Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article, "Quran Contradiction: Was Muhammad Protected From the Power of Satan?"


Bassam Zawadi

Sam Shamoun's article can be located here.

Shamoun puts forth the following verses from the Qur'an:

And certainly We created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam. So they did obeisance except Iblis; he was not of those who did obeisance. He said: What hindered you so that you did not make obeisance when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he: Thou hast created me of fire, while him Thou didst create of dust. He said: Then get forth from this (state), for it does not befit you to behave proudly therein. Go forth, therefore, surely you are of the abject ones. He said: Respite me until the day when they are raised up. He said: Surely you are of the respited ones. He said: As Thou hast caused me to remain disappointed I will certainly lie in wait for them in Thy straight path. Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and Thou shalt not find most of them thankful. He said: Get out of this (state), despised, driven away; whoever of them will follow you, I will certainly fill hell with you all. S. 7:11-18 Shakir

He said: O Iblis! what excuse have you that you are not with those who make obeisance? He said: I am not such that I should make obeisance to a mortal whom Thou hast created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. He said: Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away: And surely on you is curse until the day of judgment. He said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they are raised. He said: So surely you are of the respited ones Till the period of the time made known. He said: My Lord! because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate Except Thy servants from among them, the devoted ones. He said: This is a right way with Me: Surely, as regards My servants, you have no authority over them except those who follow you of the deviators. And surely Hell is the promised place of them all: It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them. S. 15:32-44 Shakir

O you who believe! take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you WHEN YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT WAY; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will inform you of what you did. S. 5:105 Shakir

And when thou recitest the Qur'an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast. Lo! he hath no power over those who believe and put trust in their Lord. His power is ONLY over those who make a friend of him, and those who ascribe partners unto Him (Allah). S. 16:98-100 Pickthall

Save unto every messenger whom He hath chosen, and then He maketh a guard to go before him and a guard behind him That He may know that they have indeed conveyed the messages of their Lord. He surroundeth all their doings, and He keepeth count of all things. S. 72:27-28 Pickthall

O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people. S. 5:67 Shakir

Based on the above verses, Shamoun argues that Satan does not harm Allah's faithful servants and that Allah will protect them from him.

Shamoun then goes on to show how Muhammad (peace be upon him) was affected by Satan by citing the Satanic verses story and the incident of the Prophet's influence under black magic.

Even if the story of the Satanic verses were true (it is not; see here), there still wouldn't be a problem since that story wouldn't contradict what those Qur'anic verses are saying.

As for Surah 7:11-18, 15:32-44, 16:98-100 & 72:27-28, these verses do not say that Satan cannot influence Muslims to sin. Satan's authority and control here refers to him misguiding the individual. Indeed, Satan can influence us to commit sins, but that is not the authority being spoken about in these passages. Indeed, we believe that Satan can even possess an individual! Yet, that doesn't contradict what the verse is saying. What Allah is trying to say in these passages is that Satan can only manage to lead astray from the straight path of Islam, the evildoers, and not the righteous servants of Allah. That is all.

Now, even if we were to assume that the Satanic verses story is true, this wouldn't make Muhammad (peace be upon him) an evildoer, for one version of the fabricated story of the Satanic verses states that Satan placed those words on the Prophet's mouth. Eventually, Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet later that evening and exposed Satan. So, after the Prophet was aware of this, he denounced the Satanic verses. So here we see that the Prophet remains on the straight path of Islam and is still to be considered a righteous servant of Allah who just underwent a trial from Satan.

Shamoun said:

How interesting. Allah not only listens to the suggestion of Satan but also follows his plan! Satan asks Allah for respite with the intention of plunging man into destruction, and Allah grants him his request! Either Allah knew Satan's intention and therefore wanted him to cause men to stray, or Allah didn't know it and is therefore ignorant.

It is surprising to see this kind of argument coming from Shamoun. Both Muslims and Christians alike believe that God created Satan as a test for us, and He knew that Satan would try to plunge man into destruction. Yes, this is God's test for us. What is the problem?

As for Surah 5:105, this verse talks about how you are responsible for your actions, and you won't get affected by the actions of the evil-doers because you would only be judged according to what you did. Thus, their sins won't affect you. (See Tafsir Razi) I don't see how this has anything to do with the Satanic verses story.

As for Surah 5:67, the verse is saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) shouldn't worry about preaching the message of Islam, for Allah will protect him from the people who would attempt to stop him from doing so. Also, the verse does not say what to protect from. Perhaps the verse is saying that God will protect the Prophet to the extent that he can spread the message of Islam. Maybe it only means protecting him from being killed and not protecting him from being injured. (See Tafsir Jalalayn and Tafsir Qurtubi) That would make more sense, actually, when we take into consideration the fact that the Prophets undergo the worst of trials (See Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab: Al Fitan, Bab: Al Sabr 'ala Al Balaa', Hadith no. 4013, Source)

The story about the Prophet (peace be upon him) being influenced by magic only shows that it affected him on worldly matters (he imagined he was with his wives when he wasn't) and didn't stop him from preaching Islam. Thus, this story doesn't contradict Surah 5:67.

In conclusion, Shamoun's misunderstanding of the verses in the Qur'an made him think that he had a successful argument against Muhammad's (peace be upon him) prophethood. However, as usual, Shamoun failed and will continue to fail, trying to find a successful argument against Muhammad's (peace be upon him) prophethood.

The debate continues.

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