Date: 20 Mar 2010


140 Understanding Muhammad Sexuality, Religious Experience and Temporal Lobe Hyperactivation The ahadith shed a lot of light into Muhammad’s sexual conduct. Does TLE affect sexuality as well? If it does and if it can explain Muhammad’s sexual habits, then we have one more piece of evidence that he suffered from TLE. Neuroscientist Rhawn Joseph thinks it does. He writes: A not uncommon characteristic of high levels of limbic system and inferior temporal lobe activity are changes in sexuality as well as a deepening of religious fervor. It is noteworthy that not just modern day evangelists, but many ancient religious leaders, including Abraham, Jacob and Muhammad, tended to be highly sexual and partook of many partners, or had sex with other men's wives, or killed other men in order to steal their wives (Muhammad, King David)… Many of the prophets and other religious figures also displayed evidence of the Kluver-Bucy syndrome, such as eating dung (Ezekiel),197 as well as temporal lobe, limbic hyperactivation and epilepsy, coupled with hallucinations, catalepsy, insanity, or language disorders. Whereas Moses suffered from a severe speech impediment, Muhammad, Allâh's messenger, was apparently dyslexic and agraphic. [A cerebral disorder characterized by total or partial inability to write] Moreover, in order to receive the word of God, Muhammad would typically lose consciousness and enter into trance states (Armstrong 1994; Lings 1983). In fact, he had his first truly spiritual-religious conversion when he was torn from his sleep by the archangel Gabriel who enveloped him in a terrifying embrace so overpowering that Muhammad's breath was squeezed from his lungs. After squeezing and suffocating him repeatedly Gabriel ordered Muhammad to speak the word of God, i.e. the Qur'an. This was the first of many such episodes with the archangel Gabriel who sometimes appeared to Muhammad in a titanic kaleidoscopic panoramic form. In accordance with the voice of “God” or his angels, Muhammad not only spoke but he began reciting and chanting various themes of God in a random order over the course of the following 23 years; an experience he found quite painful and wrenching (Armstrong 1994; Lings 1983). In 197 Muhammad prescribed camel urine for stomachache. He certainly must have drank it himself Muhammad’s Ecstatic Experiences 141 addition to his religious zest, Muhammad was reported to have the sexual prowess of forty men, and to have bedded at least 9 wives and numerous concubines including even one young girl (Lings 1983). On one occasion, after being rebuffed, he went into a trance, and then claimed “God” had commanded that another man's wife become his wife. He [Muhammad] was also known to fly into extreme rages and to kill (or at least order killed) infidels and merchants and those who opposed him. These behaviors when coupled with his increased sexuality, heightened religious fervor, trance states, mood swings, and possible auditory and visual hallucinations of a titanic angel, certainly point to the limbic system and inferior temporal lobe as the possible neurological foundation for these experiences. Indeed, Muhammad also suffered from horrible depressions and on one occasion sought to throw himself from a cliff -only to be stopped by the archangel Gabriel.198 It is a common belief that Muhammad had the sexual strength of several men. This belief is based on various ahadith. One hadith that is attributed to Salma, a maid of Muhammad who said: “One night all nine wives of the Prophet (pbuh) who were with him until his death (Muhammad had other wives whom he divorced) were in his presence. The Prophet slept with all of them. When he finished with each one, he used to ask me to bring water so he could perform ablution. I asked, oh messenger of Allâh, isn’t one ablution enough? He responded this is better and cleaner.199 However, my research has made me conclude that the claim of Muhammad’s virility is hogwash, and that in fact in the last decade or two of his life he was actually impotent. Muhammad had an insatiable libido, which he tried to satisfy by fondling his wives and concubines, without being able to engage in complete intercourse. Research in the University of Utrecht, Netherlands suggests that endogenous opioids, the so-called feel good chemicals produced by the brain, may increase sexual appetite and diminish sexual performance.200 In another 198 The Limbic System And The Soul From: Zygon, the Journal of Religon and Science (in press, March, 2001) by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. http://brainmind.com/BrainReligion.html 199 Tabaqat Volume 8, Page 201 200 W. R. Van Furth, I. G. Wolterink-Donselaar and J. M. van Ree. Department of Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands http://ajpregu.