Date: 20 Mar 2010


html Muhammad’s Personality Profile 71 her grave even when he was over sixty years old? Was he still resentful toward her? Halima did not want to take baby Muhammad because he was a little orphan of a poor widow and the pay was not great. Did this affect the way she or her family treated him? Children can be cruel. Being an orphan in those days was a stigma, as it still is in many Islamic countries. Muhammad’s childhood condition was not conducive to building a healthy self esteem. Jon Mardi Horowitz, the author of Stress Response Syndromes, explains: “When the habitual narcissistic gratifications that come from being adored, given special treatment, and admiring the self are threatened, the results may be depression, hypochondria, anxiety, shame, self destructiveness, or rage directed toward any other person who can be blamed for the troubled situation. The child can learn to avoid these painful emotional states by acquiring a narcissistic mode of information processing.”90 Muhammad, indeed, had a difficult childhood. In Sura 93 verses 3- 8, (quoted at the beginning of chapter one of this book) he tenderly calls to mind his lonesome orphanhood and reassures himself that Allâh will be kind to him and will not forsake him. This shows how much the memory of his lonesome childhood pained him. The fact that Muhammad created an imaginary world to escape from reality, so vivid that it scared his foster parents, is another clue that his early childhood was anything but pleasant. Muhammad may not have remembered the details of what happened during his first years of life, but obviously he bore the psychological scars for the rest of his life. To him, the imaginary world he created was real. It was a safe refuge, a pleasant place to retreat and escape from reality. In this imaginary world, he could be loved, respected, admired, powerful, important, and even feared. He could be anything he wanted to be and compensate for the lack of attention he was getting from the world outside. According to Vaknin, “the true cause of Narcissism is not fully understood but it does start in early childhood (before the age of five). It is believed it is caused by serious and repetitive failures on the part of the child's Primary Object (parents or other caregiver). Adult Narcissists often come from homes where one or both parents severely neglected (ignored) or abused the child… ALL children (healthy and otherwise) when they are 90 Jon Mardi Horowitz – “Stress Response Syndromes: PTSD, Grief, and Adjustment Disorders”, Third Edition 72 Understanding Muhammad not allowed to do something by their parents will sometimes enter into a narcissistic state where they see themselves and act as if they are all powerful. This is healthy and natural as it gives the child the confidence needed to rebound from the parental rejection with self-confidence.91 Neglected children internalize a feeling of inadequacy. They come to believe they are undeserving of love and attention. In reaction to that, they tend to defend their ego by puffing themselves. They see their own weakness and feel that if others come to see it, they will not be loved, admired and respected. So they lie and invent fantastic stories bragging about their self-importance. Their imaginary power often originates from an external source. It could be their daddy or a strong friend. This kind of narcissism in children is normal, but if they retain these thoughts into adulthood, it develops into narcissistic personality disorder. In Muhammad, this external source of power was no one but Allâh, the most powerful, the most fearful, and the almighty. By associating himself with Allâh and presenting himself as his sole intermediary, he incarnated all of Allah’s power. After the death of his mother, when Muhammad was six years old, he was under the tutelage of his aging grandfather, who spoiled him. As various ahadith show, Abdul Muttalib was too permissive and overindulged his orphaned grandchild. The child Muhammad would sit on a mat next to the patriarch while his uncles sat reverentially around them. His claims that Abdul Muttalib told his uncle Abu Talib, “Let him alone for he has a great destiny, and will be the inheritor of a kingdom;” or telling his nurse, “Beware lest you let him fall into the hands of the Jews and Christians, for they are looking out for him, and would injure him!” are obviously figments of his imagination. They were lies that he concocted and possibly believed. These are typical fantasies of narcissists, who think of themselves as so important they believe everyone is after them to harm them out of jealousy. Nonetheless, it is clear that Abdul Mutalib made Muhammad feel special. He pampered and loved his orphaned grandchild. The old man spoiled him out of pity. However, Muhammad interpreted that extra attention as the confirmation of his reveries of grandeur. The image he cast about himself in his fantasy world during his childhood was thus bolstered by his grandfather’s 91 www.faqfarm.com/Q/Can_you_be_responsible_for_your_spouse's_narcissism Muhammad’s Personality Profile 73 overindulgence of him. He was reconfirmed as unique, special, and exceptional. After the death of Abdul Muttalib, his kind-hearted uncle, Abu Talib, also treated him differently. His status as an orphan, with no parents or siblings, evoked compassion. Both his grandfather and