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What Is The Tale And Legend of The Gharniq?

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The legend of the Gharniq, also known as the tale of the Satanic Verses, is a fabricated story aimed at tarnishing the noble character of the Prophet (PBUH) and undermining the divine position of the Holy Quran. This plot has been orchestrated by some adversaries and opponents of Islam.

The infamous Gharniq tale, better known as the legend of the Gharniq, is a counterfeit story based on the claim that Satan, during the revelation of the Surah An-Najm, cast verses upon the beloved Prophet that endorsed idol worship.

Regrettably, these fictitious narratives have been transmitted by some historians and interpreters of the Sunni tradition, gradually infiltrating their exegetical, hadith, and historical works.

Given that Orientalists often seek to find faults and portray the radiant face of Islam in a grim light, they argue, using these legends, that Islam is a religion filled with superstitions, illusions, and baseless myths contrary to rational and practical foundations.

Fortunately, the majority of Shia scholars and enlightened thinkers, as well as some fair-minded Sunni scholars and judicious Orientalists, have strongly confronted this fabricated tale, proficiently substantiating its falseness with cogent arguments.

In this article, we will shed light on this tale and demonstrate that it is nothing more than a baseless suspicion.

Summary of the Tale and Legend of the Gharniq

According to what Seyyed Jafar Morteza Ameli has elaborated about the legend of the Gharniq in the book “Al-Sahih min Seerat al-Nabi al-Azam”:

Resources such as “Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur,”[1] “Al-Seerah al-Halabiyya,”[2] “Tafsir Tabari”[3] and “Fath al-Bari,”[4] among the Sunni exegetical sources, have narrated stories suggesting that about two months after the migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, the Prophet was amongst the idolaters when the Surah An-Najm was revealed to him.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recited this Surah up to the nineteenth and twentieth verses (أَفَرَأَیْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّىٰ وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَىٰ),and at this moment, influenced by Satan, believed that the following well-accepted phrase amongst the idolaters was also part of Surah An-Najm:”تِلْکَ الْغَرانیقُ الْعُلی وَإنّ شَفاعَتَهُنَّ لَتُرْتَجی; These are the exalted cranes, and indeed their intercession is hoped for.”[5]

Based on this, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also, assuming it was a revelation, uttered the mentioned phrases. However, during the night when Gabriel visited the Prophet (PBUH) and he recited Surah An-Najm and also mentioned the two controversial phrases, Gabriel denied the phrases “تِلْکَ الْغَرانیقُ الْعُلی وَ إنّ شَفاعَتَهُنَّ لَتُرْتَجی” and the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Have I attributed something to God that He did not say?”.

 Subsequently, God revealed verses 73 to 75 of Surah Al-Isra to the Prophet, the translation of which is as follows: “And they were about to tempt thee away from that which We had revealed unto thee, to fabricate something other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken 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 thou wouldst have found no helper against Us.”[6]”

Reasons for the Fabrication of the Tale and Legend of the Gharniq

This fabricated tale has conveniently handed a pretext to skeptics and a fraction of Orientalists to utter frivolous remarks, despite lacking neither solid documentation nor acceptable content. This is because:

1. The story portrays the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny – God forbid – as a puppet in the hands of Satan and being overwhelmed by him, attributing something false to God. This contradicts the initial verses of this chapter: (ما ضل صاحبکم وما غوی وما ینطق عن الهوی) [7]

and other verses of the Holy Qur’an such as: (انا نحن نزلنا الذکر وانا له لحافظون) [8] and (ولو تقول علینا بعض الاقاویل لاخذنا منه بالیمین ثم لقطعنا منه الوتین) [9], which are in conflict with it.

2. Such a notion and desire attributed to the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, contradicts the principle of his infallibility and is synonymous with associating partners with God.

3. This matter conflicts with the dominating spirit of the chapter, which declares the idols as contemptible and powerless.

