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[Salman Rushdie ] Re: Satanic Verses

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  • digisam74
    Hey 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
    Message 1 of 5 , May 9, 2003
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      Hey 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
      one.

      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.

      Thanks.



      --- In salmanrushdie@yahoogroups.com, gebrengus tewelde
      <gebrengus@y...> wrote:
      >
      > 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 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> 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:
      > >
      > http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/anglophone/satanic_verses/
      > >
      > >
      > > 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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      > New DSL Internet Access from SBC & Yahoo!
      > http://sbc.yahoo.com
    • liquidmice
      Message 2 of 5 , May 11, 2003
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        <<<<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
        opposite.

        It is my opinion that part of Rushdie's message wasÂ… 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.
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