In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
It is claimed that the Prophet Mohammad “compromised his monotheism,” initially, to make peace with the Makkans. This alleged “incident” is narrated in “The Satanic Verses.” In the Qur’an we are told about three deities of the Idolaters, Lat, Uzzat, and Manat–(Qur’an 53:19-21). To this Muhammad Ali notes:
“Verses 19-21 are made the basis of the false story of what is called the “Lapse of Muhammad” or “Compromise with idolatry” by Christian writers.
Certain reports narrated by Waqidi and Tabri are the sole authority for this charge against that incessant preacher against idolatry, every incident of whose life condemns it as a bare falsehood. Muir asserts that “Pious Muhammadans of afterdays, scandalized at the lapse of their Prophet into so flagrant a concession, would reject the whole story,” as if the earlier Muslims were not as pious as the latter.
The fact is that the story was quite unknown to the earlier Muslims. There is not a single trustworthy hadith that lends support to this story.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq, who died as early as 151 A.H., does not mention the incident, while Muir’s earliest authority, Waqidi, was born more than forty years later.
It is stated in the Bahrain that when questioned about it, Ibn Ishaq called it a fabrication of the zindeeqs. And the famous Bukhari, the most trustworthy authority on the sayings of the Holy Prophet, was Waqidi’s contemporary, and his collection of sayings contains no mention of the story.
As regards Waqidi, all competent authorities entertain a very low opinion of his trustworthiness. The Mizan al-l’tidal, a critical work on the lives and characters of the reporters of Hadith, speaks of Waqidi as unreliable and even as a fabricator of reports. As regards Tabri, Muir himself represents him as guilty of “indiscriminate reception”.
As against these two unreliable authorities, “those who reject this story are highly learned men” (Ruh al-Ma’ani).
The six collections of reports known as the Sahih Sittah (or the Six Reliable Works) do not mention it at all, and contain instead a report which essentially contradicts the story of the so-called compromise.
Internal evidence, too, is wholly against the story. We are told that instead of verse 21 [of ch. 53] the Prophet read the words: Tilk al-gharaniq al-‘ula wa inna shafa’atahunna la-turtaja, i.e. “These are exalted females whose intercession is to be sought.” But the insertion of these few words in a chapter which is wholly directed against idolatry is quite out of place: v. 23 condemns idols; v. 26 denies their intercession; v. 28 condemns the giving of names of female deities to angels, and so on.
It is further asserted that 22:52 was revealed in connection with this change, but it should be noted that a period of at least eight years must have elapsed between the revelation of this verse and that of 22:52.
Moreover, if the Prophet had made any such compromise, it could not have been a sudden event, and traces of it would have been met with in other chapters revealed about the same time. But a perusal of these shows clearly that the Qur’an’s condemnation of idolatry was never marked by the slightest change. See further 62a.” (Comm. 2382. 62a will be discussed later–NGBA).
And 22:52 of the Qur’an (mentioned above) reads: “And We never sent a messenger or a prophet before thee but when he desired, the devil made a suggestion respecting his desire; but Allah annuls that which the devil casts, then does Allah establish His messages. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.” The verse refers to the devil interfering with the intentions of all messengers. It is not stated that it is revelation that is interfered with by the devil; only that when these messengers desired, perhaps an act, the devil dissuades them; at which time Allāh instructs these messengers. Muhammad Ali comments:
“Some careless commentators mention here the false story relating to what the Christian critics call “the Lapse” of the Prophet. The Prophet, they say, on this occasion recognized that the idols worshipped by the Arabs could intercede with God on their behalf. That such a thing never happened is shown in 2382 (Qur’an 53:19-21 above).
This story has been rejected by all sound and reliable commentators. Thus Ibn Kathir says: “Many commentators relate here the story of the Gharaniq….but it is from sources not traceable to any companion”.
According to Rz, commentators who aim at accuracy and truth say that this story is false and a forgery. Bd makes similar remarks.
