Reexamining Satan’s Influence and Control over Muhammad

Being a Response to a Muslim Dawagandist’s Defense of his prophet’s bewitchment

Sam Shamoun

Muslim dawagandist Jalal Abualrub produced a pdf file (*) for his debate with David Wood in order to defend his prophet from the charges leveled by Wood and others (including myself).

In this rebuttal we will address Jalal’s defense of his prophet’s bewitchment and control by Satan.

Muhammad and Black Magic

Jalal writes concerning Muhammad falling under the control of black magic:

11) David Wood wrote: ‘Muhammad fell victim to black magic.’

  1. There is no black or green magic. The same hadith quoted here states Prophet Muhammad was cured from the effect of magic: Madinah’s Jews did magic against Muhammad (Bukhari and Muslim), who suffered in the same way Prophet Moses suffered when, {Their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him [Musa (Moses)] as though they moved fast} (20:66).
  2. The Quran and Sunna used the same words, ‘Yukhayyalu Ilaihi’, to describe both cases, Muhammad’s and Moses’, where one would think he did or saw something which he did not do or see. Absolutely no Ayah or Hadeeth said the Prophet was saying the Quran under the influence of magic or that his religion was affected, or that he started being delirious. These are all false accusations.
  3. Whatever Mr. Wood may say about Muhammad also applies to Moses, unless he likes the Hadeeth only and dismisses the Ayah. (Is Muhammad a Prophet?, p. 10)

Talk about being desperate! In the first place, Jalal is splitting hairs here since whether one wants to call it black magic or simply magic the point still stands that Muhammad was affected by it.

Furthermore, the reason why Wood and others call this "black" magic is to denote the fact that this kind of magic (in fact all of it) is evil since God doesn’t approve of it.

Moreover, Wood didn’t invent this term to describe what happened to Muhammad. Jalal can blame his fellow Muslims for translating the Arabic as black magic:

And from the evil of the envier when he envieth) this refers to Labid Ibn al-A'sam, the Jew, who was envious of the Prophet (pbuh) and used BLACK MAGIC to separate him from 'A'ishah'. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs, Q. 113:5; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

(Of the jinn and of mankind) He says: Satan whispers in the hearts of the jinn just as he whispers in the hearts of mankind. The last two surahs were revealed about Labid Ibn al-A'sam, the Jew, who used black magic on the Prophet (pbuh) and when the Prophet (pbuh) read these two surahs on Labid's BLACK MAGIC, Allah relieved him from it and it was as if he was untied from his fetters'. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs, Q. 114:6; source: bold and capital emphasis ours)

Thus, Jalal must contend with the fact that Muhammad came under the control of a Jewish magician.

This leads us to the problem with Muhammad being affected by sorcery. The Holy Bible says that God’s true servants (including his emissaries) cannot come under the control of Satan such as sorcery or black magic since Yahweh protects them:

"There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’" Numbers 23:23

"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’" Luke 10:17-20

This in itself sufficiently proves that Muhammad wasn’t a prophet of the true God and exposes the lie of the Quran that Moses was affected by the magic of the Egyptian sorcerers.

In fact, the Quran itself says that Satan will not be able to harm any of Allah’s righteous slaves:

O you who believe! take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you WHEN YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT WAY; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will inform you of what you did. S. 5:105 Shakir

He said: O Iblis! what excuse have you that you are not with those who make obeisance? He said: I am not such that I should make obeisance to a mortal whom Thou hast created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. He said: Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away: And surely on you is curse until the day of judgment. He said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they are raised. He said: So surely you are of the respited ones Till the period of the time made known. He said: My Lord! because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate Except Thy servants from among them, the devoted ones. He said: This is a right way with Me: Surely, as regards My servants, you have no authority over them except those who follow you of the deviators. And surely Hell is the promised place of them all: It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them. S. 15:32-44 Shakir

