According to one of Islam’s greatest scholars, Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, this story of Muhammad being inspired by Satan to praise the false goddesses is based on sound reports:
Al-Bazaar and Al-Tabarani and Ibn Mardawayh and al-Ziya’ have narrated through a chain of all trustworthy (Thiqa) narrators by the way of Sa’id Ibn Jubayr, from Ibn Abbas that Prophet recited the words of Surah Najm in the following manner:
“Have you then considered the Lat and the Uzza And Manat, the third, the last? These are the lofty (idols), verily their intercession is sought after.”
Mushrikin became delighted on hearing this from the prophet and said that their idols have also been mentioned in Quran. Then Jibril came and said to the prophet: “Recite the same revelation and the Quran which I have brought.” The prophet again recited the words: “Have you then considered the Lat and the Uzza And Manat, the third, the last? These are the lofty (idols), verily their intercession is sought after.” Jibril said: “I had not brought these words, these are from Satan.” Then the following verse was revealed [22:52]:
“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet, but when he desired, the Shaitan made a suggestion respecting his desire; but Allah annuls that which the Shaitan casts, then does Allah establish His communications, and Allah is Knowing, Wise”.” (As-Suyuti, Tafsir Dur al-Manthur, Volume 6, p. 65 http://islamport.com/d/1/tfs/1/11/521.html)
As-Suyuti mentions a few more reliable narrators that passed on this story:
“Ibn Jarir and Ibn al-Munder and Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Mardawayh have narrated through a Sahih chain by the way of Said Ibn Jubayr who said…”
“Ibn Jarir, Ibn Al Munzir and Ibn Abi Hatim narrated with a Sahih chain from Abi Al ‘Aliyah…”
“Abd bin Hamid and Ibn Jarir by the way of Yunis, from Ibn Shahab narrated… with Mursal Sahih chain.”
And, even though the following Muslim author rejects the veracity of this incident, he nonetheless brings up the fact that Muslims like as-Suyuti recorded it in their books:
It appears from a story narrated by many Sunni (traditionist) (fortunately this time not in their “six authentic collections”) that even after the supposed repeated removal of the pathetic satanic portion from the prophet’s heart, he fell prey to a very serious satanic suggestion — and that too in conveying the revelation to the people!
As-Suyuti in his ad-Durru ‘l-manthur has quoted from TEN TRADITIONISTS several “traditions” to this effect, one of which is given here as a sample: –
Ibn Abi Hatim has narrated through Musa ibn ‘Aqabah from Ibn Shahab that he said, “when the Surah an-Najm was revealed; and the polytheists used to say, ‘if this man (the prophet) were to mention our deities in good (terms) we would have accepted him and his companions; but he does not use such abusive and harsh words about others like the jews [sic] and the christians [sic] who opposes his religion, as he does about our gods’; and the messenger of Allah was much distressed because of the troubles inflicted upon him and his companions by the idolaters and their rejection (of faith), and he was aggrieved by their straying; he therefore wished cessation of their harmful activities. When Allah sent down the Surah an-Najm, and he recited (the verses 19 and 20): Have you then considered the Lat and the ‘Uzzah, and Manat, the third, the other?, the Satan inserted some words after the mention of the idols and said, ‘and surely they are exalted cranes, and surely it is their intercession that is hoped for’. It was the Satan’s rhymed composition and his mischief; and these two sentences entered the heart of every Meccan polytheist, and it was continuously on their tongues, and they congratulated each other and said that Muhammad had returned to his old religion and that of his people. When the Messenger of Allah reached the end of (the Surah) an-Najm, he prostrated and with him did prostrate every Muslim and polytheist. This word spread among the people, and the Satan propagated it, until the news reached the country of Ethiopia, then Allah revealed (verse 52 of Surah al-Hajj)… So when Allah made known his decision and freed him from the satanic rhymes, the polytheists turned back to their straying and their enmity of the muslims [sic], rather it became more serious!”1
Similar “traditionists” with minor or major variations are quoted in ad-Durru ‘l-manthur, vol. IV pp. 366-368. (Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, The Qur’an and Hadith [Printed and Published by Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania & Dar es Salaam, Fourth (Revised) Edition 1994], pp. 101-101; capital emphasis ours)
1 As-Suyuti, ad-Durru ‘l-manthur, vol.4, p.367 (Ibid., p. 101)
Another Muhammadan scholar who opposed the authenticity of this story was Qadi Thanaullah Pani Patti Uthmani. And yet he was constrained to admit that highly reliable transmitters believed that the story of Muhammad being inspired by Satan to recite verses from the devil was authentic:
“… However the tradition we previously mentioned from Said bin Jubayr by Bazar, Ibn Mardawayh and Tabarani is indeed successive (Mutawatur) and strong (Qawi). Ibn Hajar Asqalani has stated that from the abundance of traditions reported, it is deemed that there is some truth in it…” (Tafsir Mazhari (Urdu), Volume 8, p. 94)
Here is what Ibn Hajar wrote concerning the story’s chain of transmission:
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.
