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Shortly after the immigration to Abyssinia the muslims came back to MEcca.

So mu
ch so its narrated they came back in the month of Shawwal. Thus, they immigrated
in Rajab but came back just 3 months later. They all returned - so what happene
d to cause them to change their mind and come back to the very land of toture?
This incident was the famous incident some called the 'satanic verses'. They ret
urned back because of one rumour. And that was the Quraysh had accepted Islam. I
ndeed for anyone the most difficult time of moving is the first weeek. Once you
get there and you realise it's so different from what your used to - its very di
fficult. And so some rumour spread that they pounced on, and they embraced. No m
atter how while it sounded, their hearts were yearning to go back to Mecca so th
ey decided to pack their bags and go all the way back. On the way there, they di
scover this is not true. The basis of the rumour was what come call the 'satanic
' verses.
Before we begin, this controversy comes over whether this incident is authentic
or not. And further how we understand this incident. So we'll discuss the differ
ent versions of the story that exist. We'll discuss 3 versions.
Version 1
This is the version reported in Bhukari, thus the most authentic. And it says in
this hadith, that in the month of Ramadan (from ibn Ishaaq), in the 5th year of
the Hijra, the prophet PBUH recited Surah an-Najam in its entirety. Its a very
powerful and elequent surah. And when he finished the surah - the very last vers
e basically says "prostrate to Allah and worship Him". And so the momentum built
up and the excitement built up and the power of the Quran affected the entire c
ongregation, muslim and non muslim, such that when the prophet PBUH said "prostr
ate to Allah" the muslims fell into sadjah, and the Quraysh were so emotional to
o that they too fell into sadjah. For the first time, muslim and non muslim ALL
united behind the prophet PBUH. Except for Waleed ibn Mugira who put sand to his
head and said basically "this is good enough for me". The point being is that e
veryone prostrated behind the prophet PBUH. By the time it reached the 15 sahaba
in Abbysinia, the rumour had been extrapolated. A simple story.
The fact is Surah Najam is such a powerful and elequent surah, and its so powerf
ul. And there's an element of excitement being built up, that verse by verse eve
n the Quraysh were overwhelmed by the power of the surah and they themselves pro
strated. This translation of the last few ayah, Allah says:
And that it is He who enriches and suffices
And that it is He who is the Lord of Sirius
And that He destroyed the first [people of] 'Aad
And Thamud - and He did not spare [them] And the people of Noah before.
Indeed, it was they who were [even] more unjust and oppressing.
And the overturned towns He hurled down
And covered them by that which He covered.
Then which of the favors of your Lord do you doubt?
This [Prophet] is a warner like the former warners.
The Approaching Day has approached.
Of it, [from those] besides Allah , there is no remover.
Then at this statement do you wonder?And you laugh and do not weep
While you are proudly sporting?
So prostrate to Allah and worship [Him].
Imagine the prophet PBUH reciting this so powerfully. And its truly a powerful s
urah which constant rheotical questions - and so when the prophet PBUH reaches t
he end and falls in sajdah, he falls down and even the Quraysh fall down. And so
version 1, the Bhukari version is the authentic version. There is no need for a

