Salman Rushdie is a British novelist and writer of Indian origin, born to a Muslim family of Kashmiri origins, but he

chose the path of atheism and wrote his famous novel "The Satanic Verses" offensive to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

This novel caused a sensation, and was followed by a fatwa from the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, whose blood was shed. Rushdie disappeared under heavy guard for many years in Britain, then settled in the United States, and his name reappeared after he was stabbed in New York in August 2022.

Birth and upbringing

Ahmed Salman Rushdie was born on June 19, 1947 in Bombay, the capital of Maharashtra, and the most populous city in India.

He is the only son of Muslim parents of Kashmiri origin. His father is lawyer Anis Ahmed Rushdi, a Cambridge University graduate who later became a businessman. His mother, Negin Bhatt, was a teacher.

Study and scientific training

Salman Rushdie received his primary education at John Konon Cathedral School in the Fort area, south of Mumbai in India, before moving to Rugby Boarding School in Britain, and then joined Imperial College at Cambridge University in Britain to study history.

Marriage and divorce

Rushdie married 4 times, the first of which was in 1976 to Clarcia Ward, the literature official in the Arts Council of England, and he had a son, Dhofar, before they separated in 1987. In 1988 he married the American novelist Marianne Wiggins and then divorced her in 1993.

In 1997, he married British author Elizabeth West, with whom he had a son, Milan, before they separated in 2004, to marry American model and actress of Indian origin, Padma Lakshmi, whom he divorced in 2007.

Since 2000, Rushdie has been living in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City in the United States of America, and in 2016 he obtained American citizenship.

intellectual orientation

In a 2006 interview with the American channel "PBS", Rushdie called himself a "militant atheist", describing himself as a "fallen Muslim", acknowledging that Islamic culture shaped him more than any other, and said that he was "a student of Islam." ".

In another interview in the same year, he said, "My view is the view of the secular human being. I do not believe in supernatural entities, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu."

He described religion as "a medieval form of absurdity", arguing that "when combined with modern weapons, religion becomes a real threat to our liberties."

In 2006, Rushdie stated that he supported the comments of then-British Labor leader Jack Straw, who criticized the wearing of the headscarf, and Rushdie stated that his three sisters would "never wear the headscarf".

In 2015, Rushdie announced his support for the French newspaper "Charlie Hebdo", which published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, and said, "I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, in defense of satirical art, which has always been a force for freedom and against Despotism, deception and stupidity. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism and ridicule."

Writing and literature

With the beginning of the seventies, Salman Rushdie worked in the field of writing advertising slogans, and then devoted himself to writing literature and novels.

In 1975 he published a science fiction novel under the title "Grimus", but it did not gain the attention of readers or the appreciation of critics.

In 1981, his second novel, "Midnight's Children", was released, which was later turned into a movie that was shown in 2012, and for which he won the British "Booker" Prize, which he won 5 times during his fictional career.

In 1983, he published his novel Shame, and in the same year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Letters in Britain.

Rushdie wrote a nonfiction book about Nicaragua called "The Jaguar Smile" in 1987, in which he focused on politics.

In 1999, he was appointed Pioneer of Arts and Letters in France.

"The Satanic Verses"

The year 1988 was pivotal in Salman Rushdie's relationship with the Islamic world, when he published his novel "The Satanic Verses" in which he attacked the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, and described him as a "tyrant." He also attacked the wives and daughters of the Noble Prophet, and attacked the Holy Qur'an and the teachings of Islamic law.

Rushdie claimed that the term “satanic verses refer to verses that were omitted from the Holy Qur’an that included the Prophet’s supplication to pagan deities in Mecca,” and that “a modified version of the Qur’an has been replaced to conform to the principle of monotheism upon which Islam is based.”

The book achieved high sales in the West, where it sold out in Britain (57,000 copies), and sales in the United States reached 100,000 copies, and the publishing house "Viking" in London, which printed the book, said that it had received thousands of threatening letters and phone calls. Request to withdraw it from the libraries.

Several books were issued with the aim of responding to Rushdie's views, such as "The Satanism of The Satanic Verses" by the Indian preacher Ahmed Deedat, "The Devil of the West" by the Egyptian writer Said Ayoub, and "Satanic Moments" by the Syrian Dr. Nabil Al-Samman, as well as the Egyptian poet Farouk Gweideh attacked him in a poem entitled To Salman Rushdie.

After the protests increased among the Muslims of the world, Rushdie published an article in the Observer newspaper on January 22, 1989 in which he described the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, as “one of the great geniuses in the history of the world.” Islam considers Muhammad a human being like the rest of mankind,” claiming that “the novel is not anti-religion, but an attempt to write about immigration, its pressures and its transformations.”