And when thou recitest the Qur'an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast. Lo! he hath no power over those who believe and put trust in their Lord. His power is ONLY over those who make a friend of him, and those who ascribe partners unto Him (Allah). S. 16:98-100 Pickthall

Nor will magicians be able to prosper in their use of magic against God’s true prophets:

They said: "O Moses! whether wilt thou that thou throw (first) or that we be the first to throw?" He said, "Nay, throw ye first!" Then behold their ropes and their rods - so it seemed to him on account of their magic - began to be in lively motion! So Moses conceived in his mind a (sort of) fear. We said: "Fear not! for thou hast indeed the upper hand: Throw that which is in thy right hand: Quickly will it swallow up that which they have faked what they have faked is but a magician's trick: and the magician thrives not, (no matter) where he goes." So the magicians were thrown down to prostration: they said, "We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses". S. 20:65-70 Y. Ali

Jalal is now in a major dilemma since if Muhammad was truly pleasing to Allah then his god would have never allowed the devil or a Jew to control his mind through magic to such an extent that he started imagining that he was having sex with all of his wives:

XLVI. Magic

The words of Allah Almighty, "The shaytans rejected, teaching people sorcery and what had been sent down to Harut and Marut, the two angels in Babylon, who taught no one until they had said to him, 'We are merely a trial and temptation, so do not reject.' People learned from them how to separate a man and his wife but they cannot harm anyone by it, except with Allah's permission. They have learned what will harm them and will not benefit them. They know that any who deal in it will have no share in the Next World." (2:102)

And His words, "Magicians do not prosper wherever they go." (20:69)

And His words, "Do you succumb to magic with your eyes wide-open?" (21:3)

And His words, "And suddenly their ropes and staffs appeared to him, by their magic, to be slithering about." (20:66)

And His words, "And from the evil of women who blow on knots." (113:4) An-naffathat are female practitioners of magic.

"So how have you been bewitched?" (23:89) meaning blinded…

XLVIII. Should the source of magic be extracted from where it is?

Qatada said, "I asked Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab, ‘If a man is bewitched or unable to come to his wife, can he seek to undo it or use nushra*?’ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘There is no harm in that. By it they desire to put things right. That which is beneficial for people is not forbidden.’"

[Nushra is reciting verses over water which is then used by the person afflicted.]

5432. ‘Urwa related that ‘A’isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was bewitched so that he would imagine that he had had intercourse with his wives when he had not". (Sufyan said, "This is the worst type of magic when it does that.") He said, "A'isha, do you know that Allah has given me a decision in what I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat at my head and the other and at my feet, and the one at my head said to the other, ‘What ails the man?’ ‘Bewitched,’ he answered. He said, ‘And who has bewitched him?’ He replied, ‘Labid ibn al-A'sam, a man of the Banu Zurayq, the allies of the Jews, who is a hypocrite.’ He said, ‘Using what?" He replied, ‘A comb and flax fibres.’ He asked, ‘Where is it?’ He said, ‘Inside a male palm spadex under a stone in the well of Dharwan.’" The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to the well to remove it. He said, "This is the well that I was shown." Its water was the colour of henna infusion and the date palms looks like the heads of devils. He said, "It was taken out." I asked, "Why do not use nushra?’ He replied, "By Allah, Allah has cured me. I dislike to provoke evil against anyone." (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 79. The Book of Medicine; source)

To make matters worse the Islamic sources say that Muhammad’s condition lasted for at least six months or even nearly a year!

(Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind…) [114:1-6]. The commentators of the Qur’an said: "The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, had a Jewish servant boy. The Jews approached him and kept after him until he gave them some fallen hair from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, as well as a few teeth from his comb. The Jews used these to cast a spell of black magic on him. The person who was behind this was the Jew Labid ibn al-A‘sam. He then put the hair in a well belonging to Banu Zurayq called Dharwan. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, fell ill for a period of six month, during which the hair of his head fell off; he imagined that he slept with his wives when he did not, and was withering away without knowing the reason. As he was one day sleeping, he saw two angels coming to him. One of them sat at his head and the other at his feet. The angel who sat at his head asked: ‘What is wrong with the man?’ The second angel responded: ‘A spell of black magic was cast on him’. The first one asked: ‘And who is responsible for this sorcery?’ The second angel answered: ‘It is Labid ibn al-A‘sam, the Jew’. The first angel asked again: ‘What did he use to cast black magic on him?’ The second angel said: ‘He used a comb and fallen hair’. The first angel asked: ‘Where is it now?’ The second angel said: ‘It is inside the spadix of a palm tree beneath the stepping stone which is inside the well of Dharwan’, at which point the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, woke up. He said: ‘O ‘A’ishah, do you not think that this is from Allah to inform me of the cause of my illness?’ He then sent ‘Ali [ibn Abi Talib], al-Zubayr [ibn al-‘Awwam] and ‘Ammar [ibn Yasir] who drained the water of that well as one would drain the dust of henna. They lifted the stone and got the spadix out and found therein some of the hair of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, as well a few teeth from his comb. ('Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul, Q. 113-114; source 1, 2; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)


From B. Zurayq: Labid b. A’sam who bewitched the apostle of God so that he could not come at his wives.1 (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Karachi Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995), p. 240; bold and capital emphasis ours)

1 In commenting on this Suhayli asserts that the tradition is sound and is accepted by the traditionists. He found in the Jami’ of Mu‘ammar b. Rashad (a work which I cannot find mentioned by Brockelmann) the statement THAT THE SPELL LASTED FOR A YEAR. He adds that the Mu‘tazila and Modernists rejected the tradition ON THE GROUND THAT PROPHETS COULD NOT BE BEWITCHED OTHERWISE THEY WOULD COMMIT SIN and that would be contrary to the word of God ‘And God will protect thee from men’ (5.71). He finds the tradition unassailable. It is properly attested and intellectually acceptable. The prophets were not preserved from bodily afflictions in which category sorcery falls. (Ibid.)

Now let us contrast this again with what the Quran says regarding Moses’ encounter with the Egyptian magicians:

They said: "O Musa (Moses)! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?" [Musa (Moses)] said: "Nay, throw you (first)!" Then behold, their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast. So Musa (Moses) conceived a fear in himself. We (Allah) said: "Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain." So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: "We believe in the Lord of Harun (Aaron) and Musa (Moses)." S. 20:65-68 Hilali-Khan

According to the above, even though Moses got afraid God came to his aid right away to protect him, unlike Muhammad who only received deliverance from his deity nearly a year later!

With the foregoing in perspective these are the questions that Jalal must answer,

We will let Jalal sort out this mess.

Revisiting the Satanic Verses

Not surprisingly, Jalal has a problem with the "satanic verses," since he writes:

9) David Wood on the Satanic Verses: "… one of the most embarrassing events in Muhammad’s life."

  1. This story is a fabrication rejected as such by the majority of Muslim scholars since the time it appeared about 90 years after the Prophet died. Even Sam Shamoun concurs, "The overwhelming majority brand it as a forgery."
  2. Bukhari collected this very story, "The Prophet recited Surat an-Najm (53) at Makkah and prostrated while reciting it and those who were with him did the same." No mention of the fabricated story.
  3. David Wood wrote that many Christians, "believe that Islam was inspired by Satan," citing the forged story of the Satanic Verses as proof Prophet Muhammad was inspired by Satan. Instead, he brought proof that Muhammad was a prophet.
  4. Even if this forgery was true, here is what the story says, "The two sides were amazed why the other group prostrated when the Prophet prostrated. Muslims wondered why the pagans prostrated without faith or certainty. Muslims did not hear what Satan had made the pagans hear. The pagans became pleased with the Prophet since Satan told them that the Prophet read the verses in his prostration, so they prostrated upon hearing the praise of their idols… By night, Angel Jibreel came and disowned these two verses." (Majma az-Zawa-id; al-Haithami)
  5. Thus, the same story states that Angel Jibreel corrected what Satan spoke in the ears of the disbelievers.
  6. Christians insist that the story is true. But, this story says that Angel Jibreel was revealing the Quran to Muhammad.
  7. When it suits Christians, they dismiss Muslim Scholars who state that a certain story the Christians like is forged.
  8. When Muslim Scholars quote authentic Hadeeth Christians do not like, Christians say Hadeeth was collected hundreds of years after Prophet’s death. Untrue: Hadeeth started to be collected during the Prophet’s lifetime.
  9. Even when, without knowledge, Christians insist a forged Hadeeth is authentic, they ‘eat up’ parts of it.

