[Salman Rushdie ] Re: Satanic Verses
- View SourceHey There
Great group you guys got here.
I just finished reading the Satanic Verses, and I am dazed and
confused to say the least. The imagery and the magical world that
Rushdie creates is a treat for the senses. Just reading the book is
an end in itself. However, there are quite a few bits which allude
Because I belong to the Subcontinent, and because I am a muslim
myself, I didn't have any problems in understanding those aspects of
the novel i.e. I didn't have a problem losing track, as many people
do. However, it is still this 'good and evil' thing that I am not so
clear about. From what I understand, Gibreel was supposed to be the
evil part of the book and Saladin was the good. Could someone hear
explain (with examples from the book) perhaps how this idea presents
itself in the book. Whats this 'battle between good and evil' that
everybody is on about.
--- In email@example.com, gebrengus tewelde
> Thanks for the explanation,Liquidmice. I visited the
> web site you recommended and I see that many things
> are explained there which I was not able to understand
> before. I will read the book again and I will talk to
> you later.
> --- liquidmice <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Firstly, welcome to the group gebrengus. Glad to
> > have you here.
> > Secondly, concerning your question <what is the
> > point of the
> > book?> Well, that's a really tough question. I
> > think, ultimately,
> > there were numerous 'points' Rushdie was making when
> > he
> > wrote the book. In the end though, The Satanic
> > Verses was
> > about a spiritual journey, literally and
> > figuratively. On one level
> > the book was about 2 men and their search for
> > meaning, their
> > places in the world, and their relationships:
> > Spiritual in a very
> > real, common, human sense. On another level, the
> > story of the
> > characters is told within a foundation of historical
> > religious/political events (mostly Islamic.) Due to
> > the existence
> > of the `religious' foundation, the characters are
> > confronted
> > with 'religious' issues. One of Rushdie's points was
> > to
> > QUESTION traditional/historical religious
> > perspectives. What is
> > holy? Sacred? Profane? Evil? How about images?
> > Doctrine?
> > Scripture? Are these things foolproof?
> > Peopleproof? Godproof?
> > Though accepted by true Spiritual seekers, such
> > questioning is
> > not wholly accepted in the `BIG 3' religions. You
> > don't
> > QUESTION the validity of what god/jesus/allah SAID,
> > you simply
> > accept it as the WORD of god. In his novel, Rushdie
> > questioned,
> > and people got really mad.
> > The big controversy came from the title of the book,
> > "The Satanic
> > Verses" which originated from an obscure story about
> > Mohammed being tricked by the devil while god was
> > speaking
> > the Koran. You see, in Islam the Koran is looked
> > upon as
> > sacred, holy, and most importantly PERFECT. Unlike
> > the bible
> > (Old or New Testaments) the Koran was written down
> > exactly at
> > the time god spoke the text. God spoke the Koran
> > directly to
> > Mohammed and watched as it was written down. Any
> > mistakes
> > or errors were proofread by the big editor, god
> > himself. Unlike
> > the bible, the Koran was written in one language and
> > intended to
> > be read in that particular language. It was never
> > translated,
> > edited by the wealthy, or otherwise tainted. Well,
> > that is how
> > Islam sees it anyway. So you see, for Rushdie to
> > question its
> > perfection, and to bring up a heretical story about
> > Satan
> > pretending to be god and fooling Mohammed, was to
> > commit a
> > crime in the eyes of the Islamic faith (according to
> > SOME
> > Muslims.) That was why the Ayatollah issued a Fatwa
> > (a call for
> > all Muslims to kill Rushdie if given the
> > opportunity.)
> > Now, I will do you a HUGE favor. Read the Satanic
> > Verses again.
> > This time use this web page to explain much of the
> > Islamic/Hindi/ references which permeate the story:
> > This is an AMAZING page which will uncover many
> > events,
> > symbols, and references, that Rushdie uses in his
> > extremely
> > complex novel. Please post any other questions,
> > thoughts,
> > feelings, discoveries to the group. Good luck.
> > p e a c e
> > 3~
> > .
> > --- In salmanrushdie@y..., gebrengus tewelde
> > <gebrengus@y...>
> > wrote:
> > > Hi guys,
> > >
> > > I am a new member of this message board.
> > > II just read Satanic Verses. I really enjoyed the
> > > book. I mean I liked the language and like the
> > > different chapters independently. But I cannot
> > relate
> > > the differnt stories inside the book and I didnot
> > > undertand the idea of the book. Can anyone tell me
> > > what is the point of the book?
> > >
> > > gebrengus
> > >
> > >
> > __________________________________________________
> > > Do you Yahoo!?
> > > Yahoo! News - Today's headlines
> > > http://news.yahoo.com
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- View Source<<<<However, it is still this 'good and evil' thing that I am not so
clear about. From what I understand, Gibreel was supposed to
be the evil part of the book and Saladin was the good. Could
someone here explain (with examples from the book) perhaps
how this idea presents itself in the book. What's this 'battle
between good and evil' that everybody is on about.>>>>
Well, it's for good reason that you're not so clear about the
battle of 'good vs. evil' in the Satanic Verses, for Rushdie
mocks that very battle throughout the novel. The lines between
good and evil, sacred and profane, holy and defiled, (lines that
are essential to our big 3 religions) are consciously blurred by
Mr. Rushdie in the Satanic Verses.
In your question, you stated that you understood Gibreel to be the
symbol for evil, and Saladin to be the symbol for good. But
remember the beginning of the book! It is Saladin who, after
falling from the wreckage of flight AI-420, transforms into a devil
and Gibreel who transforms into an angel! Saladin and Gibreel
transform into specific religious images, angel and devil,
images which Rushdie proceeds to throw in our faces. So, like
you said, by the end of the novel the reader finds the devil image
to be `good' and the angel image to be `evil.'
Saladin's satanic transformation was, in large part, an allegory
of "foreignness" both culturally and spiritually, for Saladin
was a man who was not yet "whole." In the end, Saladin's
EVIL image didn't follow the traditional satanic route, for he
transforms Spiritually, Socially, and Culturally, by reconnecting
with his Father, his Country, and his Essence. The angelic
Gibreel on the other hand, our symbol of the sacred and pure
(especially in the public eye), becomes more fragmented,
unwise, and lost.
So at the end of the novel, it is our devil who is the hero while our
angel falls apart. Another reason why this novel is not popular
among the religious community. For Rushdie the battle between
good and evil is EVERY PERSONS' BATTLE, and traditional
good/evil imagery need not apply. Good/Evil is not easily defined.
Human action and motivation is not always easily
compartmentalized into concise judgments of "good" and "evil."
Traditionally "Sacred" or "Holy" or "Good"
things often get edited, misread, misused, and distorted into the
It is my opinion that part of Rushdie's message was Seek not
the definition of good and evil; look instead toward the power of
TRANSFORMATION. It is also my opinion that The Satanic
Verses is 1.) what some spiritual philosophies call `DHARMA'
and 2.) one of the most spiritually significant novels of our time.