is an established fact that Muhammad had seizures, see how this medical
condition shaped Islam.
and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE)
Physical Effects of Muhammad's Ecstatic Experiences
Here is how Muhammad described his mystical experiences:
"The Revelation is always brought to me by an angel: sometimes it is
delivered to me as the
beating sound of the bell--and this is the hardest experience for me;
but sometimes the angel appears to me in the shape of a human and speaks to
"Those who saw the Prophet (pbuh) in this state relate that his
condition would change. Sometimes he would stay motionless as if some terribly
heavy load was pressed on him and, even
in the coldest day, drops of sweat would fall from his forehead"
At other times he would move
Ibn Sa'd says, "at the moment of inspiration, anxiety
pressed upon the Prophet, and his countenance
fell to the ground like one intoxicated or overcome by sleep; and in
the coldest day his forehead would be bedewed with large drops of perspiration.
Inspiration descended unexpectedly, and without
any previous warning."
"Then Allah's Apostle returned with that experience; and
the muscles between his neck and shoulders were trembling till he
came upon Khadija (his wife) and said, "Cover me!" They covered him,
and when the state of fear was over" and
All these are symptoms of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The following is a
partial list of the Temporal Lobe Seizure Symptoms & Signs as defined in
or illusions such as hearing voices when no one has spoken, seeing patterns,
lights, beings or objects that aren't there
contraction Muscle cramps
are involuntary and often painful contractions of the muscles which produce
a hard, bulging muscle
pain or discomfort.
intense emotion such as fear.
twitching (fasciculation) is the result of spontaneous local muscle
contractions that are involuntary and typically only affect individual
muscle groups. This twitching does not cause pain.
in vision, speech, thought, awareness, personality
of memory (amnesia)
regarding events around the seizure (partial complex seizure)
All the above symptoms
were present in Muhammad during the moments that he was allegedly receiving
had visions (hallucinations) of seeing an angel or a light and of hearing
experienced bodily spasms and excruciating abdominal pain and discomfort
was overwhelmed by sudden emotions of anxiety and fear
had twitching in his neck muscles
had uncontrollable lip movement
sweated even during cold days.
face flushed. His countenance was troubled.
had rapid heart palpitation
had loss of memory. (There is a tradition that states Muhammad was bewitched
and used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives when he
actually had not.
It is also interesting to note that Muhammad's hallucination was not
limited to seeing the Angel Gabriel but he also claimed seeing Jinns and even in
one occasion while praying in the mosque he started struggling with an imaginary
person and later said "Satan came in front of me and tried to interrupt my
prayer, but Allah gave me an upper hand on him and I choked him. No doubt, I
thought of tying him to one of the pillars of the mosque till you get up in the
morning and see him. Then I remembered the statement of Prophet Solomon, 'My
Lord ! Bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me.'
Then Allah made him (Satan) return with his head down (humiliated)."
Muhammad's belief in Satan was such that he seemed to think that not even
he is immune from his whisperings.
One of the embarrassing events in Muhammad's life occurred when Satan put
words in his mouth.
"When the messenger of God saw how his tribe turned their backs on him and
was grieved to see them shunning the message he had brought to them from God, he
longed in his soul that something would come to him from God which would
reconcile him with his tribe. With his love for his tribe and his eagerness for
their welfare it would have delighted him if some of the difficulties which they
made for him could have been smoothed out, and he debated with himself and
fervently desired such an outcome. Then God revealed:
"By the Star when it sets, your comrade
does not err, nor is he deceived; nor does he speak out of (his own)
and when he came to the words:
Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and
Manat, the third, the other?
Satan cast on his tongue, because of his inner debates and what he desired to
bring to his people, the words:
"These are the high flying cranes;
verily their intercession is accepted with approval.
The Quraysh left delighted by the mention of their gods. Amity was restored and
the news of that reached the followers of Muhmmad who at his behest had migrated
to Abyssina and some of them returned. Muhammad
realizing the consequence of this is giving up on his monopoly on God and the
contradiction that it entails, claimed those verses and his Allah consoled him
saying, "Never did We send a
messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw
some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan
throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full
of Knowledge and Wisdom": 22:52
In the Quran there are several mentions of Jinns. Surah 72 narrates a
conversation between Jinns where they comment about the Quran, call it "a
wonderful Recital" and convert to Islam. Their role is described as prying
into the secrets of heaven and eavesdropping to the conversation of the exalted
assembly. Which since the apparition of Muhammad, they found it filled with
stern guards and flaming fires. "We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden)
stations, to (steal) a hearing;" Quran quotes one Jinn saying to others,
"but any who listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.
And we understand not whether ill is intended to those on earth, or whether
their Lord (really) intends to guide them to right conduct".
It is not difficult to see that Muhammad suffered from Temporal Lobe
Epilepsy. In fact TLE was just one of his ailments. The prophet suffered from
other mental disorders and physical complications. I will speak about them in
future. The real miracle is in the fact that a billion people follow a sick man
for so long.
