Johnny Bravo and Demon Possession:

Examining A Muslim’s Defense of Muhammad’s Bewitchment

Part 1

Sam Shamoun

Usman Sheikh, a.k.a. Johnny Bravo (the name we will be using throughout our paper), has once again made an attempt to "refute" our responses to his counter-rebuttal. While surfing the net we ran into what seemed to be a rough draft of his response, placed at the time on this site:

After informing his colleague, MENJ, that we had located Bravo’s "responses" and would be addressing them in due time as the Lord permits, the article mysteriously vanished. Thankfully we copied and saved Bravo’s section where he tries to interact with my claims that Muhammad was bewitched and was also demon possessed (here).

Since we anticipate that the final draft of Bravo’s paper will be appearing on the Bismikaallahuma website, we have decided to respond to this particular section.

As is the case with his "rebuttals", Bravo’s article is filled with venom and hate, indicating that he has been overwhelmed by the historical and factual data that he now feels the need to lash out and unleash his rage for all to read. We will try to cut out as much of the poison as possible without leaving out the main thrust of his "counter-argument." All biblical quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV), unless noted otherwise.

Bravo begins his section with the title:

Was the Prophet (P) "bewitched" and "demon possessed"?

The immediate answer is, yes. Bravo’s subheading gives the impression that there is no evidence for Muhammad being demon-possessed and bewitched. But even Bravo will have to admit that there is such evidence but will then try his best to explain it away. Bravo asserts:

The missionary is not done yet as he is still on a blind rampage firing all the irrelevant polemics in every direction. His next irrelevant polemic is that Muhammed (P) was not a Prophet of God because he was "bewitched". However, this misses the entire point of the incident and conviniently [sic] ignores the basic fundamental Muslim views and beliefs on this matter.


Bravo accuses me of being on a blind rampage, but writes a paper against me that is full of venom and insults. The tone of his response makes it clear who is really angry. To me this looks like our response to his attack on the Bible and alleged defense of the Quran enraged him because those were his best arguments and now he is left with little else to say in response.

Bravo claims that our highlighting Muhammad’s demon possession misses the point. Really? How does the fact that a man who was bewitched and who came under the control of Satan, which calls his entire prophetic claims and credibility into question, miss the point? How can anyone dismiss this issue as irrelevant?

Bravo continues:

The missionary claimed earlier on that the bad, low and stylistically imperfect Greek of the New Testament writings did not "bother" the Christians. Though we know this to be a blatant lie, we can, however, safely state that the Prophet (P) being under the spell of a certain individual also does not "bother" the Muslims or atleast [sic] most Muslims. That is because we have always believed the Prophet (P) to be a human being and nothing more than a human being. As such he (P) was subject to the same laws of nature and supernatural as we are. He (P) was subject to the same laws of physics as any other human being. If we fall down we get hurt and injured. Similarly, the Prophet (P), being a human being, would also feel pain if he fell down. That is because he was a human being, and this is how Muslims view him.

The incident of the Prophet (P) being effected [sic] by the spell of an individual simply highlights the power of God and proves the Prophethood of Muhammed (P) without demonstrating anything negative concerning him (P). The incident demonstrates that the saver [sic] and problem solver and healer of all issues and diseases imaginable is none other than God. It further demonstrates to the Muslims that Muhammed (P) was the Messenger of God and that he (P) was indeed under His divine protection. The incident serves to remind us that only God is responsible for ones [sic] health, sickness and well being and that it is only God who has cures to all the sicknesses and problems, be they physical or spiritual.

Muhammed (P) was a man like any other man, therefore we are not surprised to know that he was hurt and felt pain when he fell down, or that he was ill on a particular day etc. Similarly, him (P) being under someone's spell does not disprove his Messengership and Prophethood. What is the end of the story? The conclusion of the story is that Allah healed the Prophet (P) and eliminated the spell of the Jew by revealing His Message, the Quran. In other words, the words of Allah were employed and acted as a cure for the Prophet (P). It was demonstrated by way of a real example that they, the words of God Quran [sic], are enough to combat and eliminate any spell imaginable that anyone can pull up their sleeves. The tradition from Bukhari that the missionary sites itself concludes: "He [Muhammed (pbuh)] said, "Allah has cured me". In other words the incident demonstrates the Prophethood of Muhammed (P) because it is shown that he was under the divine protection of God. End of story. Allah permitted the Prophet (P) to be effected by a spell and used this incident as a reason to reveal certain verses of the Quran that would forever act to repel all sorts of spells and magics against the Muslims.

After repeating the same point ad infinitum, Bravo tries to appeal to the experiences of God’s true prophets to support his position:

Moses (P) was weak of tongue, and was overcome with doubts. God even PUNISHED Moses (P) for falling victim to pride, a very human weakness, when he "smote the rock" a second time to bring forth water before the people, but did not give God the credit, making it appear that it was due to his own power. God told Moses (P) that he would not reach the Promised Land with his people (Numbers 20:10-12; Deutronomy [sic] 32:51-52). Will Sam say that Moses (P) was not a prophet because he was PUNISHED by God? How much worse is that than becoming the object of a magical attack, over which one triumphs due to the personal assistance of the angel Jibreel (A.S)?!


Only Bravo could try using Muhammad’s bewitchment and possession as evidence that God was protecting his "beloved messenger"! Bravo confuses the issue by trying to introduce Muhammad’s humanity, as if this solves the problem. No one is questioning that Muhammad was anything more than a human being. What we are questioning is Muhammad’s claim of being God’s prophet. According to the Holy Bible, God’s true prophets and messengers are protected from sorcery and enchantment and CANNOT succumb to magic. Therefore, Muhammad’s bewitchment shows that he was not a genuine spokesperson of God.

Furthermore, Bravo’s "defense" of Muhammad’s possession ends up indirectly denying one of the essential tenets of Islamic belief, namely that Allah guards his prophets from gross sins. The Muslims assume that protecting prophets from gross transgressions is essential in establishing the purity of the message. MENJ, Bravo’s colleague, writes:

A Prophet of God Has Divine Guidance

Whereas a normal man only follows his own conscience or the morals of his society, a Prophet of God is guided by the perfect morals from Allāh alone. He is the perfect example for his respective Umma' to follow. His words and actions pictures the perfect man guided by Allāh as an example for mankind. The prophetic message of perfectness [sic] comes from God to his Prophet, the chosen Man to bring His message to his Umma'. If only the Message is Perfect, but the Person who brings this Message is not, who would want to follow the Person? (Source)

Yet, if Allah were capable of preventing his messengers from committing major sins then we would expect that he could also prevent them from falling under Satan’s sway. After all, what person would want to trust such a god who is incapable of protecting his prophet from the effects of sorcerers? And, in light of this, how can a person know for certain that the prophet’s message is truly from God or from Satan?

It seems that Muslims will believe that Allah could protect Muhammad from gross sins, but couldn’t protect him from a Jew’s enchantment!

But even here Allah couldn’t do a good job since Muhammad still fell into sin:

Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! Wherefore didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars? S. 9:43 Pickthall

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55 Pickthall

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19 Pickthall

That Allah MAY forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, S. 48:1-2

He frowned and turned away Because the blind man came unto him. What could inform thee but that he might grow (in grace) Or take heed and so the reminder might avail him? As for him who thinketh himself independent, Unto him thou payest regard. Yet it is not thy concern if he grow not (in grace). But as for him who cometh unto thee with earnest purpose And hath fear, From him thou art distracted. S. 80:1-10

For more on the subject of Muhammad’s gross sins, especially regarding the precise meaning of the Arabic word for sin in these references and how it refers to major offenses, as well as how some Muslims try to cover these up please read the following:

And for documentation from Muslim sources that prophets do commit gross sins, please consult the following papers:

Thirdly, Allah’s help came a little too late. Unlike the God of the Bible, Allah wasn’t able to prevent Muhammad from falling under a Jew’s enchantment which caused Muhammad to hallucinate some very embarrassing things:

Narrated Aisha:
Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle SO THAT HE USED TO THINK THAT HE HAD SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HIS WIVES WHILE HE ACTUALLY HAD NOT. (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Then one day he said, "O 'Aisha do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other. What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied he is under the effect of magic. The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?' The other replied Labid bin Al-A'sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.' The first one asked, What material did he use)?' The other replied, 'A comb and the hair stuck to it.' The first one asked, 'Where (is that)?' The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan' '' So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out.' I said (to the Prophet) "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660)

Narrated 'Aisha:
The Prophet continued for such-and-such period imagining that he has slept (had sexual relations) with his wives, and in fact he did not ... (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 89)

From Ibn Sa’d:

... Labid ibn al-Asam, the Jew, bewitched the Prophet, may Allah bless him, by which his sight became weak and his Companions paid him visits as if he was a sick man ...

