A psychopathological profile of the prophet Mohammad - Part 3 of 5
EuropeNews 29 October 2012
Mohammad’s schizophrenic disorder
"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”.
After he had listened to these words, he collapsed; when he came round he hurried home terrified and said, "Cover me, cover me.” They covered him and splashed water on his face. After a while, the spirit woke him up with the following words:
(1) O you enveloped in your cloak!
(2) Arise, and warn,
(3) and magnify the glory of your Lord,
(4) and purify your robes,
(5)and shun uncleanness,
(6 )and bestow not favor in order to seek from others a greater return,
After this hallucination that he considered as confirmation for not being possessed, he felt so good that he expressed his feelings from Gabriel’s mouth:
Quran 93: 3-8:
(3) (O Prophet), your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor is He displeased. (4). Indeed what is to come will be better for you than what has gone by. (5) Verily your Lord will soon give you so amply that you will be well-pleased.
(6) Did He not find you an orphan and then gave you shelter?
(7) Did He not find you unaware of the Right Way, and then directed you to it?
(8) And did He not find you in want, and then enriched you
It is easy to see that the content of these verses reflects his experiences in childhood, where he was abundant, lonely, unloved and was devoid of the most fundamental needs every child is dependent on to develop a normal personality and emotional and psychological values.
2-2. the hallucination of Meeting with Jinns
In every culture, people believe in some unseen creatures that somehow interact with human beings. Long before Mohammad, the Jinns were the spirits that scared and embellished the imagination of the simple-minded nomadic pagan Arabian’s. Mohammad was the one who incorporated them in his belief system. Jinns, as he defined in the following verses consist of fire, free of smoke, they marry, and they can be Muslims or non-Muslims and so on. Not only Mohammad speaks about Jinns, he created a whole chapter (71) in Quran with the title "Jinn”.
Q15:27 and 55:15
And the jinn We created before, of intensely hot fire.
And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke.
(Notice: in the first sentence, Allah is talking, "We”. In the second Mohammad is talking "He”!)
It has now gone ten years after Mohammad proclaimed himself as prophet. His uncle, who supported him unconditionally without accepting his religion, died and about one month later died his wife too. Nobody took him seriously and his followers, as we pointed out, consisted of some slaves, and other social outcasts and their number was about 70-80 individuals. He decided to undertake a visit to a nearby city named Ta’if and mediate his mission. On the streets of Ta’if, he cited some verses he had "heard” from Gabriel to the listeners that he was chosen by Allâh as His apostle. Every time after listening to him, people left him alone and went their ways.
He was ten days there and at the end, only youngsters and children were the ones who gathered around him. While ridiculing him, some started throwing rocks on him, and he had no choice but stop talking, turning his back and go away. However, the crowd would not leave him alone, followed him with stones; he started running and they ran after him until he could jump over a wall and disappeared behind the plantation.
The stress caused by this incidence, triggered a psychosis at the following evening when he arrived at Nakhlah. Sitting under a tree, he began reciting verses, and then he saw seven Jinns sitting around and listening to him. (Ibn Sa’d, 197-198). The incidence is mentioned in:
And when We turned towards you a party of the jinn who listened to the Quran; so when they came to it, they said: Be silent; then when it was finished, they turned back to their people warning (them).
This way, he fulfilled his wishes, converting at least some Jinns to Islam. Moreover, the Jinns admit in the following verse they were guided and became Muslims.
And indeed when we [Jinns] heard the Guidance (this Quran), we believed therein (Islamic), and whosoever believes in his Lord shall have no fear, either of a decrease in the reward of his good deeds or an increase in punishment for his sins.
We notice again that the Jinns are talking, not Allâh. The topic of Jinns is so important and real in Mohammad’s thinking and lifestyle that he claimed Jinns had inserted some thought in his head (later).
