Jinns that Haunted the Prophet's mind
children who can easily believe in monsters, elves and fairies,
primitive men believed in shadowy creatures. Muhammad’s belief
in Jinns is an indication of the influence that his society had
on his impressionable mind. He saw Jinns and angels everywhere.
I was 10 years old I too saw a Jinn. One summer day I
accompanied my family for a picnic to a shore of a river that
ran through a beautiful and almost enchanted forest, not so far
from our home. I
swam in the river, played carelessly and ran around like any
active 10-year-old boy would do. Then suddenly I saw the profile
of a boy hiding behind a bush. He was about 10 meters away from
where I was standing. I wondered what this boy is doing there
and why is he hiding! So I quietly sat down behind a bush
watching him. After
a minute or two, without him turning his head, his profile
slowly changed and now he was staring right into my eyes. This
was quite strange but I did not allow fear to overcome me as I
saw he was a boy just about my age. Without making any move I
kept looking at him. Our eyes where locked. We gazed at each
other without either one of us blinking. Then gradually I
noticed that the boy’s face changed again, this time into a
big cat’s face grinning; a huge grin just like the cat that
Alice saw in the Wonderland. At that time I was terrorized, I
felt a chill going up my spine, my hair stood still and cold
sweat oozed out of my forehead. I ran towards my mother
shouting: “Mama there is a Jinn there. I saw it. I saw the
Jinn”… My mother calmed me down and assured me that there is
no such thing as Jinn. Then she walked with me to the place
where I had seen the Jinn, for a close inspection. Nothing was
changed. I saw some branches and some leaves. That is all there
was. From a distance, they seemed something else. It was all the
product of my childish imagination. My impressionable naïve
mind had fabricated a whole show of fantasies and played it so
masterfully in vivid colors that to me seemed real.
I grow and my mind developed my left-brain became more dominant.
I started to think, rationalize, reason, and gave up imaginings
humanity as a whole can be likened to a single individual that
composes it. It has passed and evolved from the stages of
infancy, childhood, puberty, and adolescence to adulthood and
maturity. During the stage of our childhood, we were prone to
imaginations. In our collective sub-conscience, we experienced
the fantastic and the surreal.
We saw fairies, we believed in magic, we invented
mythical beings and we became fascinated with tales of miracles.
Every culture developed its own version of myths and legends.
This kept our imagination alive and allowed us to dream. This
process was important and perhaps necessary for our mental
development as are fairy tales, for the mental development of
children! It is very much possible, that many adult individuals,
of primitive and naïve societies, actually experienced
encounters with fairies, jinns and demons. Some thought that
they saw God or his angel Gabriel coming down on them with a
mission to save the world from disbelief and God’s wrath,
while others were petrified by the sight of the angel of death,
jinns and demons.
saw those Jinns and demons quiet often as is clear from the
Muslim Book 004, Number 1106
Abu Darda' reported: Allah's
Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up (to pray) and we
heard him say:" I seek refuge in Allah from thee."
Then said:" curse thee with Allah's curse" three
times, then he stretched out his hand as though he was taking
hold of something. When he finished the prayer, we said:
Messenger of Allah, we heard you say something during the
prayer which we have not heard you say before, and we saw you
stretch out your hand. He replied: Allah's enemy Iblis came
with a flame of fire to put it in my face, so I said three
times:" I Seek refuge in Allah from thee." Then I
said three times:" I curse thee with Allah's full
curse." But he did not retreat (on any one of these)
three occasions. Thereafter I meant to seize him. I swear by
Allah that had it not been for the supplication of my brother
Sulaiman he would have been bound, and made an object of sport
for the children of Medina.
“my brother Sulaiman” Muhammad is alluding to King Solomon,
who apparently was also there without being seen by anyone else
except him. However, it is not clear why "his brother"
Sulaiman is taking the side of the Satan and does not allow
Muhammad to catch him and make him the “object of sport” of
the children of Medina!
The Arabs of the seventh century were a superstitious folk
but even to them Muhammad was an extreme case and they thought
that he was crazy or possessed, which the Prophet, on behalf of
his imaginary Allah makes sure to deny.
22-25, "No, your compatriot [Muhammad] is not
mad. He saw him [Gabriel] on the clear horizon. He does not
grudge the secrets of the unseen, nor is this the utterance of
an accursed devil."
41-42, "It [the Quran] is no poet's speech: scant
is your faith! It is no soothsayer's divination: how little
you reflect! It is revelation from the Lord of the Universe.
The reason the Prophet denies being a soothsayer and that the
Quran is revealed to him by the jinns, is because he was of the
opinion that the "The angels descend, the
clouds and mention this or that matter decreed in the Heaven.