‘Umar Ibn Hafs informed us on the authority of Juwaybir, he on the authority of al-Dahhak, he on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas: he said, the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, fell ill. He was bewitched about women and food ... (Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al- Kabir, Volume II, parts I & II, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi- 110 002 India], pp. 245, 247; italic emphasis ours)

Allah managed to save his "prophet" only after the latter fell sick and started hallucinating that he was sleeping with all eleven of his wives. But it gets worse. The hadith states that Muhammad repeatedly asked Allah to cure him:

Narrated 'Aisha:
that Allah's Apostle was affected by magic, so much that he used to think that he had done something which in fact, he did not do, and he invoked his Lord (for a remedy) ...
Narrated Hisham's father: 'Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle was bewitched, so he invoked Allah REPEATEDLY requesting Him to cure him from that magic)." Hisham then narrated the above narration. (See Hadith No. 658, Vol. 7) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 400)

According to certain traditions, Muhammad had to wait a long time before Allah would even answer him. Ibn Hisham, in his edited version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasulullah, wrote:

"From B. Zurayq: Labib b. A'sam, who bewitched the apostle of God so that he could not come at his wives." (Alfred Guillaume, [Oxford University Press, Karachi], p. 240; bold emphasis ours)

Alfred Guillaume, the translator, noted:

I In commenting on this Suhayli asserts that the tradition is sound and is accepted by the traditionists. He found in the Jami’ of Mu‘ammar b. Rashad (a work which I cannot find mentioned by Brockelmann) THE STATEMENT THAT THE SPELL LASTED FOR A YEAR. He adds that the Mu‘tazila and Modernists rejected the tradition ON THE GROUND THAT PROPHETS COULD NOT BE BEWITCHED OTHERWISE THEY WOULD COMMIT SIN and that would be contrary to the word of God ‘And God will protect thee from men’ (5.71). He finds the tradition unassailable. It is properly attested and intellectually acceptable. The prophets were not preserved from bodily afflictions in which category sorcery falls. (Ibid., bold and capital emphasis ours)

So Allah allowed his "messenger" to remain bewitched and to hallucinate for a year! Silas’ comments are quite relevant at this point:

Pause and think for a minute. Muhammad is supposed to be God’s greatest and last prophet. Muhammad is supposed to be receiving revelations from Allah. Yet Muhammad was so bewitched and befuddled that for one year he thought he was having sexual relations with his wives, when he actually was not! Imagine what were his wives thinking? Do you really think he was a prophet? (Source)

Keep in mind that this bewitchment did not happen before the prophetic call of Muhammad, nor did it happen in the fatrah period (an intermission where Muhammad received no revelation, see this article and the further discussions linked in it) at the beginning of Muhammad’s prophetic call. This happened in Medina when he received "revelations" regularly. In fact, the later years were the most "productive", i.e. he had revelations more often towards the end:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah sent down His Divine Inspiration to His Apostle continuously and abundantly during the period preceding his death till He took him unto Him. That was the period of the greatest part of revelation; and Allah's Apostle died after that. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 505)

The late biographer, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, places the time of Muhammad's bewitchment right after the Muslim victory at the Battle of Khaybar:

Muhammad returned from Khaybar, and Ja'far and the Muslims returned from Abyssinia. The messengers of Muhammad returned from those lands whither Muhammad had sent them. All of them met again and were reunited in Madinah. Inspiring each of them was the longing to go to Makkah in the following year and to do so in security, with shaven heads or short hair, and to perform their pilgrimage without fear. Muhammad was so pleased to be reunited with Ja'far that he said he could not tell which was the greater: victory over Khaybar or reunion with Ja'far. It was in this period that, according to a certain report, a Jew called Labid charmed Muhammad and put him under a spell. The report is self-contradictory and highly questionable. The claim that Muhammad did anything at any time without consciousness or under a spell is a sheer fabrication and hence devoid of truth. (Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, tran. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi [American Trust Publications, USA 1976; Malaysian edition by Islamic Book Trust], p. 379; online edition)

Notice just how adamant Haykal was in denying the historicity of Muhammad's bewitchment. Unlike Bravo, he apparently realized the serious implications this event has on Muhammad's claims to prophethood.


... Nothing had adversely affected his health throughout this period except a brief lack of appetite in 6 A.H. falsely attributed to Jewish magic, and a little discomfort following his eating a bite of poisoned lamb in 7 A.H. (Ibid., p. 493; online edition; bold emphasis ours)

According to some other Muslim sources the Battle of Khaybar took place at 7 A.H. (Reference).

This implies that several parts of the Quran were "revealed" at the same time as Muhammad was under the spell and influence of demons. These Quranic revelations were given through a man under demonic influence. Seemingly, both spiritual forces could coexist without a problem in Muhammad’s life. If the Quran is itself of demonic origin, this makes sense. In any case, the fact that Muhammad could be under a spell and speak "revelation" at the same time certainly makes the source of his revelations highly questionable.

Guillaume’s comment that the Mutazilas and Modernists rejected these traditions confirms what we have been saying. It shows that Bravo, by agreeing that Muhammad could be bewitched, really doesn’t understand the gravity of such an admission. He will concede and admit just about anything in order to stubbornly cling to his religion and defend the indefensible.

A little later Bravo will say in response to our claim that Muhammad was demon possessed:

This is nothing more than another blatant lie and in fact an example of the missionarys [sic] personal view, prejudice and hate feelings generated from his hatred towards Islam. But to present his personal feelings as a "fact" is deception to say the least. The missionary has not cited any source that states that Muhammed (P) was supposedly "demon possessed". Hence this is another example of his concoctions. If, however, he has proof and evidence to support his above charge, then he is required to share it with everyone instead of keeping it a closely guarded secret to himself.

Since Bravo claims that we haven’t given any sources that explicitly say Muhammad was demon possessed, we are only too happy to provide these quotes for him:

Naturally he was scared, and intimated to his wife, Khadija, the fear that he might even be possessed by an evil spirit ... Stricken with panic, Muhammad arose and asked himself, "What did I see? Did possession of the devil WHICH I FEARED ALL ALONG come to pass?" ... When he calmed down, he cast toward his wife the glance of a man in need of rescue and said, "O Khadijah, what has happened to me?" He told her of his experience and intimated to her his fear that his mind had finally betrayed him, and that he was becoming a seer or a man possessed. (Muhammad Husayn Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, tran. Isma‘il Raji al-Faruqi [American Trust Publications, USA 1976; Malaysian edition by Islamic Book Trust], pp. 73, 74)

"As she did on earlier occasions when Muhammad feared possession by the devil, so now stood firm by her husband and void of the slightest doubt, convinced him that he was called to be God's prophet to the Arabs." (Ibid., p. 75; bold emphasis ours)

According to the Muslims sources, Muhammad himself initially feared that he was demon possessed! He wasn’t the only one since even his wet nurse, Halimah, thought so as well:

"Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, ‘Two men clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring him up.’ We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and asked him what was the matter. He said, ‘Two men with white raiment came and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what,’ so we took him back to our tent.

His father said to me, ‘I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears.’ So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, ‘God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished.’ She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied THAT I DID. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told me how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra and Syria, …" (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 71-72; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Even Waraqa bin Naufal, the Christian monk whom Khadijah took Muhammad to see after his encounter with the spirit, suspected that Satan might have deceived Muhammad:

"Waraqa was dumbfounded at this, and said, ‘If Gabriel has actually placed his feet upon the earth, he has done so for the best of people thereupon. And he never came down for anyone except a prophet. For he is the companion of all the prophets and messengers, the one whom God sends down to them. I believe what you tell me of him. Send for 'Abd Allah's son, so that I may question him, hear what he says and talk to him. I am afraid it may be someone other than Gabriel, for certain devils imitate him and by so doing can mislead and corrupt some men. This can result in a man becoming confused and even crazy whereas before he had been of sound mind.’" (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume I, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 1998], pp. 296-297; italic emphasis ours)

Unfortunately, instead of sticking with his suspicions, Waraqa confirms Muhammad's prophethood despite all the biblical evidence to the contrary. [That is: IF one can believe the Muslim tradition on this point. Some people question this. See the links at the end of the Index entry on Waraqa bin Naufal.]

For further reading we recommend the following articles by Silas:

We also recommend our in-depth responses to MENJ’s reply to both Silas and myself:

Furthermore, since Bravo argued that Muhammad’s bewitchment only demonstrates his humanity, reflecting the weakness of being human, does this therefore mean (per Bravo’s logic) that a person who does not sin or commit mistakes is not human? If this is the case then Bravo has now argued that Christ is not human, or at least more than human, since Christ was sinless and never committed a single mistake. Note Bravo’s logic.

  1. Human beings make mistakes and commit sins.
  2. Jesus made no mistakes and committed no sins.
  3. Therefore, Jesus isn’t human, or at least he isn’t only human.

Bravo also said that Muhammad’s bewitchment "demonstrates that the saver [sic] and problem solver and healer of all issues and diseases imaginable is none other than God." But according to the first century eyewitness documents (i.e. the New Testament), the Lord Jesus is the savior, the problem solver, and the one who heals all issues and diseases imaginable:

"And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’" Mark 3:9-11

Again, according to Bravo’s logic, Jesus is therefore God Almighty!

  1. God alone [implied by Bravo’s formulation] is the savior, the problem solver, and healer of all things.
  2. Jesus is the savior, the problem solver, and healer of all things.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is God.

Lord willing, we will have more to say about Bravo’s appeal to the Bible and attack on Christ in part 2 of this rebuttal.

And since Bravo admits that humanity is characterized by weakness and imperfections, the question to him would be why is this so? Does this not demonstrate the accuracy and truthfulness of the Holy Bible which says that all human beings are born with a sinful nature as a result of Adam’s fall? Humans are imperfect because their nature is fallen and corrupt, making it impossible for anyone to be completely pure and innocent (with the exception of the sinless Son of God).

Bravo now tries to deny the historicity of the "Satanic verses":

The claim that the Prophet (P) "mixed up" Gods verses with "Satans" is a lie as has already been exposed in the previous section of our paper.