2-3. The hallucination of Night Journey
Ibn Ishaq repots, al-Hassan said that Mohammad said:
"While I was sleeping in Hijr, Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot. I sat up but saw nothing and lay down again. He came a second time and stirred me with his foot. I sat up and saw nothing, and lay down again. He came to me the 3th time and stirred me with his foot [we remember, Gabriel commanded him to reading also 3 times in the cave!] I sat up and he took hold of my arm and I stood beside him and he brought me out to the door of the mosque and there was a white animal, half mule half donkey, with wings on its sides with which it propelled its feet, putting down each forefoot at the limit of its side and he mounted me on it. Then he went out with me keeping close to me.”
Qatâdah continued the story that Mohammad told him:
"when I came up to mount the beast it shied. Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, "are you not ashamed, O Burqa, to behave in this way? By Allâh, none more honorable before Allâh than Mohammad has ever ridden you before”. The animal was so ashamed that he broke out into sweat and stood still so that I could mount it.
Hassan proceeded: "The apostle and Gabriel went their way until they arrived at the temple of Jerusalem. There he found Abraham, Moses and Jesus at the company of other prophets. The apostle acted as the Imam in prayer. Then he was brought 3 vessels, one containing wine, another milk and the third one water. The apostle took the milk and drank it, leaving the other ones. Gabriel said, "You have been guided to the way of nature.”
The apostle returned to Mecca and in the morning, he told Quraysh what has happened. Most of them said, "By Allâh, this is a plain absurdity! A caravan takes a month to go to Syria and a month to return, can Mohammad do the return journey in one night? Many Muslims gave up their faith.”(Ibn Ishaq, p. 182-183).
This was a big problem for Mohammad, especially when Omm Hâni, daughter of Abu Talib, said that she and Mohammad, after praying the final night prayer, they then slept in her house. A little before dawn, Mohammad woke them up and when they prayed the dawn prayer he said, "O Omm Hâni, I prayed with you the last evening prayer in this valley as you saw. Then I went to Jerusalem and prayed there. Then I have just prayed the Morning Prayer with you as you see.” He got up to go out telling people his experience but Omm Hâni took hold of his robe and said, "O prophet of Allâh, do not talk to the people about it for they will give you the lie and insult you. He said,”by Allâh I will tell them.” (Ibn Ishaq, p. 184.)
The difference between this hallucination and former ones is that in the former, it was always Gabriel who came to him and, by definition, nobody could see him. This time, it was he himself who flew, and that was very difficult for many of followers to swallow. The problem had to be repaired somehow without denying the experience, or weakening its effect. The best solution was to interlink Allâh who produced the following verse and called the hallucination a vision (in the next hallucination, 2-4, that follows)
We told you that your Lord encompasses mankind. We granted the vision which We showed you, as well as the tree that is cursed in the Quran, only as a test for mankind. We warn them, but this only increases their insolence.
Later Ayesha, Mohammad’s child bride, also said, "The apostle’s body remained where it was but Allâh removed his spirit by night.”
The only verse in the Quran refering to this hallucination is the following:
Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
We may be tempted to ask why does Muhammad not describe where the "remote mosque” (or farthest mosque) in the above verse was located and what signs of Allâh he had seen at or near that mosque. This would of course be an unnecessary question because in a hallucination everything is distorted; time and space are not defined as in the reality. The conventional logic does not work in a hallucination; very much in the same way that we cannot convince a schizophrenic that his/her delusions are misconceptions of the reality.
Many Muslim scholars, however, claim that the Mosque referred to in the verse was located in Jerusalem. Truth of the matter is that there existed no mosque in Jerusalem at that time, in about 620 A.D, and there were no Muslims outside Mecca either. The Romans had destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Since then no temple, church or mosque stood on that spot. When Omar, the second Khalif, conquered Jerusalem in 637 A.D, he performed a prayer in the site where Temple of Solomon used to stand. It was Khalif Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, who built al-Aqsa Mosque on the site around 691 A.D. i.e. 52 years after Mohammad’s death, which was in 632 A.D.