10) David Wood wrote: "If a person speaks in the name of other gods, he is a false prophet."

David Wood wrote that the Prophet’s interpretation of his encounter with Angel Jibreel is, "Quite revealing… [He thought] he had been possessed … became suicidal … Muhammad’s nurse believed that he was demon-possessed … Muhammad himself once believed that he was demon-possessed … Muhammad himself once believed that he was demon-possessed … originally believed that his revelations were demonic origin."

Christians think the Satanic Verses lie disqualifies Muhammad’s Prophethood. (7-8)


n. Even the forged Satanic Verses story states that Prophet Muhammad did not intentionally speak in the name of other gods but Satan did. (p. 10)

Apart from quoting me out of context it is apparent that Jalal is again trying to dupe his readers by withholding pertinent information from them. According to the sources which narrate this event it was Muhammad himself who recited these verses at the instigation of Satan:

Now the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing to attract them as far as he could. It has been mentioned that he longed for a way to attract them, and the method he adopted is what Ibn Hamid told me that Salama said M. b. Ishaq told him from Yazid b. Ziyad of Medina from M. b. Ka`b al-Qurazi: When the apostle saw that his people turned their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he brought them from God he longed that there should come to him from God a message that would reconcile his people to him. Because of his love for his people and his anxiety over them it would delight him if the obstacle that made his task so difficult could be removed; so that he meditated on the project and longed for it and it was dear to him. Then God sent down "By the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not deceived, he speaks not from his own desire," and when he reached His words "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-`Uzza and Manat the third, the others", Satan, when he was meditating upon it, and desiring to bring it (sc. reconciliation) to his people, PUT UPON HIS TONGUE "these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved". When the Quraysh heard that, they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of their gods and they listened to him; while the believers were holding that what their prophet brought from their Lord was true, not suspecting a mistake or a vain desire or slip, and when he reached the prostration and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he brought and obeying his command, and the polytheists of Quraysh and others who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever prostrated, except al-Walid b. al-Mughira who was an old man who could not do so, so he took a handful of dirt from the valley and bent over it. Then the people dispersed and the Quraysh went out, delighted at what had been said about their gods, saying, "Muhammad has spoken of our gods in splendid fashion. He alleged in what he read that they are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved".

The news reached the prophet's companions who were in Abyssinia, it being reported that Quraysh had accepted Islam, so some men started to return while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said, "What have you done, Muhammad? You have read to these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what He did not say to you." The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for he was merciful to him comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise". Thus God relieved his prophet's grief, and made him feel safe from his fears and annulled what Satan had suggested in the words used above about their gods by his revelation "Are yours the males and His the females? That were indeed an unfair division" (i.e. most unjust); "they are nothing by names which your fathers gave them" as far as the words "to whom he pleases and accepts", i.e. how can the intercession of their gods avail with Him?

