These facts (along with the violent nature of Mohammedanism) have me convinced that it was Satan that visited Mohammed, not Gabriel.
I hope Bishop Sheen was right.
The first person to doubt the genuineness of the Quranic revelations was Mohammed himself. This was at the very beginning of his career, when during his Ramadhaan retreat outside Mecca in AD 610, he had an audio-visual experience in which he both heard and saw the archangel Gabriel, calling upon him to Recite! (Qarâ, whence Qurân). Upon receiving his first revelation, Mohammed thought he was going mad, or in the parlance of those days, that he was getting possessed by an evil spirit.
He didnt want to spend the rest of his life as Meccas village idiot, and so, preferring death to disgrace, he decided to throw himself from a high rock: Now none of Gods creatures was more hateful to me than an ecstatic poet or a man possessed: I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed Never shall Quraish [i.e. his fellow tribesmen of the Quraish tribe] say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. (Ibn Ishaqs Sîrat Rasûl Allah, tra. Alfred Guillaume: The Life of Mohammed, OUP Karachi, p.106/153)
The history of Islam could have ended there and then, with Mohammed escaping the spell of the alleged evil spirit by jumping to his death. But the ghost himself came to the rescue, as Mohammed testified: So I went forth to do so and then, when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, O Mohammed! Thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel. (ibid.) ...
Yet, at one point he did give in to the tempting idea of a quick way to bring the Meccans into his fold, viz. by accepting the reality and auspicious role of the three popular goddesses al-Lât, al-Uzzâ and Manât. A revelation duly arrived from heaven, saying: Have you thought of al-Lât and al-Uzzâ and Manât, the third, the other? These are the exalted cranes whose intercession is approved. (Ishaq/Guillaume:165/239) The Meccans were enthusiastic, prostrating along with the Muslims at the mention of the goddesses in Allahs company, and word even spread that they had converted to Islam.
But then another revelation came down, telling Mohammed that he had been deceived by Satan, who had smuggled these goddess-revering words into the channel of the prophets wahi or revelatory trance, falsely making it look like a divine message like all the others Quranic verses. So Allah annulled the Satanic verses and sent down the verse: We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed [viz. for acceptance], Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. The God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise. (Q.22:51/52; Ishaq/Guillaume:166/239) Since then, the Quran gives a corrected reading, this one properly revealed by Gabriel himself: Have ye seen Lât, and Uzzâ, and another, the third, Manât? ( .) These are nothing but names which ye have devised, ye and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. (Q.53:19-23)
Mohammed got away with it, the indignation among a few of his followers at this lapse from orthodoxy remaining brief and inconsequential. But an objective observer cannot escape facing the question: if the prophet could be thus deceived by Satan, how could he know on all the other occasions that he hadnt been deceived? The only answer the Islamic apologist can come up with, is the one given in the above narrative: God or Gabriel told Mohammed which revelation to believe and which one to reject as false. That way, the only guarantee of revelation is another revelation.