesses are the elevated cranes: truly their intercession is dearly hoped). Such a thing is precluded from being accepted in literal terms for it is impossible for the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - to add something to the Qur'an that does not belong to it whether deliberately (`amdan) or erroneously (sahwan). ..

Response: 

We disagree with Ibn Hajar's reasoning. "Justice" entails accepting facts and evidence as they are, without altering them for the sake of preserving the honour of religion and the Prophet.

This so-called Taweel (i.e., figurative interpretation) is essentially an act that undermines justice by relying on conjecture.

The First Taweel: Prophet praised pagan gods in those 2 Verses only in order to ridicule them

Then Ibn Hajar presented the first Taweel that the Prophet actually uttered the praise of pagan goddesses in order to ridicule them (link): 

 وقد رد ذلك عياض فأجاد . وقيل لعله قالها توبيخا للكفار ، قال عياض . وهذا جائز إذا كانت هناك قرينة تدل على المراد . ولا سيما وقد كان الكلام في ذلك الوقت في الصلاة جائزا - وإلى هذا نحا الباقلاني . 

Al-Qadi `Iyad did well when he said: 'It is possible the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - was mentioning the belief of the pagans by way of derision, noting that at that time it was permitted to speak in the midst of prayer. To this position leaned Ibn al-Baqillani.

Answer: 

This conjecture is erroneous because if it were a mockery of the pagan gods, the pagans would not have prostrated along with Muhammad and other Muslims.

Second Taweel: It was not the Prophet, but Pagans themselves uttered those 2 Verses

Then Ibn Hajar presented the second Taweel that it was not the prophet, but the Pagans themselves, who uttered those 2 Satanic Verses. He wrote (link):

وقيل إنه لما وصل إلى قوله : ومناة الثالثة الأخرى خشي المشركون أن يأتي بعدها بشيء يذم آلهتهم به فبادروا إلى ذلك الكلام فخلطوه في تلاوة النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - على عادتهم في قولهم . لا تسمعوا لهذا القرآن والغوا فيه ونسب ذلك للشيطان لكونه الحامل لهم على ذلك ، أو المراد بالشيطان شيطان الإنس

It was also said that when he reached the words {Have ye thought upon Al Lat and Al Uzza? And Manat, the third, the other?} the pagans feared lest he would add something to mock their gods, so they hastened to interject and jeer so as to cover up what was coming next, as was their habit stated in the verse { And those who disbelieve say: 'Listen not to this Quran, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome.'} (41:26). This act on their part was attributed to the devil as it was he that inspired it to them. Or, what was meant by the devil was the devil of humankind (i.e. it were Pagans themselves who uttered those Satanic Verses)....

Answer: 

Once again, it is evident that this figurative interpretation (Taweel) is solely based on conjecture, contradicting both the Quran and the 50 traditions that discuss this incident. The Quran does not mention any noise made by the pagans, but rather emphasizes the "desire" of the Prophet and Satan's influence in inserting the Satanic verses into his desire. Subsequently, Allah expresses anger towards the Prophet, threatens him with double punishment, and ultimately abrogates those verses.

Third Taweel: The Prophet was neither misled by Satan nor he uttered those 2 Verses, but it was Satan who directly spoke those 2 verses in the voice of the prophet

Then Ibn Hajar presented the third Taweel, that it was Satan who spoke those Satanic Verses in the voice of the Prophet (link): 

وقيل : كان النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - يرتل القرآن فارتصده الشيطان في سكتة من السكتات ونطق بتلك الكلمات محاكيا نغمته بحيث سمعه من دنا إليه فظنها من قوله وأشاعها . قال : وهذا أحسن الوجوه .

It was also said that the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him used to recite the Qur'an slowly, so that the devil lay in wait for one of the pauses and uttered the words in question with the same timbre of voice. Those that were near him heard it as if coming from the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - and attributed it to him. This is the best of all interpretations.' 

