A psychopathological profile of the prophet Mohammad - Part 2 of 5
EuropeNews 26 October 2012
Mohammad’s schizophrenic disorder
S. Muslim, B30-N5653, (can be also read in Tabaqat V1, p. 2):
"Verily Allah granted eminence to Kinâna from amongst the descendants of Ismâ’il and He granted eminence to the Quraish [Mohammad’s tribe] amongst Kinânas and He granted eminence to Bani Hâshim [Mohammad’s clan] amongst the Quraish and He granted me eminence from the Bani Hâshim”.
Hadith from S. Muslim, B30-N5655:
"I shall be preeminent among the descendants of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted”.
In other words, Mohammad can decide on the Day of resurrection who would enter Heaven and who in the Hell.
Mohammad claims Allah exalted him above all prophets:
And those Messengers, some We have preferred above others; some there are to whom God spoke, and some He raised in rank …
He put almost anything in the mouth of Allah about himself.
And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.
Another hadith by Bukhari,
B89-N251, narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah, and whoever obeys the ruler I appoint, obeys me, and whoever disobeys him, disobeys me.
And finally, the highest point of his grandiosity we read in:
Bukhari 7-331 Narated By Jabir bin 'Abdullah :
1. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.
2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum, therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.
3. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.
4. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).
5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind. The Prophet said, "I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me.
Hallucinations are very common in schizophrenia. Patients may hear things, often voices, or they may see things. It can happen in every sense modality. The voices may come from anywhere. They come from the air; God, or angels send them. The patients generally hear only short phrases, perhaps single words. Only very rarely do the voices speak at length in a coherent way. Often the patient is tortured by the voices. An angel’s voice may proclaim their divinity; their names may be praised. Sometimes may ringing is heard.
A very famous hadith reflects exactly the content of the clinical findings described above; we can find this hadith in Tabaqat, Tabari and Bukhari:
Bukhari, B1-N2, narrated Aisha:
Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's Apostle "O Allah's Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?" Allah's Apostle replied, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all” and then this state passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says." 'Aisha added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the Sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over). (My emphasis).
The sweat droppings were not caused by hallucination. Every time Mohammad got an epileptic seizure, he begun sweating, snoring like a camel and foam came out of his mouth. People around him thought this was the signs of divine inspiration.
2-1. The first hallucination – beginning of the prophethood
In one of those days in the cave, he had the following experience that we can find in all biographies. Here from Ibn Ishaq, p 106, Mohammad speaks:
He (Gabriel) came to me, while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, read! I said what shall I read? He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death [The patient is tortured by the voice!]; then he let me go and said, read! I said what shall I read? He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death. He then pressed me a third time so that I thought it was death and said read! I said what then shall I read? – and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said:
(Quran: 96:1-5) [The patient hears short phrases]
(1) Read in the name of thy Lord who created,
(2)Who created man of blood coagulated.
(3)Read! Thy Lord is the most beneficent,
(4)Who taught by the pen,
(5)Taught that which thy knew not on to men.
After this experience, Mohammad thought he was possessed and said to himself:
I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. I started climbing up but when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, "O Mohammad! Thou art the apostle of Allah and I am Gabriel!” I raised my head towards heaven to see who was speaking, I saw Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon, saying "O Mohammad! Thou art the apostle of Allah, and I am Gabriel”. I stood gazing at him moving neither forward nor backward, then I began to turn my face from him but toward whatever region of the sky I looked I saw him as before”.
Tabari reports the same story and adds:
Now, none of God's 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 Quraysh say this of me! …”
The reason that possession and poetry were interlinked was that the pre-Islamic Arabs believed in the demon of poetry, and they thought that a great poet was directly inspired by demons. This explains why Mohammad thought he was demon possessed, or influenced by demons.,
Very convincing description, indicating that what was happening in that situation, was in his own head. Mohammad continues the story that, while he was still standing at the same spot gazing at the figure hanging in the air, his wife had sent some people looking for him but they went back without finding him. Mohammad then says, "He parted from me and I from him”, which means that the hallucination ended, and Mohammad came terrified back home, and sat by his wife’s thigh and told her "I think I am possessed. O Khadija, what is wrong with me?" Then he told her everything that had happened. Khadija said, "Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allâh, Allâh will never disgrace you as you keep good relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving." Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal. Waraqa had became Christian during the Pre-Islamic Period and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to him, "O my cousin! Listen to the story of your nephew." Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" The Prophet described whatever he had seen.