far fetched tale to explain it. Narrated by ibn Abbas: "the prophet PBUH recite
d Surah Najam, and he prostrated, and every single person, even the jinn, prostr
ated with him - except for Waleed ibn Mugira (not a relevant detail)". No mentio
n of shaytan.
Versions 2
These revolve around reports not found in the famous books of hadith. Nor in ibn
Ishaaq or ibn Hishaam. They are found usually in the book that collect everythi
ng. Such as at-Thabari tafseers. Note, he didn't write a tafseer for the masses.
Rather
he wanted to write an encyopedia for the scholars. And he mentions this. He says
he will report absolutely everything he hears, authentic or not. Thabari is not
Bhukari - Bhukari was a critical collector. And so the following reports that m
ention a story that involve Iblees, shaytan is found in these such books. And be
cause it involves Iblees, a western researcher, an orientalist called Sir Willia
m said we'll call it the 'satanic verses'. So this term was coined by this perso
n who speciailised in Islam, and became a professor who wrote a big book about t
he seerah in english. And so he labelled the chapter the 'satanic verses'. The i
slamic sources call it the 'story of the bird'.
In essence versions 2 and 3 are the same but with one critical difference. So we
now have version 2. This version adds details again not found in Bhukari or any
well known source of seerah.
It goes back to Uruwa ibn Zubaid. Recall he wasn't a sahabi so there is a missin
g link in the chain of narration - it does not go back to the prophet PBUH. He w
as a famous tabi but not a sahabi. Uruwa was not narrating from the prophet PBUH
. Uruwa says that when surah Najam was being recited. Verse 19 and 20 Allah says
"have you not seen Al-lat and Al-uzza and manaat? Are you going to get the male
s and you will give him the females? What an unfair sharing." Now the story is t
his: Uruwa said "after verse 20, shaytan cried out, and he added two verses that
were not in the Qur'an, and these verses were heard by the unbelievers but NOT
the believers. Shaytan cried out in his own voice, and he added two verses - "ha
ve you seen al-lat and uzza and the third of them mannat?". Then he added "these
idols are the mighty cranes, and their requests will be granted". This is the f
irst time the idols were being 'praised' apparently. That these idols are beauti
ful birds and that you should worship them as their intercession will be accepte
d. And so, when the mushriks heard these verses they thought "finally he has com
e to the middle ground. He is willing to accept our Gods finally". Their problem
was rejected al-lat and al-uzza, they had no problem with Allah. So they said "
the prophet PBUH has agreed to accept our Gods" and so when the prophet PBUH fin
ished they all prostrated with him.
Version 3
In yet other narrations, again they are found in al-Wahadi - so being true and c
lear the satanic verses were not founded by non muslims. They are found in musli
m sources. This is why non muslims jump on this. That they say the Qur'an can be
changed by shaytan. So to non muslims this story clearly proves the prophet PBU
H invented the Qur'an and so he changes his theology one day to the next. So he
is just changing his views to get people to come to him. And again its not fabri
cated by non muslims - its found in our sources. Version 3 is even worse. In ver
sion 2 shaytan recited out and the people hear. Version 3 is worse - in this ver
sion the prophet PBUH hears shaytan recitation and thinks it is Jibraeel AS reci
ting to him, and he with his own tongue recited those satanic verses. This is of
course even worse. As we are know saying the prophet PBUH couldn't tell the dif
ference between shaytan and Jibraeel AS. This is the premise for their argument.
Once again being academcially true this is found in Islamic sources, not non is
lamic sources.

So we have three versions. Version 1 is in the most authentic book found in the
most authentic sources.
THen we get lower and lower in our authenticity. In version 2 the details say sh
aytan screamed out and the muslims somehow didn't hear but the non muslims did.
In the third version, shaytan pretends to be Jibraeel AS. And when Jibraeel reci
tes the Qur'an, Shaytan throws in two verses, and so the prophet PBUH recites th
ese two verses. And so when the Quraysh prostrated, according to version 3, Jibr
aeel AS came back and asked him "what did you recite?". The prophet PBUH recited
again with the two satanic verses, and Jibraeel AS then says "I never told you
to say this". And so the prophet PBUH got very depressed and hurt, that he thoug
ht he invented this. And then Allah revealed Surah Hajj verse 52:
"And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spo
ke [or recited], Satan threw into it [adds some misunderstanding]. But Allah abo
lishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Alla
h is Knowing and Wise."
So the thing that shaytan said will become a fitnah for those that have a weak a
nd hard heart. So satanic verses are a fitnah for those that have a weak heart.
So according to version 3, shaytan succeeds in decieving the prophet PBUH, and s
o the prophet PBUH recites these verses, and Allah then corrects these verses, a
nd the proper recitation is revealed, and initially the Quraysh say they want to
join hands but then they say no.
The problem is that versions 2 and 3 do NOT contradict version 1. Sadly, the sch
olars don't all agree. We have a good group of scolars, like ibn Kathir, Al-Kaad
hi, Al-Baani who was the greatest scholar of hadith in our time who wrote an ent
ire book on just this story, and he went over every single report and shows ever
y report is weak. So many many people say versions 2 and 3 are not right. Furthe
r, ibn Kuzayma, who was one of the four people to write sahih books. Bhukari, Mu
slim, ibn Hibal and ibn Kuzayma. And when he was asked about this story he said
"this is a fabrication the enemies of Islam did to try and destroy Islam". This
was going back in 311 Hijra. How we wish we can restrict ourselves to them. Unfo
rtunately there are other scholars who say version 2 and 3 actually are true. An
interesting point: in 1966, there was a world wide conference on this one story
. Alot of the major scholars were who there all presented papers and references
and proofs, and the outcome of the conference was that versions 2 and 3 are fabr
icated. So we can say the bulk of the scholars cross out version 2 and 3. And an
y modern book of seerah, this story isn't mentioned or its mentioned as a fabric
ation. Well, thats not the only position within sunni Islam. Some scholars have
accepted version 2, and some even version 3. Had they been small names we could
have rejected them, but they were all big names.
Version 2 which says Iblees said out loud and the prophet PBUH had no idea - thi
s is easy to swallow because there's no deception here. And this version is acce
pted by alot of scholars, most importantly, ibn Hajar, who was one of the bigges
t scholars of Sahih al Bhukari. His point is that, its true every individual pro
ponent of the story is from a weak chain - but when you put all these chains and
stories together its acceptable. This leads us to a small tangent in the scienc
es of hadith. Its a true principle that if you have many hadiths about the same
story and they all have weak chains, if you put them together you can say its ac
ceptable and true. And so ibn Hajar applied this principle to this incident. He
says "all the reports are certainly weak, but when you put them together we can
accept it as truth". Sheik al-Bani says that what Ibn Hajar says is true, that w
eak reports put togther become authentic but not every single time - there is a
science behind it. This rule has exceptions, and al-Bani shows you cannot apply
this principle here.