What Epilepsy Is & What It Causes the Brain To Do
Background: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) was defined in 1985 by the
International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) as a condition characterized by
recurrent unprovoked seizures originating from the medial or lateral temporal
lobe. The seizures associated with TLE consist of simple partial seizures
without loss of awareness (with or without aura) and complex partial seizures
(ie, with loss of awareness). The individual loses awareness during a complex
partial seizure because the seizure spreads to involve both temporal lobes,
which causes impairment of memory.
TLE was first recognized in 1881 by John Hughlings Jackson, who
described "uncinate fits" and the "dreamy state." In the
1940s, Gibbs et al introduced the term "psychomotor epilepsy." The
international classification of epileptic seizures (1981) replaced the term
psychomotor seizures with complex partial seizures. The ILAE classification of
the epilepsies uses the term temporal lobe epilepsy and divides the etiologies
into cryptogenic (presumed unidentified etiology), idiopathic (genetic), and
symptomatic (cause known, eg, tumor).
Pathophysiology: Hippocampal sclerosis is the most common pathologic
finding in TLE. Hippocampal sclerosis involves hippocampal cell loss in the
CA1 and CA3 regions and the dentate hilus. The CA2 region is relatively
For more information, see Pathophysiology in the article Seizures
and Epilepsy: Overview and Classification.
the US: Approximately 50% of patients with epilepsy have partial epilepsy.
Partial epilepsy is often of temporal lobe origin. However, the true
prevalence of TLE is not known, since not all cases of presumed TLE are
confirmed by video-EEG and most cases are classified by clinical history and
interictal EEG findings alone. The temporal lobe is the most epileptogenic
region of the brain. In fact, 90% of patients with temporal interictal
epileptiform abnormalities on their EEG have a history of seizures.
occur in approximately 80% of temporal lobe seizures. They are a common
feature of simple partial seizures and usually precede complex partial
seizures of temporal lobe origin.
may be classified by symptom type; the types comprise somatosensory,
special sensory, autonomic, or psychic symptoms.
and special sensory phenomena
and gustatory illusions and hallucinations may occur. Acharya et al
found that olfactory auras are associated more commonly with temporal
lobe tumors than with other causes of TLE.
hallucinations consist of a buzzing sound, a voice or voices, or
muffling of ambient sounds. This type of aura is more common with
neocortical TLE than with other types of TLE.
may report distortions of shape, size, and distance of objects.
visual illusions are unlike the visual hallucinations associated with
occipital lobe seizure in that no formed elementary visual image is
noted, such as the visual image of a face that may be seen with seizures
arising from the fusiform or the inferior temporal gyrus.
may appear shrunken (micropsia) or larger (macropsia) than usual.
of structures has been reported. Vertigo has been described with
seizures in the posterior superior temporal gyrus.
may have a feeling of déjà vu or jamais vu, a sense of familiarity or
may experience depersonalization (ie, feeling of detachment from
oneself) or derealization (ie, surroundings appear unreal).
or anxiety usually is associated with seizures arising from the amygdala.
may describe a sense of dissociation or autoscopy, in which they report
seeing their own body from outside.
phenomena are characterized by changes in heart rate, piloerection, and
sweating. Patients may experience an epigastric "rising"
sensation or nausea.
the aura, a temporal lobe complex partial seizure begins with a wide-eyed,
motionless stare, dilated pupils, and behavioral arrest. Oral alimentary
automatisms such as lip smacking, chewing, and swallowing may be noted.
Manual automatisms or unilateral dystonic posturing of a limb also may be
may continue their ongoing motor activity or react to their surroundings
in a semipurposeful manner (ie, reactive automatisms). They can have
repetitive stereotyped manual automatisms.
complex partial seizure may evolve to a secondarily generalized tonic-clonic
usually experience a postictal period of confusion, which distinguishes
TLE from absence seizures, which are not associated with postictal
confusion. In addition, absence seizures are not associated with complex
automatisms. Postictal aphasia suggests onset in the language-dominant
auras and automatisms last a very short period—seconds or 1-2 minutes.
The postictal phase may last for a longer period (several minutes). By
definition, amnesia occurs during a complex partial seizure because of
bilateral hemispheric involvement.
two thirds of patients with TLE treated surgically have hippocampal
sclerosis as the pathologic substrate.
etiologies of TLE include the following:
infections, eg, herpes encephalitis or bacterial meningitis
producing contusion or hemorrhage that results in encephalomalacia or
malformations (ie, arteriovenous malformation, cavernous angioma)
A cause is presumed but has not been identified.
(genetic): This is rare. Familial TLE was described by Berkovic and
colleagues, and partial epilepsy with auditory features was described by
Scheffer and colleagues.
seizures: The association of simple febrile seizure with TLE has been
controversial. However, a subset of children with complex febrile convulsions
appear to be at risk of developing TLE in later life. Complex febrile seizures
are febrile seizures that last longer than 15 minutes, have focal features, or
recur within 24 hours.
sclerosis produces a clinical syndrome called mesial temporal lobe
epilepsy (MTLE). MTLE begins in late childhood, then remits, but reappears
in adolescence or early adulthood in a refractory form.