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/266/2/R606 142 Understanding Muhammad study, researchers observed higher opioid activity during mania phase in unmediated bipolar patients.201 As a narcissist, Muhammad was subject to huge mood swings. Sometime he was euphoric and full of energy while at other times suffered from depression to the point of contemplating suicide. These findings explain why he had such a high libido and, despite numerous young sexual partners, remained childless. The only logical conclusion is that he may have been unable to perform sexually. However, there was a hole in my theory. If Muhammad was impotent in his later years, as I had come to believe, how could he father Ibrahim when he was already sixty or older? Ibrahim was born to Mariyah a beautiful white Coptic slave girl with curly hairs, whom Muhammad’s other wives envied and disliked. I suspected that the child could have belonged to someone else, but had no evidence to prove it. Then, I found it. I came across a story reported by Ibn Sa’d, who said there was a Coptic man in Medina who used to visit Mariyah, where rumor had circulated that he was her lover. Mariyah had been relocated to a garden to the North of Medina; apparently because Muhammad's other wives were at odds with her. The rumor reached Muhammad who dispatched Ali to kill that Coptic man. The man, upon seeing Ali coming towards him, immediately lifted up his garment and Ali saw that he had no genital (awrat), and spared his life.202 This was a convenient alibi to silence the crowd. Aisha was also accused of having an affair with Safwan, a young man from Medina, which caused some uproar. She denied the charge and later claimed that Safwan was a eunuch. The story of the Coptic man exposing his awrat to prove his innocence is clearly a fabrication. Why would the messenger of God want to kill an innocent man and how did this man know the reason Ali wanted to kill him? To further cover up this affair and the embarrassment that generally accompanied such stories, particularly in patriarchal male chauvinistic societies, where honor-killing is still vogue, Muhammad claimed that when Ibrahim was born, Angel Gabriel gave him the confirmation that he was the father by saluting him “Assalamo Alaikum ya aba Ibrahim,” (Salam to you o father of Ibrahim). This hadith may also be of a later-day forgery, fabricated to put an end to the rumors. Why the need for such confirmation? Doesn't this tell us that Muhammmad was suspicious and the story of Gabriel calling him aba Ibrahim 201 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=6271019&dopt=Abs tract 202 Tabaqat,. Volume 8, Page 224 Muhammad’s Ecstatic Experiences 143 was to stop the gossip? The trick probably worked. Muhammad himself, being a narcissist, was also a master of self-deception. He often believed anything he wanted to believe. He was reported crying for the death of Ibrahim who died when 16 months old. However, despite the fact that Mariyah was the only woman who bore Muhammad a son when he was past sixty, and probably more beautiful than all his other wives, Muhammad did not marry her. Ibn Sa’d narrates that when Ibrahim was born, Muhammad took him to Aisha and told her, “look how he looks like me.” Aisha responded, “I see no resemblance in him.” Muhammad said, don’t you see his white and chubby cheeks? Aisha then responded, “All the new-born children who drink milk have chubby cheeks.”203 The claim that Muhammad had the sexual strength of forty men is a lie, intentionally concocted to cover up the fact that he was actually impotent. Muhammad had seven children by Khadijah, who was already forty when he married her. These children were conceived when he was between 25 to 35 years old. And yet, none of his young wives and concubines, who numbered more than twenty, bore him any child during the last ten years of his life. “Erectile dysfunction with intact libido in men with epilepsy has been known to researchers since the 1950s,” says Gastaut.204 And Pritchard postulates that hyperprolactinemia resulting from CP seizures contributes to male sexual dysfunction in epilepsy.205 We read earlier that Muhammad imagined having sex when in reality he did not. There is also a hadith that shows he did not have intercourse with his wives but only “fondled” them. He would visit them, sometimes all of them in one night, engaging in foreplay but not in intercourse. Aisha is reported to have said, “None of you have the self control of the Prophet for he could fondle his wives but not have intercourse”206 Aisha was only a child. She probably did not know that her illustrious aging husband was not exercizing self control but simply could not do it. In another place she has said, “I never looked or saw the awrat (genitalia) of the Prophet.”207 I leave this to the imagination of the reader to decide why. 203 Tabaqat Volume I, page 125 204 Gastaut H: So-called psychomotor and temporal epilepsy: a critical study. Epilepsia 1953; 2: 59- 76. 205 Pritchard P: Hyposexuality: a complication of complex partial epilepsy. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 1980; 105: 193-5. 206 Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 299. 