4. If such an issue (affirming the honorable Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny, on the idolatrous beliefs of the pagans) had been accurate, its implications would be far more extensive than the transmission of a few unreliable narrations. This itself signifies the fabricated nature of this tale. [10]”

Linguistic Meaning of Gharniq

“Gharniq” and “Gharnuq” refer to a species of sea bird, also known as “Malik al-Hazin,” and it has been said: Since the polytheists likened their idols and gods to white birds soaring in the sky – symbolizing their closeness to God – they named their idols “Gharniq.”

“Gharniq” is the plural form of “Ghirnuq,” “Ghirniq,” “Ghirnaq,” or “Ghuraniq,” meaning a young, fair-faced, beautiful, and pampered (luxurious) individual.

“Gharnuq” and “Gharniq” also refer to a white bird that swims in water and has long legs [11], and it is also called a crane [12].

The idolaters believed that their idols brought them closer to God and interceded on their behalf

Therefore, they likened their idols to birds that fly high in the sky and soar to great heights. [13]

Introduction of the Gharniq Legend in Islamic Sources

The “Gharniq legend,” referred to in Qur’anic sciences as the legend or Hadith of Gharniq, and also as the tale of Waraqa ibn Nawfal, is among the doubts raised concerning the revelation of the Qur’an and the prophecy of the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny.

Historians like Ibn Sa’d and interpreters like Tabari were among the first who transmitted narrations concerning this event, maintaining silence over its authenticity or falsehood.

According to one of these narrations, the Prophet of God (peace be upon him and his progeny) was seated in the assembly of Quraysh (near the Kaaba), wishing for a revelation that would distance Quraysh from him. Then, God revealed the chapter of An-Najm, and the Prophet recited the verses of this chapter to the people until he reached verses 19 and 20:

“أفَرَءَیْتُم اللَّتَ والعزّی • و مَنَوةَ الثالثة الأُخری = Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-Uzza, and Manat, the other third?”

At this moment, Satan interpolated these two sentences: “تلك الغرانیق العلی و إن شفاعتهن لترتجی = These are the exalted Gharniq, and their intercession is hoped for.”

After these two sentences, the Prophet continued the recitation of the chapter and the verse of prostration, and both Muslims and polytheists prostrated with him.

Even Walid ibn Mughira, a polytheist who could not prostrate due to old age, took some soil from the ground and prostrated on it. The polytheists were pleased with these words, saying:

“We know that God gives life and causes death, and He is the one who creates and provides sustenance, but our gods (idols) intercede for us with Him, and now that you have also attributed a portion to them, we are with you.” [14]

In these narratives, it is mentioned that Gabriel came to the Prophet at night to confront the verses, and when the Prophet reached those two sentences, Gabriel said: “I did not bring these.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said with immense sorrow, “Have I spoken a word against God?! And said something that was not revealed?!” Then, to console the Prophet, God sent this verse [15]

“Indeed, they were about to tempt you away from what We revealed to you, to fabricate something else against Us, and then they would have taken you as a friend.” [16]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) remained upset until verse 52 of Surah Hajj/22 was revealed for his comfort:

“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke, Satan threw into it some misunderstanding, but Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses, and Allah is Knowing Wise.” [17]

Then the Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia due to the persecution of the polytheists heard that all the people of Mecca had converted to Islam following this incident, so they returned to their tribes in Mecca, saying: “We love them (our relatives from the people of Abyssinia) more.” But they saw that, with the rejection of the satanic words by Gabriel, the polytheists had returned to their former positions.” [17]

The Probable Origins of the Story and Legend of the Gharaaniq

Considering several points, the probable origins of the Gharaaniq story become clearer:

1. Combatting idolatry and polytheism was at the forefront of the noble Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mission. Whenever he spoke about the idols, it was to negate them, and the polytheists were also aware of his methodology.

2. The polytheists advised each other not to listen to the Quran and to create noise and chaos during its recitation. (Fussilat/41, 26)

3. The Quraishi polytheists held the idols in reverence, hoping for their intercession. While circumambulating the Kaaba, they used to recite this chant: “Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat, the other third, indeed they are the exalted Gharaaniq, and their intercession is hoped for.” [18]

Therefore, it is probable that when the noble Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the verse, “Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza, and Manat, the other third?” (An-Najm/53, 19-20), and the polytheists, based on the Prophet’s usual method, knew he would continue to negate and condemn the idols. On one hand, they wanted to create a commotion while he was reciting the divine verses. They loudly repeated their motto, affirming the idols’ high status and expected intercession.