Answer: 

Once again, it is evident that this assertion is merely based on conjecture without any supporting evidence. Neither the Quran nor the 50 traditions mention any "pause" or Satan speaking in the voice of Prophet Muhammad to the people. Moreover, the Quran itself attests that Prophet Muhammad was indeed misled by his desire.

Fourth Taweel: The meaning of 'Tamana تمني' is not only 'desire', but it also means 'recitation'

Then Ibn Hajar mentioned another excuse that the meaning of 'Tamana تمني' does not only wish/desire, but it also has another meaning of 'recitation', and thus it proves that it was Satan who recited those Satanic Verses, and not the prophet (link):

قال : ومعنى قوله : في أمنيته أي في تلاوته ، فأخبر تعالى في هذه الآية أن سنته في رسله إذا قالوا قولا زاد الشيطان فيه من قبل نفسه ، فهذا نص في أن الشيطان زاده في قول النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - -

'The meaning of 'omniyyatihi' in verse 52 (of Surah al-Hajj) is 'recitation'. Allah Almighty therefore informed us in this verse when His Messengers 'recited' something, then Satan adds something in their recitations. This is an explicit proof-text that (in case of prophet Muhammad too) it was Satan that conveyed those 2 verses inside the Prophet's recitation (i.e. The Prophet was himself not misled by Satan)'

Firstly:

The usage of the word 'Tamana تمني' in verse 24 of Surah an-Najm provides evidence that the same word 'Tamana تمني' in verse 52 of Surah al-Hajj should also be understood as 'desire' rather than 'recitation'.

As mentioned earlier, both these verses in Surah an-Najm and Surah al-Hajj pertain to the same incident. In verse 24 of Surah an-Najm, the meaning of 'Tamana تمني' clearly indicates 'desire'. Therefore, it is logical to interpret the usage of 'Tamana تمني' in verse 52 of Surah al-Hajj in the same context of 'desire'.

(Surah al-Najm, Verse 24) Or shall man have whatever he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی)  

Thus, the meaning of 'Tamana تمني' in Surah al-Hajj is also 'desire' and not 'recitation'. Therefore, the correct translation of verse 52 of Surah al-Hajj is:

(Surah Hajj 22:52-53) وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا إِذَا تَمَنَّىٰ أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنسَخُ اللَّـهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللَّـهُ آيَاتِهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۔ لِيَجْعَلَ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ وَالْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَفِي شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ

And We did not send from before you from a messenger, and nor a prophet, except when he 'desires' (Arabic: tamannā تمنی), the devil threw (Satanic Verses) in his desire (Arabic: um'niyyatihi أُمْنِيَّتِهِ), so God 'abrogates' (Arabic: fayansakhu فَيَنسَخُ) what the devil throws in. Then Allah makes His verses precise again. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. He (Allah) makes what is thrown in by Shaitan (Satan) a Test for those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy and disbelief) and whose hearts are hardened. 

Note: تَمَنَّىٰ is a verb, while أُمْنِيَّتِهِ is a noun, and both mean 'desire'.

Secondly:

None of the 50 traditions regarding the incident of Satanic Verses mentioned the word 'Tamana تمني' as 'recitation'. All of these 50 traditions unanimously indicate that Muhammad was misled by Satan due to his 'desire'. The word 'Tamana تمني' is consistently used in the sense of 'desire' in all of these traditions.

It is perplexing how Islamic apologists can dismiss these 50 traditions and instead rely solely on their conjecture.

Thirdly:

There is no evidence in pre-Islamic Arab literature that the term 'Tamana تمني' also means 'recitation'. Even in the entire Quran and Hadith literature, there is no instance where 'Tamana تمني' is understood as 'recitation'.

However, it has been claimed that there is a poem attributed to Hassan Ibn Thabit where 'Tamana تمني' is used to mean recitation (the line is: تمنى كتاب الله أول ليله ... meaning He read the book of Allah in the first part of the night).

