The Ten Commandments are not generally used in Islam, and as Muhammad violated most, if not all, of them, should be proof that Islam is not an Abrahamic religion, despite claims to the contrary.
What’s so bad about ‘Satanic,’ anyway?
An exclusive Jihad Watch article by Henrik Raeder Clausen, editor ofÂ EuropeNews:
It raised a couple of eyebrows when the Organisation of the Islamic Conference quoted two pages from an article onÂ EuropeNews, discussing if Muhammad was, in fact, a messenger for Satan rather than for God.In the article based on a television broadcast,Â Father Zakaria Botros, based on relevant scripture, made a brief analysis of the qualities of Jewish/Christian prophets and compared those to the qualities of Muhammad. What the article did not go into, however, was an analysis of what ‘Satanic’ actually means. We are commonly assuming that ‘Satanic’ means ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘wrong’ â€“ to such an extent that even discussing the actual nature of this badness is irrelevant. But if we do not understand what ‘bad’ or ‘Satanic’ means, how can we choose to reject it? Some knowledge of Right and Wrong behaviour is needed for this to be functional.
We first encounter Satan in the Book of Job, which is part of the Old Testament, and the Torah. In this intriguing tale, Satan gets permission (!) by God to tempt Job to disavowing God through a multitude of loss, disease and suffering. Job, staunchly true to God, refuses in spite of poverty and failing health, and is eventually rewarded by even more wealth than he had initially. The morale of this tale, of course, is that one should be true to God under all circumstances, and redemption will come eventually.
An interesting point is that Satan is working by permission from God, not as a separate, opposing entity. Being true to God also implies being true to his teachings, the Ten Commandments etc. Those were good guidelines then and have not lost their value as a moral compass even today. Being a good Jew or a good Christian implies being generally true to these guidelines. Muhammad, born and raised in pagan Arabia, never talked of these and personally broke most of them, as recorded in the Sirat (Ibn Ishaq & Al-Tabari). The Ten Commandments are not generally used in Islam, and as Muhammad violated most, if not all, of them, should be proof that Islam is not an Abrahamic religion, despite claims to the contrary.
The Satanic Verses
Satan earns a few mentions in the life of Muhammad. The first is at the incident known as “The Satanic Verses”. This takes place after Muhammad had been mocking the Meccans for eight years for their paganism and their false gods, calling them to worship the one god he worships. This is interesting, not least because the Meccans had been worshipping Allah for generations before Muhammad â€“ see for instance the chapter on Muhammads’ 5th generation forefather Qusayy (al-Tabari VI pages 19-26).
The events are set in motion by the Quraysh:
Al-Tabari VI p. 106-107:
Quraysh promised the Messenger of Allah that they would give him so much wealth that he would become the richest man in Mecca, would give him as many wives as he wanted in marriage, and would submit to his commands.
One may consider this the ultimate in Satanic temptation for a holy man: Money, sex and power â€“ the core objects of worldly desire.
Al-Tabari VI p. 107:
They said, “This is what we will give you, Muhammad, so desist from reviling our gods and do not speak evilly of them. If you will not do so, we offer you one means which will be to your advantage and to ours.” “What it is?” he asked. They said, “You will worship our gods, al-Lat and al-Uzza, for a year, and we shall worship your god for a year.” “Let me see what revelation comes to me from my Lord, he replied.
Remarkably, Muhammad chooses to consider their offer. And he refers to ‘my Lord’, not Allah, as the source of revelation. That is less mysterious than it would seem, however, for the Meccans were already worshipping Allah. The distinction is made clear in the revelation quoted in response:
Al-Tabari VI p. 107:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not what you worship; nor do you worship what I worship. And I shall not worship that which you worship, nor will you worship that which I worship. To you your religion, and to me my religion.
It is not made quite clear who has which religion. We know with reasonable certainty (see the chapter on Qusayy mentioned previously) that the Meccans through generations were practising worship of Allah and the other idols of the Kaaba, were in charge of the rituals of pilgrimage (Hajj & Umra) that we know as part of Islam today, including details such as the standing (‘mawqif’) at Arafat, the dispersal from Mina, and stoning the ‘jimar’ (in Islam considered the Devil) at sunset. Muhammad, who swore that he never participated in pagan rituals, is not making the details of his religion clear.
The reconciliation proceeds in spite of these differences:
Al-Tabari VI p. 108:
When the Messenger of Allah saw how his tribe turned their backs on him and was grieving how they were shunning his message he had brought to them from Allah, he longed in his soul that something would come to him from Allah which would reconcile him with his tribe. With his love for his tribe and his eagerness for their welfare (…)
Now, genuine revelation is obviously not created by human desire, but one can’t fail Muhammad for trying. The concern for the welfare of his tribe is noted and appreciated. And indeed revelation comes:
Al-Tabari VI p. 108:
Then Allah revealed:By the star where it sets, your comrade does not err, nor is he deceived, nor does he speak out of desire. …
This is good to know. We are navigating perilous water with risk of deception. We now have a clear word that deception will not be encountered. The verses quoted are from Quran 53:1-3 and 53:19-20. The revelation continues:
Al-Tabari VI p. 108:
Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?Satan cast upon his tongue, because of the inner debates and what he desired to bring to his people, the words:
These are the high-flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted with approval.