On the spot, they decided to loudly proclaim their glorification of the idols: “These are the exalted Gharaaniq, intercession is expected from them.” At this moment, people who were further away might have assumed that either this sentence, which matches the rhythm of the preceding verses of Surah An-Najm, was also uttered by the Prophet, or it was propagated as such by the polytheists themselves.

Moreover, there’s a serious consideration that this story might originate from Israelite traditions, crafted by some Jewish and Christian scholars for anti-Islamic propagandistic gains, and later incorporated into Islamic narratives.” [19]

Refuting the Tale of the Cranes (Gharaniq)

The fallacy and fabrication of the tale of the cranes (Gharaniq) can be unequivocally established through an array of evidence that includes consensus among scholars, hadith expertise, Quranic verses, and theological and rational reasoning.

1- Reasons for the Invalidity of the Tale from the Perspective of Sunni and Shia Scholars

Prominent Shia scholars and some Sunni scholars have regarded the tale of the Gharaniq as a myth and a stratagem of the hypocrites to undermine Muslims, citing logical and traditional reasons for its invalidity. Here are a few examples:

A: The Reasoning of Sunni Scholars

 Here we articulate some of the arguments presented by Sunni scholars:

1- View of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi

In his book, ‘Asmat al-Anbiya, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi mentions: The infidels have fabricated this story, and it is not mentioned in any of our authentic books. Certain Quranic verses indicate the fabrication of this story such as Verse 44 of Surah Al-Haqqah: “If he (the Prophet) had made up about Us some [false] sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand; Then We would have cut from him the aorta, and there is no one of you who could prevent [Us] from him.” [20]

Verse 6 of Surah Al-A’la: “We will make you recite, [O Muhammad], and you will not forget.”[21]

He further writes that what history states is that when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was reciting the verses of Surah An-Najm, one of the disbelievers uttered the above sentences. Since the Quraysh used to make noise when the Prophet was reciting the Quran so that others could not hear, some people presumed that these words were uttered by the blessed Prophet himself, while, in reality, they were instigations from Satan to that disbeliever.[22]

2- View of Qadi ‘Iyad

Qadi ‘Iyad, a Sunni scholar, states: There’s no doubt that some have fabricated this tale to cast aspersions on the strength of the Muslims’ cause, and the documents of this narration are all weak and unacceptable.[23]

3- View of Ibn Arabi

Ibn Arabi, another Sunni scholar, also mentions that this hadith is forged and lacks a credible chain of transmission.[24]

B: Shia Scholars’ Reasoning

 All Shia interpreters who have commented on verse 52 of Surah Al-Hajj [25] and Surah An-Najm state rationally that the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) must be infallible to ensure that his instructions to the people are trustworthy and worthy of being followed. We cannot say that people should obey a prophet who is likely to err. Obedience to an error is deviating from divine command, and this is not accurate. Some Sunnis, to cover up some of their acts, narrate this tale.

1- View of Allameh Tabatabai

As Allameh Tabatabai mentions in Al-Mizan: “There are definitive reasons in the Holy Quran and traditions affirming the infallibility of the prophets, especially in conveying revelation, that refute this story. Moreover, a prophet who pins his hopes on the intercession of idols is himself a polytheist.

How is it acceptable for some to say that the Prophet of Islam spoke of polytheism and disbelief?! This is a great insult to the prophethood. Furthermore, if Satan has the power to overcome the Prophet, what guarantee is there that he wouldn’t distort other verses?

