I promised Status that Id soon be talking about the Satanic Verses a while back…so here it is.
As with all men with great popularity, several myths are associated with the Prophet (SAW): some created out of reverence and others out of enmity. The episode of the Satanic Verses is also one of these myths. I call it a myth because neither there is a reference in the Qur’an of this incident nor in the most reliable accounts the Prophet’s (SAW) life. Would you really believe in a historic event which does not appear in authentic sources? At least I wont.
The story, as it appears in books by several historians, says that the Shaitan interfered with the revelation of the Surah-an-Najam (Surah 53). The tradition has it that the Prophet (SAW) was ‘taken over’ by the Shaitan while it was revealed and was inspired to utter two verses which declared that the three goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat could be revered (Nauzubillah) as the intermediate between man and Allah (SWT). Since the Quraysh considered these goddesses as banat al-lah, they immediately thought that Islam had placed these goddesses as equal to Allah (SWT). Because now it seemed that the Qur’an had endorsed the belief of their forefathers, they no longer saw Islam as a sacriligious threat. The story goes on that the Prophet (SAW) later received another revelation that it all had been inspired by the Shaitan (hence the name Satanic Verses). Consequently, the two verses were expunged from the Qur’an.
The story, not appearing in the most authentic Muslim sources, soon lost its significance in the Muslim World and merely remained a myth that was only covered by Western (read Christian, anti Islam) writers until Rushdie came up with his own version which repeats all the old Western myths about the Prophet (SAW) in his infamous The Satanic Verses (which I regret reading myself). For me, this myth is nothing more than just a western propoganda designed (and now embedded in the western mindset) that Islam is inherently a flawed religion by showing that the only and the most authentic source itself was unable to distinguish between the good and evil.