Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Satanic Verses

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 30 August 2022 The Account Was Known Among Islamic Scholars as the “Story of the Cranes” And By Orientalists Later As the “Satanic Verses”; None Of The Early Muslim Scholars Appears To Have Found The Story Controversial ----- What is the truth about the incident of the “Satanic Verses”? The Incident According To Al-Tabari the Historian The prophet was anxious about the fate of all the Meccans and desired that all should accept Islam and avoid Allah’s punishment for the rejecters repeatedly warned with the examples of the destruction of the people of Noah, Lut, Moses, Salih and Shuaib in 32 Surahs of the Meccan period. He longed for a way to reconcile the faith with the beliefs of the people so that all could accept Islam and become one. Satan took advantage of the Prophet’s ardent desire to reconcile all his people and cast upon his tongue 'Have ye seen Lat. and ´Uzza, and another, the third (goddess), Manat? These are the high-flying cranes and their intercession is to be hoped for' when he was reciting to the people revelations from Allah. When the polytheists among the Quraysh heard that, they rejoiced. What he had said about their gods pleased and delighted them, and they gave ear to him. The Muslims trusted in their Prophet and did not suspect any slip, delusion, or error. After the recitation he prostrated, and the Muslims followed their Prophet. The polytheists among the audience also prostrated on account of what they had heard him say about their gods. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Salman Rushdie's Indian Mullah Critics, Listen To the Message of Satanic Verses ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Archangel Gabriel came to the Prophet and said, 'O Muhammad, what have you done! You have recited to the people something which I have not brought you from Allah, and you have spoken what He did not say to you.' At that, the Prophet was saddened and greatly feared Allah, but Allah, in His mercy, sent him the revelation of Surah Al-Najm, comforting him. Allah also informed him in verse 22:52, that there had never been a previous prophet or apostle who had not longed just as Muhammad had longed for what was not in Allah’s religion. Allah, however, cancels whatever is not from Him and confirms and establishes what is a revelation from Him. (22:52) Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Ayat: for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom: Why Did Allah Allow The Prophet This Mistake? As is evident from several verses such as: (81:29) “But ye shall not will except as Allah wills,- the Cherisher of the Worlds”, the Prophet could not have made the mistake unless Allah allowed him to make the mistake. What purpose of Allah does this event then serve? It is not as if the polytheists of Mecca did not believe in Allah. The word Allah was not coined by the Quran. The concept of Allah which literally means “The God” or “The only God” pre-existed the revelation of the Quran as is well known and attested by the Quran in the following verses: (43:86) And those whom they invoke besides Allah have no power of intercession;- only he who bears witness to the Truth, and they know (him). (87) If thou ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah: How then are they deluded away (from the Truth)? The polytheists of Mecca, therefore, believed that those they invoked besides Allah were also created by Allah. They also believed that it is Allah alone who is the Sustainer and Nourisher of the Universe, and every heavenly body and natural phenomenon is subject to Allah’s laws as evidenced by the following verses: (29:61) If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, "Allah". How are they then deluded away (from the truth)? (29:63) And if indeed thou ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death, they will certainly reply, "Allah!" Say, "Praise be to Allah!" But most of them understand not. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Attack on Salman Rushdie Is Symptomatic Of the Malady of Intolerance Islam Suffers From -------------------------------------------------------------------- So, why did they also believe in other gods? The answer to this question lies in human nature. The One God is the God of all and therefore impartial and disinterested who dispenses equal justice to all. He is too distant, cold, and abstract for most people. Envy, jealousy, and greed make people want a god who is more accessible and amenable and partial to them. They will therefore pay obeisance to any authority that they think can favour them over other people or cause harm to their enemies. Such people are easy prey to repose faith in whatever they think will serve their interests. They follow their own vain desires and are not seekers of the truth. (28:47) If (We had) not (sent thee to the Quraish),- in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth, they might say: "Our Lord! why didst Thou not sent us a messenger? We should then have followed Thy Signs and been amongst those who believe!" (48) But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, "Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: "Two kinds of sorcery, each assisting the other!" And they say: "For us, we reject all (such things)!" (49) Say: "Then bring ye a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than either of them, that I may follow it! (do), if ye are truthful!" (50) But if they hearken not to thee, know that they only follow their own lusts: and who is more astray than one who follow his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah? for Allah guides not people given to wrong-doing. (51) Now have We caused the Word to reach them themselves, in order that they may receive admonition. It is about such people that Allah has said: (39:45) When Allah, the One and Only, is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust and horror; but when (gods) other than He are mentioned, behold, they are filled with joy! Every scriptures-based religion in the world is the religion of Allah and contains the idea of the Unity of God but human nature has corrupted every religion over a period. “The Satanic Verses” inoculated the faith against such corruption by explicitly rejecting any such idea as from “Satan” and not from Allah. Without it, it is possible, that former beliefs of the Arabs, and worship of Lat, Uzza and Manat and every other deity they worshipped earlier, may have crept back into their religion. In my opinion, this dramatic historical incident has protected Islam from slipping back into polytheism in the same way as other religions have. The Shifting Views of Islamic Scholars about the Story The account was known among Islamic scholars as the “Story of the Cranes” and by Orientalists later as the “Satanic Verses”. None of the early Muslim scholars appears to have found the story controversial. That the Prophet Mohammed was capable of a slip because he desired to save his people was believable given his merciful nature. The Quran attests that he was sent as Rahmat-ul-Alamin or as a mercy to all. He was both divinely inspired and very human, a man who laughed, cried, and bled, an apostle of Allah who stood up in prayers so long that his feet would swell, yet loved women and perfume. The early Muslim biographers and exegetes discussed the so-called Satanic Verses story without raising any doubts about whether such an incident did take place. Many Muslim scholars and clergy today, however, deem the tale a heretical lie. The reasons they cite are: 1. The “Satanic Verses” do not blend with the Quranic text and stand out clearly as an interpolation. 