Channel: Jamal Badawi
Hello, welcome to another episode of Islam and focus on your host Hama Rashid Assalamu alaikum. Peace be unto you. Today we continue with our series dealing with the sources of Islam. We'll be continuing with a topic of authorship of the Quran Today we'll be looking at a very interesting aspect. We'll be examining the question of whether or not epilepsy was a factor in the revelation of the Quran. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal battery of St. Mary's University brother Jamal assalamu aleikum wa alaykum. So
I wonder if before we get into today's topic, if I could ask you to very quickly summarize the main points that we touched on in our last program, dealing with the authorship of the
last time we continue to examine whether there was any possibility that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, might have claimed that the source of the Quran is divine revelation for a personal benefit. And we have seen again, that this kind of assumption is totally unsubstantiated, either on historical ground or logical, there is no basis really for that, because he could have obtained all what he wanted, and accepted some of the offers without any effort or sacrifice on his part.
We discussed also the other possibility that maybe he might have attributed the Quran to God or to Allah, in order to use that as an authoritative thing to reform his paper. And again, we have seen the kind of flaws in this argument, and how the Quran itself condemned very strongly, falsification or claims, which are not true about what God has revealed, even for a good purpose. And then finally, we said that if we look into his life and his characters, we will notice that he was known as the person who was absolutely honest, he never lied before or after became a prophet. And in many instances, even his own enemies, admitted that as far as truthfulness, he was never, you know, was
known to be a person who would change facts or fabricate claims like that.
But I think it's safe to say that in the previous programs in the series to date, you've been able to provide ample evidence to refute the claim that Prophet Muhammad could not have fabricated the Quran on his own.
What would you respond though, to those people who might suggest that the revelation of the Quran can be explained as a psychic phenomenon? I would say that this attempts are mainly another link in the chain of arguments or attempts which center mainly around the rejection or denial, that the Quran is a divine revelation, and just try to some way imputed on Prophet Mohammed in some way or the other. The main difference really between the positions that we have discussed in the last few programs. And this new position or the psychic explanation is that in the previous explanations, we discussed the deliberate fabrication, the issue of possibly premeditated attempt to also look around
and say, no, it came from God and we have seen that it didn't work. It's not it's not logical to assume it.
But this new position to say that it's second is basically the same in essence, because it says All right, Mohammed is the author of the Quran or was the author of the Quran, but he did not really deliberately falsify, but he just might have psychologically thought sincerely that the Quran is coming from Allah but both of them really focus about the focus on the issues of authorship of the Quran and try to deny or reject its divine divine origin.
However, nobody, including a Muslim even should be dogmatic about it.
There is nothing wrong of being open and frank and discuss any possibility you no matter how remote it might be. And you're certainly welcome to, you know, raise questions which might help clarify
issues and questions that might be already in the minds of some of the viewers. I don't mind it at all. Or the one issue that requires some some explanation is the discussion is the claim that
the Quran is a result of epileptic seizures, which Prophet Muhammad used to have?
Is there any basis for this claim, in your opinion? Well, it appears that somebody must have made a gross Miss diagnosis. But perhaps in order to see objectively whether they have such misdiagnosis or not,
we can perhaps refer to what was the state of Prophet Muhammad at the time when he received the revelation from the authentic sources that we have in history. And then perhaps go back to what the authorities say about what epilepsy is, and what are the types of epilepsy and the symptoms and just compare and find out whether there was any doubt really, that he was an epileptic, individual person.
To start with the description of what he's went through, at the time of receiving revelation, we find a very authentic setting in both Bukhari and Muslim
in which the Prophet himself said that the revelation sometimes come to me,
as if it were ringing of a bell.
as some people explained it, say, just like this sound or voice might be sort of getting his attention and getting him prepared, to be receptive to listen to the dictation given by Gabrielle, engine Gabrielle, of the current communicator. And then the Prophet continues with that, after this link, or the the form of Revelation, which is the hardest on me.
He says, Gabrielle leaves me or when he departs, I fully comprehend, and retain in memory, what he
taught me or what he dictated to me. So it's not just an experience, and that's it, it's imprinted in his heart, and the Quran, or the portion of the Quran revealed is fully
memorized by the prophet.