207 Tabaqat Volume 1, page 368 144 Understanding Muhammad This does not mean that Muhammad did not have a lot of sexual craving. He would not miss any opportunity to solicit sex. His insatiable desire for sex only reveals that despite so many women in his harem, he was actually sexstarved. There is a hadith that says when he raided the town of Bani Jaun, a young girl called Jauniyya accompanied by her wet nurse was brought to him. The Prophet said to her, “Give me yourself as a gift.” (In today’s parlance: Let me have sex with you.) The girl responded, “Can a princess give herself to an ordinary man?” Muhammad then raised his hand to strike her, when she exclaimed, “I seek refuge with Allâh from you,” and he stopped.208 The age of the girl is not mentioned but we can only assume that she must have been very young to need a wet nurse. All this is speculation, you could say, but here is one hadith that leaves no doubt about the fact that Muhammad was impotent. Ibn Sa’d quotes his teacher Waqidi, who said: “The prophet of Allâh used to say that I was among those who have little strength for intercourse. Then Allâh sent me a pot with cooked meat. After I ate from it, I found strength any time I wanted to do the work.”209 This is the confession from the mouth of the horse. Now it is up to you to believe the fairytale that Allâh was so concerned about his favorite prophet’s sexual vagaries that he sent him a pot of meat to cure his impotence or to conclude that our megalomaniac male chauvinist prophet, like most Arabs, who consider sexual power the symbol of their manhood and constantly boast about it, was just gasconading and trying to hide his impotence. In another hadith Muhammad says, “Gabriel brought me a small pot of food. I ate from that food and gained the sexual strength of forty men.210 This tale, like many other stories in the hadith, is fabricated to conceal the fact that Muhammad was sexually inept. A narcissist with such a monumental ego could not possibly be seen as impotent. TLE is a Multifaceted Disorder Clinically, the sufferer of TLE is often diagnosed as having a variety of psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder due to the wide variety of symptoms including irritability. 208 Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 182: 209 Tabaqat Volume 8, Page 200 210 Ibid. Muhammad’s Ecstatic Experiences 145 Schizophrenia: Muhammad may have also suffered from schizophrenia. Some symptoms of schizophrenia that could have been traced in Muhammad are: • Delusions, false personal beliefs held with conviction in spite of reason or evidence to the contrary, not explained by that person's cultural context • Hallucinations, perceptions (can be sound, sight, touch, smell, or taste) that occur in the absence of an actual external stimulus (Auditory hallucinations, those of voice or other sounds, are the most common type of hallucinations in schizophrenia.) • Disorganized thoughts and behaviors • Disorganized speech • Violent or Aggressive Behavior • Restlessness. • Catatonic behavior, in which the affected person's body may be rigid and the person may be unresponsive.211 Muhammad’s disorganized thoughts can be ascertained through the Qur’an. He was also violent and restless. In just ten years, he fought more than seventy wars all in the form of raids. As for his catatonic behavior, a syndrome seen most frequently in schizophrenia, characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor, it is enough to quote Ali, who said, “When he walked he would lift his feet with vigor, as if walking up a slope. When he turned towards a person he would turn with his entire body.”212 Bipolar Disorder: Muhammad may have also been a manic-depressive (a more popular name for bipolar disorder). Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Extreme mood swings punctuated by periods of even-keeled behavior characterize this disorder. The symptoms of BD are: irritablity, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, increased energy, racing thoughts, feelings of invulnerability, poor judgment, heightened sex drive, and denial that anything is wrong, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or melancholy, fatigue, thoughts of death or suicide, and suicide attempts. 211 www.emedicinehealth.com/schizophrenia/article_em.htm 212 The Book of Merits (manaqib) in Sunan Imam at-Tirmidhi. www.naqshbandi.asn.au/description.htm 146 Understanding Muhammad Ibn Sa’d reports a hadith that could be interpreted as a symptom of bipolar disorder. He writes: “Sometimes the Prophet used to fast so much, as if he did not want to end it, and sometimes he would not fast for so long that one thought he did not want to fast at all.”213 The first to suspect that Muhammad had epilepsy was Halima, or her husband, when Muhammad was just five years old. Theophanes,214 (752-817) a Byzantine historian, was the first recorded scholar to claime that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy. Today, we know a lot about epilepsy and can confirm this claim. However, narcissism as an attitude of malignant self-love became part of psychiatric terminology when Freud elaborated on its pathological significance in 1914. His concept of an ego-ideal – a self-image that embodies