uncle overindulged and spoiled him. They failed to impose adequate discipline on him. All these extremes contributed to him developing a narcissistic personality. Psychologists J. D. Levine and Rona H. Weiss write: Just as we know, from the point of view of the physiologist, that a child needs to be given certain foods, that he needs to be protected against extreme temperatures, and that the atmosphere he breathes has to contain sufficient oxygen, if his body is to become strong and resilient, so do we also know, from the point of view of the depth-psychologist, that he requires an empathic environment, specifically, an environment that responds (a) to his need to have his presence confirmed by the glow of parental pleasure and (b) to his need to merge into the reassuring calmness of the powerful adult, if he is to acquire a firm and resilient self. 92 Muhammad experienced neglect and abandonment during the first six years of his life, and excessive permissiveness after that. His circumstances were therefore ripe and conducive for him to become a narcissist. Muhammad never spoke of his mother. If he had, it would have been recorded in a hadith. He visited her tomb after he conquered Mecca, but he refused to pray for her. What was the point of that visit? Perhaps this was his vindication, a way to prove to her that despite her neglect, he had made it. On the other hand he remembered his grandfather, who had showered him with love and provided for him plenty of narcissistic gratifications, fondly. Psychologists tell us that the first five years of a child’s life are the years that either make him or break him. Muhammad’s emotional needs during the first five years of his life were not met. He carried the painful memories of those lonesome years of abandonment and neglect into his adulthood and old age. He grew up insecure and had a fluctuating sense of self-worth, a weakness he tried to hide with overwhelming haughtiness by 92 J. D. Levine and Rona H. Weiss. The Dynamics and Treatment of Alcoholism. Jason Aronson, 1994 74 Understanding Muhammad growing a sense of entitlement, grandiosity, lack of empathy, and an illusion of superiority. Muhammad chose God as his mate. His imaginary ally was mighty and powerful. This made him infinitely strong. He was the only one with direct access to Allâh and was his only viceroy on Earth. To make sure that no one would ever usurp his position, he also claimed to be the last messenger. His power, thus, was absolute and eternal. Khadijah’s Influence on Muhammad Khadijah’s role in Islam has not yet been fully appreciated. Her influence on Muhammad cannot be overemphasized. Khadijah should be regarded as Muhammad’s partner in giving birth to Islam. Without her, perhaps, Islam would not have existed. We know that Khadijah adored her young husband. There is no report that Muhammad ever worked after marrying Khadijah. After the marriage, Khadijah’s business seems to have gone down the tubes. When she died, the family became penniless. Muhammad did not take care of the children, either. Dejected by the world, he spent most of his time alone in caves retreating to his pleasant imaginary world and contemplation. At times he would take food for several days, returning only when it was finished. Then he would head down to the city, procure more provisions and go back. Khadijah remained at home to take care of her ten children alone. But she did not seem to complain. She was not only taking care of her children and the house but also of her young husband, who acted just like another irresponsible child. But Khadijah was happy to sacrifice. Why? That is an important question. The answer is that Khadijah had her own personality disorder. She was what we today would call a codependent. This knowledge will help us understand why she stood by her husband and encouraged him to launch his prophetic career. The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) defines codependency as: “A learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, Muhammad’s Personality Profile 75 emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.” 93 Khadijah was a comely woman. She was the favorite daughter of her father Khuwaylid. In fact Khuwaylid relied on her, more than he did on his sons. She was a “daddy’s girl.” She had rejected the hands of the powerful men of Mecca. But when she saw the youthful but dispossessed and needy Muhammad, she fell in love with him on the spot and sent a maid to him to propose marriage. On the surface it seems that Muhammad had such a magnetic personality that he mesmerized this powerful woman. This, however, is a superficial understanding of a complex dynamic. Tabari writes: “Khadijah sent a message to Muhammad inviting him to take her. She called her father to her house, plied him with wine until he was drunk, anointed him with perfume, clothed him in a striped robe and slaughtered a cow. Then she sent for Muhammad and his uncles. When they came in, her father married him to her. When he recovered from his intoxication, he said, “What is this meat, this perfume, and this garment?” She replied, “You have married me to Muhammad bin Abdullah”. “I have not done so,” he said. “Would I do this when the greatest men of Mecca have asked for you and I have not agreed, why would I give you to a bum?” 94 The party of Muhammad replied indignantly that the alliance had been arranged by his own daughter. The old man drew his sword in anger and the relatives of Muhammad drew theirs. Blood was about to be shed when Khadijah made her love for Muhammad known and confessed to have masterminded the whole proceeding. Khuwaylid was then pacified, as he resigned to the fait accompli and reconciliation ensued. Khadijah was a dainty, accomplished woman. She had rejected the marriage proposal of many dignitaries of the Quraish. How can one explain a seemingly levelheaded and successful woman suddenly falling in love with an indigent youth 15 years her junior? This erratic behavior belies a certain personality disorder in Khadijah. 