Secondly, he said that he sometimes came to me that's Gabrielle in the form of a human being. So he talks to me. And then I, you know, comprehend and understand, and, of course, memorize what he told me. Of course, when he says, He comes to me in a form of a human, it does not necessarily mean that everybody around him was able also to see Gabrielle, but it was more of an assurance to the Prophet so that the communication would be a little easier on him. That's why we find that in Bukhari, for example, it was reported that the Prophet was telling his wife Ayesha, and he said, Here is engine Gabrielle, sending you greetings of peace. And she commented, he said, You see things that we, you
know, we can see,
in the same, the same tradition that I mentioned earlier, both in Bukhari and Muslim,
his wife how he describes his state, when he received revelation, he said, When revelation came to him, even in the very cold day,
after the revelation is finished, we find that his brows are steamed with sweat. So there's some kind of form of deep and intense concentration that result in that sweating. In Muslim, also, there is another description, and I'm trying to give all the information that I could find on that so that you can have some objective basis of analysis or diagnosis.
That when revelation came to him, he became sometimes a bit perturbed, and his face changed a bit.
And, in one narration, or one version, it says that he sometimes nodded his head, like that. And when the revelation was over, he just raised his head.
In addition to this, we find a couple of references in the Quran also that describes the state of the Prophet at the time of Revelation.
It was narrated by just get the to the verse And just to give the background, it was narrated that whenever the Prophet received revelation, he was so eager and so careful not to miss any word, realizing that this is the word of Allah, for the guy that used to repeat the words quickly after Gabrielle so that you won't forget anything.
And the this verse in the Quran, or this passage came to assure him that he should not worry about missing or forgetting the Quran, and that appears in Surah 75 as 16 which says, Oh Mohammed, do not move your tongue very quickly or hasten with the Quran
because we are going to
That's got says we are going to take care of its preservation so you won't lose anything from the Quran. Looking after that similar reference was made in Surah 2114. What it says to the Prophet, similarly, again, being not in haste with the Quran before its revelation is completed to you, and say, oh my lord, increase me acknowledge.
There was also some historical narrations as narrated, for example, in that in mind, but it will tell you that when the Prophet received the revelation, if you were, if you were, if he was writing, for example, on a cabin, his body became heavier to the point that the cabin would have to sit down. If his body for example, or like, for example, was stretching, or leaning on someone, it becomes so heavy that a person really feels that his body all of a sudden became very heavy, but without falling, just that's all phenomena, that people around him, or, you know, animals, he writes, felt that there's some kind of, of change.
This is basically
what has been mentioned, the maximum information could find, you know, describing his state at the time of Revelation. So it appears that's only my assumption that some people might have looked into this description, and came up with a hasty conclusion that well, if revelation is something unexplainable, and in no mathematical terms, and if this was his state of affairs at the time of Revelation, then it must have been epilepsy and this is the statement which is both biased and scientifically unsound on a why, in your opinion, do you feel that this is a vise positioned for individuals take what inspires because revelation to prophets is not something that has started only
with the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
That's why we find, for example, in Encyclopedia Britannica and the last edition in page 454. And it says, and I quote, it is the inherent nature of God, from all eternity that he speaks to men. So it is not really something that's totally new.
And because revelation is an extra ordinary thing,
you cannot really put it like I said, in a test tube or
explain it in purely mathematical terms. However, there is one thing that is widely accepted, I would say, by at least Jews, Christians and Muslims and and say, at least because they may be followers of other religions as well who believe also in some form of Revelation. But at least in the case of these three religions, they believe that many prophets, prayers to Prophet Mohammed received revelation, Moses singing the burning bush in Sinai and receiving revelation from God, Jesus received revelation from David and many other prophets in the past. However, it is very strange that many of the writers some of whom are Jews, and Christians, never mentioned, at least my
knowledge, never seen that. Never say that.
Abraham, Moses, Jesus or poured were epileptics.
But when it comes to Prophet Muhammad, there is an automatic conclusion without scientific verification without even thinking that well, you know, since we don't recognize him, this must be epilepsy. Why not in the same line with the type of revelation which is not again, mathematically explainable, like other prophets had in the past. That's why I'm saying it's nice. Either a person will be an atheist, and reject all forms of Revelation, in which case, you will not accept some forms of Revelation. But when it comes to Prophet Muhammad becomes
epilepsy. So there's inconsistency and in my humble opinion, it's it's an obvious bias. You also mentioned that, in your suggestion, that Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him might be suffering from epilepsy is also incorrect scientifically. How can that be substantiated? Well, I would not use my own opinions and that we have to refer to authorities in psychology and psychiatry. And for the benefit of those who wish to explore that in a very simple way, non specialists were even very simple language. I would like to refer to them to the last edition of Encyclopedia Britannica I happen to have some copy of it's about two and a half pages really, under the title
epilepsy. I'm using that as a basis because it's written by authorities in the field, and it's
I believe reasonably up to date at least and essential points,
we have to find out first of all, what is epilepsy, how its defined.