one’s highest aspirations and its role in determining self-esteem defined narcissistic personality disorder. This idea was further expanded by Annie Reich (1902-1971) who made self-esteem regulation central to the concept of narcissism and redefined pathological narcissism as the defensive elaboration of grandiosity in response to low self-esteem. Therefore narcissism is a relative newcomer to the list of mental disorders. It was not fully defined until the late 80s. To my knowledge, the connection between Muhammad and NPD is first made in this book. I have written several articles making this connection since 1998. However, this book provides the strongest evidence to date. Based on these findings, it is clear that Muhammad was most likely suffering from a variety of mental and personality disorders. According to Occam's razor, one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed to explain anything. If TLE and NPD can explain the conduct and the epiphany of Muhammad, why resort to metaphysical, hocus-pocus, and unsubstantiated mystical explanations? Now we have scientific evidence that Muhammad was sick in the head, something his contemporaries already knew. Alas, they succumbed to his brute force and their voices were silenced. It is an irony that over a billion people should cling to an insane man as their prophet and try to emulate him in every way. It is no wonder that the Muslim world is languishing. The actions of Muslims can only be defined as insane. It is because they have a mentally disturbed man as their role-model and guide. When sane people follow insane people they become insane too. This is perhaps, the greatest tragedy of all times. An insanity of such a colossal magnitude is a real abomination. 213 Tabaqat, Volume 1, Page 371 214 Theophanes, 1007, Chronographia, vol. 1, p334 Chapter Four Muhammad’s Physical Ailment hysically, Muhammad was a sick man. In his youth, he must have been handsome for Khadijah, a becoming woman herself, to find him attractive. However in the last years of his life he acquired odd features that his companions found strange. Anas has narrated, “The Prophet had big hands and feet, and I have not seen anybody like him, neither before nor after him, and his palms were soft”215 Apart from his hands and feet many of his facial features also grew out of proportion. Imam at-Tirmidhi,216 in the Book of Merits (manaqib), has collected several ahadith that describe the physical characteristics of Muhammad. A review of them may provide us with clues about his state of health and his ailments. I have taken out his followers’ superlative description of him – praising his radiance, saying how his beauty surpassed that of the moon, or how everyone stood at awe as his moonlike beauty and awe inspiring presence, etc. 215 Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Number 793 216 Abū Īsā Muħammad ibn Īsā ibn Mūsā ibn ad-Dahhāk as-Sulamī at-Tirmidhī (824-892) was a collector of hadith. His collection, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, is one of the six canonical hadith compilations used in Sunni Islam. c 148 Understanding Muhammad These are subjective descriptions and of little scientific or factual value. In the footnote I quote some of his followers’ objective description of him.217 The following is a list of what we can learn about Muhammad’s physical traits from the hadith: • heavy and thick fleshy hands and feet • wide and doughlike palms • large head, 217 Ali has narrated: “The Prophet was neither tall nor short. He has thick-set fingers and toes. He had a large head and joints. He had a long line of thin chest-to-lower-navel hair. When he walked he would literally lean forward, as if descending from a higher place to a lower one. I never saw anyone like him before of after him. He was large of head and beard.” In another hadith the same narrator has said: “He was of medium stature. His hair was slightly waved. There was roundness in his face. He was fair with redness in his complexion. His eyes were very black and his eyelashes very long. He had a large back and shoulder-joints. He had thick-set fingers and toes. When he walked he would lift his feet with vigor, as if walking up a slope. When he turned towards a person he would turn with his entire body. His neck seemed (smooth and shiny) like that of a statue molded in silver. His body was stout and muscular, of equal belly and chest (barbell like). He was wide-shouldered, big- jointed. When he disrobed his limbs emanated light (oily skin). There was hair on his arms, shoulders, and upper torso. His forearms were long, his palms wide, his fingers and toes thick-set and extended. His feet were so smooth that water rolled off them.” Hind ibn Abi Hala, has also reported: “The Prophet… had a large head. His hair was wavy. He had a rosy complexion, a wide forehead, arched dense eyebrows that did not meet in the middle. Between them there was a vein which thickened when he was angry. He had an aquiline nose touched with a light that raised it so that at first sight it seemed higher than it was. He had a