Hadīth al-Gharānīq al-Ula

This lie is based upon fabricated traditions. Refutations to these are already available in the links provided in the above section. What we would like to know is how could the missionary be so blatanly [sic] ignorant regarding this simple fact? It is unlikely to suppose that someone who has been authoring so much polemics against Islam would have been genuinely ignorant of this issue. Thus the only logical conclusion we can reach is that he knew his claims were fabrications, yet he still decided to hide this fact from the readers and deceptively rehashed them without even bothering to tell the entire truth. Far from proving anything against the Quran and Islam, such a tactic serves only to put more holes into his already dwindling credibility.


It never ceases to amaze us how quickly and how often Muslims will pull out the "weak traditions" or "fabricated stories" canard when facing incriminating evidence against Muhammad. Bravo doesn’t hesitate to use "weak" or "fabricated" hadiths to defend Muhammad, as he tried to do in his response to me:

Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar told us: Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullah, Az-Zuhri’s nephew, told us on authority of his father that he said: an amount of one milk drink was collected in a pot or glass, so Salīm used to drink it every day, for five days. After this, he used to enter at her while her head is uncovered. This was permission from Messenger of Allah to Sahla bint Suhail. (Source)

The narrator, Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar, is more popularly known as al-Waqidi. What Bravo forgot to mention is that Muslim scholars have rejected al-Waqidi for being an untrustworthy narrator. See our response for the details.

Yet, what is even more amazing about this is that al-Waqidi is one of the gentlemen who narrated the "Satanic verses", and is used as a scapegoat for rejecting the story! For instance, MENJ, Bravo’s companion, posts an article responding to the Satanic verses, which says:

[(*) Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Waqidi (d. 207), Ahmad ibn Hanbal said of him: "He is A LIAR." Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: "DISCARDED." Ibn `Adi said: "His narrations ARE NOT RETAINED, AND THEIR BANE COMES FROM HIM." Ibn al-Madini said: "HE FORGES HADITHS." Al-Dhahabi said: "CONSENSUS HAS SETTLED OVER HIS DEBILITY." Mizan al-I`tidal (3:662-666 #7993).] (Source:; capital emphasis ours)

We break this down in order to expose Bravo’s double standards and hypocritical methodology:

  1. When it is convenient Bravo will use "weak" or "fabricated" material to prove a point.
  2. Bravo then condemns others for using traditions which incriminate Muhammad on the basis that they are either weak or fabricated.
  3. Bravo will even use al-Waqidi to defend Muhammad against the charge of perversion.
  4. And yet Bravo’s colleague will use this same Al-Waqidi to reject the "Satanic verses" as a fabrication!

Christian Apologist John Gilchrist sums it up best:

... The evidences certainly seem to be well-founded and the arguments against them strained to the point of glaring factual inaccuracy. The rejection of the story is clearly motivated by the unpalatable nature of its contents rather than a consideration of its factual historicity. There are numerous other stories relating to Muhammad's life of no better historical foundation than this one which are nevertheless usually admitted. Indeed in many cases incidents with a much weaker claim to authenticity are accepted as genuine. A recent apologist for Muhammad has written a biography in which he makes it plain that he has relied chiefly on the earliest biographies for his facts, in particular Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa'd and Waqidi (Lings, Muhammad, p. 349), and has unquestioningly included many stories of no greater authority than the story of Muhammad's concession to the Meccan idolaters. This story, however, is omitted without any reference to it whatsoever. Clearly it is rejected, not because it has a poor historical foundation, but because it records a damaging lapse made by Muhammad during his ten year ministry at Mecca. (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, "Satan's Interjection and its Implications"; Source)

Thankfully though, al-Waqidi wasn’t the sole person who narrated the incident. There were many others that did as well, such as renowned Muslim historian al-Tabari as well as leading Muslim exegete al-Zamakhshari.

In fact, many Muslims believe that Quranic passages were "revealed" in connection with this event:

And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend. And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little. Then had we made thee taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying, then hadst thou found no helper against Us. S. 17:73-75 Pickthall

Ibn Sa’d wrote in connection with the above citation:

... Then the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, approached them (Quraysh) and got close to them, and they also came near to him. One day he was sitting in their assembly near the Ka‘bah, and he recited: "By the Star when it setteth", till he reached, "Have ye thought upon Al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other". Satan made him repeat these two phrases: These idols are high and their intercession is expected. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, repeated them, and he went on reciting the whole surah and then fell in prostration, and the people also fell in prostration with him. Al-Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah, who was an old man and could not prostrate, took a handful of dust to his forehead and prostrated on it. It is said: Abu Uhayhah Sa‘id Ibn al-‘As, being an old man, took dust and prostrated on it. Some people say: It was al-Walid who took the dust; others say: It was Abu Uhayhah; while others say: Both did it. They were pleased with what the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, had uttered. They said: We know that Allah gives life and causes death. He creates and gives us provisions, but our deities will intercede with Him, and in what you have assigned to them, we are with you. These words pricked the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. He was sitting in his house and when it was evening, Gabriel, may peace be upon him, came to him and REVISED the surah. Then Gabriel said: Did I bring these two phrases. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: I ascribed to Allah, what He had not said. THEN ALLAH REVEALED TO HIM: "And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend.

And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little.

Then had We made thee taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying then hadst thou found to [sic] helper against Us.

... This prostration became known to people till the news reached Abyssinia and the Companions of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the people of Makkah fell in protraction and joined Islam including al-Walid ... The people said: When such persons have joined Islam, who else remains in Makkah? They said: Our relatives are dear to us. SO THEY RETURNED. When they were at a distance of one hour’s walk from Makkah, they confronted some horsemen of Kinanah. They inquired about the Quraysh and their affairs. The horsemen said: MUHAMMAD SPOKE WELL OF THEIR DEITIES, SO THEY FOLLOWED HIM, but they turned apostate. He began to abuse their gods and they began to harm him. We left them in this struggle. They discussed that they should return to Abyssinia, but then they said: We have reached here, so let us enter (the town), see the Quraysh and visit our families and then return. (Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat, volume I, parts I & II, pp. 237-238; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Al-Bukhari also records the prostration of the pagans after Muhammad recited surah 53, but doesn’t tell us why they did:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet I prostrated while reciting An-Najm and with him prostrated the Muslims, the pagans, the jinns, and all human beings. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 19, Number 177)

Narrated Abdullah:
The first Sura in which a prostration was mentioned, was Sura An-Najm (The Star). Allah's Apostle prostrated (while reciting it), and everybody behind him prostrated except a man whom I saw taking a hand-full of dust in his hand and prostrated on it. Later I saw that man killed as an infidel, and he was Umaiya bin Khalaf. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 386)

Here is the other verse believed to be "sent down" in response to Muhammad’s lapse:

Never did We send an apostle or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire (tamanna), Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but God will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and God will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for God is full of Knowledge and Wisdom: S. 22:52 Y. Ali

The use of the word desire (tamanna) leaves little doubt that this is referring to the Satanic verses which once formed part of surah 53. This very word is actually used in the very surah which at one time contained these verses:

Now tell me about Lat and Uzzu; And Manat, the third one, another goddess. `What! for you the males and for Him the females?' That, indeed is an unfair division. These are but names which you have named - you and your fathers - for which ALLAH has sent down no authority. They follow naught but conjecture and what their souls desire, while there has already come to them guidance from their Lord. Can man have whatever he desires (tamanna)? S. 53:19-24 Sher Ali

It is no mere coincidence that both passages use the very word (tamanna), one in connection with Satan interjecting something into Muhammad’s desires, the other with the pagans’ desires regarding the daughters of Allah. It shows that Satan interjected the desires of the Meccans for these pagan goddesses into Muhammad’s desires for wanting to be reconciled with his people, which led to Muhammad reciting verses praising the so-called daughters of Allah.

Ibn Kathir, who has doubts whether the story is true, nonetheless admits:

How the Shaytan threw some Falsehood into the Words of the Messengers, and how Allah abolished that

At this point MANY of the scholars of Tafsir mentioned the story of the Gharaniq [Sam- the name given in praise of the daughters of Allah] and how many of those who had migrated to Ethiopia came back when they thought that the idolators of the Quraysh had become Muslims, but these reports all come through Mursal chains of narration and I do not think that any of them may be regarded as Sahih. And Allah knows best ... (Source; underline emphasis ours)

Here, also, is a quotation and translation of Al-Jalalayn’s commentary on 22:52:

وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول" هو نبي أمر بالتبليغ "ولا نبي" أي لم يؤمر بالتبليغ "إلا إذا تمنى" قرأ "ألقى الشيطان في أمنيته" قراءته ما ليس من القرآن مما يرضاه المرسل إليهم وقد قرأ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في سورة النجم بمجلس من قريش بعد : "أفرأيتم اللات والعزى ومناة الثالثة الأخرى" بإلقاء الشيطان على لسانه من غير علمه صلى الله عليه وسلم به : تلك الغرانيق العلا وإن شفاعتهن لترتجى ففرحوا بذلك ثم أخبره جبريل بما ألقاه الشيطان على لسانه من ذلك فحزن فسلي بهذه الآية ليطمئن "فينسخ الله" يبطل "ما يلقي الشيطان ثم يحكم الله آياته" يثبتها "والله عليم" بإلقاء الشيطان ما ذكر "حكيم" في تمكينه منه بفعل ما يشاء (Source)

"Never did We send a Messenger before thee " meaning a prophet who was commanded to deliver a message.