2-4. The hallucination of Ascending to Heaven
The above recited verse Q17: 60 refers to this hallucination, in which he was convinced having experienced it, in contrast to the Night journey that he was forced to consider as a vision.
Ibn Ishaq describes both hallucinations in one story, that is, when Mohammad was in the "remote Mosque” (Jerusalem!), he then, after praying, started climbing on a ladder to the heaven. Bukhari reports that Mohammad flew directly to heaven from Mecca.
Sprenger realizes that the time distance between these two events was at least 5 years. He writes, "The lie that he was carried to Jerusalem happened 5 years and the lie that he traveled to heaven happened more than 10 years after the sura 53 was revealed.” (Sprenger, p. 306, footnote)
It seems that Sprenger does not consider these experiences as hallucinations; he, therefore, call them "lies”, that is, the chroniclers have made them up. But they are also mentioned in the Quran, although not comprehensive like 2-1, which is backed up by Q53 or Q68.
Apart from the starts of the heaven journey, the reports from Ibn Ishaq and Bukhri are almost the same. I take the start from Bukhri B54-N429 (otherwise Ibn Ishq, p. 184-185):
The Prophet said,
While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, (an angel recognized me) as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut open from the throat to the lower part of the abdomen and then my abdomen was washed with Zam-zam water and (my heart was) filled with wisdom and belief.
This is the same story with minor differences Mohammad told his foster mother when he was 3-4 years old. The only possibility for biographers to understand Mohammad’s weird behavior at that time was to relate that behavior in childhood to this "miracle” (hallucination).
When I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to heaven’s gatekeeper, ‘Open the gate.’ The guard asked, ‘Who is it?’ He said, ‘Gabriel.’ The gatekeeper said, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel said, ‘Mohammad.’ The guard replied, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel said, ‘Yes.’ Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!’ Then I met Adam and greeted him and he said, ‘You are welcomed, O son and Prophet.’ Gabriel said, ‘These parties on his right and on his left are the souls of his descendants. Those of them on his right are the companions of Paradise and the parties which are on his left are the inmates of Hell.’ So when Adam looked towards his right side, he laughed, and when he looked left, he wept. Adam reviewed the spirits of his offspring. The infidels excited his disgust. Then I saw men with lips like camels. In their hands were pieces of fire like stones which they thrust into their mouths. They came out their posteriors. I was told, they sinfully devoured the wealth of orphans. Some were maddened by thirst. Then I saw women hanging by their breasts. They had fathered bastards. I said, Order Malik to show me Hell. ‘Certainly! O Malik, show Mohammad Hell.’ Thereupon he removed its covering and the flames blazed high into the air until I thought that they would consume everything.
Then we ascended to the second heaven. The guard at the gate asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel said, ‘Gabriel.’ The gatekeeper asked, ‘Who is with you?’ He said, ‘Mohammad’. ‘Has he been sent for?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ The guard said, ‘He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!’ and opened the gate. Then I met Jesus and Yahya (John) who said, ‘You are welcomed, O brother and Pious Prophet.’
Until Mohammad arrived in seventh heaven, the same questions and answers were exchanged between Gabriel and the gatekeepers. In the third heaven, he met Josepf; in forth heaven Idris, in fifth Aaron and in sixth heaven, he met and greeted Moses.
After exchanging the same questions and answers, we ascended to the seventh heaven and there I greeted Abraham. He ascended with me till I was taken to such a height, I heard the scraping of pens. I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma’mur (Allah’s House). I asked Gabriel about it and he said, ‘This is where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it. I was shown Sidrat-ul-Muntaha.
This is the same tree with glance and splendor Mohammad met Gabriel who was hovering over it about ten years ago after a long time disappearance.
And I saw its Nabk fruits which resembled clay jugs. Its leaves were like elephant ears. Four rivers originated at its root; I asked Gabriel about them. ‘The two hidden rivers are in Paradise, and the apparent ones are the Euphrates and the Nile.