thick, dense beard, expanded, not elevated cheeks, a strong mouth with a gap between his front teeth. His neck seemed smooth and shiny like that of a statue molded in silver. His body was wellproportioned, stout and muscular, of equal belly and chest. He was wide-shouldered, big- jointed. His forearms were long, his palms wide, his fingers and toes thick-set and extended. The middle of his soles rose moderately from the ground. His feet were so smooth that water rolled off them. When he walked he lifted his feet with vigor, leaned slightly forward, and tread gently on the ground. When he turned (to look), he turned his whole body. His gaze was lowered and he looked at the ground more often than he looked at the sky. He glanced at things rather than stared.” A hadith from another companion of Muhammad, Jabir ibn Samura reports: The Prophet had a wide mouth and wide eyes. Ibn Abbas, a cousin of Muhammad has claimed: “The Prophet's two front teeth were spaced in between.” Again Ali has said: “His hands and feet were heavy and thick [but not calloused]. He had a large head, large bones. When he walked, he leant forward as if descending a slope. He was white skinned, having a reddish tinge. His joints were large as was his upper back (Taken from Tabaqat V. Also published in livingislam.org) Bukhari also has written that Muhammad’s feet and legs were swollen. [Bukhari Volume 2, Book 21, Number 230] Muhammad’s Physical Ailments 149 • large bones and joints • wide chest, large upper back and shoulder-joints • long forearms • long thick fingers and toes. • long, aquiline fleshy nose that looked upturned • wide mouth and tick lips, • large eyes • spaced teeth. • long silvery neck • luster on his skin (looked oily) • thick beard and hair, dense protruding eyebrows • the upper part of his chest, his forearms and shoulders had a lot of hair on them. • walked leaning forward as if ascending a slope. (Stiffness) • walked briskly (restlessness) • difficulty moving the neck and turned with full torso (catatonic behavior) • had white skin with a reddish tinge. • sweating • peculiar smell that he masked with excessive perfume. • snored like camel • suffered from headache (perfumed cupping to alleviate it) • In later years he was impotent • lips moved involuntarily • was shy and prudish These are all symptoms of acromegaly. Acromegaly is a rare endocrine syndrome characterized by mesenchymal hyperplasia (abnormal multiplication of cells that are capable of developing into connective tissues) caused by excessive secretion of pituitary gland. Its manifestation is usually extremely insidious, as it precociously develops with coetaneous alterations, making the skin soft to touch like dough and shiny. Overactive pituitary gland in children results in gigantism. The most common age at diagnosis for acromegaly is 40-45 years. If untreated, it can lead to severe illness and death that often occurs around the age of 60. The main clinical aspect of this affliction is the elongation or intumescence of the cartilaginous tissue and acral bone ('acro' means extremity, while 'megaly' refers to huge or gigantic). Fingers, hands and feet show an increase in size, as soft tissue begins to swell. A very characteristic case is 150 Understanding Muhammad acromegaloid facial appearance syndrome, featuring a prominent forehead, mandibular protrusion, enlarged nose, large ears, enlargement of the tongue, and abnormal largeness of the lips. Overgrowth of bone and cartilage often leads to arthritis. When tissue thickens, it may trap nerves, causing carpal tunnel syndrome, characterized by numbness and weakness of the hands. Enlargement of jaw, increases the spacing between teeth .218 Other symptoms are a deepening of the voice due to enlarged sinuses and vocal cords; snoring due to upper airway obstruction, excessive sweating and skin odor, fatigue and weakness, headaches, impaired vision, and impotence in men. There may be enlargement of body organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys and heart.219 In the description of Muhammad we read that he had a rosy complexion. However several other ahadith say that when he raised his hands and his armpits were shown, or when riding a horse and his ties were exposed, his companions saw the whiteness of his skin. Hyperpigmentation occurs in roughly 40% of cases of acromegaly and almost always in photoexposed areas. It is probably due to the associated increase of melanotrophic hormone. That is why his face was reddish while the parts of his body that were not exposed to light were white. Another symptom of acromegaly is the elevation of the dorsal-to-sole transition of the foot.220 This too was reported in a hadith, as quoted above. The ahadith say that Muhammad sweated excessively and had an unpleasant smell that he tried to camouflage with an abundance of perfume. Haykal quotes a hadith from Sahih Muslim that says the scent that Muhammad used was so strong that its lingering smell would make people in the streets know that he had been there. Jabir said: “Whoever pursues a road that has been trodden by