Version 3, had it been supported by anyone else we could leave it, but its suppo
rted by one of the greatest scholars of Islam, ibn Tammiyah RA. And he writes ab
out this in a number of his books and tafseers, and he says that not only do all
the reports add up and make it authentic, but the verse of surah Hajj makes it
crystal clear, that "oh prophet PBUH its not only you, many prophets faced this"
. Now this word 'tamanah' means 'to recite'. But later on one of the meanings is
'to wish'. So this ayah can be interepted in two ways:
"except that when he recites, shaytan throws something in his recitation. Allah
will abrogate what shaytan said, then Allah will make his ayah firm and clear so
that Allah will cause this to be a test for those whose heart has a disease."
Meaning this santaic verses become a test for those with weak imaan. The other i
nterprataion is that:
"no prophets or messenger has wishes excepts that shaytan tries to tamper with h
is intentions, excpet that Allah will get rid of what shaytan says and Allah wil
l casue this to be a test for those whose hearts have a disease".
So these people say this has nothing to do with surah Najam. Nothing to do with
the satanic verses. Ibn Tammiyah responds and says how do you understand that "w
hatever the shaytan has said will become a fitnah". So according to ibn Tammiyah
this means they have heard something.
The other dimension is theological. The majority of those who say version 2 or 3
cannot happen say how is it possible that the prophet PBUH could not tell the d
ifference between Jibraeel AS and shaytan? It implies that the revelation itself
has the possiblity to be corrupted. The integrety of the wahi becomes comprismi
sed. So a famous scholar said "I don't care if the isnaad are like the sun, I wi
ll not accept this story". Al Kadi iryad is one of the scholars who say this - o
ne of the best written book of seerahs. He says "how can anyone believe in this
story?". And he says "how can anyone accept that the prophet PBUH take shaytan's
recitation?" So because they are ma'soom 'cannot commit mistakes' - we cannot a
ccept this incident occured. Ibn Hajar says version 2 dosen't comprimise the pro
phet PBUH's honour and integrety. So we'll reject version 3, and accept version
2. We can accept version 2 - its not a big deal. But ibn Tammiyah said, and of c
ourse he believed that the prophet PBUH is ma'soom - no sunni muslim says otherw
ise. But he said, his definition of 'isma' is different to that of other muslims
. Can the prophets commit mistakes? According to Ibn Tammiyah, the prophets cann
ot commit major mistakes, or vulgar sins. Further, they cannot lie BUT they can
make judgemental errors (and he quotes many examples i.e. prisoners of the battl
e of Badr when Allah revealed in the Quran 'its not befitting the prophet to tak
e prisoners of war'). Then ibn Tayyimah says that the prophet can commit minor s
ins - but they do not persist and they repent immediately. And of course the mai
n example is of Adam AS. So ibn Tammiyah said the prophet PBUH is the best human
, but he is a human. And so he can commit sins, but he repents immediately and i
n this repentance is the perfection of the prophets. He says that their humanity
is as perfect as possible. Indeed the prophets can't just be angels as there wo
uld be no point otherwise. So ibn Tammiyah says this does not show the wahi has
been corrupted, but rather it shows the wahi has been protected and the prophet
PBUH is the most truthful of everyone because of the fact that he came clean wit
h the story. This exact same story that he could have avoided makes him look bad
but he didn't.
As a footnote there are two stories that are highly sensitive, emotional, proble
matic etc. The first of these is this. The second is the story of Zainab. And th
at is a very difficult story. But that's easier to resolve. Nonetheless it has i
ts own issues. But Allah revealed in the Qur'an verses about Zainab and Zaid ibn
Harithah, and so Zaid and Zainab were married, and then eventually Allah reveal