"or a prophet" meaning a prophet who was not commanded to deliver a message.

"but when he framed a desire" meaning when the prophet began to read.

"Satan threw into his desire" meaning that Satan inserts a reading that does not belong in the Quran, but the receivers of the message accept it. The prophet (pbuh) had recited surah 53 (Al-Najm) in the presence of Quraish, but after he read the verse 53:19-20 "Have ye seen Lat, and 'Uzza and another, the Third (goddess), Manat?", the devil caused the prophet to pronounce with his own tongue, though he was unaware of it, the following verse: "Those mighty cranes (deities), whose intercession is desirable." The people of Quraish rejoiced in this saying but the angel Gabriel informed the prophet of what Satan had inserted (into the verse) using the prophet’s own tongue. Because of this, the prophet was exceedingly sad, so this verse was given to assure him.

"but Allah will cancel anything" meaning Allah will annul.

"anything that Satan throws in and Allah will confirm His Signs" meaning Allah will establish.

"for Allah is full of knowledge" of what Satan throws, as was mentioned previously.

"and wisdom" in that Allah allows certain things because He does what He wills.

One Muslim writer, S. M. Darsh, although disagreeing that the story is authentic, nonetheless mentions that renowned Muslim scholars Ibn Hajar and Sheikh-ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyya, believed it. The following quotes are taken from Appendix B: Islam Admits Its Sources Record 'Satanic Verses', to Brother’s Mark’s book, A Perfect Qur’an or ‘So it was Made to Appear to them’? (online edition). All bold and capital emphasis ours:

... Some, like b. Hajar, in his commentary upon al-Bukhari, somehow accept its reliability ... (p. 100)

He [Ibn Taymiyya], then, raises the question: Could the Prophets say that Allah, later on, redresses and rectifies, so that He will abrogate the spurious line that Satan has slipped in and confirm His verses? He answers the question in the light of the predominant views. The overall view recorded by the predecessors (as-salaf) is in agreement with the Quran. The successors did not accept that view and discredited the account given about the addition to the Chapter of an-Najm (The Star): "These are the high flying cranes. And surely their intercession is to be sought" on the grounds that this account was not established as an authentic one. But those who KNOW THAT IT IS WELL-FOUNDED say that this is what Satan has slipped into their ear, and not what the Prophet actually uttered. But the question in still valid notwithstanding the explanation.

Those who confirm the account given by the predecessors say that this is authentically reported beyond any challenge, and that the Quran bears testimony to it in the statement ... (p. 106; bold and capital emphasis ours)

It is clear that B. Taymiya, with his solid traditional background, with his extensive knowledge of the traditions, with his hard attitude against anything that infringes upon the pure concept of Islam and with his awareness of the theological implications of such a story, has no hesitation in accepting its authenticity. Not only does he accept its authenticity, but he goes on to say that tamanna here, absolutely, recited. For Allah thereafter says that "Allah will suppress what Satan throws in, then will confirm His Verses." This cannot all be the desire of the heart, which the Prophet did not utter" ...

This attitude leaves the critics in a very difficult position. While great scholars like al-Tabari, B. Hajar, B. Taymiya accept the story as being authentic, the overwhelming majority brand it as a forgery. Is there any way out of this dilemma? (p. 107)

The same author also says of Tabari’s ability as a hadith scholar and the authenticity of this story’s chain of transmitters:

... He is described in the books comparing Hadith reporter as a trustworthy muhaddith himself. The authorities upon whom he relied in relating the story up to at-Tabioun (the followers of the companions), are deemed by Hadith scholars as trustworthy at least in two chains of narrations. (p. 100)

It seems that those who have accepted the authenticity of the episode of al-gharaniq were mainly interested in the technicality of the chain of reports. Does it satisfy the conditions of an acceptable report? THEIR ANSWER WAS YES. What about its theological implications? Then they started the uphill task of explaining them away. As mentioned earlier, it would have been sufficient for them to drop the episode altogether. It is not worthy of the efforts they have made to corroborate or to explain the story. In fact, there is simply no necessity at all to insert it in order to explain the verse of al-Hajj. The Quranic verse came simply as a consolation to the Prophet at a time when Allah was saying to him: "yet it may be, if they believe not in this statement, that you will torment your soul with grief over their footsteps." {Ch. 18, v.6] (p. 109)

Regarding the reason for the "revelation" of surah 22:52, the author mentions:

a. As mentioned earlier, the authenticity of the story was denied by great exegetes and jurists like b. Kathir, Ash-Shawkani, and b. Al-Arabi, but they explained the Quranic verses of al-Hajj 52-55, IN THE LIGHT OF THE REJECTED STORY! They did not advance satisfactory alternative explanations... (p. 111)

Even in the above-mentioned article from G.F. Haddad that is found on MENJ's site, the author admits:

[Then al-Tabari proceeds to narrate reports to that effect, all of them weak, but the collective weight of which suggests authenticity AS STATED BY IBN HAJAR in Fath al-Bari (see below).].

7. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, 1959 ed. vol. 8: [p. 439] All the paths of this hadith are either weak or cut off, except for that of Sa`id ibn Jubayr... However, the profusion of the chains SHOW THAT THE STORY HAS A BASIS, furthermore, there are two other "mursal" chains whose narrators are those of Bukhari and Muslim. The first one is that narrated by al-Tabari through Yunus ibn Yazid from Ibn Shihab [al-Zuhri]: "Abu Bakr ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham narrated to me," etc. The second is what al-Tabari also narrated through al-Mu`tamir ibn Sulayman and Hammad ibn Salama from Dawud ibn Abi Hind from Abu al-`Aliya.... Contrary to what Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi and al-Qadi `Iyad have claimed whereby the story has no basis at all.... When the paths of a hadith are many and distinct, IT SHOWS THAT THE REPORT HAS A BASIS.... So, as I said, there are THREE SOUND but 'mursal' chains for it, among them what MEETS THE CRITERIA OF THE TWO SAHIHS but for the fact that they are 'mursal'. These constitute proof for both those that accept 'mursal' reports as proofs and those that do not, due to the mutual strengthening of the chains. (Source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The readers should keep this one thing in mind. These are all Muslim sources speaking about this event! And this is the problem that Bravo has to face, the fact that Muslims (not Jews, Christians or Orientalists) originated the story of Muhammad reciting verses from Satan.

Because of this, there is little doubt amongst many Islamic scholars or Orientalists (a term which Bravo uses degradingly), whether Christian or non-Christian, that this story is authentic. For instance, Sir William Muir wrote:

This narrative founded on fact.

Pious Mussulmans of after days, scandalized at the lapse of their Prophet into so flagrant a concession to idolatry, would reject the whole story. But the authorities are too strong to be impugned. It is hardly possible to conceive how the tale, if not founded in truth, could ever have been invented. The stubborn fact remains, and is by all admitted, that the first refugees did return about this time from Abyssinia; and that they returned in consequence of a rumour that Mecca was converted. To this fact the narratives of Wackidi and Tabari afford the only intelligible clue. At the same time, it is by no means necessary that we should literally adopt the exculpatory version of Mahometan tradition; or seek, in the interposition of Satan and Gabriel, an explanation of actions to be equally accounted for by the natural workings of the Prophet's mind. (Sir William Muir, Life of Mahomet, Vol. II, Chapter 5: online edition)

The late Iranian Islamic scholar, 'Ali Dashti, while referencing surah 17:73-75, said:

... Furthermore certain Qor'an commentators state that the occasion of the revelation of these verses was an incident - the affair of the cranes - which is reported in many biographies and stories of the Prophet ...

... After these verses [Sam- 53:19-20] came two more verses, which were excised from most of the early copies of the Qor'an because it was thought that Satan put them into the Prophet's mouth and that the Prophet regretted having uttered them ...

Believers in the Prophet's absolute infallibility deny the possibility of any occurrence inconsistent with that principle. They therefore treated the story as a fabrication and went so far as to excise the two sentences from the Qor'an. Nevertheless the evidence given in well-attested reports and in the interpretations of certain commentators makes it likely that the incident occurred. The two irreproachably pious authors of the Tafsir ol-Jalalayn consider it to have been the occasion of the revelation of verse 51 of sura 22 (ol-Hajj), which they interpret as a sort of divine consolation sent down to relieve the Prophet of the bitter remorse which he felt after his utterance of the two sentences ...

The Qor'an contains other passages with the same purport, and in several contexts makes it clear that the Prophet was not infallible ... (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from the Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 31-32)

Noted historian of the Arab peoples Philip K. Hitti is another authority who accepts the veracity of this event:

Among the urban population of al-Hijaz, and only about seventeen per cent of the population was such, the astral stage of paganism was reached early. Al-'Uzza, al-Lat and Manah, the three daughters of Allah, had their sanctuaries in the land which later became the cradle of Islam. In a weak moment the monotheistic Muhammad was tempted to recognize these powerful deities of Makkah and al-Madinah and make a compromise in their favor, but afterwards he retracted and the revelation is said to have received the form now found in Surah 53:19-20. Later theologians explained the case according to the principle of nasikh and mansukh, abrogating and abrogated verses, by means of which God revokes and alters the announcements of His will; this results in the cancellation of a verse and the substitution of another for it (Koran 2:100). (Hitti, History of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present, revised tenth edition, new preface by Walid Khalidi [Palgrave Macmillan, 2002; ISBN: 0-333-63142-0 paperback], pp. 98-99)

And so does author Benjamin Walker:

In 616 Muhammad, in an attempt to placate his Meccan opponents, spoke favourably of these three goddesses, but he withdrew his approval not long after (see section 5.21). (Walker, Foundations of Islam: the Making of a World Faith [Peter Owen Publishers, London and Chester Springs], p. 44)

The pressure on Muhammad to make concessions to pagans of Mecca continued to increase, and, according to al-Tabari, he himself was keen to make it easier for the Meccans to accept his message. With this in mind, in 616 he tried to come to some reconciliation with the polytheists in respect of the deities Allat, Ozza and Manat, the three most popular goddesses of Mecca and the neighboring towns, and decided to admit them as worthy of honour.

