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The Sealed Nectar

 The Sealed Nectar by Shaykh Safi ur-Rahman

The orientalists allege that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was worried about the enmity of the non-believers in Makkah. In such a state of mind one day went to Kaba where he recited to the gathering of believers and non-believers Surah al-Najm 53 which is said to have been revealed at that time.

The allegation is that in the course of its recitation and when he uttered the verse 19-20 Do you see al Lat and al Uzza and the other third Manat? Satan threw in the couplet Those are the swans exalted; verily their intercession is to be expected.

The Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) then completed the Sura and at the end of it went into prostration in accordance with the last verse. All those present there, the believers and non-believers also did so except an old Quraysh leader (Umayyah ibn Khalaf or Al-Walid ibn al Mughira or Abu Umayyah) who raised a handful of dust and touched it with his forehead saying that would suffice for him. The Quraysh leaders are said to have given out as reason for their prostration themselves, by saying that now that the Prophet had recognized the position of their goddesses as intercessors with Allah, there was in fact no point of quarrel with him.

Afterwards, in the evening (some versions do not specify any time) Jibril came to the Prophet and asked him to recite the Surah, which he did, still reciting the satanic verses. Jibril protested, saying that those were not what had been revealed. At this, the Prophet became very sad and apprehensive of Allahs wrath. Thereupon two separate passages, 17:73-75 and 22-52 were revealed in reassuring the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and the satanic verses were repealed. The Quraysh leaders became angry and renewed their enmity and opposition with increased vehemence. Meanwhile the news of non-believers prostration reached Abyssinia in the form of rumor of their compromise with the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and the Muslims returned to Makkah.

REPLY

The story is so manifestly absurd and untrue that it ought to have been rejected outright as such and not recorded by the chroniclers and traditionalists. But since some of them have recorded it has often been cited as ground for its genuineness, rather than the obviously discrediting features of the story itself.

 

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi correctly points out that those who have critically looked at the story have all rejected it as spurious on the grounds of its conflict with the clear testimony of the Quran, the rules governing the genuineness of traditions and the dictates of reason.

 

The Quranic evidence against the genuineness of the story is of three kinds.

 

There are a number of statements in the Quran that show that neither Satan nor anyone else could interfere in the process of coming of the revelation. Nor did the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) ever entertain any intention of making compromise with the unbelieving leaders, nor did he ever interpolate in the text of the revelation.

 

The passages cited as having been revealed as a sequel to the incident and for reassuring the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) prove to the contrary, showing that he had not made even the slightest move towards making a compromise with the unbelieving leaders.

 

The internal evidence of Sura al Najm (53), in connection with the revelation of which the story has been foisted, goes against its spirit and purpose.

 

THE PASSAGES FROM THE QUR'AN THAT DIRECTLY BELIE THE STORY ARE AS FOLLOWS:

 

If he (Messenger) were to invent any saying in our name, We should certainly have seized him by the right hand and We should then have surely cut off the artery of his heart"

 

[Qur'aan 60:44-46]

 

Say; It is not for me, of my own accord, to change it (the revelation). I follow naught but what is revealed unto me"

 

[Qur'aan 10:15]

 

No falsehood can approach it from the front, nor from the rear (i.e. neither directly nor indirectly). It is sent-down from Allah the All-Wise, the All-Praiseworthy.

 

[Qur'aan 41:42]

 

We indeed have sent down the recital (the Quran) and indeed are its Protectors (from any interference).

 

[Qur'aan 15:9]

 

In what way (We have revealed it), that We may make your heart firm thereby; and We have dictated it in stages.

 

[Qur'aan 25:32]

 

It is seen from the above that the Quran repeatedly assures that Allah has protected it against any possibility of being tampered with directly or indirectly, that it is not for the Prophet to change it or add to it anything. If he had done so, Allahs severe punishment would inevitably and irresistibly have befallen him. These clear and positive statements directly contradict the story, which says that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) of his own accord or being deceived by Satan introduced something into the text of revelation. Not only that. The alleged interpolation violated the fundamental teaching of the Quran monotheism (Tauhid) and thus constituted the offence of shirk which Allah warns elsewhere in the Quran the He shall under no circumstances forgive.

 

The story is thus quite contrary to the specific statements of the Quran and also to the tenor and purport of its entire text. As such the story is totally unworthy or any credence. This is not simply from a Muslims point of view, but also from true historians point of view.

 

The two passages of the Quran that are said to have been revealed as a sequel to the story are as follows:

 

Indeed they were about to divert you from what We revealed to you, in order that you forge against Us something else, and in that case they would certainly have taken you as a friend. And had We not made you firm, you would almost have inclined towards them a little; and in that case we would have made you taste the double (punishment) in death; and then you would not have found for you as against Us any helper.

 

[Qur'an 17:73-75]

 

These verses were revealed 11 or 12 years after the call to Prophethood.

 

Never did we send a Messenger nor a Prophet before you, but that when he formed an intention Satan threw something in his intention; but Allah cancels what Satan throws in and then makes His sign prevail. Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise".

 

[Qur'an 22:52]

 

This verse was revealed during the 1st year of Hijra.

 

A little careful look at them would at once show that their texts, far from supporting the story, do in fact contradict it.

 

The first passage shows that it was the unbelievers who attempted to induce the Prophet to making a compromise with them, not that he ever wanted it. The passage further states that Allah made the Prophets heart firm against such attempts of the unbelievers. The emphasis here is on the intensity of the unbelievers attempts, and Allahs special favor upon the Prophet making him immune against such efforts and because of such special favor, the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) did not incline towards the unbelievers even a little. Finally the above verse warns that, had the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) been guilty of slight inclination towards the unbelievers propoPeace and Blessings be upon hims, he would have been doubly punished by Allah.

 

It is strange that the orientalists mention the above verses revealed about 8 or 9 years after the alleged incident as assurance from Allah, because during this period so many major events had taken place, including the Hijrah.

 

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