93 http://www.nmha.org/infoctr/factsheets/43.cfm 94 Persian Tabari v. 3 p.832 76 Understanding Muhammad Evidence indicates that Khadijah’s father was an alcoholic. Khadijah must have known her father’s weakness for alcohol to devise such an audacious plan. Alcoholic people tend to lose control and get drunk. Non alcoholic people often drink moderately and know when to stop. When Khuwaylid became drunk, the party had not yet started and the guests had not yet arrived. This tells us that he was not a social drinker but a real alcoholic. Now, why this should matter at all? Because it is another clue in support of the speculation that Khadijah was a codependent. Children of alcoholics often develop co-dependency Khadijah’s father was overly protective of his daughter and had high expectations for her. From his reaction to the marriage of his 40 year old daughter to an ordinary man and his words saying “the greatest men of Mecca have asked for you and I have not agreed,” it is clear that Khadijah was the apple of his eye. Khuwaylid had other children too, including a few sons, but it is clear that this daughter was his pride and joy. She was his only accomplished offspring. Children who are adored and placed on a pedestal by their domineering and needy parents grow in their shadow. They often develop codependency personality disorder. They become obsessed with their father (or mother) and see their function as making their parents look good in the eyes of the outsiders. They are expected to be the 'wunderkind.’ Under the constant demand for better performance, the child becomes unable to develop her own independent personality. She seeks her fulfillment in satisfying the needs of her perfectionist and narcissistic parent. She does not feel loved for WHO she is, but rather for HOW she performs. The alcoholic parent unloads his own emotional baggage on his children, especially on the one with more potential. He expects her to excel in everything and make up for his own shortcomings and failures. Co-dependents cannot find fulfillment and happiness in normal and emotionally healthy relationships that can happen only among equals. Only in the capacity of caregivers and pleasers can codependents find their happiness. The “perfect” match for the codependent is a needy narcissist. Khadijah rejected her successful and mature suitors, falling in love with a poor young man who was both emotionally and financially needy. Codependents confuse love and pity. They have the tendency to “love” people they should pity and rescue. Vaknin uses the term "self effacing" or “inverted narcissism” instead of co-dependency. Here is what he says about the co-dependent-narcissist Muhammad’s Personality Profile 77 relationship: “The inverted narcissist can only truly FEEL anything when he is in relationship with another narcissist. The inverted narcissist is conditioned and programmed from the very beginning to be the perfect companion to the narcissist - to feed their Ego, to be purely their extension, to seek only praise and adulation if it brings greater praise and adulation to the narcissist.” 95 The above explains why a successful and beautiful woman like Khadijah would become interested in a needy and narcissistic man like Muhammad. Although inverted narcissists tend to be successful in their businesses, their relationships are often unhealthy. Vaknin further explains: “In a primary relationship, the inverted narcissist attempts to recreate the parent-child relationship. The invert thrives on mirroring to the narcissist his own grandiosity and in so doing the invert obtains his OWN Narcissistic Supply (the dependence of the narcissist upon the invert for their Secondary Narcissistic Supply). The invert must have this form of relationship with a narcissist in order to feel complete and whole. The invert will go as far as he needs to ensure that the narcissist is happy, cared for, properly adored, as he feels is the narcissist's right. The invert glorifies his narcissist, places him on a pedestal, endures any and all narcissistic devaluation with calm equanimity, impervious to the overt slights of the narcissist.96 With no pun intended, the marriage of Muhammad and Khadijah seems to have been made in heaven. Muhammad was a narcissist who craved constant praise, attention and adulation. He was poor, an orphan and emotionally needy. He was an adult but his inner child was still yearning for attention. He was in need of someone to take care of him and provide for him, someone to exploit and abuse, as only an infant can exploit and abuse his mother. The emotional maturity of the narcissist is frozen in childhood. His infantile needs have never been satisfied. He is constantly trying to satisfy those childish needs. All babies are narcissists and that is a necessary stage of their growth. But if their narcissistic needs are not satisfied in childhood, their emotional maturity will freeze at that stage. They seek the attention they missed in infancy in their relationships with their mates and others, including their children. 