In such a case, the credibility of the Quran would be compromised. It’s also rationally unacceptable for God to command following a prophet who recites the words of Satan as the verses of God, not realizing them as such, etc.” [26]

2- View of Allameh Tabarsi

Allameh Tabarsi also writes: “The polytheists used every trick to dissuade people from following [the Prophet], and they conveyed these phrases to the people; But Almighty God thwarted their schemes, promising the Prophet with the revelation of verse 52 of Surah Hajj, that their satanic insinuations would vanish; As Sayyid Murtadha has said, the evidence for the story of the Cranes (Gharaniq) is weak and has been criticized by Shia and Sunni scholars.” [27]

3- View of Khorasani Ameli

In Islamic Beliefs, it is also mentioned that the polytheists wished these phrases to be in the Holy Quran; but their plots and wishes were not fulfilled by the other verses of the Quran, after the departure of the Prophet, some hypocrites fabricated this story to say that the Prophet was not infallible; that he even made mistakes in conveying revelations, which was very beneficial for the Quraysh.

Among other things, they did not obey the orders of the Prophet, and that’s how the story of the Cranes entered the books of the Sunnis; although some of their scholars have said that these narratives are weak and unreliable in terms of their chains of transmission, they did not criticize the authors of the exegeses who have mentioned this story. [28]

2. The Invalidity of the Myth from the Perspective of Hadith Scholars

A. The chain of transmission of all the narratives of the Crane’s myth is disconnected. [29] The narrators of this story are all (Tab`een) followers of the companions and belong to generations after them, and they were not yet born at the claimed time of the occurrence of this story.

Among them, only Ibn Abbas is from the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family); however, his birth is at least three years after the time mentioned for the occurrence of the Gharaniq tale.[30]

Other narrators of the legend besides Ibn Abbas include Abu Salih (d. 101 AH), Saeed bin Jubair (d. 95 AH), Abu Bakr bin Abdul Rahman bin Harith (d. 94 AH), Ibn Shihab (d. 124 AH), Musa bin Uqba (d. 141 AH), Urwah bin Zubair (d. 94 AH), Muhammad bin Ka’b Qurazi (d. 120 AH), Muhammad bin Qais (d. 126 AH), Dhahhak bin Muzahim Hillali (d. after 100 AH), Abul Aaliyah (d. 93 AH), Qatadah (d. 188 AH), Mujahid (d. 103 AH), Ikrimah (d. 107 AH), Suddi (d. 127 or 128 AH).[31]

B. A hadith contrary to the Qur’an, even if its chain of narration is authentic, lacks credibility, is surely fabricated, and is false.[32] The narrations of Gharaniq are inconsistent and incompatible with the verses of the Qur’an.

C. The text of this hadith is marked by anxiety and confusion.[33] Firstly, in the narrator’s statements “these are the exalted Gharaniq…” there are discrepancies over whether it was the Prophet, one of the idolaters, or Satan who said them. Secondly, even these two sentences have been transmitted variously.

Thirdly, there are also differences concerning the time and nature of the incident, making it difficult to trust such a tale marked by various forms of confusion.[34]

D. Based on Tabari’s narration, which covers this event, verse 52 of Surah Hajj/22 and verses 73-75 of Surah Isra/17 were revealed following this story to alleviate the sorrow of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his family), who was upset for attributing certain verses to God unwarrantedly!

However, Tabari’s narration is questionable because: Firstly, according to the popular opinion of interpreters, Surah Hajj is Medinan.[35] and the Gharaniq story pertains to the fifth year of the prophethood in Mecca, making it impossible for a distressing event in the fifth year of prophethood in Mecca to occur.

After several years (at least 8 years) in Medina, verses for the comfort and relief of his anxiety are revealed.

Secondly, if “tamanna” in the verse means to wish, the verse implies that God has sent no prophet,

Except that Satan interfered in his wishes, which were the progress of religion or the faith of the people, tempted people away from the religion, and made the prophet’s efforts futile;

However, God ultimately thwarted the temptations of Satan. But if tamanna means recitation, the verse implies that when the prophets recited the verses to the people.