Waraqa said, "This is the same Namus (i.e., Gabriel, the Angel who keeps the secrets) whom Allah had sent to Moses.
But after a few days Waraqa died and the hallucinations (appearing the the gestalt, he later called Jibril or Gabriel) were also paused. Mohammad became so sad that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains but every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allâh's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. However, whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before. (Bukhari, B87-N111)
Over the course of up to the next 6 months or so, the visitations by this spirit continued sporadic in the same manner until they stopped completely for a long time. He became deeply grieved and so anxious that his opinion being possessed came back. He went out every day to the mountain areas, he heard voices saying, "Be greeted, O Allâh’s apostle!” Turning the head to the right, to the left and behind, he did not see anybody. During one of these wanderings, he experienced a wordless, visual hallucination, which contains a tree as one of hallucination’s elements that reappears in another – later described – hallucination, namely ascending to Heaven. While he was wandering around an area called Ajyâd, he saw suddenly the tree Sidrat- al-Montahâ (the utmost Lote-tree) covered with glance and splendor; he stopped and gazed at it, then the spirit (Gabriel) appeared hovering over the tree, gazing at each other. The Sura 53 described what he experienced and the later recited sura 68 is what the spirit told him. (Sprenger, das Leben und die Lehre des Muhammad, V 1)
(5) He was taught by [an angel] who is mighty in power,
(6) and endowed with wisdom; who in time manifested himself;
(7) standing poised at the highest point on the horizon,
(8) then came down close
(9) until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer
(10) and revealed to God's servant what he revealed.
(11) The heart [of the Prophet] did not misconstrue what he saw.
(12) Will you then dispute with him as to what he saw?
(13) And certainly he saw him descend a second time:
(14) by the lote tree beyond which none may pass
(15) by the Garden of [Eternal] Repose,
(16) when the lote tree was covered in mystic splendor.
(17) His sight did not waver nor was it unduly bold.
(18)He saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord.
When Mohammad caught the sight of the approaching figure from the horizon, he stopped and the figure came closer and closer until he was two bow-lengths away from him. In verse 11, he says that his heart did not misconstrue what he saw. With that, he means that this experience was not an illusion because he saw it with his own eyes. We notice that the patient experiences hallucination so real that he is convinced what he hears and sees is indeed what is happening here and now. You cannot, therefore, dispute with him (verse 12).
For comparison, I would recite a hallucination Mark Vonnegut, son of the novelist Kurt Vonnegut, experienced when he was in his early 20s. In Eden Express (1975), he tells the story of his break with reality. Once, while he pruning some fruit trees, he hallucinated – reality became distorted a different one being created. The resemblance is amazing; both of them are absorbed in looking at a tree that appears mystical with splendor, and they also meet wrinkled faces:
I began to wonder if I was hurting the trees and found myself apologizing. Each tree began to take personality. I began to wonder if any of them liked me. I became completely absorbed in looking at each tree and began to notice that they were ever so slightly luminescent shining with a soft inner light that played around the branches. And from out of nowhere came an incredibly wrinkled, iridescent face. Standing as a small point indefinitely distant, it rushed forward, becoming infinitely huge. I could see nothing else. My heart had stopped. The moment stretched forever. I tried to make the face go away but it mocked me . . . I was holding my life in my hand and was powerless to stop it from dripping through my fingers. I tried to look the face in the eyes and realized I have left all familiar ground.”
After a while, the spirit started talking to Mohammad and, of course, what the spirit said was exactly what Mohammad wanted to hear, in other words, he heard the content of his own mind from the mouth of the spirit.
(1) Nun. [The spirit swears] By the pen, and all that they write!
(2) By the grace of your Lord, you are not a mad man.
(3) Most surely, you will have a never ending reward.
(4) For you are truly of a sublime character.
(5) Soon you will see, as will they,
(6) who among you is insane.
"Nun”in Arabic corresponds the letter "N” and here it is a nonsense word, called neologism. We will come back to that in thought disorders. In addition, we notice how the hallucination has, indeed, the same content as the delusion; when he hallucinates that the spirit tells him being "of a sublime character”.