Examining Some More Evidence for Muhammad Being Deceived

Sam Shamoun

In several articles and responses, we have presented the biblical and Islamic evidence showing that an evil spirit deceived Muhammad. We feel that the data conclusively shows that the spirit that appeared to Muhammad wasn’t a true, pure, holy spirit from God. There were even some of Muhammad’s contemporaries who thought that Satan, or an evil spirit, had taken control of Muhammad. Some examples of which include:

Narrated Jundub bin Sufyan:
Once Allah's Apostle became sick and could not offer his night prayer (Tahajjud) for two or three nights. Then a lady (the wife of Abu Lahab) came and said, "O Muhammad! I think that your Satan has forsaken you, for I have not seen him with you for two or three nights!" On that Allah revealed: 'By the fore-noon, and by the night when it darkens, your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither forsaken you, nor hated you.' (93.1-3) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 475)

One of the Meccan Chiefs told Muhammad that:

… ‘I will make some suggestions, and perhaps you will be able to accept one of them.’ The apostle agreed, and he went on, ‘If what you want is money, we will gather for you of our property so that you may be the richest of us; if want honour, we will make you our chief so that no one can decide anything apart from you; if you want sovereignty, we will make you king, 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…


… No Arab had ever treated his tribe as Muhammad had treated them, and they repeated the charges which have been mentioned on several occasions, If it was money he wanted, they would make him the richest of them all; if it was honour, he should be their prince; if it was sovereignty, they would make him king; if it was a spirit which had got possession of him (they used to call the familiar spirit of the jinn ra’iy), they would exhaust their means in finding medicine to cure him. The Apostle replied he had no such intention… (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression 1995], pp. 132, 133-134; underlined emphasis ours)

For Bible believing Christians, this isn’t surprising since the Holy Scriptures speak of Satan appearing as an angel to deceive people from the truth:

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Thus, many Christians have little reason to doubt that a spirit did in fact appear to Muhammad, a spirit pretending to be Gabriel in order to prevent people from discovering the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Interestingly, there were people such as the cousin of Muhammad’s first wife Khadijah, himself a Christian monk, who knew that Satan could imitate Gabriel:

"Waraqa was dumbfounded at this, and said, ‘If Gabriel has actually placed his feet upon the earth, he has done so for the best of people thereupon. And he never came down for anyone except a prophet. For he is the companion of all the prophets and messengers, the one whom God sends down to them. I believe what you tell me of him. Send for 'Abd Allah's son, so that I may question him, hear what he says and talk to him. I am afraid it may be someone other than Gabriel, for certain devils imitate him and by so doing can mislead and corrupt some men. This can result in a man becoming confused and even crazy whereas before he had been of sound mind.’" (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume I, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 1998], pp. 296-297; bold italic emphasis ours)

For those who are interested in reading the rest of the evidence which we feel support our contention that an evil spirit appeared to Muhammad, please consult the following articles:


Instead of focusing in this paper on the biblical material, we want to turn our attention to the Islamic sources so as to cull some of the data on what pagans, and even Muslims, saw as signs associated with satanic activity. The Muslim literature provide criteria to know whether a person is possessed and/or whether that individual is a sorcerer(ess). We will then use these criteria to see whether Muhammad falls within the category of a person possessed and/or of a sorcerer.

According to the oldest extant biography of Muhammad’s life by Ibn Ishaq (subsequently edited by Ibn Hisham), the Meccan Arabs tried to come up with an opinion about Muhammad which they could then tell the other Arabs visiting the Kabah. In so doing, they give us an idea of some of the signs that were typically associated with possession and sorcery:

When the fair was due, a number of the Quraysh came to al-Walid b. al-Mughira, who was a man of some standing, and he addressed them in these words: ‘The time of the fair has come round again and representatives of the Arabs will come to you and they will have heard about this fellow of yours, so agree upon one opinion without dispute so that none will give the lie to the other.’ They replied, ‘You give us your opinion about him.’ He said, ‘No, you speak and I will listen.’ They said, ‘He is a kahin.’ He said, ‘By God, he is not that, for he has not the unintelligent murmuring and rhymed speech of the kahin.’ ‘Then he is possessed,’ they said. ‘No, he is not that,’ he said, ‘for we have seen possessed ones, and here is no choking, spasmodic movements and whispering.’ ‘Then he is a poet,’ they said. ‘No, he is no poet, for we know poetry in all its forms and metres.’ ‘Then he is a sorcerer.’ ‘No, we have seen sorcerers and their sorcery, and here is no spitting and no knots.’I ‘Then what are we to say, O Abu ‘Abdu Shams?’ they asked. He replied, ‘By God, his speech is sweet, his root is a palm-tree whose branches are fruitful (168), and everything you have said would be known to be false. The nearest thing to the truth is your saying that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father, or from his brother, or from his wife, or from his family. (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 121; bold emphasis ours)

Guillaume has a footnote here, which reads:

I Cf. Sura 113.4. Spitting, or perhaps ‘blowing.’


When Abu Jahl said that to them, al-Nadr b. al-Harith b. Kalada b. ‘Alqama b. Abdu Manaf b. Abdu’l-Dar b. Qusayy (178) got up and said: ‘O Quraysh, a situation has arisen, which you cannot deal with. Muhammad was a young man most liked among you, most truthful in speech, and most trustworthy, until, when you saw grey hairs on his temple, and he brought you his message, you said he was a sorcerer, but he is not, for we have seen such people and their spitting and their knots; you said, a diviner, but we have seen such people and their behaviour, and we have heard their rhymes; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet, for we have heard all kinds of poetry; you said he was possessed, but he is not, for we have seen the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping and whispering and delirium. Ye men of Quraysh, look to your affairs, for by God, a serious things has befallen you.’ … (Ibid., pp. 135-136; bold emphasis ours)

According to the Sahih Ahadith blowing or making knots is a work of Satan:

Narrated Abu Huraira
Allah's Apostle said, "Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, 'The night is long, so stay asleep.' When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 243)

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "During your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you, and he breathes the following words at each knot, 'The night is, long, so keep on sleeping,' If that person wakes up and celebrates the praises of Allah, then one knot is undone, and when he performs ablution the second knot is undone, and when he prays, all the knots are undone, and he gets up in the morning lively and gay, otherwise he gets up dull and gloomy." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 491)

Another possible indication of sorcery or magic is eloquent speech:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
Two men came from the east and delivered speeches, and the Prophet said, "Some eloquent speech has the influence of magic (e.g., some people refuse to do something and then a good eloquent speaker addresses them and then they agree to do that very thing after his speech)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 76)

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)

Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib:

I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: In eloquence there is magic, in knowledge ignorance, in poetry wisdom, and in speech heaviness.

Sa'sa'ah ibn Suhan said: The Prophet of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) spoke the truth. His statement "In eloquence there is magic" means: (For example), there is a right due from a man who is more eloquent in reasoning than the man who is demanding his right. He (the defendant) charms the people by his speech and takes away his right. His statement "In knowledge there is ignorance" means: A scholar brings to his knowledge what he does not know, and thus he becomes ignorant of that. His statement "In poetry there is wisdom" means: These are the sermons and examples by which people receive admonition. His statement "In speech there is heaviness" means: That you present your speech and your talk to a man who is not capable of understanding it, and who does not want it. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 4994)

Furthermore, Muhammad taught that bad and evil dreams were from Satan:

Narrated Abu Qatada:
The Prophet said, "A good dream is from Allah, and a bad or evil dream is from Satan; so if anyone of you has a bad dream of which he gets afraid, he should spit on his left side and should seek Refuge with Allah from its evil, for then it will not harm him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 513)

Narrated Abu Qatada:
The Prophet said, "A true good dream is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 113)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman said, "I heard Abu Qatada ibn Ribiyy say that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'The good dream is from Allah, and the bad dream is from shaytan. When you see what you dislike, spit to your left side three times when you wake up, and seek refuge with Allah from its evil. It will not harm you then, Allah willing.' " Abu Salama said, "I would see dreams which weighed on me more heavily than a mountain. When I heard this hadith, I was not concerned about it." (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 52, Number 52.1.4)