Satan casts misleading doubts into the hearts of people; however, God nullifies the suspicions of Satan either by refuting them through the Prophet or by sending down verses to invalidate them.[36]

Also, according to Tabari’s narration, verse 73 of Surah Al-Isra (17:73) was revealed after the story of the Gharaniq to comfort the Prophet. However, the content of this verse is foreign to the legend of the Gharaniq and even rejects it. As the scholars have said, the word “kaad” in the verse indicates a positive assertion that such an event did not occur [37], just as the word “lawla” in the following verse indicates that the Prophet, due to divine confirmation, has never been close to the idolaters [38]:

“And had We not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little.” (Al-Isra/17:74) As interpreters have stated, God in these verses is referring to the idolaters’ request from the Prophet (peace be upon him) for compromise, not speaking ill of the idols, and driving away the weak believers. They consider divine grace as a barrier to the effects of their temptations and the deviation of the Prophet from divine revelation and see the position of infallibility as a means to maintain his stability.[39]

E. The deniers of the Prophet’s prophethood have not doubted the unique personality and wisdom of the Prophet (peace be upon him). An unlettered person in the Arabian Peninsula could not produce a book that captivates thousands of scholars worldwide. Thus, how is it possible for such a person not to perceive the inconsistency, or rather contradiction, in phrases praising the idols (“these high-flying cranes…”) and the phrase in the verse following it that condemns the idols: “They are nothing but names which you and your fathers have invented…” (An-Najm/53:23)[40]

F. How did the Muslims who heard these sentences, although they were native Arabic speakers, not notice their contradiction? And if they noticed, why didn’t they waver in their beliefs and show reactions? (No reaction from the Muslims has been reported in this regard).[41]

G. The enemies of the Prophet, who spared no effort in their hostility towards him and used various accusations like being a sorcerer, a poet, or mad to disperse people away from him.

Satan casts misleading doubts into the hearts of people; however, God nullifies Satan’s doubts by refuting them through His messenger or by sending down verses that invalidate them.[36]

Moreover, according to Tabari, verse 73 of Surah Isra/17 was revealed following the story of the Gharaniq to console the Prophet;

but the content of this verse is alien to the Gharaniq tale, even refuting it. As the scholars have mentioned, the word ‘kād’ in the verse indicates that such an event did not happen,[37]

similarly, the word ‘lawla’ in the subsequent verse signifies that the Prophet, fortified by divine confirmation, was never inclined toward the polytheists.[38]

“And had We not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little.” (Isra/17,74) As the interpreters have said, these verses refer to God’s rejection of the idolaters’ request to the Prophet not to speak ill of their gods and not to drive away the weak believers, considering divine subtleties as a barrier against the influence of their temptations and the Prophet’s deviation from divine revelation. The station of infallibility is seen as a means for his steadfastness.[39]

Critics of the Prophet’s prophecy have not doubted his extraordinary intelligence and unique character. It is impossible for an unschooled individual in the Arabian Peninsula to produce a book that captivates thousands of scholars worldwide. Thus, how could such a person fail to perceive inconsistencies or contradictions in sentences praising the idols (those high cranes…) and a sentence in the subsequent verse criticizing the idols? “Have you seen Lat, and ‘Uzza, and another, the third (goddess), Manat?” They are nothing but names (vain) that you and your fathers have invented, for which God has sent down no authority.[40]

Muslims who heard these sentences, despite being native Arabic speakers, why did they not perceive their inconsistency? And if they did perceive it, why did their beliefs not waver, and why did they show no reaction? (No reaction from the Muslims in this regard has been reported).[41]

The enemies of the Prophet, who were relentless in their hostility, employing various accusations such as sorcery, poetry, and madness to turn people away from him, why did they not use this very effective document to undermine him and disperse his followers?[42]. Considering that some of them were eloquent and meticulous, why were they content with two sentences that praised their gods, while before and after these sentences, there was nothing but the denunciation of their gods and idols?[43]

The first and most important focus of the Prophet’s call and propagation was monotheism and the struggle against idolatry: “Say, there is no god but Allah, and you will succeed.” The Prophet endured all difficulties steadfastly for his divine goal and neither torments nor the siege in the valleys of Abu Talib could deviate him from his positions. He said: “Even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to abandon my propagation of religion, I will not desist.”[44]