This said, it is required to interpret the incident and address what appears to be reprehensible, namely the statement “the devil interjected upon the Prophet’s tongue the words ‘Those 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 to add something to the Qur’an that does not belong to it whether deliberately (`amdan) or erroneously (sahwan)… (Fath al-Bari [1959 edition], Volume 8, p. 439)
Ibn Tamiyyah is another renowned Muslim scholar that affirmed this event of Satan duping Muhammad into praising the three goddesses worshiped by the pagans was authentic:
“What occurred with surat-ul-Najm and its recitation ‘These are the lofty (idols), verily their intercession is sought after,’ is well known amongst the Salaf; that this was recited by Rasulullah and then Allah abrogated it.” (Minhaj Sunnah, Volume 2, p. 409 http://arabic.islamicweb.com/Books/taimiya.asp?book=365&id=967)
Speaking of Ibn Taymiyyah, the leading Muslim scholar and authority on the “Satanic verses,” one who did the most detailed study in researching and assessing its historical veracity, was the late Shahab Ahmed (d. September 17, 2015). Here is what he wrote concerning the historicity of this episode:
The Satanic verses incident is narrated in numerous reports (between 18 and 25, depending on how one reckons an independent riwayah) scattered in the sirah nabawiyyah and tafsir literature originating in the first two centuries of Islam. The indications are that the incident formed a fairly standard element in the historical memory of the early Muslim community regarding the life of its founder. (Shahab Ahmed, Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic Verses, p. 70; bold emphasis ours)
Ahmed further stated:
We have noted how, in the first two centuries of Islam, the Satanic verses incident constituted a standard and widespread element in the historical memory of the early Muslim community with regard to the life of its founder. This element of the early historical memory, like many others, proved problematic in the context of the systematization of Islamic doctrine between the 3rd and 6th Islamic centuries. By Ibn Taymiyyah’s day, the majority of Muslim scholars were rejecting the historicity of the Satanic verses narratives on the twin bases of their weak isnads and the incompatibility of the incident with the principle of Prophetic infallibility… Ibn Taymiyyah, against the majoritarian opinion of the scholars of his day, accepted the historicity of the Satanic verses as something wholly consonant with Muhammad’s status and mission as the Messenger of God. He asserted that belief in the incident was the position OF THE EARLY MUSLIMS, THE SALAF, and thus THE ORIGINAL AND AUTHENTIC TRUTH. (Ibid., p. 122; bold and capital emphasis ours)
And here is what he wrote elsewhere:
The Satanic verses incident constituted a standard element in the historical memory of the Muslim community in the first 150 years of Islam, and was recorded by almost all prominent scholars working in the fields of tafsir and sirah-Maghazi. (Ahmed, The Satanic Verses Incident in the Memory of the Early Muslim Community – An Analysis of the Early Riwayahs and their Isnads, p. i; bold emphasis ours)
Thus, this episode of Muhammad claiming to have been influenced by Satan to commit idolatry is one fact of his life that we can be confident certainly took place.
Muslims You Have A Serious Problem!