He went to the Kaaba and, in the presence of the elders of Mecca, recited the verses still found in the Koran (53:19-20) calling attention to three goddesses. He then added the words 'These are the exalted damsels [gharanik - variously translated as 'females,' 'birds,' 'swans,' 'herons,' 'cranes'] mounting upward to heaven, whose intercession may be sought.'

The idolators were delighted with the new trend in Muhammad's revelation, which was taken as bestowing divine status upon these deities and authorizing their worship, and, although some scoffed at his so-called monotheism, there was general relief that the tension had been eased. The reconciliation seems to have lasted long enough for the exiles to receive the news in Abyssinia, and for some of them to return to Mecca.

But, after a time ('the same evening', according to some; 'weeks' or even 'months' according to others), Muhammad realized that the compromise was ineffectual. He then retracted what he had said, explaining that the additional verses had been placed on his tongue by Satan and had been uttered by him under delusion. Accordingly the 'satanic verses' were excised and replaced by others. In any event, the opponents of Muhammad were not slow to point out that, if the excised verses had been inspired by Satan, how could one be sure that other parts of the Koran, if not the whole of it, were not the result of satanic prompting (wiswas) rather than divine inspiration (wahi)? In response, Muhammad declared that Satan had tampered with the revelations of the past apostles too, but 'God brings to nought that which Satan has suggested' (22:51). As for his teachings, he emphasized, they could not be the doctrines of an accursed Satan (81:25).

The story of the satanic verses has been the subject of endless and bitter controversy. Historians and commentators like al-Wakidi, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Saad, al-Tabari, al-Zamakhshari, al-Baydawi and Jalaluddin, are among those who have mentioned the incident. Later theologians began to deem it heretical to believe that Muhammad should have suffered such a lapse, 'after he had received the truth', and the incident was seldom recorded in the later biographies of the Prophet and is denied by many Muslims to this day. (Ibid., 5.21 The Satanic Verses, pp. 110-111)

Christian author Ernest Hahn cites in an endnote some additional sources affirming the veracity of the Satanic verses:

(This article, originally written in 1989 and here slightly edited, draws freely from 1. A Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Oxford, a translation of Ibn Hisham's early Arabic biography of Muhammad; 2. W. M. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953, pp. 101-109. Reference to the topic is also found in a recently published biography of Muhammad by the Iranian Ali Dashti, Twenty-Three Years, translated from Persian by F. R. C. Bagley. Likewise, as to the event's historicity, Shabbir Akhtar's statement is of interest: "... This potentially damaging event, recorded in detail by a scrupulously honest Muslim tradition, had demonstrated the possibility that the Devil could interfere with the Prophet's reception of the revealed text ... In quoting the relevant passages from surah 53 (vv. 19-23) of the Koran—which retain universal currency and complete textual purity—Rushdie perversely substitutes the original continuation of the passage containing the Satanic contribution (p. 114). Elsewhere the Qur'an clearly declares that God annuls the diabolical suggestions made to the Prophet" ("An Open Letter concerning Blasphemy" in Newsletter, Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Birmingham, Selly Oaks, May 1989; cf. Shabbir Akhtar, A Faith for all Seasons, Bellew Publishing, London, 1990, p. 59). On the historicity of the event, see also Yaqub Zaki, "The Qur’an and Revelation" in Islam in a World of Diverse Faiths, ed. Dan Cohn Sherbok, St. Martin’s Press, New York, p. 43: "... Satanic inspiration is known by the onomatopoeic wiswas (whispering) and there are two verses in the Qur’an whose source was recognized as satanic and were in consequence struck out immediately." It does seem, however, that "immediately" is questionable. Quranic quotations come from M. Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. I found no reference to the satanic verses in Yusuf Ali's popular Quranic commentary! For a better-researched and more detailed presentation on this topic, please refer to Silas, Muhammad and the Satanic Verses, -- Ernest Hahn, 2000) (Source; underline emphasis ours)

William Montgomery Watt states:

If we compare the different versions and try to distinguish between external facts in which they agree and the motives which the various historians ascribe in order to explain the facts, we find at least two facts about which we may be certain. Firstly, at one time Muhammad MUST HAVE publicly recited the satanic verses as part of the Qur’an; it is unthinkable that the story could have been invented by Muslims or foisted upon them by non-Muslims. Secondly, at some later time Muhammad announced that these verses were not really part of the Qur’an and should be replaced by others of a vastly different import. The earliest versions do not specify how long afterwards this happened; the probability is that it was weeks or even months ...

The Muslim scholars, not possessing the Modern Western concept of gradual development, considered Muhammad from the very first to have been explicitly aware of the full range of orthodox dogma. Consequently it was difficult for them to explain how he failed to notice the heterodoxy of the satanic verses. The truth rather is that his monotheism was originally, like that of his more enlightened contemporaries, somewhat vague, and in particular was not so strict that the recognition of inferior divine beings was felt to be incompatible with it ... (Watt, Muhammad at Mecca [Oxford University Press, Karachi; second impression, 1993], pp. 103-104; underlined emphasis ours)

Indeed the story is so strange that it must be true in its essentials. It is unthinkable that anyone should have invented such a story and persuaded the vast body of Muslims to accept it. Moreover there is a passage in the Qur'an which describes something of this kind. (Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman [Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K., 1975 (1961)], p. 61)

Maxime Rodinson claims:

"There was one incident, in fact, which may reasonably be accepted as true because the makers of Muslim tradition would never have invented a story with such damaging implications for the revelation as a whole ..." (Rodinson, Muhammad [The New press, NY, 2002; ISBN: 1-5-6584-752-0], p. 106)

F.E. Peters refers to al-Tabari’s narration of the Satanic verses, saying:

Muhammad had had an experience of God, and his passage from identifying the source of that experience first with his "Lord," then with al-Rahman, and finally with Allah is only one example, and not the most striking, of the modification of his beliefs over a period of time. We have already noted the presence of the goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat at Mecca. The same three goddesses appear - and then disappear - in an extremely curious and much-discussed passage in Sura 53 of the Quran. The exact context of the sura is unknown, but Muhammad was still at Mecca and was apparently feeling the pressures of the Quraysh resistance to his message ...

This is the indubitably authentic story - it is impossible to imagine a Muslim inventing such an inauspicious tale - of the notorious "Satanic verses" ... What was first granted and then rescinded was permission to use the three goddesses as intercessors with Allah. It was, as has been suggested, a critical moment in Muhammad’s understanding of the distinction between Allah as simply a "high god," the head of the Meccan or Arabian pantheon where the lesser gods and goddesses might be involved as go-betweens, and the notion that eventually prevailed: Allah is uniquely God, without associates, companions, or "daughters." The goddesses were, as the revision put it, "nothing but names," invented by the Quraysh and their ancestors. (Peters, [State University of New York Press [SUNY], Albany 1994], pp. 160-161; bold emphasis ours)

Alfred Guillaume says:

Distressed by the estrangement from his townsmen and by the illwill that beset him, Muhammad was led into making a temporary but very small concession to heathenism. In sura 53:19 he recited the words: 'Al-lat, al-Uzza, and Manat are the exalted virgins [the exact meaning of the word is not known] whose intercession may be counted on.' These words immediately won over the Meccans who joined him in prostrating themselves before Allah; but, as the biographer reports, Gabriel came to him and upbraided him for including words which had not been revealed to him, and revealed (sura 22:51): 'Never have we sent apostle or prophet before you but when he allowed his own wishes to predominate Satan interjected words into his desires; but God cancels what Satan interjects.' Critics of tradition have endeavored to discredit the honesty of those who reported this story; but it is impossible to suggest a motive for its invention other than a desire to discredit Muhammad, the Quran, and Islam itself-and such a supposition in regard to sincere Muslims is absurd. In fact the incident is the strongest possible testimony to the sincerity of Muhammad. Of course IT OPENS THE DOOR TO THE ENQUIRY WHETHER HE MAY HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN IN SUPPOSING THAT HIS WORDS WERE INSPIRED ON OTHER OCCASSIONS ALSO; but as the Quran itself rightly says, this has been the possible fate of prophets at all times, and there have been prophets who have not frankly and immediately acknowledged that they were mistaken… All that these interpolated words meant was that the divine or semi-divine beings acted as intercessors with Allah, an office which in Islam is accorded to Muhammad himself. Nevertheless it was a declension from the prophet's doctrine of monotheism inasmuch as the next step would logically be prayer and supplication to the guardian angels or heavenly intercessor ...