When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet's tongue came from God, Quraysh said: "Muhammad has repented of what he said about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought something else." (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 165-167; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Another Islamic source states:

And We did not send before you any messenger (rasul) — this is a prophet who has been commanded to deliver a Message — or prophet (nabi) — one who has not been commanded to deliver anything — but that when he recited [the scripture] Satan cast into his recitation, what is not from the Qur’an, but which those to whom he [the prophet] had been sent would find pleasing. The Prophet (s) had, during an assembly of the [men of] Quraysh, after reciting the [following verses from] surat al-Najm, Have you considered Lat and ‘Uzza? And Manat, the third one? [53:19-20] added, as a result of Satan casting them ONTO HIS TONGUE without his [the Prophet’s] being aware of it, [the following words]: ‘those are the high-flying cranes (al-gharaniq al-‘ula) and indeed their intercession is to be hoped for’, and so they [the men of Quraysh] were thereby delighted. Gabriel, however, later informed him [the Prophet] of this that Satan had cast ONTO HIS TONGUE and he was grieved by it; but was [subsequently] comforted with this following verse that he might be reassured [of God’s pleasure]: thereat God abrogates, nullifies, whatever Satan had cast, then God confirms His revelations. And God is Knower, of Satan’s casting of that which has been mentioned, Wise, in His enabling him [Satan] to do such things, for He does whatever He will. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

That He may make what Satan has cast a trial, a test, for those in whose hearts is a sickness, dissension and hypocrisy, and those whose hearts are hardened, namely, the idolaters, [hardened] against acceptance of the truth. For truly the evildoers, the disbelievers, are [steeped] in extreme defiance, [in] a protracted feud with the Prophet (s) and the believers, for his tongue uttered mention of their gods in a way that pleased them, and yet this was later nullified. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source)

Here is another commentary which agrees with the above references:

(Never sent We a messenger or a prophet before thee…) [22:52]. The commentators of the Qur'an said: "When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, saw that his people were shunning him, he was aggrieved by their rejection of the message he brought them and he secretly wished that Allah, exalted is He, reveals something to him which would bring him and his people closer to each other, keen as he was to see them accept faith. One day, he sat in one of the congregations of Quraysh which attracted a huge number of its members, and he wished that Allah, exalted is He, does not reveal to him on that day anything that might repel them from him. Allah, exalted is He, revealed to him then Surah al-Najm (By the star when it setteth…) [Surah 53]. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, recited it but when he reached (Have ye thought upon al-Lat and al-'Uzza, and Manat, the third, the other) [53:19-20], the devil PUT ON HIS TONGUE what he had secretly wished and hoped for and said: 'These are the mighty cranes (gharaniq) and their intercession is hoped for'. When the Quraysh heard this, they were very pleased. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, carried on reciting until the end of the Surah and then prostrated. All the Muslims followed suit and prostrated, and all the idolaters who were present prostrated too. All those who were present, whether Muslim or disbeliever, prostrated except al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah and Abu Uhyahah Sa'id ibn al-'As who were too advanced in age and could not prostrate, but they both grabbed a handful of dust and put their foreheads on it. The Quraysh then dispersed, happy with what they heard. They said: 'Muhammad has mentioned our idols with complimentary terms. We know that Allah gives life and takes it away, He creates and provides sustenance, but these idols of ours will intercede for us with Him. Now that Muhammad has associated them, we are all with him'. That evening, Gabriel, peace be upon him, went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: 'What have you done? You recited to people that which I did not bring from Allah, glorified is He, and you said what I did not say to you'. ('Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul ibn; source; bold, capital an underline emphasis ours)

This explains why, according to one Muslim historian, Muhammad took full responsibility for reciting Satan’s verses:

That evening Gabriel came to him and reviewed the surah with him, and when he reached the two phrases which Satan had cast upon his tongue he said, "I did not bring you these two." Then the Messenger of God said, "I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to him words which He has not spoken." (The History of al-Tabari –Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt and M. V. McDonald [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, 1988], Volume VI, p. 111; bold and italic emphasis ours)(1)

Interestingly, the so-called sound narratives provide corroboration that this event did take place:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud:
The Prophet recited Surat-an-Najm (53) and prostrated while reciting it and all the people prostrated and a man amongst the people took a handful of stones or earth and raised it to his face and said, "This is sufficient for me." Later on I saw him killed as a non-believer. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 19, Number 176; see also Number 173)

Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet prostrated while reciting An-Najm and with him prostrated the Muslims, the pagans, the jinns, and all human beings. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 19, Number 177)

Surat-an-Najm (53) is the chapter that Muhammad recited when Satan placed the praise of the goddesses upon his tongue, thereby inspiring him to glorify the idols of the Meccans! Al-Bukhari confirms two elements of Ibn Ishaq’s report, namely, a) that all the pagans prostrated with Muhammad, and b) that a man took some dirt or stones and placed it on his forehead.

