Satanic Verses

Alleged utterances by Muhammad mistaken for Islamic revelation / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Satanic Verses are words of "satanic suggestion" which the Islamic prophet Muhammad is alleged to have mistaken for divine revelation.[1] The verses praise the three pagan Meccan goddesses: al-Lāt, al-'Uzzá, and Manāt and can be read in early prophetic biographies of Muhammad by al-Wāqidī, Ibn Sa'd and the tafsir of al-Tabarī. The first use of the expression in English is attributed to Sir William Muir in 1858.[2]

The incident is accepted as true by some modern scholars of Islamic studies under the criterion of embarrassment, citing the implausibility of early Muslim biographers fabricating a story so unflattering about their prophet.[3][4] Alford T. Welch, however, argues that this rationale alone is insufficient but does not rule out the possibility of some historical foundation to the story. He proposes that the story may be yet another instance of historical telescoping, i.e., a circumstance that Muhammad's contemporaries knew to have lasted for a long period of time later became condensed into a story that limits his acceptance of the Meccan goddesses’ intercession to a brief period of time and assigns blame for this departure from strict monotheism to Satan.[5]

Religious authorities embraced the story for the first two centuries of the Islamic era. However, beginning in the 13th century, Islamic scholars (Ulama) started to reject it as being inconsistent with Muhammad's "perfection" ('isma), which meant that Muhammad was infallible and could not be fooled by Satan.[1]