This episode is the 4th instalment in our series ‘Epileptic Prophet’ in which we tackle the question of Muhammad’s mental health problems and possible epilepsy. Our aim is to provide an alternative explanation to Muhammad’s actions and supposed prophethood from a neurological perspective.
We started off this episode by going through automatism that Muhammad experienced while receiving revelation. These include severe convulsions accompanied by face color changes, heavy breathing/ snorting like a camel, excessive sweating as well as trembling/shivering. We also responded to Farid’s ill-informed claim that such experiences never occurred by pointing to various hadith, seerat and other Islamic literature that show that Muhammad did in fact exeperience autonomic changes. Additionally, we presented contemporary epilepsy patients who also have similar symptoms during seizures.
The conversation then moved on to absence seizures and how they affect epileptic patients. We also presented contemporary patients experiencing absence seizures and we compared their symptoms to the descriptions of Muhammad’s seizures provided in various hadith. We then discussed dreamy states and religious inspirations from lingering thoughts that epileptic patients experience after seizures.
Another topic we touched on was Muhammad’s amnesia and how the people around him erroneously attributed it to black magic attacks. We also discussed how amnesia affected the revelation of the Quran resulting in forgotten verses.