Now for the entire pagan community to bow in worship with Muhammad in light of his scathing attacks on their gods makes absolutely no sense. It does make perfect sense, however, that they would prostate if in fact Muhammad had just praised their goddesses. As Christian apologist John Gilchrist puts it:

"Surat-an-Najm" is the same Surah 53 which Muhammad was reciting according to the narratives we have quoted. What else could have prompted all present, both Muslims and pagans, to prostrate behind Muhammad but the concession made to the Meccan goddesses? One can understand the Muslims following any lead Muhammad gave (see the quote from Ibn Ishaq) but it is hard, if not impossible, to believe that the pagan Meccans would have joined Muhammad in worship at the end of the Surah if he had quoted it as it now stands with such a vehement denunciation of these same goddesses by name. The story does appear to have a compelling historical foundation. (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, "Satan's Interjection and its Implications", 1. A Compromise in Muhammad's Ministry; source)

Hence, what Jalal thought was evidence for his position turns out to be an argument against his entire case! Al-Bukhari substantiates the satanic verses by collecting the story of the pagans bowing at the recitation of Q. 53, even though he doesn’t directly mention Muhammad’s slip. (Jalal is doing nothing more here than to argue from silence since al-Bukhari doesn’t come out and deny that the event occurred. He simply didn’t record it, and the reason seems to be obvious. He may have been too embarrassed to include such an incriminating story since it does great damage to the credibility of Muhammad).

Moreover, notice how Ibn Ishaq stated that the following reference was "revealed" to console Muhammad for mistakenly reciting Satan’s words as the verses of Allah:

Never did We send a Messenger or a Prophet before you, but; when he did recite the revelation or narrated or spoke, Shaitan (Satan) threw (some falsehood) in it. But Allah abolishes that which Shaitan (Satan) throws in. Then Allah establishes His Revelations. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise: S. 22:52 Hilali-Khan

The above citation confirms this story in that it admits that Satan threw something into Allah’s revelation which required the latter to intervene by abolishing what Satan proposed. What could this possibly be referring to if not Satan inspiring Muhammad to glorify the three pagan daughters of Allah?

Finally, one of the greatest hadith scholars Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani authenticated this report:

This report appears in the Annals of al-Tabari and in some other works on history and may possibly be a fact. But the reason why such a rumour got currency is stated as follows: "Once the Prophet was offering his prayers in the Ka’ba, when the unbelievers too were there. The Prophet recited the verse: ‘WA MANAT AL-THALITHAT AL-UKHRA’ (And Manat, the third, the last) and Satan made him utter the words: ‘TILKA AL-GHARANIQ AL-‘ULA, WA INNA SHIFA-ATUHUNNA LA TURTAJA’ (These are the exalted idols whose intercession is acceptable of God). The Prophet then made a prostration and the unbelievers did the same. (Here the last portion of this report which is to the effect that once, with the exception of a few unbelievers, all the human beings and the Jinnies made a prostration with the Holy Prophet is correct, as is reported in the Sahih of al-Bukhari, Chapter, Commentary on SURA al-NAJM S)." The rest of this story is evidently an absurd myth that deserves no comment. Most of the great traditionists, for instance al-Baihaqi, Qadi ‘Iyad, al-‘Aini, al-Mundhiri and al-Nawawi have declared it to be false and fabricated. But unfortunately many traditionists have recorded it with reference to the chains of its narrators. Among them more commonly known are: al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Mardauyah, Ibn Ishaq, Musa ibn 'Uqba, and Abu Ma'shar. It is all the more strange that Ibn Hajar, a recognized authority on traditions insists on the truth of this report and says, "As we have mentioned above, three of its chains of narrators satisfy the conditions requisite for an authentic report. These reports are, however, all ‘MURSAL’ traditions, and those who believe the ‘MURSAL’ traditions may argue on their basis." (Sirat-un-Nabi (The life of the Prophet), by Allama Shibli Naumani, renderings into English by M. Tayyib Budayuni [Islamic Bookstore, New Delhi, 2001], Volume 1, pp. 217-218; underline emphasis ours)


[Then al-Tabari proceeds to narrate reports to that effect, all of them weak, but the collective weight of which suggests authenticity AS STATED BY IBN HAJAR in Fath al-Bari (see below).]…

7. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, 1959 ed. vol. 8:

[p. 439] 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. (Haddad, STORY OF THE CRANES or "SATANIC VERSES"; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Therefore, contrary to the assertions of Jalal this report is sound since it meets the conditions of both the historical method and the Muslim criteria for authenticity.

Yet this now brings up another problem for Jalal to contend with, specifically, if Muhammad could not distinguish between Satan and Gabriel, between the words of the devil and the speech of his god, then what guarantee can Jalal give us that Muhammad wasn’t mistaken that all the rest of the verses he was receiving were truly from God? How can he convince us that it wasn’t Satan who again appeared as Gabriel to deceive Muhammad into thinking that Allah had come to his aid in order to keep Muhammad on the path of destruction, making him believe that he was a prophet when in reality he wasn’t?

With the foregoing in perspective the readers need to always keep this point in mind: The satanic verses didn’t originate from non-Muslim and/or hostile sources, be it Jews, Christians or skeptics. Muslim reference works first propagated this narration, men and women who loved Muhammad and worshiped his god. This is the problem that Muslims like Jalal must face and address; the fact that Muslims (not Jews, Christians or Orientalists) circulated the story of Muhammad reciting verses from Satan.

How Satan Trumped Allah

As if this weren’t problematic enough the satanic verses further discredit the Quran’s claim that even if all of the jinn and mankind were to gather together to produce something like it they wouldn’t be able to:

Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." S. 17:88

Seeing that the Quran says that Satan is one of the jinn:

Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam": They bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, and he broke the Command of his Lord. Will ye then take him and his progeny as protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evil would be the exchange for the wrong-doers! S. 18:50

This suggests that the Quran’s challenge applies equally to him, that he too is incapable of producing anything similar to the Muslim scripture. And yet he was able to dupe Muhammad into thinking that he was reciting verses from Allah!

This raises some more uncomfortable questions for Jalal to answer:

What makes this all the more interesting, as well as amusing, is that one Muslim neophyte named Sami Zaatari, in his debate with David Wood on the same topic, stated that he hoped that Muslims would accept the veracity of the satanic verses since he believed that this strongly supported Muhammad’s prophetic claims. We, too, hope that Muslim scholars accept this story since it provides one of the most persuasive reasons why Muhammad was a false prophet and conclusively demonstrates that he was a man who was under Satan’s influence, not God’s. This is why Jalal is doing all he can to refute the veracity of this report since he clearly sees what Zaatari is incapable of or does not want to see, namely, Muhammad cannot be trusted if he can be so easily duped and inspired by Satan to recite verses which he erroneously thought were from his god.(2)

This brings us to the conclusion of the first part of our discussion. Please continue to the second part of our rebuttal.


(1) Muhammad’s statement that he had fabricated words and imputed them to his god brought him under the judgment and wrath of Allah according to the Quran:

it is the speech of a noble Messenger. It is not the speech of a poet (little do you believe) nor the speech of a soothsayer (little do you remember). A sending down from the Lord of all Being. Had he invented against Us any sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand, then We would surely have cut his life-vein. S. 69:40-46 Arberry

Now this leads to a contradiction. The references we cited stated that Q. 22:52 was sent to console Muhammad, and yet the above text says that Allah would kill his prophet if he ever thought of forging verses in the name of his deity.