When Muhammad withdrew these words and asserted that these goddesses had no reality but were mere names, the Meccans were more angry than before ... (Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books, reprinted edition 1990], pp. 35-36; underline and capital emphasis ours)

Guillaume hits the nail on the head in saying that this opens the door to question whether Muhammad wasn’t mistaken about the rest of the verses which he claimed were from God. But contrary to both the Quran and Guillaume, the true messengers were unlike Muhammad since they never mistakenly recited verses which they later realized were not from God. God sovereignly protected their message from any satanic interjections whatsoever.

For instance, Abu Bakr, Muhammad's close companion and the first Muslim caliph, is reported to have said:

The Apostle of God died with no one of this community having a claim against him concerning anything wrongfully taken [for which the punishment would be] one lash of the whip or [even] less. I have a Satan who takes possession of me; so when he comes to me, avoid me so that I may have no [evil] effect [even] on your hair and your skins. (The History of Al-Tabari: The Conquest of Arabia, translated by Fred M. Donner [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1993], Volume IX, pp. 11-12; bold emphasis ours)

Here is a man believed to be one of the rightly guided caliphs who had a Satan which controlled him and warns others to steer away from him when he is possessed by this evil entity! Yet, if Muslims were to steer clear from Abu Bakr whenever he was possessed how much more Muhammad? How much more should one stay away from Muhammad's claims when the hadith literature admits that Muhammad initially believed that he was demon possessed and later came under the power of an enchanter?

This leads us to the following series of questions which we would like Bravo to address.

  1. Why would Muslims narrate a story about their prophet reciting verses from Satan?
  2. What did they gain by fabricating such a story?
  3. Please explain the story in al-Bukhari: Why did the pagans all bow after the recitation of surah 53, the very surah which at one time contained these verses?
  4. Since the hadiths admit that Muhammad could fall under the power and influence of demonic activity, such as magic, then doesn’t this demonstrate the possibility that he could also have narrated verses from Satan?
  5. If Allah could allow Muhammad to be bewitched and then only later come to his aid, then couldn’t he also have allowed Muhammad to recite Satanic verses and only after that correct him?
  6. If you say that Allah protected Muhammad from reciting verses which did not originate from him, then why didn’t Allah prevent Muhammad from falling under the enchantment of a Jewish sorcerer?
  7. If Abu Bakr was dangerous as a result of being controlled by a Satan, then how much more was Muhammad dangerous in light of his bewitchment? How can anyone trust his message?

Now what will Bravo’s response be to all this? Will his response be more attacks on the characters of not just ourselves, but of all these scholars as well? Will he resort to more logical fallacies and question begging as his most recent response amply shows?

But this introduces another problem with Bravo’s methodology. Bravo is fond of quoting source after source from one liberal scholar after another against the Holy Bible and then thinks that this somehow proves his case. And yet when we pile quote after quote from sources that he happens to disagree with he will simply brush them aside by attacking the credibility of the authors. He rarely provides a meaningful rebuttal to the evidence provided by these sources. Hopefully the readers can see that we don’t simply brush aside Bravo’s sources (or any other Muslim for that matter) but try to demonstrate why they lack any real evidence. We seek to show that the opinions of such scholars are based more on their presuppositions (whether it is a denial of revelation, inspiration, or of God actually interacting with humans) than on solid facts.

If the Lord Jesus permits and in due time, we plan on addressing the so-called responses to the "Satanic verses". For the time being we recommend Silas’ fabulous article on this subject:

Silas has done a pretty outstanding job of demonstrating the historicity of the "Satanic verses", as well as addressing the common Muslim objections against this story.

Our readers can also consult these articles:

God’s True Messengers and Bewitchment

To try to put this all in perspective, we contrast Muhammad’s bewitchment with God’s true prophets and messengers. As the following passages show, Muhammad cannot compare to the true messengers of God:

"And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? HAVE YOU COME TO DESTROY US? I know who you are-the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee." Mark 1:21-28

"Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed." Acts 5:12-16

"Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city." Acts 8:4-8

"As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’ And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.’" Acts 16:16-18

"And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them AND THE EVIL SPIRITS CAME OUT OF THEM. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus, whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:11-20

Clearly, the Lord Jesus and his Apostles had power over the demonic realm which Muhammad did not have.

The next passage contrasts with Muhammad quite well and further demonstrates the superiority of God’s true Apostles:

"But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’ And Simon answered, ‘Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’" Acts 8:9-24

Not only was Simon utterly amazed at the power invested in the servants of the risen Christ, he also saw that his magic was nothing in comparison to the power of the true God. In fact, he was the one who feared what might happen to him because of the Apostles! What a huge difference there is in believing in the true, triune God of the Holy Bible with believing in Allah of the Quran!

In light of the foregoing, we present the following challenges to Bravo:

  1. Please produce one example from the Holy Bible where a true servant of God fell under enchantment.
  2. Please show us a true prophet or apostle who not only fell under the power of sorcery, but thought he was having sex with his wives as a result of it!
  3. Please show us any of God’s true spokesperson having to repeatedly ask God to be freed from the effects of magic and sorcery.
  4. Please show us any true prophet or apostle being bewitched for a year.
  5. Please produce an example of God coming to the rescue of his true servants only after the servants had already come under Satan’s power and control.

Now Bravo may cite the example of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

"So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to HARASS ME, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Several things to note from this passage.

1) Even though Paul's thorn in the flesh is unspecified, i.e. we are not told the exact nature of his physical affliction, being afflicted by Satan is not the same as being possessed or bewitched. Paul clearly says that Satan's messenger afflicted his flesh, not that his soul or spirit became possessed. More on this in later sections.

2) Paul was unlike Muhammad in this respect, since he wasn't affected by sorcery nor did he start thinking that he was doing something which he in fact didn't do.

3) The Lord Jesus told Paul that the messenger of Satan was deliberately sent in order to teach the Apostle not to depend on his own abilities, nor to get puffed up because of the revelations he was receiving. The Lord Jesus used Satan's angel to teach Paul to trust in the all-sufficient grace of Christ to carry him through all situations, which is precisely why the risen Lord didn't deliver his servant from his affliction. This is also why Paul's repeated requests to be delivered were denied.

Muhammad's situation, on the other hand, is completely different since he wasn't simply afflicted with a thorn in the side, but came under the power of an enchanter. And it clearly wasn't Allah's will for Muhammad to be bewitched since the former would later send "angels" to "save" his "apostle." This is why Muhammad having to repeatedly ask Allah to "save" him, with Allah delaying to help his "messenger," is really disconcerting and shows that Allah doesn't have the ability to completely protect a person from the clutches of Satan.

Bravo on the Bible

Bravo tries to take a stab at the authenticity of the Holy Bible. Bravo also raised some issues regarding Israel and Numbers 23:23, which we will address in the next section, Lord willing. We will also show that it is Bravo, not us, who has not just misunderstood the Holy Bible, but has also incorrectly interpreted and misunderstand his own religion. For now we want to just focus on his views regarding the Holy Bible:

The basic point to note once again is that we cannot apply the Old Testament to Muslims, as that would be ridiculous to say the least. The whole premise of the missionary's argument is based entirely on his (mis-readings [sic]) of the Old and New Testaments. Since when are we held [sic] to these books alone? That is no basis for "proof". In any case, the Old Testament verse cited by the missionary is directed to the people of Israel, a specific group of people. Prophet Muhammed (P) is not of that nation. The Quran emphatically teaches (Sam's whole argument is based on his *misreading of his* bible, so we suppose it is just fine if we use the Quran, right?):

"People of the Book, now there has come to you Our Messenger, making clear to you many things you have been concealing of the Book, and effacing many things." (5:19)

Therefore, any "proofs" the missionary claims from his book are patently false. If he refuses to acknowledge the Prophet (P) was sent down to correct the errors of his people, he is doomed, as the Quran emphatically teaches. Sam seems to think he can deduce conclusions using only his bible, but Allah Ta'ala emphatically teaches that he is taking chaff for wheat!

Bravo then writes:

Anyway, the most important point, aside from the fact that Sam stretches the meanings to ridiculous limits, is that it is no proof of anything to merely cite Bible passages! If he wants to prove things in that manner to his co-religionists, that is fine. But we do not hold discussions here based exclusively on our own books, unless we want to show something relating to our own religion. In fact, Sam's arguments place him considerably lower in my estimation, so outrageous are his mis-readings [sic], and that he would attempt to rely solely on the New Testament and Old Testament in debates with Muslims. If he wants to preach like that, using only the Old Testament and the New Testament, then he should do so with his co-religionists. However, the use of such circular arguments when having discussions with Muslims and other non-Christians is an indication of his low intelligence. That he has not even been successful using his own books, which he does not understand, further downgrades his intelligence.
Allah's blessing has been removed from Israel, the subject of Sam's verse. So why should we imagine that Israel's former condition continued to be relevant to the time and place and people of The Prophet Muhammed (P)? And what does anything in that verse have to do with "true prophets"? Allah emphatically teaches that Israel is now among the losers.


To begin with, it is the Quran, not the Holy Bible, which appeals to the previous Scriptures for verification purposes:

But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers. S. 10:94 Shakir

Hence, it is not I who assumes that I can appeal to the Bible alone to prove my point. Muhammad told people that if they had any doubts about the truth of his message then they were to consult the people who have been reading the previous scriptures.

The Quran further claims that Muhammad was inspired in the same way that the true prophets of God were:

Surely, WE have sent revelation to thee, as WE sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him; and WE sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and his children and to Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and WE gave David a Book. And WE sent some Messengers whom WE have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom WE have not mentioned to thee - and to Moses ALLAH spoke at great length - S. 4:163-164 Sher Ali

Again, Muhammad is claiming to be in the line of the prophets before him, not vice-versa.

