“Rushdie’s fourth novel … inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. …The title refers to … a group of Quranic verses that allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allāt, Uzza, and Manāt. The part of the story that deals with the “satanic verses” was based on accounts from the historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari.”
‘He speaks to me,’ Ayesha answered, ‘in clear and memorable forms.’
…’Kindly be more specific,’ he insisted. ‘Or why should anyone believe? What are these forms?’
‘The archangel sings to me,’ she admitted, ‘to the tunes of popular hit songs.’
‘Those who listen to the Devil’s verses, spoken in the Devil’s tongue,’ she cried, ‘will go to the Devil in the end.’
‘It’s a choice, then,’ Mirza Saeed answered her, ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea.’
The first death happened on the eighteenth day. Khadija, the tactless old lady who had been for half a century the contented and contenting spouse of Sarpanch Muhammad Din, saw an archangel in a dream. ‘Gibreel,’ she whispered, ‘is it you?’
‘No,’ the apparition replied. ‘It’s I, Azraeel, the one with the lousy job. Excuse the disappointment.’
If love is a yearning to be like (even to become) the beloved, then hatred, it must be said, can be engendered by the same ambition, when it cannot be fulfilled.
…what’s beyond forgiveness is beyond. You can’t judge an internal injury by the size of the hole.
Mahound, any new idea is asked two questions. When it’s weak: will it compromise? We know the answer to that one. And now, Mahound, on your return to Jahilia, time for the second question: How do you behave when you win? When your enemies are at your mercy and your power has become absolute: what then?
There is no bitterness like that of a man who finds out he has been believing in a ghost.
And Gibreel the archangel specified the manner in which a man should be buried, and how his property should be divided, so that Salman the Persian got to wondering what manner of God this was that sounded so much like a businessman. This was when he had the idea that destroyed his faith, because he recalled that of course Mahound himself had been a businessman, and a damned successful one at that, a person to whom organization and rules came naturally, so how excessively convenient it was that he should have come up with such a very business-like archangel, who handed down the management decisions of this highly corporate, if non-corporeal, God.
Things (being things) didn’t work out quite as planned.