the Messenger of Allâh, will certainly scent his smell and will be quite sure that the Messenger of Allâh has already passed it.”221 Muhammad was also canny to use perfume prior to visiting his wives. In several ahadith Aisha says: “I applied perfume to the Messenger of Allâh and he 218 www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0365-05962004000400010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en 219 http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/acro/acro.htm 220 www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0365-05962004000400010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en 221 Muhammad Husayn Haykal (1888, 1956): The Life of Muhammad, http://www.witnesspioneer org/vil/Books/SM_tsn/ch7s12.html Muhammad’s Physical Ailments 151 then went round his wives.”222 He, so exaggerated in the use of perfume that Aisha has commented, “I used to perfume Allâh's Apostle with the best scent available till I saw the shine of the scent on his head and beard. 223 Muhammad is reported to have confessed, “Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume.”224 One of his companions, Al-Hasan al- Basri, also narrated: “The Messenger of God said, “The only two things I cherish of the life of this world are women and perfume.”225 (Very down to earth!) Another version of this tradition narrated by Aisha “The Prophet of God liked three things of this world: Perfume, women, and food; he had the [first] two, but missed food.”226 It is not that Muhammad could not afford food. He had the wealth of thousands of people whom he had vanquished. The fact is that excessive appetite is yet another symptom of acromegaly.227 This excessive preoccupation with perfume hints at the fact that Muhammad was wary of his bad odor and did his best to mask it. Another symptom of acromegaly is headache, which Muhammad tried to alleviate with cupping. The Prophet was cupped on his head for an ailment he was suffering from while he was in a state of Ihram (dresses for hajj) at a water place called Lahl Jamal. Ibn 'Abbas further said: Allâh s Apostle was cupped on his head for unilateral headache while he was in a state of Ihram.228 Acromegaly causes high blood pressure and poor blood circulation in extremities. This results in cold hands and feet. 222 Sahih Muslim Book 007, Number 2700 223 Volume 7, Book 72, Number 806 224 Ahmad and Nasaa`i 225 Tabaqat, Volume 1, Page 380 226 Ibid. 227 Several ahadith say that Muhammad often slept hungry because he could not find enough food to eat. These are exaggerations to portray Muhammad as a long-suffering and detached prophet. How could he go hungry when he had confiscated the wealth thousands of Jews of Arabia and had hundreds of slaves, is a question that only Muslim forgerers of hadith could answer. When Muhammad migrated to Medina, he was poor. However, soon he accumulated a lot of wealth through pillaging. 228 Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 602 152 Understanding Muhammad Abu Juhaifa said: “I took his hand and put it on my head and I found that it was colder than ice and better scented than the musk perfume.” 229 Haykal also quotes the following hadith: Jabir bin Samurah — who was a little child then — said: “When he wiped my cheek, I felt it was cold and scented as if it had been taken out of a shop of a perfume workshop.” [Sahih Muslim 2/256] In some people with acromegaly, the spine may abnormally curve from side to side and from front to back (kyphoscoliosis). This must have happened to Muhammad, and that is why he leaned forward when walking. Additionally, abnormal enlargement of the pituitary gland, located deep within the brain, may cause headaches, fatigue, visual abnormalities, and/or hormonal imbalances. Muhammad’s body was stout and muscular, of equal belly and chest. Patients with acromegaly develop a barrel chest due to changes in vertebral and costal morphology. Vertebral bodies become enlarged and elongated, whereas the intervertebral discs thicken at the cervical and lumbar levels and become thin in the thoracic region, thus resulting in development of kyphosis, an abnormal, convex curvature of the spine, with a resultant bulge at the upper back. This is why he had a large back and shoulder-joints. The costochondral junctions may even become prominent and enlarged, thus giving a typical rosary-like aspect. These anatomical rearrangements alter the elastic chest mechanics and markedly impair the respiratory muscle activation, which is further aggrieved by muscle weakness/wasting associated with acromegaly. The difficulty in breathing causes inadequate oxygenation of the blood or hypoxemia. The patient needs to take long breaths. Ibn Sa’d quotes a hadith from Anas, who said: “The Messenger of God used to breathe three times when he wanted to drink something and he would say, thus is better, easier and tastier. Anas then said that since I learned this, I too breathe three times when drinking.” Anas thought deep breathing before drinking is a Sunnah and tried to imitate his prophet even in that, when in reality this was an indication of Muhammad’s shortness of breath and a symptom of his disease. This tells us to what length Muslims would go to emulate their prophet, mindlessly. 