How is it possible that he would suddenly abandon the first and most important focus of his propagation and, in the presence of friends and enemies, praise and glorify the idols, introducing them as high-ranking and possessing the status of intercession?[45]

If such an incident had occurred, it would have been widely reported by those present at the time, both Muslims and non-Muslims. However, none of those who reported this story were even alive at the time (of the alleged incident).[46]

It is stated in continuation of this story that when the emigrants to Abyssinia heard this incident, they returned to Mecca. But outside the gates of Mecca, they learned that the Quraysh had resumed their hostilities. According to Ibn Sa’d, the emigrants migrated in the month of Sha’ban in the fifth year of prophethood and returned to Mecca in Shawwal in the same year. The same author says that the Gharaniq incident occurred in the month of Ramadan of this year. Now, if this story were accurate, considering the travel time to Abyssinia and the time it would take to convey this news to the emigrants and their eventual decision to return, it would take at least six months.

This is inconsistent with the narratives, which consider the time from the incident until the return of the emigrants to Abyssinia to be about one month. This inconsistency necessitates the discrediting of the Gharaniq fable narratives.[47]”

3. Rhetorical Evidence Debunking the Tale and Myth of the Cranes

A. By the consensus of the Muslim Ummah, the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) was innocent of uttering words of disbelief, such as praising the idols,[48] and in propagating the religion, he was free from the domination of Satan.[49]

B. Such an incident would cause doubt in the truth and sincerity, and remove the people’s trust in the noble Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), if Satan’s whispering is proven in one case, this possibility would be considered in all the verses and narrations of the Prophet.[50]

C. How is it possible for God, who sent His Prophet to propagate Islam and endowed him with numerous miracles, to allow Satan such an opportunity to subsequently cause people to lose trust in the words of the Prophet?[51]

D. Is it reasonable to believe that the Almighty God would appoint someone as His messenger, but not grant him the ability to distinguish between the angel of revelation and Satan, causing him to mistakenly accept and convey the words of Satan instead of the angel, letting those words reach friends and foes, believers and polytheists, and then later make him aware of his error?[52]

E. It is also not acceptable that such words could be uttered by the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) in a state of negligence or inattention, as the phrases of these two sentences are harmonious and consistent with the previous verses, and issuing such statements in a state of negligence is not possible.[53]

4- Qur’anic Evidence Disproving the Tale of the Cranes (Gharaniq)

1- The Holy Qur’an itself, in Surah Najm, insists on the falsehood of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) error in the verses before and after 19 and 20, deeming the idols worthless. It states:

“Your companion (the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him) has neither strayed nor has he erred, nor does he speak out of desire; what he says is nothing but revelation revealed to him.” [54]

Therefore, he will say nothing but the truth. This implies the falsehood of the Gharaniq tale that has become a tool in the hands of adversaries, speaking of the three idols of the polytheists:

“These are but names which you and your fathers have invented, and God has sent no authority for them; they follow nothing but conjecture and what their souls desire, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.” [55]

How is it possible for a Prophet, who says these idols are worthless and baseless, to unknowingly say they are beautiful birds and one should hope for their intercession? In another verse, when Satan asked God for respite, he swore by His glory to mislead all humans except His sincere servants. [56]

2- The Holy Qur’an recognizes what the Prophet (peace be upon him) conveys as divine revelation: “He does not speak out of his own desire. It is a revelation revealed” (Najm/53, 3-4), while the Gharaniq tale suggests that words contrary to the monotheistic verses were cast upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). [57]

3- The Qur’an explicitly states that Satan has no authority over the special servants of God, the believers, and those who trust in God. His authority is only over those who follow him and associate partners with God:

“Satan has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord.” [58]

4- Almighty God, to ensure the flawless conveyance of divine messages to people, places guardian angels before and behind the Prophets: “For He knows they have conveyed the messages of their Lord.” (Jinn/72, 27-28) This denies the possibility of accepting the Gharaniq tale where Satan could interpose his words among divine verses. [59]

5- God has taken the responsibility of compiling, reciting, and preserving the Qur’an: “Indeed, it is We who will recite it, and indeed, We are its guardian.” (Hijr/15, 9) Thus, it is impossible for Satan to breach the Qur’an.