Khomeini's fatwa

On February 14, 1989, via Tehran Radio, the Leader of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa to waste Rushdie's blood as an "apostate from Islam," saying, "I inform all Muslims in the world that the author of the book entitled (The Satanic Verses) which was written, printed and published against Islam, the Prophet and the Qur’an, as well as the publishers of the book who are aware of its contents, have been condemned to death, and all Muslims must implement this wherever they find them, so that no one after that will dare to insult Islam.”

Against the background of Khomeini’s fatwa, Iran offered a prize of one million dollars for whoever kills Rushdie, which the West met with a wave of indignation towards Tehran, as European countries and Washington announced the severance of their relations with Iran, and withdrew their ambassadors from Tehran, and expelled all Iranian diplomats from it, while the union announced The Soviet nomination of Rushdie as a member of the Union of Asian and African Writers.

On the seventh of March 1989, Britain cut diplomatic relations with Iran, and assigned a heavy guard to Salman, and Israel offered to immigrate to Rushdie, promising him to live in safety, as it printed and distributed his books free of charge.

Salman Rushdie meets former Israeli President Shimon Peres (communication sites)

Less than 4 months after the fatwa, Khomeini died, but his fatwa on the waste of Rushdie's blood remained valid, which was confirmed by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2005, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced that the "death penalty" against him is still in force.

According to his memoirs, which he issued in Berlin, Rushdie, for about a decade, remained hidden from view in Britain, moving from house to house under the pseudonym "Joseph Anton", to the extent that the policemen accompanied him in the "bathrooms" for fear of his assassination, and he changed his place of residence 56 once during the first six months.

After the period of isolation, Rushdie cautiously resumed his public appearances after former Iranian reformist President Mohammad Khatami announced before the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1998 that Rushdie's case was "completely over", and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi announced at the time that Iran would not threaten the writer's life or encourage others to killers.

Three years after Tehran declared the threat "over" to him, Rushdie stopped using the pseudonym in 2001.

In 2007, British Queen Elizabeth II declared Salman Rushdie a "knight" in the context of annually awarding medals to a group of personalities in recognition of their achievements, which angered Muslims. At that time, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami announced that Khomeini's fatwa was still valid in 1989.

In 2012 Rushdie published his memoirs under the name "Joseph Anton", a pseudonym he used while in British police protection, and the memoirs dealt with his secret and solitary life under Khomeini's fatwa.

In the same year, Tehran announced an increase in the reward for the implementation of Khomeini's fatwa by another $500,000, while the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency and other news outlets donated in 2016 to increase the reward by $600,000 for those who succeeded in killing him.

In January 2015, Salman Rushdie's name reappeared, as the Sunday Times revealed that he was on a list of figures that AQAP wants to target.

assassination attempts

On August 3, 1989, an attempt to assassinate Rushdie with a booby-trapped book, which was tried to be passed by a Lebanese Hezbollah member named Mustafa Mazeh, failed. The book exploded early, killing the latter and destroying two floors of the Paddington Hotel in the British capital, London.

About two years later, on July 11, 1991, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, was stabbed to death in his office at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki Prefecture in the Kanto region of Japan.

33 years after Khomeini's fatwa to shed the blood of Salman Rushdie, he was exposed to an assassination attempt on the evening of Friday, August 12, 2022, when he was stabbed.

Rushdie - who is awaiting the publication of his new novel, "Victory City" next February - was preparing to give a lecture organized by the Chautauqua Foundation in western New York about freedom of creativity, before he was surprised by a young American of Lebanese origin named Hadi Matar (24 years). And he stabbed him several times in the neck and body, as a result of which he suffered liver damage, and nerves were cut in his arm and eye, after which he was airlifted to the hospital.


Salman Rushdie has written about 30 books and novels, in addition to dozens of short stories, and these are his most prominent books:

  • Grimus (1975)

  • Midnight Children (1981)

  • Shame (1983)

  • The Satanic Verses (1988)

  • East and West (1994)

  • Moore's Last Sigh (1995)

  • The Earth Under Her Feet (1999)

  • Fury (2001)

  • Shalimar the Clown (2005)

  • The Witch of Florence (2008)

  • Luca and the Fire of Life (2010)

  • Two years eight months and twenty-eight nights (2015)

  • The Golden House (2017)

  • Quixote (2019)

Titles and Awards

  • In 1992 he was awarded the Togolosky Scholarship for Swedish Literature.

  • In 1996 he won the Ariston Prize for the European Commission.

  • In 2007, Rushdie was awarded the Knight's Medal for his services in the field of literature, which is the highest honor of the French Prize, consisting of 3 degrees, "Knight", "Officer" and "Commander".

  • In 2008 he was elected an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in the same year the Times ranked him 13th on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

  • In 2014, Rushdie won the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, Denmark's highest literary award.

  • In 2015 he was named Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism at New York University.

  • In 2018, Indiana University Bloomington awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.

  • In 2019, he won the Swiss Free Thinkers Prize.