We have to look also into what types of epilepsy are there. And then we try to compare that and see whether this has anything to do with the description that we have given earlier of the prophets state at the time of Revelation.
Now, on page 6644,
of the Britannica,
it says that epilepsy is a sudden and recurrent disturbance in the mental function, or the movement of the body, or both.
What are the general symptoms of epilepsy, that's again described as a partial or complete loss of consciousness, accompanied by muscular spasms, or convergence.
Or, by more complex behaviors,
it was found that about 70% of the patients suffering from epilepsy
experienced their first attack before the age of 23. And then it says that usually, and then we see that again, letters tend to disappear as the person gets moved into his adult life, at least some types tend to disappear.
What types of epilepsy usually it's divided into four basic categories. One is called the big sickness.
The other is called the little sickness. The third is called the local authority, focal seizures. And the fourth is psychomotor. seizures. It's interesting that
when you analyze each of these, and examine the kinds of symptoms that the authorities speak about, compare it will be revelation, you will find that they simply don't match none of the four types matches with what the prophet experienced. But it might be useful if we can devote time to an examination of the symptoms of these various types of epilepsy, perhaps we could begin with the first type. What are the What did you discover to be the major symptoms of the first type? Okay, well, it is actually discovered and Clinton's government said that, at least I discovered what authorities have already said, the big sickness, which is, by the way known to psychiatric as grant
miles, which is like a French equivalent of big sickness.
In big in the
big sickness means that in generalized there is a state of generalized combustion, characterized by complete loss of consciousness and falling to the ground.
Now, this falling to the ground is sometimes preceded by a loud scream.
And after the body falls to the ground, it's defense.
And sometimes for a few seconds, the respiration stops,
followed by jerky movement, in all four extremities, you know, the hands and legs.
Sometimes also dealing with seizures, the tank get bitten. And the reason is that the there is a sort of involuntary contraction of the muscles of the job.
As the person finishes or go through this episode or seizure,
he feels very disoriented, confused, sleepy, he may experience headache.
But the most important part of the description of the symptoms is that the person will have no recollection of what happened to him. In other words, you wouldn't remember what exactly happened to him during the seizure,
nor what happened to him also immediately after the seizure during this period of confused behavior. Now, we have already spoken about the revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And it's so obvious that this symptoms are not applicable at all. He never totally lost consciousness. He didn't fall to the ground, he didn't have this compulsion or bite his tongue or anything of this sort. So that we find here that the experience of Revelation is quite different from this. Furthermore, and that's an important part. The authorities say that the person forgets
what went through during seizures, the prophet remember every single word of revelation
That was dictated to him during the experience of Revelation. So how could this to be equated?
Moving on to the second type? I believe you said the the little petite banal, I suppose would be exactly the right. Absolutely, yeah, this is the term used against scientific math or potty mouth, anyway, takes place, or occurs among children. And usually, it does not appear for the first time after the age of 20. And they tend to disappear even in the early adult life of the individual. Now, what are the basic symptoms? Well, the T ml, is characterized mainly by a brief, a very brief episode of unresponsiveness. Sometimes they say usually even it takes less than 15 seconds without interruption of consciousness. And that's why they say it could happen even so many times in the
same day. And there is no involuntary movement as we find in the in the grand month.
So again, if you compare that with the revelation to the property find that there is no relevance here at all. As we said earlier, the prophet started to receive revelation at the age of 14, the revelation of the Quran did not just take 15 seconds, many times it used to take several minutes in the stretch. And thirdly, it was not something that could go totally unnoticed, like what happened in the PT, or PT man among children.
Because there was state observed of intense concentration. So there you go, again, this type, it has no relevance to the revelation to the Prophet.
Now, I guess that leaves us with two more types of epilepsy. Could you perhaps explain those two remaining types briefly and make a similar comparison with the revelator relationship, what the The third type are one of these remaining two is called the focal seizures, which are defined as seizures which originate in a specific area of the brain. And usually it's related to the function and properties of that area.