2. Given what is known about the Prophet, it is unimaginable that he could have been deceived by verses that dilute Allah’s Unity. The reasons cited are weak. Why would the “Satanic Verses” blend with the Quranic text when these are not revelations from Allah? After knowing that these were “Satanic Verses,” it is easy for anyone to see or show that these do not conform with the Quran’s style and diction. This does not mean that unsuspecting people were not fooled into believing otherwise. What we know about the Prophet and his Sunnat or about his uncompromising monotheism is what he became after the incident of the “Satanic Verses.” The incident was transformative. From what he became after the transformative incident, we cannot know his earlier state, or whether he could have been deceived or not. The very fact that the Muslim scholars and clergy today find it impossible to believe the story is proof of the effectiveness of the incident in inoculating the faith against creeping polytheism. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Revisiting Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses -------------------------------------------------------------------- The Story is Similar in Character to Other Stories in the Scriptures We find other instances of Allah staging a dramatic event such as the incident of “The Satanic Verses,” to make a point or to break a strong belief, practice, or taboo. Relations based only on our manner of speaking are derecognized in the legal sense in Islam. The prohibitions to marrying those biologically related in verse 4:23 do not apply to those who are not so related, but you call them as if they are so related in a manner of speaking. In pre-Islam Arabia, the incestual taboos and therefore the prohibition on marriage extended to those whom one had at any time called or considered brother/sister etc., so much so that divorce by Zihar took place by merely saying that the wife reminded the man of his mother when he looked at her from some angle! The Quran abolished divorce by Zihar and also the prohibition in Pagan Arab society against marrying anyone, one has at any time called mother/father, aunt/uncle, sister/brother, son-in-law/daughter-in-law etc. For breaking the taboo against such marriages, Allah staged the marriage of the Prophet with the divorced wife of his adopted son which left no room for any doubt about the legality of such marriages. Marriage to the divorced wife of their own son is prohibited and by this marriage, a precedent was established that calling anyone a son does not make him a son and the Islamic laws that apply to a son, do not apply to someone merely because you call him a son. This did not abolish adoption as commonly misunderstood. Adoption is permissible but an adopted child will not take the name of the family that has adopted but its own parent’s family name and will not inherit as a natural child would, but only through a will. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Rushdie’s Satanic Verses Had Few Takers, Khomeini’s Fatwa Gave It Sudden Rise -------------------------------------------------------------------- Allah ended the practice of child sacrifice prevalent in society when He seemingly asked Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to sacrifice his son. The social evil that Allah abolished through the “sacrifice” (that did not take place) is child sacrifice. This was by demonstrating that Allah does not require such sacrifice even from His prophets. Why was Jesus born to the Virgin Mary? Why could he not be born the normal way with a father? It is because God wanted to provide proof of Adam’s creation without parents with the ‘miraculous’ birth of Jesus with a single parent. (3:59) “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.” The Futile Arguments of the Detractors The Orientalists inimical to Islam quote Deuteronomy 20 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” to argue that if Muhammad was a prophet, he should have died for presuming to speak for Allah what Allah had not commanded and If he did not die, it is then proof that he was not a prophet. This is nonsense. The Prophet on being corrected, immediately corrected himself undoing his inadvertent mistake. There are equivalent verses in the Quran to Deuteronomy 20 as follows: (69:43) (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. (44) And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, (45) We should certainly seize him by his right hand, (46) And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: (47) Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath). -------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Afterthoughts On Salman Rushdie Episode -------------------------------------------------------------------- The detractors use the story to challenge the Quran’s absolute purity as the incorruptible and inviolable word of Allah. They try to sow doubt that there could be other such verses of doubtful origin. The story strengthens rather than weakens the Quran’s claim as the inviolable word of Allah as the Satanic attempt to interpolate was quickly set to nought by Allah. Not only that, but as explained, although Allah could have prevented the interpolation altogether, He chose to use Satan to achieve His purpose of inoculating the faith from all attempts to dilute its uncompromising monotheism through the incident. The people were left in no doubt that there are no intercessors of Allah - not even the three most revered deities of the Meccan people. ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/satanic-verses-rushdie-prophet/d/127833 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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