6- Verses 74-75 of Surah Isra elucidate the infallibility of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and negate his slightest inclination towards the polytheists with a conditional “if not.” Hence, even assuming the authenticity of the narration’s chain, the contradiction of its text with Qur’anic verses is the best proof of its falsehood. [60]

Conclusion: The Fabrication of the Story

1. References to prostrations, mosques, and the like, which appear within the “Story of the Cranes (Gharaniq),” were non-existent during the Muslim presence in Mecca.

2. Surah An-Najm was revealed in the 2nd year of prophethood, but narrators assert that this incident occurred in the 5th year of prophethood.

3. Al-Tabari presents the matter such that the “Story of the Cranes” from Surah An-Najm occurred during the day, and verse 53 of Surah Al-Hajj was revealed the same night. However, Surah Al-Hajj is Medinan, and at least five years separate the revelations of these two Surahs.

4. Subsequent verses of the same Surah (verse 23) contradict the allegations made, stating: “These are nothing but names which you and your fathers have devised, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow conjecture and their own desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.”

5. According to Ibn Sa’d, the event of the “Cranes (Gharaniq)” took place in the month of Ramadan in the fifth year of prophethood, and the emigrants returned to Mecca in the month of Shawwal the same year. It was impossible at that time to travel from Mecca to convey the news to Abyssinia and then for the emigrants to return from Abyssinia to Mecca within a month.

6. Ibn Abbas, who has alluded to this story, was born in the 10th year of prophethood, while the incident, according to narrators, occurred in the 5th year of prophethood.

7. One of the narrators of this story, Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qurazi, does not attribute this story to anyone, and he was born in the year 40 Hijri. Additionally, he belonged to the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza, the only Jewish tribe that the Prophet fought against, which suggests a possible bias or malice in this case.

8. Muhammad ibn Ishaq states that this hadith is a fabrication of the heretics, and he has not written a book concerning it.

9. Muslim and Bukhari, significant scholars of the Sunni tradition who were contemporaries of Al-Tabari, have made no reference to the existence of such a story.

10. Ibn Hisham, a student of Muhammad ibn Ishaq, did not include this subject in his book (As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah).

11. Al-Tabari included this because Muhammad ibn Ishaq had transmitted the narration, and thus, he incorporated it into his writings.


1. Suyuti, Al-Durr al-Manthur, 1404 AH, Vol. 4, pp. 194 and 366-368.

2. Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyah, Beirut, Vol. 1, pp. 325-326.

3. Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayan, 1412 AH, Vol. 17, pp. 131-134.

4. Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 1379 AH, Vol. 8, pp. 439-440.