This kind of epilepsy may appear in the form of sustained or jerking movements of some of the extremities part of the extremity or the face. And this is called this particular subtype may call the focal motors attacks. Or it may appears in what they call also focal sensory attack, usually characterized by numbness or tingling in the local parts of the body.
But in both sub cases, that's in all types of focal seizures,
we find that the seizures discharge is often spreads widely throughout the brain. So it involves the whole brain. And as such, it results in a generalized state of convention.
The last and first type of seizures they call the psychomotor seizures.
This type is really interesting, it says it starts with some sort of sensory,
cyclical, or emotional aura. The aura here means some kind of unpleasant odor, unpleasant taste, illusion about size, or distance, or objects around you.
It might involve also visual hallucination.
Usually there is a source of intense fears that is associated with this type.
And it says after this initial period, or this aura, the patient become unresponsive. And he might start walking out or do some weird or strange type of behavior, like picking up his claws or something of that sort.
This seizures continuous for usually one to three minutes.
But again, the most important description which relate to our discussion of Revelation is that it says that after recovery or under recovery, the patient would have totally forgotten what happened to him. So there is no memory at all
of that tech, especially perhaps for the initial order preceding that attack, but the during what during the attack itself for seizure, there is no recollection of what happened. And again, I think it's obvious like the first two types of epilepsy that by looking into these symptoms, it becomes obvious that they are not related at all to the description that has been mentioned about the state of the Prophet at the time of Revelation. He never forgot a word from the Quran. It was not unconsciousness at all because he used to recite and people around him hearing he
repeating the words of the Quran after entered Gabrielle as dictated to him. So, again, all four types are totally irrelevant. You know, we've we spent quite a bit of time discussing in some detail the symptoms of the various forms of epilepsy, we haven't touched on the causes of epilepsy itself. Could you perhaps give some explanation of what the authorities have to say as to the causes of epilepsy? And could you tell us whether or not Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them was known to have any any of the cause of those causes, so that we might start doubting even whether he might have? Yes, right one, the first point to mention here is that it is very difficult in the case
of epilepsy to speak about a cause or one particular cause. Because like authorities say epilepsy is not really a specific disease, but rather a syndrome in a sense of a complex of many symptoms. So there could be a number of varieties of reasons.
But in any case, whatever the variety of epilepsy is, or what are the cause of causes behind them, we find that authorities mentioned something in common among all types of epilepsy. And that is basically caused by
insert of discharge
in the nerve cells, known as neurons, the nerve cells of the brain,
that there's something that happened that caused these cells to be in a state of excessive excitability. So, millions of these nerve cells
released release or discharge,
excessive electrical energy
in the brain, in an abnormal way, this discharge of electrical energy generally leads to a loss of consciousness and this combative movements that is seen in the body that the athletes that match is generally accepted by authorities as common in all of them. But with this reservation in mind,
the authorities also say that in about 50% of the cases, it is not too hard to determine at least a primary or contributing factors to the this type of disease or this type of syndrome should say
this includes things like injury
at birth or letters in the lifetime of the individual. It includes congenital defects, such as cerebral palsy, it might involve the infectious diseases, which involve nerve tissue, like meningitis for example.
infection, parasitic infections, that could be one a brain tumors and strokes are all given as you know, primary or secondary or contributing I should say prisons for for epilepsy.
Sometimes also these seizures may be caused or happened following withdrawal from alcohol or barbiturates. vetinary case they could also be precipitated by emotional stress and extreme fatigue. Now, to come to the second part of your question, whether any of these causes are known to be involved in the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, the answer is
not at all, nothing at all, can be traceable in any of these types of diseases. In fact, he was known to be in perfect physical and mental health throughout his life.
Not only this, look at this last
precipitating factors, emotional stress and fatigue. We know that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him has gone through many moments of extreme danger and extreme stress and fatigue. And never once he wavered or fainted or had any of those symptoms, he was always in complete fortitude and steadfastness in all of these situations. So the point that should be added here is that if the Quran
which is available now for anyone to investigate is a product of an epileptic seizures, like one Muslim psychologist, but I'd like to see more of those epileptic because well, thank you very much for the jamala very interesting program. A lot of Thank you all for watching and invite you back next week we will continue with our series themes, the sources of Islam, Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you