229 Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 753 Muhammad’s Physical Ailments 153 There are other ahadith that reveal Muhammad suffered from shortness of breath and as the result, he spoke slowly in order to breathe in-between his words. Ibn Sa’d quotes Aisha, who said: The Messenger of Allâh did not speak as continuous and fast as you speak. His speech was intermittent and slow so anyone who listened could understand.230 The speech of the Prophet was not like singing, but he lengthened the words and pronounced forcefully.231 Acromegaly may increase metabolic rate, which results in excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), an abnormal intolerance to heat and/or an increase in the production of oil (sebum) by the sebaceous glands in the skin, resulting in abnormally oily skin. According to hadith Muhammad used to wash frequently, perhaps to get rid of the excessive oil and his odor. Five days before he died his temperature rose so high that he fainted and suffered from pain. “Pour out on me seven Qirab (water skin pots) of various water wells so that I may go out to meet people and talk to them.” He bid one of his wives. 230 Tabaqat Volume 1 page 361 231 Ibid. page 362 Chapter Five Muhammad and his Cult e are often taken aback by the level of fanaticism of Muslims. Millions of them riot, burn churches, and kill completely innocent people because a newspaper has published a few cartoons of Muhammad or because the Pope has quoted a medieval emperor saying that violence is not compatible with the nature of God. People generally are biased towards a belief system that has this many followers. They believe that the sheer size of Islam qualifies it as a religion. But is Islam really a religion? Some say that all religions have started as cult until, with the passage of time, they gradually gained acceptance and the status of religion. However, there are certain characteristics that distinguish cults from religions. Dr. Janja Lalich and Dr. Michael D. Langone have created a list that describes cults fairly well.232 The more a group or a doctrine has these characteristics the more it must follow that it should be defined and labeled as cult. The following is that list while I have compared Islam to it, point by point. 232 www.csj.org/infoserv_cult101/checklis.htm j 156 Understanding Muhammad 1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law. Muslims are extremely zealous about their faith and have an unquestioning commitment to their prophet, whose book, the Qur’an, for them is Truth and Law. 2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. Muslims are prohibited to question and doubt the basic tenets of their faith, while dissent is punishable by death. 3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s). Five times during the day Muslims stop whatever they are doing and stand for a repetitive and ritualistic prayer and chant the Qur’an. In addition, for one whole month in the year they must fast and abstain from drinking or eating, from dawn to dusk, a practice that can be particularly taxing at summertime. 4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth). Every detail of the life of a Muslim is prescribed. He is told what is forbidden (haram) and what is permitted (halal), what food to eat, how to dress, and what rituals to follow in order to pray. A Muslim is not allowed to date, and marriages are arranged. Corporal punishment, including torture for disobedience to the authorities, is enjoined, both for children and for adults. 5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special Muhammad and his Cult 157 being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity). Muslims claim special status for their prophet, while they vilify all other religions. They can become extremely violent if their prophet is slighted. They regard themselves as superior to all others, and when in a non-Muslim country, they constantly lobby for concessions and preferential treatments while they frequently are granted exceptions that would be unattainable to members of other religions, for instance, in being bestowed the special privilege to have a special room set aside in publicly funded schools so that the Muslim students can pray there. Recently in Ontario, they tried to make Islamic law (Sharia) recognized and binding, so in this way they could bypass the Canadian law. They were defeated, thanks largely to the tireless opposition of ex-Muslims. 