Wouldn’t Satan casting ‘revelation’ on the tongue of a prophet constitute deception? But we have just been told that no error takes place, nor any deception! This simply isn’t logical. But it sure goes down well on all sides:
Al-Tabari VI p. 108:
When Quraysh heard this, they rejoiced and were happy and delighted at the way in which he spoke of their gods, and they listened to him, while the Muslims, having complete trust in their Prophet in respect of the messages which he brought from Allah, did not suspect him of error, illusion, or mistake.
All’s well that ends well. The deal goes down very well on all sides. ‘Intercession’ is a traditional concept where one asks a god to intervene one one’s behalf on the Day of Judgement. After the deal is entered, Muhammad and all Muslims prostrate themselves to the gods in the Kaaba, and so do the Meccans. It is a little unclear whether the practice of prostrations were pagan or introduced by Muhammad, but most likely it was pagan, as it looks like a novelty that the Muslims prostrate themselves.
In another account (al-Tabari frequently has several), the Quraysh respond like this after the prostrations:
Al-Tabari VI p. 111:
They were satisfied with what Muhammad had uttered and said, “We recognize that it is Allah who gives life and death, who creates and who provides sustenance, but if these gods of ours intercede for us with him, and if you give them a share, we are with you.”
Peace and reconciliation prevails. Also at this time, the first wife of Muhammad, Khadija, dies, and Muhammad is given Aisha (then 6) and an adult woman in marriage. Also the protector of Muhammad, Abu Talib, dies, which causes Muhammad some trouble. It is even related (on page 115) that one of the Quraysh poured dust on the head of Muhammad!
The exact chronology of the events here is not quite clear, but the marriage to Aisha gives a clue. She was six at this time, and nine at the time of the Hijra (flight to Medina) and the consummation of the marriage. Sex with minors probably was normal in Arabia at this time and should in this context not be considered Satanic.
Unfortunately, the reconciliation didn’t last. It is presented in the scripture as if it was cancelled immediately, but this is doesn’t add up. The truce had lasted long enough for news of it to reach the Muslims who had immigrated to Abbysinia, who, hearing the news, decided to return to Mecca. Since news would travel by foot, camel- or horseback in these time, some time must have gone by. Possibly most of the remaining three years up to the Hijra. In any case, further revelation cancels what had been given:
Al-Tabari VI p. 109:
Then Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Muhammad, what have you done? You have recited to the people that which I did not bring to you from Allah, and you have said that which was not said to you.”
This is complicated. If the earlier revelation is not to be trusted, how can this be unconditionally trusted? And how can we trust the identification of this being as ‘Gabriel’? Further, do angels have their own will, as is seen here? Usually they are portrayed as executing the will of God, not of their own. There’s really no way we can know with certainty, so let’s move on, for Allah resolves the matter with a revelation (Quran 22:52):
Al-Tabari VI p. 109:
Never did we send a messenger or a prophet before you but that when he recited, Satan cast words into his recitation. Allah abrogates what Satan casts. Then Allah established his verses. Allah is knower, wise.
Unfortunately, this is disingenuous. Not only does Allah debase all prophets of all times by stating they were occasionally speaking for Satan. We see the abrogation (cancellation) of verses created out of the desire to benefit others. The assurances we received just one page earlier (that the revelation was not in error, not deceptive nor spoken out of desire) were false. Finally, a lingering doubt is introduced: Could there be other verses in the Islamic scripture induced by Satan? What about the Jewish or Christian scripture?
These concerns are not addressed, so we’d better move on. Quran 5:101 (not quoted, but relevant in context) gives the authority not to be too concerned about self-contradictory passages:
Believers, ask not questions about things which if made plain to you may cause you trouble when the Qur’an is revealed. Some people before you asked questions, and on that account lost their faith.
That’s better. Back to the scriptural abrogations and the Quraysh reactions.
Quran verses 53:21-23, 26 corrects the errors by reducing the status of the idols from gods to mere labels created by humans.
This, of course, has the Quraysh quite annoyed. They thought they had made Muhammad a lavish offer and settled the conflict, but now Muhammad backs out:
Al-Tabari VI p. 110:
When Muhammad brought a revelation from Allah cancelling what Satan had cast on the tongue of His Prophet, the Quraysh said, “Muhammad has repented of what the said concerning the positions of your gods with Allah, and has altered it and brought something else.” Those two phrases which Satan had cast on the tongue of the Messenger of Allah were in the mouth of every polytheist, and they became even more ill-disposed and more violent in their persecution of those of them who had accepted Islam and followed the Messenger of Allah.
There is no doubt that revelation from Satan is Bad News. The schism breaks out anew, and eventually, for reasons not described in the Sirat, the Quraysh decide to beat up Muhammad, which leads to the escape to Medina, the Hijra. That things can develop this brutally naturally makes Muhammad seek protection, that he needs not fear any further violence from the Meccans. This leads to a core event of the Hijra: