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Did Prophet Muhammad Suffer From Epilepsy?

14 September, 2017
Q Some people claim that Muhammad suffered from Epilepsy? It is true? Please elaborate.


Salam Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Only When He Received Revelation?

The claims that the Prophet Muhammad suffered from epilepsy rest on a number of shaky assumptions which are not supported by medical research.

On the contrary, they are based solely on the many different descriptions of his physical state during his reception of revelation from Allah.

Epilepsy is seen as one way of explaining the Prophet’s visions and spiritual experiences.

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But, the Prophet was not reported to have suffered from any such physical or mental conditions, except during his reception of revelation.

This would mean that the Prophet’s “epilepsy” occurred only when he was inspired by verses from the Quran.

This would be a medical anomaly as epilepsy is not consistently associated with such experiences.

No Long-Term Memory Issues Reported

Untreated epilepsy also tends to lead to mental damage and difficulties.

The Prophet Muhammad received revelation for twenty three years and it was never reported that his memory or mental faculties suffered in any way.

The following hadith explains:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: That he heard Allah’s Apostle describing the period of pause of the Divine Inspiration, and in his description he said,

“While I was walking I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up towards the sky, and behold! I saw the same Angel who came to me in the Cave of Hiraa, sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I was so terrified by him that I fell down on the ground. Then I went to my wife and said, ‘Wrap me in garments! Wrap me in garments!’

They wrapped me, and then Allah revealed:

“O you, (Muhammad) wrapped-up! Arise and warn…and desert the idols.” (74:1-5) Abu Salama said….Rujz means idols.” After that, the Divine Inspiration started coming more frequently and regularly. (Bukhari)

If we consider the entire life history of the Prophet, one sees very clearly the integrity and consistency of his personality and qualities.

His Life Was An Open Book

He transformed the belief, practice and mindset of a corrupt and backward people to a moral and civilized one. He became the father of a nation in a manner unparalleled in human history.

From his family life to his public persona, the details of his life were transparent.

And what emerges from a fair-minded look at his personality is that all his achievements cannot be reduced to some single medical explanation.

Unlike many of the great figures of history, what the Prophet did, said and sanctioned is recorded authentically and even more so after he received revelation.

Indeed the thousands of pages that have been written on his life reveal not a trace of erratic or irrational behavior.

Lie Fabricated by Orientalists

The idea of the Prophet being an epileptic was first advanced by Orientalists whose arguments both from a scientific and historical view are very flimsy.

Since then, the argument has been rehashed by propagandists and critics who care little for the basis of their claims.

Narrated Ata ibn Yasar (a companion of Prophet Muhammad):

I met Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘As and asked him, “Tell me about the description of Allah’s Apostle which is mentioned in Torah (i.e. Old Testament.”) He replied, ‘Yes. By Allah, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran as follows:

“O Prophet ! We have sent you as a witness (for Allah’s True religion) and a giver of glad tidings (to the faithful believers), and a warner (to the unbelievers) and guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets and you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal With them with forgiveness and kindness…” (Bukhari)

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From AboutIslam’s archives)

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Muhammad: A Man Who Excelled in All Roles


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