According to the Muslim sources, the pagan Arabs believed that al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat were the daughters of Allah:
63 The pre-Islamic Arabs believed that the goddesses Al-Lat, Al-‘Uzza and Manat (see note 13 on 53:19-20), as well as the angels, whom they conceived as females, were “God’s daughters”. As against this, the Qur’an states that God is utterly remote from every imperfection (subhanahu), complete in Himself, and therefore free from the incompleteness inherent in the concept of “progeny” as an extension of one’s own being (cf. 6:100 and the corresponding notes 87 and 88).- This parenthetic passage, comprising verses 57-59, is explained in note 66 below. (Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, p. 573; bold and underline emphasis ours)
13 After pointing out that the Prophet was granted true insight into some of the most profound verities, the Qur’an draws our attention to the “false symbols” which men so often choose to invest with divine qualities or powers: in this instance by way of example – to the blasphemous imagery of the Prophet’s pagan contemporaries epitomized in the triad of Al-Lat, Manat and Al-‘Uzza, These three goddesses – regarded by the pagan Arabs as “God’s daughters” side by side with the angels (who, too, were conceived of as females) – were worshipped in most of pre-Islamic Arabia, and had several shrines in the Hijaz and in Najd. The worship of Al-Lat was particularly ancient and almost certainly of South-Arabian origin; she may have been the prototype of the Greek semi-goddess Leto, one of the wives of Zeus and mother of Apollo and Artemis. (Ibid., p. 1110; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Herein lies the problem for Muslims. Muhammad taught elsewhere that the only way that Allah could have children is if he has a companion or consort with whom he has sex:
And yet, some [people] have come to attribute to all manner of invisible beings a place side by side with God – although it is He who has created them [all]; and in their ignorance they have invented for Him sons and daughters! Limitless is He is His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition: the Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate (sahibatun) for Him – since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything? S. 6:100-101 Asad http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/st20.htm
Here is another English rendering of the relevant text:
The inventor of the heavens and the earth! how can He have a son, when He has no female companion, and when He has created everything, and everything He knows? S. 6:101 Palmer
Hence, by acknowledging the existence and exalted status of these three goddesses Muhammad basically conceded the fact that his god can and actually did have intercourse with some divine companion, resulting in the birth of three divine beings whom the Arabs took to be Allah’s daughters.
Note how this works out logically.
- Allah cannot have children unless he has a consort with whom he has sex.
- Muhammad affirmed and praised the three daughters of Allah.
- In doing so, Muhammad was essentially affirming the notion that his deity has a consort with whom he has intercourse.
Therefore, Muhammad not only came under the control and influence of Satan, something which the Quran says could not be possible if he had been a righteous servant pleasing to his lord,
When thou dost read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the rejected one. NO AUTHORITY HAS HE OVER THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND PUT THEIR TRUST IN THIER LORD. His authority is over those ONLY, WHO TAKE HIM AS PATRON AND WHO JOIN PARTNERS WITH ALLAH. S. 16:98-100 Y. Ali
Behold! We said to the angels: “Bow down unto Adam”: They bowed down except Iblis: He said, “Shall I bow down to one whom Thou didst create from clay?” He said: “Seest Thou? this is the one whom Thou hast honoured above me! If Thou wilt but respite me to the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway – all but a few!” (God) said: “Go thy way; if any of them follow thee, verily Hell will be the recompense of you (all)- an ample recompense. Lead to destruction those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit. “As for My servants, no authority shalt thou have over them:” Enough is thy Lord for a Disposer of affairs. S. 17:61-65 Y. Ali
And not only did he end up committing the unforgiveable sin of shirk by associating divine partners with Allah in his exclusive attributes, functions and worship,
It is He who made the earth a couch for you, and the sky a dome. He sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits for your provision. Do not, then, knowingly make others equal to Allah. S. 2:22 Aisha Bewley http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/st6.htm
Indeed, Allah does not forgive that partners be associated with Him, but He forgives [what] other than that for whom He wills. And whoever associates partners with Allah then surely he lost (the) way, straying far away. S. 4:116 – cf. v. 48
And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” S. 39:65
He also ended up admitting that his god does have a sexual companion whom he sired children with!
This means that Muhammad was one of the losers condemned to hell for having briefly compromised his monotheistic convictions by acknowledging that his god has three daughters who could be worshiped as intercessors for mankind, thereby implying that that Allah is a sexual being who has a partner that he has sex with!
The Quran’s Use of Filial Terms http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/filial_terms.htm
Whom Does Satan Intend to Tempt? http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/another-quran-contradiction-whom-does-satan-intend-to-tempt.html
The Satanic Verses and their implications http://answeringislam.net/Green/satanic.htm
Muhammad and the Satanic Verses http://www.answeringislam.net/Responses/Saifullah/sverses.htm
Muhammad and the Daughters of Allah: A Summation of the Evidence for the Satanic Verses http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/satanic_verses.htm
Deuteronomy Deductions: Two Short, Sound, Simple Proofs that Muhammad Was a False Prophet http://www.answeringislam.net/Authors/Wood/deuteronomy_deductions.htm
Reexamining Satan’s Influence and Control over Muhammad http://answeringislam.net/Responses/Abualrub/magic1.htm
Allah’s promises to protect Muhammad from the power of Satan http://answeringislam.net/Responses/Osama/zawadi_mhd_protection.htm
Revisiting Muhammad’s Idolatry http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/zawadi/mo_dimitrius.html