the linguistic evidence
there is yet another argument advanced by the late shaykh muhammad `abduh. it consists of the fact that the arabs have nowhere described their gods in such terms as "al gharaniq." neither in their poetry nor in their speeches or traditions do we find their gods or goddesses described in such terms. rather, the word "al ghurnuq" or "al gharniq" was the name of a black or white water bird, sometimes given figuratively to the handsome blond youth. the fact is indubitable that the arabs never looked upon their gods in this manner.
the story contradicts the fact of muhammad's candidness
there is yet one more final argument against the story of the goddesses that is based upon the nature of muhammad's personal life. ever since his childhood and throughout his adolescence, adulthood and maturity, he was never known to lie. so truthful was he that he had been nicknamed "al amin" before he reached his twenty-fifth year of age. his truthfulness was unquestioned by anyone. he himself once addressed the quraysh after his commission to prophethood : "suppose i were to tell you that an enemy cavalry was advancing on the other side of this mountain, would you believe me?" his enemies themselves answered: "yes, indeed! as far as we are concerned, you are innocent, for we have never found you to lie at all." how can we believe that such a man who had been known to be truthful in his relations with his fellow men from childhood to maturity, would be any less candid in his relation to god? how could such constant truthfulness allow him to lie and ascribe to his god that which he had not said? how could we believe that such a man did so in fear of the people and defiance of almighty god? that is utterly impossible. its impossibility is evident to all those who have studied these great; strong and distinguished souls of the prophets and religious leaders known for their dedication to the truth pereat mundus. how can we reconcile such an allegation with muhammad's great declaration to his uncle that he will not adjure this cause even if his foes should put the sun in his right hand and the moon in his left? how can we. accept such a claim when it imputes to the prophet the heinous charge of attributing to god that which god had not said, of violating the very foundation of the religion he was commissioned to proclaim and teach to mankind?
furthermore, we may ask, when, according to the story, did muhammad turn to praise the gods of quraysh ? ten years or so after his commission to prophethood, is the reply. but, then that is also after ten years of patient sufferance of all kinds of injury and harm, all kinds of sacrifices, after god had reinforced islam with the conversion of hamzah and `umar, and, in short, after the muslims had begun to feel themselves a significant power in makkah and the news of their existence and exploits had begun to spread throughout arabia, indeed to abyssinia and other corners of the globe. such a claim is not only uninformed, it is positively silly. the forgers of this story themselves must have realized its inadmissibility and sought to conceal its falsehood with the claim, “muhammad hardly heard quraysh’s words of reconciliation once he granted to their gods the honor of interceding with god, when his compromise appeared to him objectionable and he felt compelled to repent and to review the text of revelation with the angel gabriel when he visited him that same evening.” this concealment, however, exposes the forgery rather than hides it. as long as the compromise appeared objectionable to muhammad no later than he had "heard quraysh's words of reconciliation," would he have not paused to reconsider it immediately and on the spot? how natural it would have been then for him instantly to recite the true version of the text! we may, therefore, conclude that this story of the goddesses is a fabrication and a forgery, authored by the enemies of islam after the first century of the hijrah.
attack upon tawhid [literally, unitization of god or conviction of his unity, transcendence and absolute uniqueness. often the term applies to islam as a whole, to islamic theology and to monotheism. -tr.]
the forgers must have been extremely bold to have attempted their forgery in the most essential principal of islam as a whole: namely, in the principle of tawhid, where muhammad had been sent right from the very beginning to make proclamations to all mankind in which he has never accepted any compromise whatever; he was never swayed by anything the quraysh had offered him whether by way of wealth or royal power. these offers had come, it must be remembered, at a time when muhammad had very few followers within makkah. later persecution by the quraysh of his companions did not succeed in swaying muhammad away from the call of his god or away from his mission. the zindiqs' strategy to work their forgery around the first principle of the faith, where muhammad was known to be the most adamant, only points to their own inconsequence. acceptance of the forgery by the credulous only points to their naiveté in the most conspicuous of cases.
the story of the goddesses, therefore, is absolutely devoid of foundation. it is utterly unrelated to the return of the muslims from abyssinia. as we said earlier, the latter returned after the conversion of `umar, the strengthening of islam with the same tribal solidarity with which he used to fight islam hitherto, and the compulsion of quraysh to enter into an armistice with the muslims. moreover, the muslims' return from abyssinia was partly due to the revolution which had broken out in that country and to their consequent fear of losing the negus's protection. when the quraysh learned of the muslims' return, their fears reached a new level of intensity with the increase of muhammad's followers within the city, and, therefore, they sought a new strategy. their search for a new strategy was concluded with the signing of a pact in which they and their allied clans and tribes resolved to boycott the banu hashim in order to prevent any intermarriage with them, to stop all commercial relations and finally, to seek to kill muhammad if they could only find the means.