accountability by avoiding the task of historical criticism. Therefore, any spuriousaccounts are not to be attributed to him.This would not be difficult to understand, given the fact that the so-called 'Satanicverses' were transmitted from al-Waqidi to Ibn Sa'd. Ibn Sa'd (d. 230/845), who wasthe secretary of al-Waqidi (d. 207/823), also assumed the role of a mere transmitter byciting the text and its isnad. Concerning the two historians, al-Waqidi and Ibn Sa'd,the contemporary scholar, Tarif Khalidi, says:
For it is clear that Waqidi is in fact the seniorpartner. Ibn Sa'd, known of course as 'katib al-Waqidi',was a secretary-editor of his master and of the materialshe had assembled and then amplified.
In other words, neither al-Waqidi nor Ibn Sa'd were eye-witnesses to the revelation of 'Satanic verses'; they were simply the transmitters.It is also worthwhile to mention that:
... Waqidi was attacked for loose isnad usage by strictpractitioners of Hadith...
Claiming that the issue of so-called 'Satanic verses' incident is true just because al-Tabari or Ibn Sa'd mentioned them amounts to a deliberate distortion of the facts.Now we will address the issue of why Muslims today simply dismiss the accountmentioned by these two writers. To begin with, Muslims exegetes in the past havedismissed these accounts, too. This is not something new. Michael Fischer and MehdiAbedi, writing on the issue of Salman Rushdie's novelThe Satanic Versesas well asthe Islamic account of the so-called 'Satanic' verses, say (and notice their curiousargument):
The story that Muhammad could have used the Satanicsuggestion is rejected by almost all exegetes
, but thefact that the story persists as a subject of exegetes'discussions is testimony to the reality of the temptationboth for Muhammad and for later Muslims in their ownstruggles with such "Babylons" as London, New York,Paris, or Hamburg.
Since the story is rejected by almost all the exegetes, are the Muslims not justified indismissing the account related to the so-called 'Satanic verses'?One is also tempted to add the research done by Orientalists like John Burton, whoinstead of parroting Muir and Watt, concluded with an original argument:
There existed therefore a compelling theoretical motivefor the invention of these infamous hadiths. If it befelt that this has now been demonstrated,
there should be