Table of Contents

Abbreviations Used in the Essay
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Foreword: Dr. John O Voll
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Editor's Note: Sabreen Akhter
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Acknowledgments
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Objectives of the Review
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Attitudes towards Prophet Muhammad
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I. The Seeker of Truth
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II. The Recipient of the Mantle of Prophethood/ The Warner and the Exhorter
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III. The Stoic Optimist
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IV. The Pluralistic Leader
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V. The Courageous Yet Reluctant Warrior
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VI. The Statesman par excellence and the Teacher
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VII. The Compassionate Ruler and Spiritual Leader
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Does this essay cover any new ground?
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Appendices
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The Sources for This Essay

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The Satanic Verses?

The "Satanic verses" need to mentioned only because of the notoriety they have gained recently because of the Salman Rushdie affair. It was alleged that Muhammad (S), in a spirit of compromise, implicitly accepted the worship of old pagan idols, Lat, 'Uzza and Manat. According to some accounts he used the word "Gharaniq" to describe the Qurayshi idols. The term Gharaniq means, "Numidian cranes" which fly at great heights, and is a laudatory term. It is inconceivable that Muhammad (S) would compromise on the issue of monotheism. In fact some of his followers had already died rather than admit to Shirk (associating anything else with Allah). Tawhid, described best as pure Monotheism without any associates or even subsidiary deities, is at the core of Islam. Every Qur'anic verse is suffused and illuminated with the concept of Tawhid, which is at once both intimidating and liberating. Some of the scholars who chronicled the words and deeds of Muhammad (S) (Hadith and Sirah), notably at-Tabari and Ibn Ishaq, considered it plausible and recorded this incident while most others, including Bukhari and Muslim believed that the narrators (rawis) were not trustworthy and rejected it. Still others provide an alternative explanation. The Quraysh would frequently crowd around Muhammad (S) and speak noisily to try to interfere with the public recitation of the Qur'an near the Ka'bah. When Muhammad (S) recited, "Have you ever given a thought to Lat and 'Uzza, and Manat, the third (idol)" someone may have shouted, "Lat and 'Uzza and the third Manat, they are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is approved". The Quraysh commonly used this invocation during the circumambulation of the Ka'bah while performing the pre-Islamic pilgrimage.
The Qur'an itself records the following verses which follows the previous verses more naturally:
"What! Shall ye assign to yourselves the males and to Him the females." (Qur'an 53:21)

These three verses are a pointed comment on the hypocrisy in the Qurayshi society that treated women as chattel and yet had female deities as it's major idols and has nothing to do with any Satanic interdiction in the revelatory process. Muslim outrage at Rushdie was the result of the knowledge that the statements in his book were maliciously slanderous and their only discernible intent in distorting the account was to cause deliberate provocation and blasphemy.