The words do not, and cannot, mean that when a prophet recites a revelation, the devil introduces his own words into his recitation. It is absurd on the face of it, and the Holy Qur’an belies it when it says: “He reveals not His secrets to any, except to him whom He chooses as a messenger; for surely He makes a guard to march before him and after him, so that He may know that they have truly delivered the messages of their Lord” (72:26-28). (See Yusuf Ali commentaries # 5751 and 5751-A).
Moreover, it is absolutely inconceivable that such an important incident as the Prophet’s having accepted the intercession of idols should have been mentioned in the Qur’an eight years after it happened.
The 53rd chapter, in which the change is said to have taken place, was revealed before the fifth year of the Prophet’s call, while this chapter was revealed on the eve of the Prophet’s departure from Makkah. That more than half the Qur’an should have been revealed during this long period without a single reference to the alleged story, and that it should then have been quite unnecessarily referred to in a surah where it is quite out of place, is alone sufficient to give the lie to this story.” (M. Ali, comm. #1701).
Regarding Lat, Uzzat and Manat of Qur’an chapter 53, Ghulam Farid notes:
“It may be, as stated by Qastalani and Zurqani and supported by some other eminent scholars, that when the Holy Prophet, during the recital of the present Surah before a mixed assembly of Muslims and disbelievers, recited these verses, some evil-minded person from among the disbelievers might have loudly interjected the above-mentioned words, as was the disbelievers’ wont to create confusion by resorting to such low tactics when the Qur’an was being recited (41:27).”
And 41:27 of the Qur’an tells us: “And those who disbelieve say: Listen not to this Qur’an but make noise therein, perhaps you may overcome.”
They create disturbance while the Qur’an is recited, to annoy/frustrate Muslims.
As noted above Muhammad Ali’s commentary on this topic continues in verse 62 of chapter 53. This verse states: “So bow down in prostration before Allah and serve (Him).”
Muhammad Ali comments:
“Here is a command to prostrate oneself, which is literally obeyed by all Muslims when reciting the Qur’an or hearing it recited; see 7:206a.1 This chapter, when first revealed, was read in a large assembly, containing Muslims as well as disbelievers. When the Holy Prophet prostrated himself in obedience to the command, not only did the Muslims prostrate themselves, but even the idolaters were so overawed that they also prostrated themselves, with the exception only of Umayyah ibn Khalf, who raised some gravel to his forehead. This man was afterwards killed, dying a disbeliever, says the report, evidently implying that all the others were gradually converted to Islam (B. 17:1). It should be further borne in mind that the idolaters did not deny the existence of God the Supreme, Whom they believed to be above their idols, who were recognized only as minor deities, and therefore there is nothing strange in their joining the Muslims in their prostration.
It is this simple incident which is connected with the story of the so-called “lapse” and is adduced as proof of its truth. But it will be seen that the prostration was made in obedience to the direct Divine command of prostration and had nothing to do with the worship of idols. The incidents narrated before it, relating to the grandeur and majesty of Allah and to the destruction of the wicked, are so impressive that the idolaters could not resist prostrating themselves.”
That Mohammad “compromised” his monotheism, initially, to make “peace” with the Makkans is sheer fabrication.
There are no “satanic verses” in the Qur’an!
1. 7:206a. (Qur’an 7:206) reads: “Surely those who are with thy Lord are not too proud to serve Him, and they glorify Him and prostrate themselves before Him.”
Muhammad Ali notes:
“The recital of this verse is followed by an actual prostration, so that the physical state of the body may be in perfect agreement with the spiritual condition of the mind. There are in all fifteen occasions in the Qur’ån where the believers are required to prostrate themselves, and the Prophet’s practice was to prostrate himself when reciting such verses whether it was a recital during prayer service or on ordinary occasions. Other such verses are: (Qur’an) 13:15; 16:50; 17:109; 19:58; 22:18; 22:77; 25:60; 27:26; 32:15; 38:24; 41:38; 53:62; 84:21 and 96:19.”