The Quran even says that the Scriptures predict the coming of Muhammad:

Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) WITH THEM. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honour him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful. S. 7:157 Pickthall

Not only does this passage presume that there are prophecies of Muhammad, but that there were uncorrupt copies of both the Torah and Gospel available during Muhammad’s time. Clearly, the author of the Quran appeals to the previous revelation to verify his claims regarding Muhammad.

Therefore, Muhammad must be tested and compared to the previous prophets, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. His book must be compared to the Holy Bible, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. In other words, it is Muhammad and his religion which come under the magnifying class of God’s true Word, the Holy Bible. And yet Muhammad fails every biblical test for prophethood, which means that Muhammad is not a true prophet of the true God.

The Scriptures teach that if any prophet or apostle comes preaching a different message from the one proclaimed by Christ and his followers then that person is a deceiver. He is not a true spokesperson of God. (Cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Matthew 24:23-24; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 John 2:22-23, 4:1-6, 5:9-13)

This is not meant to be cruel or hateful, contrary to what Bravo would have his readers believe. It is meant to convey the truth of what the Holy Bible says. As Christians we must speak the truth, even if that means that our comments may seem insensitive to people. After all, neither the Lord Jesus nor his Apostles taught that being politically correct was more important than conveying God’s truth, even if that truth offends individuals. (Cf. Acts 4:19-20; Galatians 1:10; 4:16)

This is not something unique to Christians, since even Muslims agree that if a person comes after Muhammad claiming to be a prophet or messenger that person is nothing more than a liar, a deceiver. Just as Bravo’s colleague, MENJ, says:

Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad(P) was the Last Prophet and Messenger of God. By way of clarification it should be stated immediately that in Islam the role of a Prophet or a Messenger is far more important than in Christianity. Both the Old and the New Testament speak of prophets who have a very minor role in the community (2 Kings 2:15, 1 Cor 12:10, Acts 13:1, etc.). In Islam however, a Prophet or a Messenger expresses the Will of God for a Nation or for all Humankind. The message delivered by him is binding on those to whom it is sent and a rejection of him is a rejection of God. The work of a Messenger, furthermore, changes earlier religious laws and create a new religious community. The belief that the Prophet Muhammad(P) is the Last Prophet and Messenger of God therefore means that after him there will not arise any person who will be authorized by God to express his will for others and/or institute a new religious direction by a new expression of the religious truth and forming a religious community around that expression. Any person claiming to have such authority is suffering from self-deception and/or is lying, no matter how smart he may be or how many miraculous deeds he may perform. (Source; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Since Muhammad came after the Lord Jesus and appealed to the previous Scriptures to verify his teachings, we are therefore forced to conclude that he too was a false prophet. His doctrines plainly contradict the very Scriptures he appealed to for verification. There is simply no other way around this.

On one of his blog entries MENJ quotes Yusuf Smith on the Muslim reaction to false prophets:

If anyone wants to know why Muslims react so strongly to false prophets, they should look at our religion, and our experience, which begins from the time of the Sahaba. Islam is truth, and although "Truth stands apart from error", its defenders are also given the authority to defend it. This includes fighting false prophets and their followers, by the sword if necessary. The most notorious false prophet from that period was Musaylima, who was notorious for his brutality; he tortured the Muslims' messenger (Habib b. Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him) to death by hacking off his limbs in front of a group of people. Another, Al-Aswad al-Ansi, demonstrated the falsity of his claims to anyone who was in doubt through his diabolical behaviour in Yemen. He was killed by a Sahabi named Fayruz al-Daylami (radhi' Allahu 'anhu), and the Prophet (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) called him a "righteous servant". As for Musaylima himself, two Sahabis are credited with killing him (Abdullah b. Zaid, the brother of the aforementioned Habib, and Wahshi, may Allah be pleased with them all). They are praised for this, because it was good. Musaylima was an enemy of Islam and a cruel tyrant. (False Prophets and Muslim Reaction; emphasis MENJ's)

Yet when Christians fight vehemently against the false prophet Muhammad on the basis that Christianity is true and that its defense is committed to its followers, Bravo and company cry foul and pull out the Islamophobe canard. The hypocrisy and double standard is truly glaring and astonishing to say the least.

And here is the problem which Bravo and his "co-religionists" have shown they cannot logically solve. This is why Bravo must use the canard that the Bible has been tampered with since he realizes that the Bible exposes Muhammad as a false prophet. The problem for Bravo is that neither the textual evidence nor the testimony of the Quran supports the erroneous claim that the Bible has been corrupted, leaving him and other Muslims in a dilemma.

On the one hand, Muslims must appeal to the Holy Bible for the proof that Muhammad is a true messenger. On the other hand, Muslims realize that the Quran contradicts the essential doctrines of the Bible. So what do Muslims do? Instead of doing the logical thing and conclude that the Quran is a false book, since it appeals to the previous revelation, they decide to attack the Holy Bible!

But all this simply shows is that there are Muslims who are not logically consistent, and will even break the rules of logic in order to maintain their beliefs in Islam. So we leave Bravo with the following logical syllogism for him to deal with:

  1. The Quran appeals to the Holy Bible for verification purposes.
  2. The Holy Bible contradicts, rather than confirms, the Quran.
  3. Therefore, the Quran is a false book.

Both premises 1 and 2 are true, which means that the conclusion is also true. Logically, there is no way around this, unless, of course, you are like Bravo and are willing to discard logic.

For more on what the Quran and early Islamic traditions teach about the purity of the Holy Bible, please go here:

There you will also find my response to Osama where he appeals to one of Bravo’s arguments that I address.

Bravo’s Misunderstanding of Words and their Meanings

In our responses, we accused Bravo of failing to carefully understand his sources as well as understanding the meaning of words in their respective contexts. No greater example of this charge can be found than in what Bravo writes here:

Let me begin with "curses", curses are violent exclamations of anger, profane oaths, they are utterances intended to invoke harm or to inflict destruction or punishment upon someone. For example, I may invoke God to hurt Sam Shamoun, or I may exclaim "may you die under a bus and rot in hell forever". Now it does not follow that this will necessarily occur. These are curses. We articulate our wish and desire to see our enemy or opponent harmed or be injured. This is quite different from magic where the magician or sorcerer is required perhaps to get hold of a personal possession of the victim. Such as his/her hair, or any personal object, and then use these to conduct an elaborate "ceremony", chant certain "verses" (abracadabra) etc., the aim of which is to cause harm. If magic is performed, that is correctly, then the victim would be harmed whether he/she likes it or not, just as if they are shot they would be hurt no matter what. Whereas curses are our pronouncements of anger toward someone or something, and it does not follow that our opponent will die or get shot simply because we wish that to occur or scream in anger: "may you get shot!"

Now the missionary has not cited any evidence in support of his claim that the Prophet (P) was effected by "curses". There is no report that mentions the Prophet (P) was effected by someones curse. There is no tradition that states: "one day a man screamed: "I hope you get a high fever!" and the Prophet (P) got fever the next day etc". If such a report does exist then we would kindly request the missionary to share it with all of us instead of keeping it a secret to himself. We would certainly like to study such a report, assuming it exists, although we are quite certain that it does not. However, before such evidence is presented, it is extremely misleading and logically fallicious [sic] to claim that the Prophet (P), or anyone for that matter, was effected by a curse. Proof and evidence is required upfront [sic] before such a claim, or any claim and conclusion is inferred or articulated.

In his desperation he is attempting to not only distort issues, but also concoct false claims out of thin air and present them as if they have been extracted from a source and are "facts". However that is giving the misleading and deceptive impression to the readers, as these are nothing more than the inventions and fabrications of the missionary himself. Just because he wishes and desires for the Prophet (P) to have been effected by "curses" does not follow that he (P) was or that such an incident occurred. Is one required to be so deceptive and dishonest to "disprove" Islam? Such an example of deception only exposes the missionarys [sic] unstable mentality and adds more holes into his credibility instead of having any effect upon Islam. As we proceed with our refutation of his polemics, we will find him inventing more claims and fabrications.


For some strange reason, Bravo has chosen to focus on only one meaning of the word "curse", and on that basis attack us for what he perceives to be our false understanding. Bravo also erroneously assumes that magic entails the use of an object of some kind (but even here he is cautious since he does say "perhaps").

Bravo doesn’t realize that curse has a broader range of meaning, and it just so happens that one of the meanings refers to witchcraft and sorcery. Lest Bravo accuses us of simply making this up we provide several Dictionary entrees to support our claim:


n 1: profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger [syn: curse word, expletive, oath, swearing, swearword, cuss] 2: an appeal to some supernatural power to inflict evil on someone or some group [syn: execration, condemnation] 3: AN EVIL SPELL; "A WITCH PUT A CURSE ON HIS WHOLE FAMILY" [syn: hex, jinx] 4: something causes misery or death; "the bane of my life" [syn: bane, scourge, nemesis] 5: a severe affliction [syn: torment] v 1: utter obscenities [syn: cuss, blaspheme, swear, imprecate] 2: heap obscenities upon 3: wish harm upon; put a curse on; "The bad witch cursed the child" [syn: beshrew, damn, bedamn, anathemize, imprecate, maledict] [ant: bless] 4: exclude from a church or a religious communities [syn: excommunicate] [ant: communicate] (


1. curse [v.]