Moreover, the Islamic reference works claim that Muhammad died of illness as a result of poison, a sickness which caused him excruciating pain:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

‘Umar bin Al-Khattab used to let Ibn Abbas sit beside him, so ‘AbdurRahman bin ‘Auf said to ‘Umar, "We have sons similar to him." ‘Umar replied, "(I respect him) because of his status that you know." 'Umar then asked Ibn 'Abbas about the meaning of this Holy Verse:-- "When comes the help of Allah and the conquest of Mecca..." (110.1)

Ibn ‘Abbas replied, "That indicated the death of Allah's Apostle which Allah informed him of." ‘Umar said, "I do not understand of it except what you understand." Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O ‘Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713)

Doesn’t this suggest that Allah did kill his prophet for fabricating verses in his name? If so then why did he "send down" Q. 22:52 to comfort his "apostle" if he really planned on killing him per his warning in Q. 69:40-46?

For more on this topic please consult the article How Allah killed his prophet.

(2) This same neophyte would want us to actually believe that Muhammad’s bewitchment somehow didn’t affect the so-called "revelations"! (*) This would require us to accept the fact that for the entire duration of his prophet’s bewitchment Muhammad didn’t receive any "messages" from his lord, so that for nearly a year he hit a dry spell as far as the revelations were concerned. Or, worse still, Muhammad was receiving instructions from his lord during the same time magic was working on his mind to such an extent that he embarrassingly thought he was having sex with his wives when he hadn’t even touched any of them!

It is obvious that in his haste to defend the indefensible the neophyte didn’t bother to think for a moment that if Allah was able to prevent the magic that plagued Muhammad’s mind from impacting the "revelation" then why didn’t he simply protect his messenger from being affected by sorcery in the first place? Why did he wait nearly a year before doing anything to save his "beloved" prophet? After all, if Allah could protect the Quran from being influenced by Muhammad’s mental condition for nearly a year then surely he could have saved his prophet from the harmful affects of magic from the very get-go.

Furthermore, he also makes this rather bold and unsubstantiated assertion:

Some Muslims have also struggled with this hadith, but it must be said that most Muslims who have struggled with this hadith is a result of missionaries holding it against them in a negative fashion.

This is a gross distortion of the facts, one that is based either on his ignorance or gross lies in order to conceal the truth. As we saw earlier, Muslims struggled with this report not because of Jews or Christians, but because of the passages from the Quran which expressly say that Allah would protect his prophet from the harm and power of Satan, which he clearly failed to do.

He then makes the following leap in logic:

Secondly, the prophet himself was conscious of the fact that something was wrong, as we read the hadith we see:

One day he invoked (Allah) for a long period and then said, "I feel that Allah has inspired me as how to cure myself

So as you can see the prophet invoked and prayed to God for help and a cure, hence the prophet was aware that there was something wrong, hence he was conscious of the problem.

His conclusion doesn’t follow from what is stated since he has to erroneously assume that because Muhammad’s prayer implies that he was aware of the problem this somehow proves that his mental condition didn’t impact the "revelations." Yet this merely shows that his wives must have complained about his not having intercourse with them for close to a year, even though he thought he was engaging in sex all throughout that entire period! This explanation better accounts for Muhammad’s realization that he had a major problem since his wives brought it to his attention, not his god or Gabriel. What an embarrassing and humiliating position for Zaatari’s prophet to be in, especially when Muslims claim that he is the greatest man God ever created!

Moreover, Zaatari conveniently ignores the fact that the narrative emphatically states that Muhammad had to implore his god A LONG TIME before Allah did anything to save his messenger from his humiliating circumstances. And this is the very god that Zaatari wants us to believe in for our salvation!

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