Some Critics of Islam are being disingenuous with their use of the Satanic Verses story as they use A PARTICULAR version from WEAK narrations whilst overlooking the AUTHENTIC version (which has no mention of 'Satanic Verses' and also overlooking the other weak versions which contradict the version they use to criticise Islam. This is not intellectually honest!
Here we have two fine sources of information for Muslims and Non-Muslims to learn about the 'satanic verses .
1. A video lecture by Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi who explains the issues around the 'satanic verses' in detail
2. An article by Bassam Zawadi which can be viewed here:
'Satanic verses' issue explained by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi
We go with Version 1 and not Versions 2 and 3 for the following 7 reasons:
1. Claiming that Iblis can inspire RasulAllah sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam (even though iT explained it in a way) interferes with the process of wahy and Allah has guaranteed the process of wahy in SO MANY verses. It would argue that the revelation was not falsified and here we know what is true from what is false
2. There is no authentic version of the qisaat'l-gharaneek. Every version in Tabari and Wahadi is weak and none goes back to RasulAllah sAaws. The strongest goes back to a tabi'i. Even ibn Hajar and ibn Taymiyyah admit this.
3. Even if we forget the isnad analysis, look at the story itself: there are so many versions of it. Another version is that RasulAllah sAaws was sleepy and he messed up. Another version says that RasulAllah sAaws was in salah at the ka'bah when reciting. And another version says that he was sitting in the gathering, reciting.
4. No authentic book of hadith mentions this incident - not even ibn Hisham and ibn Ishaq (the authentic books of seerah). They are found in the tertiary sources.
5. (This point is the biggest for YQ!) Contextual analysis of the verses. Verses 19-20 show that what will follow will be criticism because of the istifham qaari (derogatory questioning). Even in English, you do not speak like this when speaking of something to be honoured. Then comes the verse after ("unjust division"). If the satanic verses are inserted, the story makes no sense. From criticism to praise to criticism, it doesn't work linguistically or contextually!
6. (Pointed out by Muhammad Abdu - mufti of Egypt d. 1905 CE) Even linguistically it makes no sense because the word gharaneek has never been used in pre-Islamic poetry to refer to the idols. This would be the only time it is found - in this story. If Shaytaan really wanted to fool the pagans, he would choose a word that they recognized.
7. We have the authentic story of Bukhaari with a good enough explanation and the power of the Qur'an and everything makes sense. Why would we resort to the Satanic Verses? Ibn Abbas radhi Allahu anh said the power of the surah was so much that the Muslims, mushriks, jinn, and ins all prostrated except one man raising dirt to his forehead (Waleed b. Mugheerah or Umayya b. Khalaf).
Modern researcher as to where this story came from:
Even legends have a basis. There is a modern historian who theorizes that when the Quraysh prostrated, they felt embarrassed they had become so emotional. As a result, they said the reason they did this was because RasulAllah sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam had agreed to praise their idols.
Sadly, we cannot find a classic reasoning. It is reality that the tabi'oon narrated it, but none of the Companions mentioned it