6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society. Muslims have a very strong us-versus-them mentality. They call all non- Muslims, regardless of faith, kafir, an expressly derogatory term, which means one who blasphemes God. For them, the world is forever divided into Dar al Salam (House of Peace) and Dar al Harb (House of War). The non-Muslim countries are the House of War. It is the duty of every Muslim to wage jihad in the House of War, to fight, kill and subdue the non-Muslims and convert that land into the House of Peace. Peace, according to Islam can only be attained by subduing non-Muslims and making them subordinate to Islamic rule. The idea is not so much to convert everyone to Islam, but to make Islam dominant. The non-Muslims can continue practicing their religion, but only as dhimmis, a term which means protected and is only applied to Christians and Jews. The Christians and the Jews (the people of the Book) will be protected, provided they pay the protection tax, known as the jizyah and feel themselves humiliated and subdued, as stated in the Qur’an.233 If they fail to pay the jizyah, they can be exiled or put to death. This is how the Mafia operates. If you own a business, you could be harassed or even killed, unless you pay them a protection fee to be 233 Qur’an 9:29 “Fight those who believe not in Allâh nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allâh and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 158 Understanding Muhammad left alone. As for those unbelievers who are not protected, i.e. the pagans, the atheist, the animists, etc., they have either to convert or be killed. 7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities. For Muslims, all actions of Muhammad constitute law. He cannot be held accountable for his actions. He was entitled to marry or have sex out of marriage with as many women as he wished. He could raid civilians, kill unarmed men, loot their properties and take their women and children as slaves and even rape them. He could assassinate his critics and torture them to make them reveal where they had hidden their treasures. He could have sex with children. He could lie and deceive his opponents. He could massacre his prisoners of war cold-bloodedly. None of that bothers his followers. At first they deny all of the above charges vehemently, accusing you of maligning their prophet, but once the evidence is presented, they suddenly change tactic and defend him, justifying his evil deeds, the very deeds that they had outrageously denied. For Muslims, Muhammad’s actions are not measured by what we humans know as right and wrong. Rather he is the standard, the measure of right and wrong. As the result, if a crime was committed by Muhammad, that crime becomes a holy deed and is emulated by his followers unquestioningly. Muslims are capable of committing the most atrocious acts of indecency and savagery with clear conscience, because it is sunnah (performed by Muhammad). 8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities). In Islam, the ends always justify the means. For example, killing is bad, but if it is done to promote Islam, it is good. Suicide is prohibited, but suicide bombing that will cause the death of non-Muslims is a holy act. Stealing from fellow Muslims is prohibited and the thief’s hand will be chopped, but looting non-believers was practiced by Muhammad and so is considered acceptable by Muslims. Sexual intercourse out of marriage is taboo, but rape of the women of unbelievers is okay. The goal, which is the establishment of the reign of Allâh on Earth, is regarded to be so lofty that everything else becomes secondary. In the history of Islam, we read that people had murdered their own fathers or waged war against them. Such actions are praised as the sign of faith and Muhammad and his Cult 159 devotion of the believer. Lying in Islam is prohibited, except when it is said to deceive the non-Muslims and advance the interests of Islam. 9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion. Muslims’ thoughts tend to be overridden with guilt. If a Muslim does something contrary to what is permitted, other Muslims are required to remind him or her of the Sharia law and demand compliance. In most Islamic countries, particularly in Iran and Saudi Arabia, it is the state that makes sure the individuals follow the religious law. In March 2002 Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress.234 As the result fifteen girls were burned alive. 10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group. Muslim converts are encouraged to cut their ties with family and friends if they are not Muslims. I have received countless heart-rending stories from non-Muslim parents whose children converted to Islam with whom they have lost touch completely. Occasionally, they may receive a call or a cold visit, but the visit may be so restricted, so bereft of any love from their children and their Muslim spouses that the outcome further saddens the already heartbroken parents. The purpose of these visits is usually to ask the parents to convert to Islam. They leave, as soon resistance is encountered. 11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. Muslims’ main goal is to promote Islam. This practice of promoting Islam is called da’wa. It is the duty of every Muslim to bring new converts, starting with their own family and friends. Expanding Islam is the main obsession of every Muslim. 12. The group is preoccupied with making money. 234 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm 000000000