95 http://samvak.tripod.com/faq66.html 96 http://www.toddlertime.com/sam/66.htm 78 Understanding Muhammad Muhammad’s craving for love was expressed by him on many occasions. Ibn Sa'd quotes him saying that the families of Quraish are all related to me and even if they do not love me for the message I am bringing them, they should love me because of my kinship to them.97 In the Qur’an Muhammad says: “No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.”98 These words are indeed desperate cries of one craving love and attention. Khadijah, on the other hand, was an inverted narcissist who needed someone to fulfill her own fantasies as a caregiver. Not only does the codependent not mind being taken advantage of, she actually enjoys it. Vaknin writes: “The inverted narcissist feeds on the primary narcissist and this is his narcissistic supply. So these two typologies can, in essence become a self-supporting, symbiotic system. In reality though, both the narcissist and the inverted narcissist need to be well aware of the dynamics of this relationship in order to make this work as a successful long-term arrangement.”99 Psychologist Dr. Florence W. Kaslow, explaining this symbiosis says that both parties have personality disorders (PDs) – but on opposite ends of the spectrum. “They seem to have a fatal attraction for each other in that their personality patterns are complementary and reciprocal – which is one reason why, if they get divorced, they are likely to be attracted over and over to someone similar to their former partner'.”100 The symbiotic relationship between the narcissist Muhammad and the inverted narcissist Khadijah worked to perfection. Muhammad, no longer needed to be preoccupied with work after marrying the wealthy Khadijah. He spent his days wandering in the caves and wilderness of his fertile fantasies, the delightful and affable realm where he was loved, admired, respected and feared. Khadijah became so engulfed in this selfabsorbed narcissist and attending to his needs that she neglected her commerce. Her thriving business dwindled and her wealth evaporated. She must have been around fifty years old, when her youngest child was born. She stayed home while her husband was away most of the time, a recluse in his mental and physical caves. 97 “I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives” Tabaqat vol.1 page.3 98 Qur’an Sura 42: verse 23 99 http://samvak.tripod.com/faq66.html 100 Quoted from Mixing oil and water by Bridget Murray page 52 www.apa.org/monitor/mar04/mixing.html Muhammad’s Personality Profile 79 According to Vaknin, “the inverted narcissist is extinguishingly selfless, sacrificial, even unctuous in his interpersonal relationships and will avoid the assistance of others at all costs. He can only interact with others when he can be seen to be giving, supportive, and expending an unusual effort to assist.”101 He also defines co-dependents as “People who depend on other people for their emotional gratification and the performance of Ego or daily functions.” He says “they are needy, demanding, submissive. They fear abandonment, cling and display immature behaviours in their effort to maintain the ‘relationship’ with their companion or mate upon whom they depend.”102 Melody Beattie, the author of “Codependent No More” explains that codependents unconsciously pick troubled partners in order to have purpose, be needed and feel fulfilled. Any sensible person would have interpreted Muhammad’s bizarre experience as psychosis or “demon possession,” as they used to call it in those days. Even Muhammad himself thought he had become a kahin (sorcerer) or demon-possessed. As we read in the Qur’an, the reasonable people of Mecca thought Muhammad had become a majnoon, which literally means possessed by jinns and is understood as insane. But such a thought was too much to bear for Khadijah who sought her fulfillment and happiness in fulfilling the needs of her husband. She had to cling to her narcissist at any cost. As a co-dependent, Khadijah felt the urge to step in, be helpful, give advice and salvage her own source of narcissistic supply. The narcissist often demands sacrifices from people around him and expects them to become his co-dependents. They also live above the moral code. They are too big to abide by any morality or rule. John de Ruiter is a self-proclaimed messiah from Alberta, Canada. His followers worship him like God. “One day we were sitting around the kitchen smoking cigarettes,” said Joyce, de Ruiter's estranged wife of 18 years, in an interview. “He was talking about my 'death.' He acknowledged that I had gone through a lot of dying, which was a good thing. I had let go of ninety-five percent of the life that I had to let go of. But he said I wasn't letting myself go completely. He suggested that my ultimate death would be if he took on two more wives.” Joyce said she thought he was joking. He wasn't. He brought up the matter a second 101 www.toddlertime.com/sam/66.htm 102 www.healthyplace.com/communities/Personality_Disorders/narcissism/faq66.html 000000000