5. Ameli, Al-Sahih min Sirah al-Nabi al-A’zam, 1415 AH, Vol. 3, pp. 137-138.

6. Ameli, Al-Sahih min Sirah al-Nabi al-A’zam, 1415 AH, Vol. 3, pp. 137-138.

7. Najm/Surah 53, Verses 2-3.

8. Hijr/Surah 15, Verse 9.

9. Haqqah/Surah 69, Verses 44-46.

10. Ma’rifat, Muhammad Hadi, 1309-1385, Al-Tamhid fi Ulum al-Quran, Vol. 1, pp. 119-130.

11. Lisan al-Arab, Vol. 10, p. 61, “Gharnuq.”

12. Majma’ al-Bahrain, Vol. 3, p. 309, “Gharnuq.”

13. Al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, p. 364.

14. Jami’ al-Bayan, Vol. 10, Vol. 17, p. 245.

15. Al-Tabaqat, Vol. 1, pp. 160-161.

16. Isra/Surah 17, Verses 73-75.

17. Al-Tabaqat, Vol. 1, pp. 160-161.

18. Tarikh Quran, p. 158.

19. Al-Isra’iliyat, pp. 316-321; Miqat, Ch. 24, p. 73.

20. Haqqah (69), Verses 44-47.

21. A’la (87), Verse 6.

22. Razi, Fakhr al-Din, Ismat al-Anbiya, p. 93, Location unknown.

23. Qadi ‘Iyad, Hafiz, Al-Shifa bi Ta’rif Huquq al-Mustafa, Vol. 2, p. 118, Location unknown.

24. Qadi Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh al-Najari, Vol. 8, p. 355.

25. Hajj (22), Verse 52.

26. Tabataba’i, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn, Al-Mizan, Vol. 14, p. 561, Translated by Muhammad Baqir Musawi Hamadani, Qom, 1363 SH.

27. Tabarsi, Fadl, Majma’ al-Bayan, Translation by a group of translators, Vol. 7, p. 163, Tehran, 1350 SH.

28. Qurani Ameli, Ali, Al-Aqa’id al-Islamiyah, Vol. 3, p. 53, Location unknown, First edition.

29. Nasb al-Majaniq, pp. 5, 18; Miqat, Ch. 24, pp. 58, 62; Al-Isra’iliyat, pp. 314-315.

30. Al-Isabah, Vol. 4, p. 122.

31. Al-Jaami’ al-Bayaan, vol. 10, p. 244, 250; Ad-Durr al-Manthoor, vol. 6, p. 65, 69.

32. Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 68; Amaan al-Ummah min al-Ikhtilaaf, p. 67-68; Umdah, p. 84.

33. Al-Huda ila Deen al-Mustafa, vol. 1, p. 168, 172; Al-Rawaasih, p. 190; Nasb al-Majaaniq, p. 19.

34. Taarikh al-Qur’an, p. 158.

35. Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 7, p. 109; vol. 10, p. 613; Al-Burhaan fi ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 281; Al-Mizaan, vol. 14, p. 338.

36. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 51-52; Al-Mizaan, vol. 14, p. 390, 393; Al-Israa’iliyaat, p. 322.

37. Al-Burhaan fi ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, vol. 4, p. 120.

38. Al-Bahr al-Muheet, vol. 7, p. 90.

39. Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 6, p. 665-666; Al-Mizaan, vol. 13, p. 172-173.

40. Al-Tamheed, vol. 1, p. 94-95; Naqd Tawattu’ Aayaat Shaytaani, p. 62.

41. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 51; Al-Saheeh min Seerah, vol. 3, p. 142, 145.

42. Al-Tamheed, vol. 1, p. 95; Qadhaaya Qur’aniyya, p. 119; Foroogh Abadiyyat, vol. 1, p. 343-344.

43. As-Seerah an-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, p. 289, 292, 354; Foroogh Abadiyyat, vol. 1, p. 351-358.

44. As-Seerah an-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, p. 266.

45. Naqd Tawattu’ Aayaat Shaytaani, p. 61; Min Wahy al-Qur’an, vol. 16, p. 99.

46. Al-Tamheed, vol. 1, p. 87; Pajuhesh-haaye Qur’ani, vol. 1, p. 88, 90.

47. Miqaat Hajj, year 6, issue 24, p. 66-67.

48. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 50; Tanzeeh al-Anbiyaa’, p. 17, 23, 151, 154; Ruh al-Ma’aani, vol. 10, p. 263.

49. Ruh al-Ma’aani, vol. 10, p. 270; Al-Mizaan, vol. 14, p. 396-397; Taarikh al-Qur’an, p. 148.

50. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 51.

51. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 51.

52. The same, p. 50.

53. The same, p. 52-53.

54. An-Najm (53), verse 2-4.

55. An-Najm (53), verse 23.

56. Saad (38), verse 83 and 82.

57. The same, p. 50; Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 17, p. 57; Al-Tamheed, vol. 1, p. 91.

58. Al-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 23, p. 58; Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 17, p. 62-63; Taarikh al-Qur’an, p. 149.

59. Tanzeeh al-Anbiyaa’, p. 107-108; Al-Mizaan, vol. 14, p. 396-397.

60. The same; Al-Bahr al-Muheet, vol. 7, p. 525-526.

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