Nevertheless, there is no reliable source to confirm that this poem is actually from Hassan bin Thabit. Centuries later, only one person made this claim without providing any chain of narration or mentioning any other source.

Can you see the double standards of Islamic apologists? There are 50 direct traditions about the incident of Satanic Verses, including authentic traditions with complete chains of narrations, yet they completely deny this incident. On the other hand, when a 'singular' and completely 'unknown' source (without any chain of narration) claims that 'Tamana تمني' means 'recitation', they readily accept it without criticism or hesitation, disregarding the established meaning of 'desire' without providing any reasons.

Excuse by Modern Islamic apologists: Surah al-Hajj was revealed 8 years after Surah an-Najm

Modern Islamic apologists also deny the existence of the incident of Satanic Verses on the basis of this argument:

Surah al-Hajj was revealed 8 years after Surah an-Najm. How is it possible to accept that Allah will reveal verses about one incident 8 years after it? 

Answer

This argument holds no weight as it is widely known that the Quran is not arranged in chronological order. Each surah contains verses from various incidents that occurred at different times.

Furthermore, the Quran is characterized by its lack of coherence to such an extent that within a single verse, one part may refer to one incident while the second part addresses a completely different incident that took place years apart.

For instance:

(Quran 5:3)

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْمَيْتَةُ وَٱلدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ ٱلْخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ وَٱلْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَٱلْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَٱلْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَٱلنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَآ أَكَلَ ٱلسَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى ٱلنُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا۟ بِٱلْأَزْلَٰمِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ ٱلْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَٱخْشَوْنِ ۚ ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَٰمَ دِينًا ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ فِى مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ ۙ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Translation:

(1st part of the verse):
Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression.

(2nd part of the verse):
This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion;

(3rd part of the verse):
but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

According to the consensus of Quran commentators:

  • The first segment of this verse pertains to the prohibition of certain foods, and it was revealed during the sixth year of the Hijri calendar, specifically during the time of the Hudaybiyyah Pact.
  • However, the second (middle) segment of this verse abruptly shifts its focus to the "Perfection of Religion," and this portion was revealed at a completely different time during the tenth year of the Hijri calendar. It is unrelated to the preceding segment of the verse.
  • The third and final segment of the verse returns to the initial incident regarding the prohibited foods, which was revealed during the Hudaybiyyah Pact in the sixth year of the Hijri calendar.

In his Quranic commentary, Maulana Modoodi stated:

"According to authentic traditions, the second segment of the verse, which addresses the perfection of religion, was revealed during the 'Last Sermon' in the tenth year of the Hijri calendar. However, the initial segment of the verse pertains to the Hudaybiyyah Pact (which occurred in the sixth year of the Hijri calendar)."

The initial verses of Surah an-Najm became a significant factor that later compelled Muslims to completely deny the incident of Satanic Verses.

When Muhammad introduced his new religion and claimed to receive revelations from an Angel sent by God, the people of Mecca ridiculed him and accused him of being misled by Satan.

To counter this accusation, Muhammad recited Surah an-Najm in a gathering of Meccans, specifically the beginning verses of the Surah. In these verses, he vehemently denied being astray or misled, stating that his words were not driven by personal desire, but rather divine revelation taught to him by a mighty power.

The initial verses of this Surah are as under:

Suran an-Najm, Verses 1 to 5

By the Star when it goes down,- Your Companion [Muhammad] is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed, which one of mighty powers has taught him.

Ironically, within the same Surah, Muhammad later affirmed the charge of being misled by Satan, acknowledging that he had mistakenly praised the pagan gods under Satan's influence. This admission contradicted the initial verses of Surah an-Najm.

However, this circumstance proves enlightening for us, as it exposes the possibility of human error in what was claimed to be divine revelation. It allows us to question the existence of Allah in the heavens and consider that Muhammad may have been the sole source of these revelations, susceptible to making human mistakes in their delivery.