PRON: /k&rs/ FORMS: cursed (curst) × cursing × curses 1. To heap obscenities upon. 2. To utter obscenities; SYN. cuss, blaspheme, swear, imprecate. 3. To wish harm upon; PUT A CURSE ON; "THE BAD WITCH CURSED THE CHILD"; SYN. beshrew, damn, bedamn, anathemize, imprecate, maledict. (

Definitions of curse:

noun:   profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger

noun:   a severe affliction

noun:   something causes misery or death


Example: "A witch put a curse on his whole family"

noun:   an appeal to some supernatural power to inflict evil on someone or some group

verb:   utter obscenities or profanities

verb:   wish harm upon; put a curse on

Example: "The bad witch cursed the child"

verb:   heap obscenities upon

verb:   exclude from a church or a religious communities


Wikipedia states:

Curse HAS A NUMBER OF MEANINGS, all of them malevolent.

In its most basic meaning, a curse is a prayer asking that a god or similar spirit brings misfortune to someone; an imprecation or execration, the opposite of a blessing. It is also the effective implementation of the god's wrath against the victim of the curse. Other sorts of curses are imposed BY MAGIC OR WITCHCRAFT, SUCH AS THE EVIL EYE by the use of voodoo dolls.

Certain objects or places are said to be cursed. Sometimes, the curse was allegedly laid with a purpose; such a curse is supposed to have haunted the archaeologists who excavated the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen; a curse was supposedly pronounced on anyone who violated its precincts by the ancient Egyptian priests. Tecumseh's curse was reputed to cause the deaths in office of Presidents of the United States elected in years divisible by 20 beginning in 1840 (this alleged curse appears to have fallen dormant in 1980, as President Ronald Reagan, elected that year, failed to die in office). Other curses seem to have neither motive nor purpose. The Hope Diamond is supposed to bear such a curse, and bring misfortune to its owner; like Tecumseh's curse, this alleged curse has been dormant since the diamond became part of the collection of the Smithsonian museum.

Belief in curses is a part of the vague sort of animism, similar to belief in luck, that is a part of folk religion and popular superstition. The deliberate levying of these sorts of curses IS A PART OF THE PRACTICE OF MAGIC, or perhaps lies on the boundaries BETWEEN MAGIC AND RELIGION. Some people claiming to be clairvoyants or practitioners of divination attempt to get money from the gullible by telling them they are under curses that only their apotropaic powers can remove. This is an ancient type of confidence trick familiar to the Egyptians, and a species of fraud, unlawful under the laws of many jurisdictions.

In a broader sense, 'curse' is a loose synonym for blasphemy or profanity. The curse is also another term for original sin of Adam and Eve. (

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (New Edition, paperback), says the following:

noun... 2 [C] a word or phrase that has MAGIC POWER to make sth bad happen ...

verb ... 3 [VN] to use a magic word or phrase to harm them ... (p. 308)

Cambridge Dictionary of English writes:


curse (WISH EVIL)
[Show phonetics]
verb [T] 
to wish for something evil or unpleasant to happen to (someone or something), AS BY ASKING A MAGICAL POWER 
Curse them! They're animals, beasts!

[Show phonetics]
noun [C] 
In the story, A WICKED WITCH put a curse on the princess.


Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary says:


curse (PERFORM MAGIC)   [Show phonetics]
noun [C]
which are intended to bring bad luck to someone:
In the story, a wicked witch put a curse on the princess for 100 years. (

Now, here is an example of the kind of cursing that Bravo has in mind:

In the name of ALLAH, the Gracious, the Merciful. Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he! His wealth and what he has earned shall avail him naught, Soon shall he burn in a flaming fire; And his wife, too, bearer of slander, Round her neck shall be a halter of twisted palm-fibre. Surah 111:1-5 Sher Ali

Since Islam is not true then Abu Lahab perishing in hell was nothing more than the author’s wish and desire to see his enemy or opponent harmed or injured. If Abu Lahab did go to hell it wasn’t because he rejected Islam. Hence, surah 111 is exactly the kind of cursing that Bravo has in mind, one which expresses the wishful thinking of a person and doesn’t actually come to pass.

The kind of curses we were referring to are those performed by magicians, curses that refer to the harm done to an individual through the use of magic and sorcery.

In light of the preceding, it is quite evident that Bravo will say and do just about anything to attack our characters, even to the extent of failing to understand that words can have broader range of meanings then those he proposes. As we said, no greater proof of Bravo’ inability to write a cogent response and of understanding what he reads could be provided than the preceding. It is clear that Bravo’s anger and rage toward us have hindered him from understanding our rebuttals carefully and from providing an intellectual response to them.

Some Final Remarks

Before concluding this particular section, we want to correct Bravo’s confusion. He says:

The other type of "succumb" is where one does not have a choice or the free will to make a logical and coherent decision by weighing and analysing the situation and all its variables. For example, someone involved in a car accident, or any accident, may "succumb" to injuries if they happen to be too severe. Here the individual does not have a choice, as the outcome was not based upon his/her decision or action. Thus he/she cannot be blamed for very obvious reasons. The Prophets (P) "succumbness" [sic] falls in this category.

It is not that prophets are immune to satanic attack. But prophets are given divine assistance which ordinary people are not guaranteed. THAT is where we can see them as prophets. THAT is why they will come to no harm from these attacks - the very Angels are in their service! The attack itself is not the issue as one can throw stones, or curses, a demon may send an attack, at whoever they please. The point is: are these attacks successful?

It is quite clear that Bravo, in trying to defend Muhammad succumbing to magic, has confused the difference between Satan attacking God’s prophets with Satan possessing or controlling them. No one denies that one of the functions of Satan is to attack God’s spokespersons, attempting to discourage them and even throw obstacles in their way. But this is not the same as prophets being possessed and bewitched by satanic means.

It bears repeating. On the basis of the Holy Bible, we do not believe that prophets and messengers, once regenerated, can fall under the control and bondage of Satan, nor do we believe that they can be bewitched. We believe that God sovereignly protects his redeemed from falling under the influence of magic and sorcery. Furthermore, we believe that God guided the preaching and writings of the prophets and apostles to insure that their message was free of any factual and theological errors, as well as from any Satanic influence. This serves to alleviate any doubts a person may have whether the message truly originated from God or from some other source. At the same time, we do not believe that this requires that God’s spokespersons be sinless, since they still had a sinful nature. They sinned, not because Satan forced or compelled them, but because of their own sinful desires.

Thus, appealing to Moses’ sins in disobeying God (as Bravo does) only shows that Moses had a sinful nature which he struggled with. But is this in anyway parallel to Muhammad being under the power of magic? No. The fact that Bravo would even try to use this as a way of justifying Muhammad’s bewitchment, and then pass it off on Muhammad’s human frailties only shows that he either doesn’t have a real answer or hasn’t understood the difference.

This explains why Bravo cannot find an example from the Holy Bible where a true prophet or regenerated believer was bewitched or duped into reciting verses from Satan.

If all these preceding factors do not convince Bravo that Muhammad was demon possessed then no amount of evidence will change his mind. Bravo’s position echoes the saying, "Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up already."

Bravo also says:

The missionary proceeds:

This demonstrates that Muhammad was a false prophet.

Far from "demonstrating" anything against Muhammed (P), the verses used by the missionary are an ample demonstration of his lack of intelligence, misreading and misuse of his own books. Furthermore, circular argumentation does not prove anything. In anycase [sic], he has miserably failed to "demonstrate" his point and is therefore asked to "have another go". We will of course love to see what he will come up with the next time.

Since we have presented evidence which Bravo has thus far shown he has no meaningful response to, it is quite sad that he still stubbornly clings to his belief that the Quran is a perfectly preserved revelation from God. As we said, it seems that no matter how much evidence we present Bravo will still choose to blindly believe that Muhammad was able to convey the Quran perfectly.

Sadder still is his belief that Muhammad was a true prophet of God despite all the evidence to the contrary which shows that he was indeed a false prophet who came under the power and control of Satan.

We conclude this section by slightly modifying Bravo’s own words:

If the above is the personal belief view [sic] and opinion of Muslim propagandist, than it is worthless and amounts to no more than garbage as far as we are concerned. For example someone may believe that Muhammad was God’s messenger and a close friend of God. This would be ones [sic] personal belief and feeling towards this pretender but not a "fact". Someone else may perhaps believe that Muhammad wasn’t a butcher for murdering people under the pretense that he was God’s messenger, or immoral for sleeping with a minor, but that does not mean that he wasn’t, or that he wasn’t possessed by a demon. But to present this inner feeling, which eminates [sic] purely as a result of ones [sic] animosity, as a "confirmed fact" would be an example of high deception.

Therefore such a personal view and opinion, one that does not rest on any proof nor is derived from any credible source, but is merely the result, product and output based upon ones [sic] personal feelings, grudges and animosity towards a person or a group, is not admissable [sic] as "proof" and "evidence" for anything. In short, just because Bravo feels, desires and wishes Muhammed was a true Prophet who was not "demon possessed" does not mean that he was not truly "demon possessed". The overwhelming evidence from Muslim sources show that he truly was under the control of Satan, especially when this information is examined in light of God’s true Word, the Holy Bible. Thus his comments are an example of his lack of elementary intelligence.

In light of the foregoing, we trust that the readers can decide who in fact truly needs to "have another go at it."

Continue with Part 2.

Responses to Bismikaallahuma
Examining Muhammad's Claim to Prophethood
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page