The Islamic traditions also speak out against the use of bells since they are the instruments of Satan. The traditions even say that Angels will not attend those who carry bells:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan. (Sahih Muslim, Book 024, Number 5279)

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
Ibn az-Zubayr told that a woman client of theirs took az-Zubayr's daughter to Umar ibn al-Khattab wearing bells on her legs. Umar cut them off and said that he had heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: There is a devil along with each bell. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 34, Number 4218)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Angels do not accompany the travellers who have with them a dog and a bell. (Sahih Muslim, Book 024, Number 5277)

Narrated Umm Habibah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The angels do not go with a traveling company in which there is a bell. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2548)

Narrated AbuUmayr ibn Anas:

AbuUmayr reported on the authority of his uncle who was from the Ansar (the helpers of the Prophet): The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was anxious as to how to gather the people for prayer.

The people told him: Hoist a flag at the time of prayer; when they see it, they will inform one another. But he (the Prophet) did not like it. Then someone mentioned to him the horn.

Ziyad said: A horn of the Jews. He (the Prophet) did not like it. He said: This is the matter of the Jews. Then they mentioned to him the bell of the Christians. He said: This is the matter of the Christians… (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 2, Number 0498)

According to the above data the signs of possession, sorcery, and satanic activity are:

  1. Choking, gasping, spasmodic movements, delirium, and whisperings.
  2. Spitting and blowing (knots).
  3. Eloquent speech.
  4. Bad and evil dreams.
  5. The use of bells.

Now let us turn to the Islamic literature to see if Muhammad manifested any of these features and symptoms.

1. Choking, gasping, spasmodic movements, delirium, and whisperings.

Muhammad manifested almost all the signs of one who was possessed, since he often had spasmodic body movements, and major changes in physical demeanor. He was also seen to be moving his lips, due to the so-called revelation being impressed upon his heart which he tried to then memorize. In other words, the alleged revelation came to him as a whisper within his heart and mind. All comments within brackets [] are mine:

Say: Whoever is the enemy of Jibreel [Gabriel] -- for surely he revealed it TO YOUR HEART by Allah's command, verifying that which is before it and guidance and good news for the believers. S. 2:97 Shakir

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once the Prophet sat on a pulpit and we sat around him. Then he said, "The things I am afraid of most for your sake (concerning what will befall you after me) is the pleasures and splendors of the world and its beauties which will be disclosed to you." Somebody said, "O Allah's Apostle! Can the good bring forth evil?" The Prophet remained silent for a while. It was said to that person, "What is wrong with you? You are talking to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) while he is not talking to you." Then we NOTICED that he was being inspired divinely. Then the Prophet wiped off his sweat and said, "Where is the questioner?" It seemed as if the Prophet liked his question… (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 544)

… By Allah I never thought that Allah would reveal Divine Inspiration in my case, as I considered myself too inferior to be talked of in the Holy Qur'an. I had hoped that Allah's Apostle might have a dream in which Allah would prove my innocence. By Allah, Allah's Apostle had not got up and nobody had left the house before the Divine Inspiration came to Allah's Apostle. So, there overtook him the same state which used to overtake him, (when he used to have, on being inspired divinely). He was sweating so much so that the drops of the sweat were dropping like pearls though it was a (cold) wintry day. When that state of Allah's Apostle was over, he was smiling and the first word he said, 'Aisha! Thank Allah, for Allah has declared your innocence.' … (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 829)

Narrated Sahl bin Sad As-Sa'idi …
Zaid said, "Ibn-Maktum came to the Prophet while he was dictating to me that very Verse. On that Ibn Um Maktum said, "O Allah's Apostle! If I had power, I would surely take part in Jihad." He was a blind man. So Allah sent down revelation to His Apostle while his thigh was on mine and it became so heavy for me that I feared that my thigh would be broken. Then that state of the Prophet was over after Allah revealed "...except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame etc.) (4.95) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 85)

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

(as regards) Allah's Statement:

"Move not your tongue concerning (the Quran) to make haste therewith." (75.16)

When Gabriel revealed the Divine Inspiration in Allah's Apostle, he (Allah's Apostle) moved his tongue and lips, and that state used to be very hard for him, and that movement indicated that revelation was taking place. So Allah revealed in Surat Al-Qiyama which begins:

'I do swear by the Day of Resurrection...' (75) the Verses:--

'Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it (Qur’an) in your mind, and give you the ability to recite it by heart. (75.16-17) Ibn Abbas added: It is for Us to collect it (Qur'an) (in your mind), and give you the ability to recite it by heart means, "When We reveal it, listen. Then it is for Us to explain it," means, 'It is for us to explain it through your tongue.' So whenever Gabriel came to Allah's Apostle ' he would keep quiet (and listen), and when the Angel left, the Prophet would recite that revelation as Allah promised him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 451)

Narrated Safwan bin Ya'la bin Umaiya:
Ya'la used to say, "I wish I could see Allah's Apostle at the time he is being inspired Divinely." When the Prophet was at Al-Ja'rana and was shaded by a garment hanging over him and some of his companions were with him, a man perfumed with scent came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is your opinion regarding a man who assumes Ihram and puts on a cloak after perfuming his body with scent?" The Prophet waited for a while, and then the Divine Inspiration descended upon him. 'Umar pointed out to Ya'la, telling him to come. Ya'la came and pushed his head (underneath the screen which was covering the Prophet) and behold! The Prophet's face was red and he kept on breathing heavily for a while and then he was relieved … (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 508)

It is narrated on the authority of Jabir b. Abdullah that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: The wahi was intermitted for me for a small span of time and while I was walking, and then the hadith like the one narrated by Yunus was transmitted but with the exception of these words: I was terror-stricken till I fell on the ground. Abu Salama said: Defilement means idols. After this the revelation was speeded up and followed rapidly. (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0305)

Safwan b. Ya'la b. Umayya reported that Ya'la used to say to 'Umar b. Khattab (Allah be pleased with him): Would that I see revelation descending upon the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him). (Once) when the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) was in Ji'rana and there was a cloth which provided shade over him, and there were his Companions with him, 'Umar being one of them, there came a person with a cloak of wool on him daubed with perfume and he said: Messenger of Allah, what about the person who, entered upon the state of Ihram with a cloak after daubing it with perfume? The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) looked at him for a short while, and then became quiet, and revelation began descending upon him, and 'Umar gestured (with his hand) to Ya'la b Umayya to come. Ya'la came and he entered his head (beneath the cloth and saw) the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) with his face red, and breathing with a snore. Then he felt relieved (of that burden) and he said: Where is the man who was just asking me about Umra? The man was searched for and he was brought, and the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: So far as the perfume is concerned, wash it three times, and remove the cloak too (as it was sewn) and do in 'Umra as you do in Hajj. (Sahih Muslim, Book 007, Number 2656)

When he (the Prophet) CAME TO HIMSELF GRADUALLY, he asked: Where is the man who asking about umrah? (When the man came) he (the Prophet) said: Wash the perfume which is on you, or he said: (Wash) the mark of saffron (the narrator is doubtful), take off the tunic, then do in your umrah as you do in your hajj. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 10, Number 1815)

When the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) CAME TO HIMSELF (after the revelation ended), he said: Glad tidings for you, Hilal. Allah, the Exalted, has made it easy and, a way out for you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2247a

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab
When inspiration was sent down to the Prophet (peace be upon him), a low sound was heard near his face like the humming of bees. One day when inspiration was sent down to him and we had waited for a time, it left him, then facing the qiblah and raising his hands, he said, "O Allah, give us more and do not give us less; honour us and do not humiliate us; give us and do not withhold from us; choose us and do not prefer others to us; please us and be pleased with us." He then said, "I have had sent down to me ten verses which will provide entrance to Paradise for those who recite them." He then recited, "The believers have been successful" and continued till he had completed ten verses. Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 785– ALIM CD-ROM Version)

2. Spitting and blowing (knots).

Narrated Sahl bin Sad:
On the day of Khaibar, Allah's Apostle said, "Tomorrow I will give this flag to a man through whose hands Allah will give us victory. He loves Allah and His Apostle, and he is loved by Allah and His Apostle." The people remained that night, wondering as to who would be given it. In the morning the people went to Allah's Apostle and everyone of them was hopeful to receive it (i.e. the flag). The Prophet said, "Where is Ali bin Abi Talib?" It was said, "He is suffering from eye trouble O Allah's Apostle." He said, "Send for him." 'Ali was brought and Allah's Apostle spat in his eye and invoked good upon him. So 'Ali was cured as if he never had any trouble. Then the Prophet gave him the flag. 'Ali said "O Allah's Apostle! I will fight with them till they become like us." Allah's Apostle said, "Proceed and do not hurry. When you enter their territory, call them to embrace Islam and inform them of Allah's Rights which they should observe, for by Allah, even if a single man is led on the right path (of Islam) by Allah through you, then that will be better for you than the nice red camels. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 521)

Narrated 'Aisha:
Whenever Allah's Apostle went to bed, he used to recite Surat-al-Ikhlas, Surat-al-Falaq and Surat-an-Nas and then blow on his palms and pass them over his face and those parts of his body that his hands could reach. And when he fell ill, he used to order me to do like that for him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 644)

Narrated Abu Said:
A group of the companions of Allah's Apostle proceeded on a journey till they dismounted near one of the Arab tribes and requested them to entertain them as their guests, but they (the tribe people) refused to entertain them. Then the chief of that tribe was bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and he was given all sorts of treatment, but all in vain. Some of them said, "Will you go to the group (those travelers) who have dismounted near you and see if one of them has something useful?" They came to them and said, "O the group! Our leader has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have treated him with everything but nothing benefited him Has anyone of you anything useful?" One of them replied, "Yes, by Allah, I know how to treat with a Ruqya [incantation]. But by Allah, we wanted you to receive us as your guests but you refused. I will not treat your patient with a Ruqya till you fix for us something as wages." Consequently they agreed to give those travellers a flock of sheep. The man went with them (the people of the tribe) and started spitting (on the bite) and reciting Surat-al-Fatiha till the patient was healed and started walking as if he had not been sick. When the tribe people paid them their wages they had agreed upon, some of them (the Prophet's companions) said, "Distribute (the sheep)." But the one who treated with the Ruqya said, "Do not do that till we go to Allah's Apostle and mention to him what has happened, and see what he will order us." So they came to Allah's Apostle and mentioned the story to him and he said, "How do you know that Surat-al-Fatiha is a Ruqya? You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have got) and assign for me a share with you." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 645)

Narrated 'Aisha:
The Prophet, during his fatal ailment used to blow (on his hands and pass them) over his body while reciting the Mu'auwidhat (Surat-an-Nas and Surat-al-Falaq). When his disease got aggravated, I used to recite them for him and blow (on his hands) and let him pass his hands over his body because of its blessing. (Ma'mar asked Ibn Shihab: How did he use to do Nafth (blowing)? He said: He used to blow on his hands and then pass them over his face.) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 647)

Abu Sa'id Khudri reported that some persons amongst the Companions of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set out on a journey and they happened to pass by a tribe from the tribes of Arabia. They demanded hospitality from the members of that tribe, but they did not extend any hospitality to them. They said to them: Is there any incantator amongst you, as the chief of the tribe has been stung by a scorpion? A person amongst us said: 'Yes. So he came to him and he practiced incantation with the help of Sura al-Fatiha and the person became all right. He was given a flock of sheep (as recompense), but he refused to accept that, saying: I shall make a mention of it to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), and if he approves of it then I shall accept it. So we came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and made a mention of that to him and he (that person) said: Allah's Messenger by Allah, I did not practice incantation but with the help of Sura al-Fatiha of the Holy Book. He (the Holy Prophet) smiled and said: How did you come to know that it can be used (as incantation)? - and then said: Take out of that and allocate a share for me along with your share. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5458)

3. Eloquent speech.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me till they were put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 127)

Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent me and Mu'adh to Yemen saying: Call people (to the path of righteousness) and give good tidings to the (people), and do not repel them, make things easy for them and do not make things difficult. I (Burda) said: Allah's Messenger, give us a religious verdict about two kinds of drinks which we prepare in Yemen. One is Bit' which is prepared from honey; it is a fermented Nabidh and is strong and turns into wine, and (the second is) Mizr which is prepared from millet and barley. Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), who had been gifted with the most eloquent and pithy expressions, said: I forbid you from every intoxicant that keeps you away from prayer. (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 4961)

4. Bad dreams.

Now let us see what exactly happened to Muhammad when he first encountered the "Angel," the form the "revelation" took, and how it came to him:

Narrated 'Aisha:
The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of good righteous (true) DREAMS in his sleep. He never had a dream but that it came true like bright day light. He used to go in seclusion (the cave of) Hira where he used to worship (Allah Alone) continuously for many (days) nights. He used to take with him on the journey food for that (stay) and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again for another period to stay, till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read." (The Prophet added), "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, "I do not know how to read," whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, "I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?)." Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, "Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most Generous" … up to … "that which he knew not." (96.15)

Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles twitching WITH TERROR till he entered upon Khadija and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, "O Khadija, what is wrong with me?" Then he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me." Khadija said, "Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you as you keep good reactions with your Kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones." Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father's brother, who during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. 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. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they turn me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said: "Never did a man come with something similar to what you have brought but was treated with hostility. If I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the 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. (Ibn 'Abbas said regarding the meaning of: 'He it is that Cleaves the daybreak (from the darkness)' (6.96) that Al-Asbah means the light of the sun during the day and the light of the moon at night). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111)

The readers can see from the above that, contrary to what Aisha said, these dreams were anything but good!

5. Use of bells.

Narrated 'Aisha:
(the mother of the faithful believers) 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). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 2)

Narrated Aisha:
Al Harith bin Hisham asked the Prophet, "How does the divine inspiration come to you?" He replied, "In all these ways: The Angel sometimes comes to me with a voice which resembles the sound of a ringing bell, and when this state abandons me, I remember what the Angel has said, and this type of Divine Inspiration is the hardest on me; and sometimes the Angel comes to me in the shape of a man and talks to me, and I understand and remember what he says." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 438)

Concluding Remarks

After skimming through the Islamic data, we can now make some closing observations. Muhammad’s religious experiences and practices mirror all of the criteria establishing possession and sorcery. Let us carefully note the following:

Did Muhammad experience some form of choking, gasping, spasmodic movements, delirium and whisperings when the so-called revelations came to him? Yes.

Did Muhammad use spitting and blowing? Yes.

Did Muhammad claim eloquence, boasting to be the master of eloquent speech? Yes.

Were Muhammad’s dreams frightening and terrifying? Yes.

Did these dreams cause Muhammad to fear that he was possessed whereby he even contemplated suicide? Yes.

Did the revelation sound as the ringing bells? Yes.

Did Muhammad and others associate bells with Satan? Yes.

What makes this all the more amazing is that the Quran cites the unbelievers as accusing Muhammad of being a man possessed and bewitched:

"Or (Why) has not a treasure been bestowed on him, or why has he (not) a garden for enjoyment?" The wicked say: "Ye follow none other than A MAN BEWITCHED." S. 25:8 Y. Ali

They said: "Thou art only one of those bewitched!" S. 26:153 Y. Ali

And yet they turned away from him and said, ‘He is tutored, a man possessed!’ S. 44:14 Sher Ali

The hadith literature ends up confirming the suspicions of the unbelievers since it plainly states that Muhammad was indeed bewitched and even believed that he was possessed!

Hence, the evidence leads us to the inescapable conclusion that Muhammad was not a prophet like the true prophets of the Holy Bible. He, instead, manifested all the signs of a possessed sorcerer. It must be pointed out that these are the criteria from the MUSLIM sources. These are not merely criteria culled from the Holy Bible. Muhammad meets many, if not all, of the criteria of being under demonic influence that are found in the Islamic source texts.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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