Responses to Bismikaallahuma

A Christian Perspective of the Fatrah of Muhammad

Being A Direct Response to MENJ’s Rebuttal

MENJ, Bismikallahuma’s founder and key writer, has attempted to respond to Silas’ claim that Muhammad came under the influence of demons. MENJ sets out to demonstrate that Muhammad’s religious experiences were similar to some of the experiences of the prophets of the Bible. MENJ presumably thinks that by this line of argumentation he will somehow prove that Muhammad was no more demon-possessed than the biblical prophets.

Typical of most Muslim responses to those "evil Christian Missionaries," MENJ’s article contains several attacks on Silas personally. Note the following ad hominems directed at Christians in general and the author Silas specifically:

The missionaries of course take great delight in their pseudo-analysis of these signs of distress and taking advantage of it, as per the record found in the Prophet's(P) biographies.

Our purpose now is to examine the words of this bigoted missionary and see whether the claims that the Prophet(P) was "mentally ill" or that he was "demonically-influenced" during al-Fatrah stands to the scrutiny, or is merely the rantings of one who claims to be "inspired" by the Holy Spirit but is in reality is consumed by the un-holy Devil ...

... and the missionary nonsense about "suicidical notions" has got nothing to do with Satan, the accursed ...

In light of this, we wonder whether Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Daniel were "Satan's investment", as per the charge of this obviously callous missionary rabidity towards the Prophet Muhammad(P).

Such personal slurs do nothing to establish MENJ’s credibility or his arguments, but only demonstrate MENJ’s personal hate of Christian writers. Silas speaks from a Christian perspective, which means that he is committed to the Holy Bible as God’s revelation to mankind. As such, Silas is obligated to examine the claims of any and every prophet in light of God’s revealed truth, the Holy Bible:

"Jesus answered them, ‘Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, "I am the Christ," and they will mislead many ... Then if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!" or "There he is!" do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Remember, I have told you ahead of time.’" Matthew 24:4-5, 23-25

"Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." 1 Timothy 4:1-3

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, that you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world's perspective and the world listens to them. We are from God; the person who knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit." 1 John 4:1-6

Muhammad claimed to be following in the footsteps of the biblical prophets and claimed to receive the same inspiration as they did:

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; S. 4:136 Pickthall

We must therefore examine his claims in light of the God-breathed revelation. In fact, the Quran itself exhorts individuals to examine Muhammad’s claims in light of the revelation that came before him:

"If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt." S. 10:94

When we do consult the Holy Bible we discover that a careful examination of Muhammad’s religious experiences and teachings demonstrates that he was not a true prophet of God and must be rejected. This also means that if Muhammad was inspired, then his inspiration didn’t come from God but from some other source. Silas sought to demonstrate that according to the Holy Bible this other source was Satan.

Does MENJ contest Silas’ claim that Muhammad thought he was demon-possessed? No. Does MENJ contest the fact that Muhammad attempted suicide on several occasions as a result of believing he was demon-possessed and/or because the spirit delayed in coming to him? No. All MENJ tries to do is to attack Silas personally and claim that Muhammad’s encounters were similar to that of the biblical prophets. Yet claiming something is not the same as proving it. As we will show later, MENJ has failed to prove that Muhammad’s inspiration was similar to that of the true prophets of God.

The most interesting part of all this is that MENJ’s own sources confirm Silas’ statements. For instance, MENJ cites authorities regarding the duration of Muhammad’s Intermission, and makes the inference that this period lasted no later than six months even though there is nothing in his sources that suggest this. Amazingly, these same quotations confirm Muhammad’s suicidal tendencies! Note the citations:

[T]he Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times TO THROW HIMSELF FROM THE TOPS OF HIGH MOUNTAINS and 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 Allah's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And 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.[2]

After the revelation came to him (Muhammad) at Hira, he waited for some days in which he did not see Gabriel. He then grieved tremendously and so great was his grief that he FREQUENTED Thubayr and Hira (two mountains overlooking Mecca) WITH THE INTENTION OF THROWING HIMSELF DOWN FROM THEIR PEAKS. One day, as he was wandering amongst these mountains, he heard a voice from heaven. The Messenger of God stopped, greatly shaken by the voice. Then he looked up, and it was Gabriel sitting on a throne between the ground and the sky, 'O Muhammad! Thou art the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel'[7]

...the duration cannot be exactly ascertained, as there was no external history connected with it. The usual estimate puts it at ABOUT SIX MONTHS, BUT IT MAY HAVE BEEN A YEAR OR TWO YEARS.[4]

MENJ quotes Karen Armstrong as an authority to establish Muhammad’s religious experiences being similar to that of the real prophets of God. Later on we will examine Ms. Armstrong’s claim to see if there is any validity to it. For now, it should be noted that even Armstrong acknowledges that Muhammad believed he was demon(jinn)-possessed and became suicidal:

Muhammad came to himself in terror and revulsion, horrified to think that he might have become a mere disreputable kahin whom people consulted if one of their camels went missing. A kahin was supposedly possessed by a jinni, one of the sprites who were thought to haunt the landscape and who could be capricious and lead people into error. Poets also believed that they were possessed by their personnel jinni. Thus, Hasan ibn Thabit, a poet of Yathrib who later became a Muslim, says that when he received his poetic vocation his jinni had appeared to him, thrust him to the ground and forced the inspired words from his mouth. This was the only form of inspiration that was familiar to Muhammad, and the thought that he might have became majnun, jinni-possessed, filled him with such despair, that he no longer wished to live. He thoroughly despised the kahins, whose oracles were usually unintelligible mumbo jumbo, and was always very careful to distinguish the Koran from conventional Arabic poetry. Now, rushing from the cave, he resolved to fling himself from the summit to his death. But on the mountainside he had another vision of a being which, later, he identified with the angel Gabriel:

When I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, "O Muhammad! Thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel" ...

... This was no pretty naturalistic angel, but an overwhelming ubiquitous presence from which escape was impossible. Muhammad had had that overpowering apprehension of numinous reality, which the Hebrew prophets had called kadosh, holiness, the terrifying otherness of God. They too had felt near to death and at a physical and psychological extremity when they experienced it. But unlike Isaiah or Jeremiah, Muhammad had none of the consolations of an established tradition to support him. The terrifying experience seemed to have fallen upon him out of the blue and left him in a state of profound shock. In his anguish, he turned instinctively to his wife, Khadija. (Armstrong, pp. 137-138; bold emphasis ours)

Before proceeding, we need to correct Armstrong’s errors here. Armstrong claims that the only form of inspiration Muhammad knew was that of jinn possession. This claim is blatantly false in light of what Islamic sources themselves say. For instance, Muslim records state that Ishmael settled in Mecca where both he and Abraham built the Kabah there. If this is so, then Muhammad was aware of other forms of inspiration since he knew of Abraham’s religious experiences and that he supposedly built the Kabah as the first house of worship to the true God.

In fact, these same sources state that while traveling with his uncle to Syria, Muhammad met a monk named Bahira who claimed that he was the prophet predicted in the Bible. Furthermore, after Muhammad’s encounters his wife took him to her relative Waraqa b. Neufal who was a Christian priest.

Hence, if MENJ is to accept Armstrong’s claims then he must reject his own Muslim sources which clearly contradict her. (For more information, we recommend the following article:

MENJ cites W.M. Muir regarding how individuals such as Khadijah, Muhammad’s wife, recognized Muhammad’s sincerity and integrity.

First, Silas’ article didn’t call into question Muhammad’s sincerity. If anything, Silas took Muhammad’s sincerity as a basis to argue that Satan in fact inspired him!

Second, just because a person is sincere doesn’t prove that the person is right or a prophet, since one can be sincerely wrong. In fact, if integrity is a key issue in deciding prophethood then what do we do with men such as Baha'ullah, Joseph Smith, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Elijah Muhammad? These men also believed that the message they received was actually from God and some of them suffered greatly for their claims. Does this mean that we need to embrace them as messengers of God as well?

Take for example Baha’ullah. What could have been his motive in suffering imprisonment for over twenty years if he did not truly believe he was God’s spokesperson? What were Buddha's motives for abandoning his lofty status as a prince to live an impoverished life if he did not sincerely believe that what he was teaching was the truth? What led Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to suffer isolation and disgrace for claiming to be God's final Islamic messenger and Reformer of this age? Why would Rashid Khalifah die as a martyr if he were simply a deceiver seeking monetary gains? What could have been the reasons behind these men maintaining their persecuted positions, forsaking earthly riches for the life to come? The obvious reason is that they sincerely believed they were God's messengers/prophets for their respective communities.

This should make it obvious to the reader that using sincerity as a criterion establishes the prophetic claims of these other so-called prophets and/or messengers.

Returning to Muir, here are some noteworthy statements from his Biography of Muhammad:

... It is probable that they formed the evil and delusive element which, first mingling itself with the pure longing after Truth, led to the fatal and fearful error of speaking falsely and without commission in the name of God. AMBITION, once admitted, opened an easy breach for the temptations of the world, if not also for the suggestions of the Evil One. Yet Ambition may have been so subtilely mingled with spiritual aspirations, that happily it escaped the observation of Mahomet himself.

At this crisis, the fate of Mahomet and of Islam trembled in the balance. It was his hour of trial, and he fell. ...

Thus was Mahomet, by whatever deceptive process, led to the high blasphemy of forging the name of God, a crime repeatedly stigmatized in the Coran itself as the greatest that mankind can commit. Thenceforward he spoke literally in the name of the Lord. And so scrupulous was he lest there should be in his pseudo-inspiration even the appearance of a human colouring, that every sentence of the Coran, whether of admonition, of warning, of instruction, or of professed actual revelation, is prefaced by the Divine command, ‘SPEAK’ or ‘SAY;’ which, if not expressed, must always be understood. ...

Inspiration ceases, and he meditates suicide.

Now the first Sura revealed to Mahomet was the 96th, Recite in the name of the Lord, &c.; and that descended on him in the cave of Hira. After this he waited several days26 without seeing Gabriel. And be became greatly downcast, so that he went out at one time to the Mount of Thubeir, and at another to Hira, seeking to cast himself headlong from thence. While thus intent on self-destruction he was suddenly arrested by a voice from heaven. He looked up, and lo! Gabriel upon a throne between the heavens and the earth, who said, "Oh Mahomet! thou art the Prophet of the Lord, in truth, and I am Gabriel!" ...

The period succeeding the revelation of the 96th Sura, during which inspiration was suspended, and Mahomet in despondency contemplated suicide, is generally represented as of longer duration than in the above statement. This interval, styled the Fatrah or "Intermission," is variously held to have lasted from SIX MONTHS TO THREE YEARS. At its close, the 74th and 93rd Suras, containing assurance of mercy and the command to preach, were delivered. The accounts, however, are throughout confused, if not contradictory; and we can only gather with certainty that there was a time (corresponding with the deductions which we have drawn from the Coran itself), during which the mind of Mahomet hung in suspense, and doubted the Divine mission.28 ...

I think that I need to offer no apology for the introduction of this parallel. If we admit that our Saviour was at the commencement of his mission the subject of a direct and special temptation by the Evil one, we may safely assume that a similar combat possibly was waged, though with far other results, in the case of Mahomet.

If Mahomet was acted on by a supernatural guidance, his course at Medina proves it to have been from an evil source.

Happy would it have been for the memory of the Arabian Prophet, if his career had terminated with his flight from Mecca. Then, indeed, the imputation of a compromise such as has been above supposed might, with some show of justice, have been branded as uncharitable and unwarranted. But the fruits of his principles, as exhibited in connection with his prophetic office, at Medina, are of too unequivocal a character to allow a doubt that if he acted under a supernatural guidance, that guidance proceeded from no pure and holy source. Ambition, rapine, assassination, lust, are the undenied features of his later life, openly sanctioned by the assumed permission, sometimes even by the express command of the Most high! May we conceive that a diabolical influence and inspiration, was permitted to enslave the heart of him who had deliberately yielded to the compromise with evil? May not Satan have beguiled the heart in the habitude of an Angel of light and, even when insinuating his vilest suggestions, have professed himself a Messenger from the God of purity and holiness? If so, what an assimilation must gradually have been wrought between the promptings of the Evil one from without, and the subjective perceptions of Mahomet within, when he could imagine, and with earnestness and sincerity assert, that the Almighty had sanctioned and even encouraged his debased appetites! (Sir William Muir, Life of Mahomet, Vol. II, Chapter 3)

Muir in ft. 27 says:

The above account is from the Katib al Wackidi, who is at this point more succinct and freer from the marvellous than Hishami. Tabari again surpasses Hishami in the miraculous character of his statements; and the number and variety of his absurd traditions illustrate the rapidity with which, in the third century, fabricated stories obtained currency. The following is an outline from Hishami and Tabari, of the current version of the first stirrings of inspiration.

"On the night whereon the Lord was minded to deal graciously with him, Mahomet relates that Gabriel came to him as he slept with his family in the cave of Hira; and he held in his hand a piece of silk with writing thereon, and he said Read! Mahomet replied, I do not (i.e. cannot) read. Whereupon the angel laid hold of him so tightly, that he thought death had come upon him. Then said Gabriel a second time, Read! And Mahomet replied, What shall I read? which words he uttered only to escape the previous agony. And Gabriel proceeded:- Read (recite) in the name of thy Lord, &c.;- repeating the 96th Sura to the end of v. 5; and when he had ended, the angel left him; and "the words," said Mahomet, "were as though they had been graven on my heart." Suddenly the thought occurred to him that HE WAS POSSESSED OF EVIL SPIRITS, AND HE MEDITATED SUICIDE; but as he rushed forth with the intention OF CASTING HIMSELF DOWN A PRECIPICE, he was arrested by Gabriel, and stood for a long time transfixed by the sight of him. At last the vision disappeared, and Mahomet returned to Khadija who, alarmed at his absence, had sent messengers to Mecca in quest of him. In consternation he threw himself into her lap, and told her all that had occurred. She reassured him, saying that he would surely be a prophet, and went off to Waraca, who confirmed her in the same belief.

Another account adds that she took Mahomet to Waraca, who foretold to him that he would be rejected by his people, and expelled from Mecca, but that if he himself survived to that period, he would assist and defend him. Tabari, p. 87.

The story that Khadija went to the Monk Addas, who gave her a book from which she might learn whether the visitant was an Angel or a Devil, is evidently a fiction, and does not appear to exist in any early authority. See Sprenger, p. 107.

Another story is that Khadija, to assure Mahomet, tested the character of the Spirit, by making him sit first on her right knee, then on her left, in both of which positions the apparition continued. Then she took him in her lap, and removed her veil, or uncovered her garments, when it disappeared,- thus proving that the spirit was a modest and virtuous being. Thereupon Khadija exclaimed, Rejoice my cousin, for by the Lord! it is an Angel, and no Devil.

Some Christian commentators refer to this tradition in illustration of 1 Cor. xi. 10, "For this cause ought the woman to have power (a veil or covering) on her head because of the Angels:" - that is, according to their explanation, in order to shield them from the glances of the evil spirits. An unlikely interpretation. See Stanley, in loco.

On another occasion, being terrified he entreated Khadija to cover him up, on which was revealed the 74th Sura, beginning Oh thou covered! Again the Prophet having had no visits from Gabriel for some time, Khadija said to him;- VERILY I FEAR THAT GOD IS DISPLEASED WITH THEE; whereupon was revealed Sura xciii;- Thy Lord hath not removed from thee, neither is he displeased, &c. But all such traditions are evidently founded upon the attempt to explain, or illustrate, the passages of the Coran referred to.

It is also worth mentioning that Muir believes in the historicity of the Satanic verses. Regarding the authenticity of the account, Muir writes:

This narrative founded on fact.

Pious Mussulmans of after days, scandalized at the lapse of their Prophet into so flagrant a concession to idolatry, would reject the whole story.8 But the authorities are too strong to be impugned. It is hardly possible to conceive how the tale, if not founded in truth, could ever have been invented. The stubborn fact remains, and is by all admitted, that the first refugees did return about this time from Abyssinia; and that they returned in consequence of a rumour that Mecca was converted. To this fact the narratives of Wackidi and Tabari afford the only intelligible clue. At the same time, it is by no means necessary that we should literally adopt the exculpatory version of Mahometan tradition; or seek, in the interposition of Satan and Gabriel, an explanation of actions to be equally accounted for by the natural workings of the Prophet's mind. (Sir William Muir, Life of Mahomet, Vol. II, Chapter 5)

Since MENJ quoted Muir does he now accept his position regarding the veracity of Muhammad’s lapse into idolatry? Does he accept Muir’s quote that even though Khadijah initially confirmed Muhammad’s alleged call to prophethood that she later had doubts and claimed that Allah hated and forsook Muhammad? He must since Muir wasn’t quoting Orientalists, but Muslim biographer al-Wakidi. Wakidi wasn’t the only one to mention this incident, since al-Tabari also records Khadijah’s hostile statement to the "Prophet":

Then he went to Khadijah and said, "Khadijah, I think that I have gone mad." "No, by God," she said, "Your Lord would never do that to you. You have never committed a wicked act." Khadijah went to Waraqa b. Nawful and told him what had happened. He said, "If what you say is true, your husband is a prophet. He will meet adversity from his people. If I live long enough, I shall believe in him."

After this, Gabriel did not come to him for a while, and Khadijah said to him, "I think that your Lord MUST HAVE COME TO HATE YOU." Then God revealed to him:

By the forenoon, and by the night, when it is still, your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does he hate you.

(The History of al-Tabari, Volume VI, Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt and M.V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988], p. 70; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Tabari also mentions Muhammad’s doubts and attempts at suicide:

... I recited it, and then he desisted and departed I woke up, and it was as though these words had been written on my heart. There was no one of God’s creation more hateful to me than a poet or a madman; I could not bear to look at either of them. I said to myself, "Your humble servant (meaning himself) is either a poet or a madman, but Quraysh shall never say this of me. I shall take myself to a mountain crag, hurl myself down from it, kill myself, and find relief in that way." (Ibid., p. 71; bold emphasis ours)

Al-Bukhari mentions a different reason for the "sending down" of S. 93:

Narrated Jundab bin 'Abdullah:

Gabriel did not come to the Prophet (for some time) and so one of the Quraish women said, "His Satan has deserted him." So came the Divine Revelation: "By the forenoon And by the night When it is still! Your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither Forsaken you Nor hated you." (93.1-3) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 225)

MENJ appeals to Muslim biographer Muhammad Husayn Haykal. Here is what Haykal has to say about Muhammad’s first impression regarding his "divine" encounter:

Naturally he was scared, and intimated to his wife, Khadija, the fear that he might even be possessed by an evil spirit ... Stricken with panic, Muhammad arose and asked himself, "What did I see? Did possession of the devil WHICH I FEARED ALL ALONG come to pass?" ... When he calmed down, he cast toward his wife the glance of a man in need of rescue and said, "O Khadijah, what has happened to me?" He told her of his experience and intimated to her his fear that his mind had finally betrayed him, and that he was becoming a seer or a man possessed. (Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, tran. Isma‘il Raji al-Faruqi [American Trust Publications, USA 1976; Malaysian edition by Islamic Book Trust], pp. 73, 74)

According to Haykal, this was not the first time Muhammad had felt that he was possessed of the devil, only to be convinced otherwise by his wife Khadijah:

"As she did on earlier occasions when Muhammad feared possession by the devil, so now stood firm by her husband and void of the slightest doubt, convinced him that he was called to be God's prophet to the Arabs." (Ibid., p. 75; bold emphasis ours)

Interestingly, even though MENJ quotes page 80 of Haykal’s book he evidently failed to see this part:

Oh, what divine majesty, what pace of mind, what joy of heart ad exaltation to the soul! Muhammad's fears dissolved and his dread was dissipated. He was overjoyd with this fresh evidence of his Lord's blessings and fell down in worship to God and praise of Him. There was no more reason to fear, AS KHADIJAH HAD DONE, that God was displeased with him, and there was no cause for his dread. God has now taken him under His protection and removed from him every doubt and fear. Henceforth there was to be no thought of suicide but only of a life dedicated to calling men unto God and unto God alone.[9]

What is Haykal talking about? He is referring to the incident mentioned above, namely that Khadijah herself had concluded that Muhammad’s Lord had abandoned him:

Muhammad expected the revelations to guide his path from day to day, but they subsided. Gabriel did not appear for some time, and all around him there was nothing but silence. Muhammad fell into solitude, separated from himself as well as from the people. His old fears recurred. It is told that even Khadijah said to him, "Does it not seem that your Lord is displeased with you?" Dismayed and frightened, he returned to the mountain and the cave of Hira’. There, he prayed for God fervently, seeking assiduously to reach Him. Particularly, he wanted to ask God about the cause of this divine pleasure. Khadijah did not dread these days any less than Muhammad, nor was she any less fearful. Often Muhammad wished to die, but he would again feel the call and the command of his Lord which dispelled such ideas. It was told that he once thought of throwing himself down form the top of the Mount Hira’ or Mount of Abu Qubays, thinking what good was this life if his greatest hope therein was to be frustrated and destroyed? ... (Ibid., p. 79; bold emphasis ours)

Even Muhammad's very own foster-parents believed that the former had been possessed by evil-spirits. For instance, his foster-mother Halimah feared for the child since she believed he was possessed:

"Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, ‘Two men clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring him up.’ We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and asked him what was the matter. He said, ‘Two men with white raiment came and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what,’ so we took him back to our tent.

His father said to me, ‘I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears.’ So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, ‘God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished.’ She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied THAT I DID. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told me how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra and Syria, ..." (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi], pp. 71-72; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The hadith also refers to this event:

Anas b. Malik reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) while he was playing with his playmates. He took hold of him and lay him prostrate on the ground and tore open his breast and took out the heart from it and then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: That was THE PART OF SATAN IN THEE. And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin and then it was joined together and restored to its place. The boys came running to his mother, i. e. his nurse, and said: Verily Muhammad has been murdered. They all rushed toward him (and found him all right). His color was changed, Anas said. I myself saw the marks of a needle on his breast. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 311)

The Quran testifies that many of Muhammad’s contemporaries believed that he was possessed by a jinn (demon):

"Do they not reflect? Their companion is not seized with madness (min-jinnah): he is but a perspicuous warner." S. 7:184

And say: "What! Shall we give up our gods for the sake of a Poet possessed (shaa'irim majnun)? S. 37:36

"Thou art not, by the Grace of thy Lord, mad or possessed (bi-majnun)." S. 68:2

"And (O people!) your companion is not one possessed (bi-majnun);" S. 81:22

Ibn Ishaq writes:

"When the Quraysh became distressed by the trouble caused by the enmity between them and the apostle and those of their people who accepted his teaching, they stirred up against him foolish men who called him a liar, insulted him, and accused him of being a poet, a sorcerer, a diviner, and of being possessed ..." (Guillaume, p. 130; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Ishaq also mentions Utba b. Rabi’a’s and the Quraysh’s proposal to Muhammad:

"... ‘and if this GHOST which comes to you, which you see, is such that you cannot get rid of him, we will find a physician for you, and exhaust our means in getting you cured, FOR OFTEN A FAMILIAR SPIRIT GETS POSSESSION OF A MAN UNTIL HE CAN BE CURED OF IT,’ or words to that effect ...

... if it was a spirit which had got possession of him (they used to call THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT of the jinn ra’iy), then they would exhaust their means in finding medicine to cure him ..." (Ibid., pp. 132, 133, 134; bold and capital emphasis ours)

MENJ may try to accuse me of not quoting the rest of the text that says that Utba, after hearing Muhammad recite the Quran, was mesmerized and claimed that this couldn’t be poetry, spells or witchcraft. If so, this still doesn’t prove that Muhammad wasn’t under the influence of Satan as the evidence presented in the article shows. In fact, the hadith mentions some men who had astounded the Muslims by their eloquence:

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
Two men came from the East and addressed the people who wondered at their eloquent speeches. On that Allah's Apostle said, "Some eloquent speech IS AS EFFECTIVE AS MAGIC." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 662)

Malik related to me from Zayd ibn Aslam that Abdullah ibn Umar said, "Two men from the east stood up and spoke, AND PEOPLE WERE AMAZED AT THEIR ELOQUENCE. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Some eloquence IS SORCERY,’ or he said, ‘Part of eloquence is sorcery.’" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 56, Number 56.3.7)

Hence, Utba’s reaction was simply due to being bewitched, just as the Quraysh said:

" ... They said, ‘He has bewitched you with his tongue.’ To which he answered, ‘You have my opinion, you must do what you think fit.’" (p. 133)

MENJ may try to argue that even Jesus’ contemporaries thought he was demon-possessed (cf. John 8:48) as a way of undermining the unbelievers’ accusations of Muhammad’s condition. If so, this would only be a fallacy of false analogy since there is a major difference between Christ and Muhammad. Unlike Muhammad, Christ never assumed that the Spirit that empowered him was a demon, nor did he ever contemplate suicide as a result of his encounter with God (the Father). In fact, when Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan himself, he immediately recognized his identity and resisted and rebuked him. Christ also supernaturally demonstrated that the unbelievers’ accusations were false, whereas with Muhammad, and in agreement with the unbelievers’ later claim, he himself initially thought that he was possessed by a jinn! Not only did Muhammad feel that he was visited by a demon at one point, but he also could not distinguish the voice of God from the voice of Satan, as S. 22:52-53 testifies:

We have sent no apostle, or prophet, before thee, but, when he read, Satan suggested [some error] in his reading. But God shall make void that which Satan hath suggested: Then shall God confirm his signs; for God [is] knowing [and] wise. [But this he permitteth], that he may make that which Satan hath suggested, a temptation unto those in whose hearts there is an infirmity, and whose hearts are hardened: - for the ungodly are certainly in a wide disagreement [from the truth]: - Palmer

One of the greatest Muslim commentators, Al-Zamakhshari, writes regarding this passage:

7. The faithful rendering of the revelation

Zamakhshari on Sura 22:52/51

We have never sent any messenger of prophet before thee, but that Satan cast into his fancy, when he was fancying; but God annuls what Satan casts, then God confirms His signs - surely God is All-knowing, All-wise ...

The occasion of the sending down of the present verse is the following: As the members of the tribe of the messenger of God turned away from him and took their stand against him and his relatives also opposed him and refused to be guided by what he brought to them, then, as a result of the extreme exasperation concerning their estrangement and as a result of the eager desire and longing that they be converted to Islam, the messenger of God sheltered the wish that nothing would come down to him that could make them shy away. Perhaps he should have been able to use that for the purpose of converting them and causing them to be dissuaded from their error and obstinacy. Now this wish continued in him until the sura called "The Star" (that is, Sura 53) came down. At that time he found himself with this wish in his heart regarding the members of his tribe. Then he began to recite, and when he came to God's words "and Manat, the third, the other" (Sura 53:20), Satan substituted something in accordance with the wish which the messenger of God had sheltered, that is, he whispered something to him which would enable the messenger to announce his wish. In an inadvertent and misleading manner, his tongue hurried on ahead of him, so that he said: "These (goddesses are the) exalted cranes. Their intercession (with God) is to be hoped for" ... Yet, the messenger of God was not clear at this point until the protection of God "isma" reached him and he then became attentive again.

Some say that Gabriel drew his attention to it, or that Satan himself spoke those words and brought them to the people's hearing. As soon as the messenger of God prostrated (for prayer) as the end of the sura, all who were present did it with him and felt pleased (that is, the unbelievers felt pleased that their goddesses had been accepted as intercessors with God). (Helmut Gätje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis [Routledge and Keagan Paul, London UK 1976], pp. 53-55)

To summarize the data FROM MUSLIM SOURCES, not "biased" Christian or Orientalist writings, we discover that:

  1. Muhammad believed he was demon-possessed.
  2. Muhammad contemplated suicide after his encounter with the Spirit entity.
  3. Even from childhood, Muhammad’s foster mother thought that he was demon-possessed.
  4. Muhammad’s contemporaries also believed he was demon-possessed.

After citing S. 93 and Haykal, MENJ tries to compare Muhammad’s experiences with the experiences of the biblical prophets. MENJ singles out the experiences of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel to prove that their experiences were similar to that of Muhammad’s.

The most astonishing aspect of all this is that every example MENJ cites ends up refuting him and does show that Muhammad was not a true prophet!

Let us quote the relevant passages cited by MENJ, as well as additional citations for comparison purposes:


"In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs stood over him; each one had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and they used the remaining two to fly. They called out to one another, ‘The Lord who leads armies has absolute sovereign authority! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth!’ The sound of their voices shook the door frames, and the temple was filled with smoke. I said, ‘Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord who leads armies.’ But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven. I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, ‘Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?’ I answered, ‘Here I am, send me!’ He said, ‘Go and tell these people: "Listen continually, but don't understand! Look continually, but don't perceive!" Make the minds of these people calloused; make their ears deaf and their eyes blind! Otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, their minds might understand and they might repent and be healed.’ I replied, ‘How long, sovereign master?’ He said, ‘Until cities are in ruins and unpopulated, and houses are uninhabited, and the land is ruined and devastated, and the Lord has sent the people off to a distant place, and the very heart of the land is completely abandoned. Even if only a tenth of the people remain in the land, it will again be destroyed, like one of the large sacred trees or an Asherah pole, when a sacred pillar on a high place is thrown down. That sacred pillar symbolizes the special chosen family.’" Isaiah 6:1-13

Isaiah’s dread didn’t stem from any fear of demon-possession, but from his realization of his complete unworthiness to stand before the infinitely holy God. Hence, his experience is nothing like Muhammad’s.


"The Lord said to me, ‘Before I formed you in your mother's womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.’ I answered, ‘Oh, Lord God, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.’ The Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, "I am too young." But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to rescue you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.’" Jeremiah 1:4-10

Again, nothing stated in this passage suggests that Jeremiah contemplated suicide due to a fear of being demon-possessed. Jeremiah’s fear was a result of his young age and lack of experience.


"In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles at the Kebar River, the heavens opened and I saw visions of God. (In the fifth day of the month - the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's exile - the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel the son of Buzi, at the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. The hand of the Lord came on him there). As I watched, I saw a windstorm coming from the north - an enormous cloud surrounded by a radiance and a fire flashing forth, and in the fire something like a glowing substance. In the fire were what looked like four living beings. As for their appearance, they had human form. Each had four faces and four wings, their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like calves' feet. They gleamed like burnished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. Each of the four had faces and wings; their wings touched each other. They did not turn as they moved, but went straight ahead. Their faces had this appearance: each of the four had the face of a man, with the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left and also the face of an eagle - thus were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two wings touching the wings of one of the other beings on either side and two wings covering their bodies. Each moved straight ahead - wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. The appearance of the living beings was like burning coals of fire, like torches. The fire moved back and forth among the living beings. It was bright, and lightning was flashing out of the fire. The living beings ran backward and forward like flashes of lightning. As I looked at the living beings, I saw a wheel touching the earth beside each one of the four. The appearance of the wheels and their construction was like jasper, and all four wheels looked alike. Their structure was like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved they would go in any of the four directions they faced; they did not turn as they moved. Their rims were high and awesome and the rims of all four wheels were full of eyes all around. When the living beings moved, the wheels beside them moved; when the living beings rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up too. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise up beside them, because the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. When the living beings moved, the wheels moved, and when they stopped moving, the wheels stopped. When they rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up from the ground; the wheels rose up beside them, because the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Over the heads of the living beings was something like an expanse, glittering awesomely like ice stretched out over their heads. Under the expanse their wings were stretched out, each toward the other. Each of the beings also had two wings giving cover - each had two covering the body. When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings - it was like the noise of mighty waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stopped moving, they lowered their wings. Then there was a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stopped moving, they lowered their wings. Above the expanse over their heads was something like a throne made of sapphire. On the throne, high above, was a form that appeared to be a man. I saw a glowing substance that looked like fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a brilliant light around it. The appearance of the brilliant light all around him was like a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Lord. When I saw it, I threw myself down with my face to the ground, and I heard someone's voice speaking." Ezekiel 1:1-28

"He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.’ As he spoke to me, the Spirit came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me. He said to me, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says." And as for them, whether they hear or not for they are a rebellious house - they will know that a prophet has been among them. But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words, even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions. Do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house! You must speak my words to them whether they pay attention or not, for they are rebellious. As for you, son of man, hear what I say to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.’ Then I saw a hand stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were lamentation and mourning and woe." Ezekiel 2:1-10

"He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you see in front of you eat this scroll - and then go and speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll. He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.’ So I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.’ So I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. He said to me, ‘Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. For I am not sending you to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel - not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand - surely if I had sent you to them, they would listen to you! But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hard-hearted. ‘I have set your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. I have made your face harder than flint-like diamond! Do not fear them or be dismayed by their looks, for they are a rebellious house.’ And he said to me, ‘Son of man, listen carefully to all my words that I speak to you and take them to heart. Go to the exiles, to your fellow countrymen, and speak to them - say to them, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says," whether they pay attention or not.’ Then the Spirit lifted me up and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me - Blessed be the glory of the Lord in his place! - the sound of the living beings’ wings brushing against each other, and the sound of the wheels alongside them, a loud rumbling sound. The Spirit lifted me up and carried me away. I went BITTERLY, my spirit FULL ANGER, and the hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me. I came to the exiles at Tel Abib, who lived by the Kebar River. And I sat among them there, where they were living, for seven days, dumbfounded." Ezekiel 3:1-15

Far from being fearful, Ezekiel is actually filled with bitterness and anger, presumably due to his disgust with the sins of his people which resulted in God calling him to speak against them. His falling down to the ground was a result of his awe and reverence of God. His being dumbfounded stemmed from the awesomeness of his visionary experiences, not from a fear of demon-possession.

Furthermore, unlike Muhammad, Ezekiel had no doubts that the entity speaking to him was God Almighty. Nor did he ever contemplate suicide after encountering the Deity.


"While I, Daniel, was watching the vision, I sought to understand it. Now one who appeared to be a man was standing before me. Then I heard a human voice coming from between the banks of the Ulai. It called out, ‘Gabriel, enable this person to understand the vision.’ So he approached where I was standing. As he came, I felt terrified and fell flat on the ground. Then he said to me, ‘Understand, son of man, that the vision pertains to the time of the end.’ As he spoke with me, I fell into a trance with my face to the ground. But he touched me and stood me upright. Then he said, ‘I am going to inform you about what will be in the latter time of wrath, for the vision pertains to the appointed time of the end. The ram that you saw with the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. The male goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. The horn that was broken and in whose place there arose four others stands for four kingdoms that will arise from his nation, though they will not have his strength. Toward the end of their rule, when transgressions are complete, a rash and duplicitous king will arise. His power will be great, but it will not be by his strength alone. He will be destructive to an extraordinary degree. He will destroy powerful people and the people of the holy ones. By his skill he will make deceit successful through his influence. In his own mind he will assume great airs, and he will destroy many who are unaware of his schemes. He will rise up against the Prince of princes, but he will be broken apart from human agency. The vision of the evenings and mornings that was told to you is correct. But you should seal up the vision, for it refers to a time many days from now. I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up and again carried out the king's business. But I was astonished at the vision, and there was no one to explain it." Daniel 8:15-27

Again, the context makes it quite clear that Daniel’s fear was a result of the glorious appearances of these angelic beings, not because he thought that they were demons. Furthermore, Daniel’s exhaustion, sickness and astonishment were due to his inability to understand the visions, not out of doubts of demon-possession and suicidal tendencies.

It is rather evident that NONE of these prophets’ experiences are even remotely similar with Muhammad’s traumatic experiences, experiences which led the latter to think that he was demon-possessed. None of these prophets thought that the being that spoke to them was either Satan or a demon, nor did the thought of suicide enter their minds after these divine encounters. This is quite different from Muhammad’s experiences.

In fact, unlike Muhammad who was terrorized by the spirit entity, God and/or his angels often relieved the prophets/messengers of their fears in these encounters:

"On the twenty-fourth day of the first month I was beside the great river, the Tigris. I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen; around his waist was a belt made of gold from Upaz. His body resembled yellow jasper, and his face was like lightning. His eyes were like blazing torches; his arms and feet had the gleam of polished bronze. His voice thundered forth like the sound of a large crowd. Only I, Daniel, saw the vision; the men who were with me did not see it. On the contrary, they were overcome with fright and ran away to hide. I alone was left to see this great vision. My strength drained from me, and my vigor dissipated; I was without energy. I listened to his voice, and as I did so I fell into a trance-like sleep with my face to the ground. Then a hand touched me and set me on my hands and knees. He said to me, ‘Daniel, you are a treasured person. Understand the words that I am about to speak to you. So stand up, for I have now been sent to you.’ When he said this to me, I stood up shaking. Then he said to me, ‘Don't be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words." Daniel 10:4-12

"While he was saying this to me, I was flat on the ground and unable to speak. Then one who appeared to be a human being was touching my lips. I opened my mouth and started to speak, saying to the one who was standing before me, ‘Sir, due to the vision, anxiety has gripped me and I am utterly without strength. How, sir, am I able to speak with you? My strength is gone, and I am breathless.’ Then the one who appeared to be a human being touched me again and energized me. He said to me, ‘Don't be afraid, treasured person. Peace be to you! Be strong! Be really strong!’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened. I said, ‘Sir, you may speak now, for you have given me strength.’" Daniel 10:15-19

"As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the water they were terrified and said, ‘It's a ghost!’ and cried out with fear. But immediately he spoke to them: ‘Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.’ So he said, ‘Come.’ Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God.’" Matthew 14:26-33

"An angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense, appeared to him. And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, was seized with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John.’" Luke 1:11-13

"The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. So the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’" Luke 1:28-30

"When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive-forever and ever-and I hold the keys of death and of Hades!’" Revelation 1:17-18

Furthermore, the Holy Bible teaches that true believers do not fall under Satanic possession or bewitchment:

"There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’" Numbers 23:23 NIV

"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’" Luke 10:17-20 NIV

This again is unlike Muhammad who came under Satan’s control:

Narrated Aisha:
Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Then one day he said, "O 'Aisha do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other. What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied he is under the effect of magic. The first one asked, Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied Labid bin Al-A'sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, 'What material did he use?' The other replied, 'A comb and the hair stuck to it.' The first one asked, ‘Where (is that)?’ The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan'" So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out." I said (to the Prophet) "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660; see also number 661)

Narrated Aisha:
Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 400)

The following hadith reveals another major difference between the prophets’ receiving inspiration and the way Muhammad "received" it:

Narrated 'Urwa from 'Aisha:
The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah's Apostle loved 'Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah's Apostle had come to 'Aisha's home and then he would send his gift to Allah's Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife's house he was. Um Salama told Allah's Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, "Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA." On that Um Salama said, "I repent to Allah for hurting you" ... (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755)

Thirdly, Muhammad’s experiences are closer to the experiences of shaman witches. Quennel Gale, in his well-documented article regarding this very issue, provides some interesting quotes from such sources as Encyclopedia Britannica:

Then, in a vision or a dream, the spirit who has CHOSEN HIM appears AND ANNOUNCES HIS BEING CHOSEN. This call is necessary for the shaman to acquire his powers. The spirit who has chosen him first lavishes the unwilling shaman-to-be with all sorts of promises and, if he does not win his consent, goes on to torment him. This so-called shaman illness will anguish him for months, perhaps for years, as long as he does not accept the shaman profession. (


"Unlike the medicine man, the Shaman's adoption of his profession is in many cases not voluntary. The future Shaman's experience of being called seems frequently to consist in a compulsive state from which he sees no other means of escape than to 'Shamanize'. It is often clear, particularly from reports from Siberia, that the man who is to become a Shaman consciously does not wish to do so at all, BUT IS DRIVEN AND FORCED TO IT BY THE 'SPIRITS', and finally, in order not to perish, takes the only path open to him and becomes a Shaman. The future Shaman, the young man suited for Shamanizing, cannot escape the demands of the spirits, which drive him deeper and deeper into the illness, although he very often tries to resist. He gets into a situation, into a mental illness, from which he can find no way out EXCEPT DEATH or the assumption of the office of Shaman." (Lommel, Andreas; The World of the Early Hunter (1967); also quoted here:

The hadith supply additional evidence that Muhammad’s experiences were similar to that of pagan shamans. Earlier we quoted Karen Armstrong who had mentioned the jinn-possessed poet Hassan b. Thabit. According to the hadith, Muhammad believed that Gabriel and the Holy Spirit inspired Hassan’s poetry:

Narrated Abu Salama bin 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf:
that he heard Hassan bin Thabit Al-Ansari asking the witness of Abu Huraira, saying, "O Abu Huraira! I beseech you by Allah (to tell me). Did you hear Allah's Apostle saying ‘O Hassan! Reply on behalf of Allah's Apostle. O Allah! Support him (Hassan) with the Holy Spirit!’?" Abu Huraira said, "Yes." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 173; see also Volume 1, Book 8, Number 444 and Volume 4, Book 54, Number 434; Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6071 and 6073)

Narrated Al-Bara:
The Prophet said to Hassan, "Lampoon them (the pagans) in verse, and Gabriel is with you." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 174; see also Volume 4, Book 54, Number 435 and Volume 5, Book 59, Number 449; Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6074)

Interestingly, Hassan’s poetry was influential in converting some Arabs to Islam! Ibn Ishaq mentions a deputation from the Banu Tamim who had one of their poets al-Zibriqan b. Badr recite poetry. Muhammad sent for Hassan who said:

"When I came to the apostle and the tribal poet had said his say, I made allusions to what he had said on the same pattern. When al-Zibriqan had finished the apostle said to Hassan, ‘Get up and answer the man,’ and Hassan arose and said ...

When Hassan had ended al-Aqra’ said: ‘By my father, this man has a ready helper. His orator and his poet are better than ours and their voices are sweeter than ours.’ In the end they accepted Islam and the apostle gave them valuable gifts." (Ibid., p. 629-631; bold emphasis ours)

What is troublesome about all this is that Muhammad hated poets since he believed that they were possessed or mad. We had quoted from Al-Tabari regarding Muhammad’s immediate impression after his encounter with the Spirit:

... There was no one of God’s creation more hateful to me than a poet or a madman; I could not bear to look at either of them. I said to myself, "Your humble servant (meaning himself) is either a poet or a madman ..." (Ibid., p. 71; bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad had this derogatory thing to say about poetry:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "It is better for a man to fill the inside of his body with pus than to fill it with poetry." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 175; see also Number 176)

The Quran has less than flattering things to say about those who follow poets:

And as to the poets, those who go astray follow them. S. 26:224 Shakir

Thus, Muhammad must have been astray since he both promoted and followed the poetry of Hassan! This is just another example of Muhammad's hypocrisy and inconsistency.

Author Duncan B. Macdonald puts this into perspective:

But let me illustrate in detail. A good example is given in the stories told about Hassan ibn Thabit, a close personal follower of Muhammad, and, in a sense, his poet-laureate. Muhammad in general was opposed to poetry; the poets were mostly opposed to him; but Hassan upheld his cause with poetry of a kind, and was especially useful in replying to satirical and abusive attacks. But this Hassan, while still a young man in the days before Islam, and before he had made any verses, was initiated into poetry by a female Jinni. She met him in one of the streets of Medina, leapt upon him, pressed him down, and compelled him to utter three verses of poetry. Thereafter he was a poet, and his verses came to him as to other Arab poets from THE DIRECT INSPIRATION OF THE JINN. He refers himself to his "brothers of the Jinn" who weave for him artistic words, and tells how weighty lines have been sent down to him from heaven in the night season. The curious thing is that the expressions he uses ARE EXACTLY those used of the "sending down," that is, revelation, of the Qur'an. Evidently in his case there was a struggle between the idea of the Jinn - those half or wholly heathen spirits - as inspirers and the diving inspirations of the angels.

Further, the story runs that Muhammad used to set up for him a pulpit in the mosque and stand by in evident enjoyment, while Hassan hurled from it stinging verses against the enemies of Islam. This was one of the few occasions on which Muhammad seems to have tolerated poetry, and his reported comment is significant, "Allah aids Hassan with the Holy Spirit so long as he is defending or boasting of the Apostle of God." But by the Holy Spirit here, you must not understand any conception like that of the third person of the Christian trinity. For Muhammad the phrase referred only to the angel messenger who brought to him his revelations. The theological consequences of the lack of the conception of the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, in Islam were wide, but this is not the place to enter upon them. Here Muhammad simply ascribed to Hassan the same kind of inspiration that he had himself, and that is remarkable enough.

Another point to observe is the close parallel between the terms used in the story of Hassan's initiation and that of the first revelation to Muhammad. Just as Hassan was thrown down by the female spirit and had verses pressed out of him, so the first utterances of prophecy were pressed from Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. And the resemblances go still farther. The angel Gabriel is spoken of as the companion (qarin) of Muhammad, just as though he were the Jinni accompanying a poet, and the same word nafatha, "blow upon", is used of an enchanter, or a Jinni inspiring a poet and of Gabriel revealing to Muhammad. It was, of course, the nightmare of Muhammad's earlier years - a fear of his own and an accusation of his enemies - that he was simply a poet possessed by a Jinni; it dictated his whole attitude to poets and poetry, and it is very plain how near the fact, the fear and accusation lay. He was in truth a poet of the old Arab type, without skill of verse, and with all his being given to the prophetic side of poetry. Add to this a strange jumble of Jewish and Christian conceptions, and you have the key to Muhammad. (Macdonald, The Attitude of the Semites Toward the Unseen World; Prophecy as a Semitic Phenomenon and Especially Among the Arabs,; bold emphasis ours)

These traditions pose major problems for Muslims. Muhammad’s religious experiences are quite similar to that of Hassan’s and yet, according to the sources, Hassan’s poetry was a result of his encounter with a jinn or a demon. Hassan’s experiences were identical to Muhammad’s experiences with the "angel." Muhammad himself goes so far as to claim that Hassan’s poetry was the result of Gabriel and the Holy Spirit assisting him. This means that the entity that appeared to both Muhammad and Hassan was actually a demon or jinn!

Let us break this down:

  1. Hassan was assisted by a demon (jinn).
  2. Hassan’s encounter with this demon was similar to Muhammad’s own experiences.
  3. Muhammad claims that Gabriel and the Holy Spirit assisted Hassan in reciting his poetry.
  4. This implies that Hassan was just as inspired as Muhammad was.
  5. This then leads us to the conclusion that the entity which appeared to both Muhammad and Hassan was actually a demon.

This also illustrates Muhammad’s hypocrisy. Even though Muhammad disliked poetry and believed that it was the work of jinns, he praised Hassan’s poetry which mocked Muhammad’s enemies, even claiming that these poems were the result of Gabriel’s assistance!


MENJ quoted the Holy Bible to show that Muhammad’s so-called religious experiences were similar to the experiences of the biblical prophets. We therefore issue the following challenges for MENJ:

  1. Please find one biblical prophet who thought that he was demon-possessed after his encounter with God.
  2. Please find one biblical prophet who contemplated suicide as a result of thinking that he was demon-possessed.
  3. Please find one biblical prophet who fell under Satanic possession, or was bewitched either by a sorcerer, occultist, Satanist, demon etc.
  4. Please show us a prophet who received revelation while under the bed of his favorite wife.
  5. Please try and convince us that Hassan’s experiences were not similar to Muhammad.
  6. Please convince us that Muhammad’s claim that Gabriel assisted Hassan doesn’t prove that Muhammad’s Gabriel was either Satan or a demon masquerading as an angel of light.

This concludes our response. In the service of our beloved Lord and risen Savior Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, forever and ever. Amen.

Sam Shamoun

Responses to Bismikaallahuma
Answering Islam Home Page