ed and said Zainab is your wife. Before this Zaid came to the prophet PBUH wanti
ng to divorce Zainab. So the prophet PBUH married Zainab after the divorce. But
the Qur'an says "you advised him not to divorce her, and you were scared of the
people and you should have been scared of Allah". This a whole different tanget.
And we should never be afraid of these verses. Muslims have mad ideas where the
y think "how can this be? how is this possible?" Ignorance is not bliss, knowled
ge is power. We need to critique them academically.
Aisha RA says "if the prophet PBUH had hidden anything from the Qur'an, he would
have hidden this verse and to this day its in the Qur'an - he didn't have to te
ll us this verse. Still he recited all of these verses and this verse is in sura
h Ahzaab". Allah is not embarrased of the truth. Allah does the nikah himself in
the Qur'an in surah Ahzaab. For now, the point is Aisha RA says if the prophet
PBUH wanted to hide something, he would have hidden this verse. Ibn Tammiyah say
s why can't we apply the same thing to this story? He says Allah allowed the sha
ytan to get in two verses, and then Allah abrogated what shaytan said, and the p
rophet PBUH came clean and said everything.
As a minor student, Sheik's Yasir Qadhi's opinion is as follows: version 1 is th
e truth. We can cross out version 2 and 3 for the following seven reasons:
1. Claiming that Iblees can inspire the prophet PBUH seems to intefere the proce
ss of wahi. And Allah guarantees the process of wahi - there are so many verses
that talk about the purity of revelation. Of course ibn Tammiyah would say it is
pure as Allah corrects this.
2. There is
is weak and
ngest chain
Qur'an but

no authentic version of the satanic incident. Every single incident


none of them is an unbroken chain back to the prophet PBUH. The stro
goes back to al Bak-Baak. And people have attempted to fabricate the
they never have succeded in this.

3. Even if we forget the isnad analysis, look at the story itself: there are so
many versions of it. Another version is that RasulAllah sAaws was sleepy and he
messed up. Another version says that RasulAllah sAaws was in salah at the ka'bah
when reciting. And another version says that he was sitting in the gathering, r
eciting.
4. No authentic book of hadith mentions this incident - not even ibn Hisham and
ibn Ishaq (the authentic books of seerah). They are found in the tertiary source
s.
5. (This point is the biggest for YQ!) Contextual analysis of the verses. Verses
19-20 show that what will follow will be criticism because of the istifham qaar
i (derogatory questioning). Even in English, you do not speak like this when spe
aking of something to be honoured. Then comes the verse after ("unjust division"
). If the satanic verses are inserted, the story makes no sense. From criticism
to praise to criticism, it doesn't work linguistically or contextually!
6. (Pointed out by Muhammad Abdu - mufti of Egypt d. 1905 CE) Even linguisticall
y it makes no sense because the word gharaneek has never been used in pre-Islami
c poetry to refer to the idols. This would be the only time it is found - in thi
s story. If Shaytaan really wanted to fool the pagans, he would choose a word th
at they recognized.
7. We have the authentic story of Bukhaari with a good enough explanation and th
e power of the Qur'an and everything makes sense. Why would we resort to the Sat
anic Verses? Ibn Abbas radhi Allahu anh said the power of the surah was so much
that the Muslims, mushriks, jinn, and ins all prostrated except one man raising
dirt to his forehead (Waleed b. Mugheerah or Umayya b. Khalaf).

Modern researcher as to where this story came from: even legends have a basis. T
here is a modern historian who theorizes that when the Quraysh prostrated, they
felt embarrassed they had become so emotional. As a result, they said the reason
they did this was because RasulAllah sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam had agreed t
o praise their idols. Sadly, we cannot find a classic reasoning. It is reality t
hat the tabi'oon narrated it, but none of the Companions mentioned it. In the en
d all verses have been acounted for, those two verses are not in the Qur'an anyw
ay - NO ONE says they are and so as Allah says He has made His verses crystal cl
ear.