The devils listen stealthily to such a matter, come down to
inspire the soothsayers with it, and the latter would add to it
one-hundred lies of their own." Volume
4, Book 54, Number 432:
In the above verses Muhammad is reassuring that it was not
the devil but the Gabriel that brought to him the message. Of
course if Muhammad was insane, he could not possibly have known
it and his testimony is of little value. But whether it was
Devil or the angel Gabriel that Muhammad saw, does it really
make any difference? Do really jinns, devil and angels exist?
Watt in his translation of Ibn Ishaq' biography of Muhammad (p.
36) quotes the following strange story told by Muhammad which
makes one wonder of his state of mind.
men in white clothes came to me with a golden basin full of
snow. They took me and split open my body, then they took my
heart and split it open and took out from it a black clot which
they flung away. Then they washed my heart and my body with that
snow until they made them pure."
Prophet's mental condition was a matter of concern since his
childhood, which deeply disturbed his wet nurse who
returned Muhammad to his mother. Here is the story told by her,
related in Guillaume's translation of Ibn Ishaq, page 72:
"His [Muhammad's friend's] father said to me, "I am
afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his
family before the result appears. ..... She [Muhammad's mother]
asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her.
When she asked if I feared a demon had possessed him, I replied
that I did."
It is normal for children to see monsters under their beds,
and have secret imaginary friends. but Muhammad's case must have
been exceptionally worrisome and extremely weird to alarm
his own mother and to bring up the possibility of her son being
possessed by demon. The fact that his wet nurse also believed so
is proof that he was mentally unstable from the childhood.
For the primitive people all those who were mentally sick
were "demon possessed". Today most of the cases of
"demon possessions" are treated and contained by
medications. It is not illogical to think that if Prozac was
invented 1400 years ago, the world would have been spared of
Islam and millions of lives would have not been sacrificed at
that Altar of Allah.
few years ago I traveled in the heart of the Amazon Jungle and
came to know few indigenous tribes who practically, lived in the
Stone Age. One of these tribes is the Shuars, who populate the
Amazon Jungles of the Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru. Until
not long ago they were head-shirkers. I expended some time with
them and learned about their rituals and their beliefs. Although
the missionaries have converted many of them to Christianity,
still deep inside the Jungle, they believe in and practice their
old animistic religions. These people see spirits and demons in
every corner of the Jungle. Much like the primitive Arabs who
saw jinns populating the landscape. Unlike the religious man who
in order to avoid the “mistake” of Saint Thomas, take pride
in believing without seeing, these people actually see the
spirits and have first hand experience with the object of their
belief. In an
intoxicating ritual they claim to cross the realm of the living
and enter into the domain of the dead, where they can
interrogate their ancestors, intercede the powerful spirits that
dominate their lives, peep into the mysteries of the occult,
acquire supernatural strength and defy death.
our path to maturity, we the humanity, go through the same
stages of evolution that every man and woman goes through, in
his or her process of growth. Those who see jinns and demons,
are not necessarily lying, they are simply in the primitive
stages of their mental evolution. But when they grow up
intellectually, they give up the belief in personal deities,
demons and other shadowy figures just as a child would stop
believing in Santa Clause when he matures.
even in civilized nations there is no shortage of grown up
people who are mentally in the stage of childhood. Some believe
being abducted by the extraterrestrials. Some believe to BE
extraterrestrials! Some believe that a God has created this
universe in 6 days; some say it is 6 “stages” of evolution.
Some believe in a tyrannical god who is so desperately in need
of being worshiped that would burn eternally those who fail to
prostrate in front of him in a cosmic rotisserie. And yet others
believe that the creator of this universe is actually incapable
to communicate with his creation except through illiterate
lunatics. In other words it is not enough to be an adult to
think like an adult. We will have a mature society when the
majority of its individuals think maturely. That can only happen
when people stop believing in irrational and fairy tales.
is no shame for Muhammad and his contemporaries to believe in
Allah, jinns and other mysterious and fantasy beings. All
societies have gone through that stage in the infantile phases
of their intellectual evolution. But it is quite embarrassing
for grown up men and women who live at the threshold of the
third millennium, when the light of science has illumined the
minds of most of the people and yet believe in the fantasies of
a primitive man of 1400 years ago.
are many verses of Quran and stories in the Hadith that speak of
Bukhari Volume 1, Book 12, Number 740
Prophet set out with the intention of going to Suq 'Ukaz (market
of 'Ukaz) along with some of his companions. At the same time, a
barrier was put between the devils and the news of heaven. Fire
commenced to be thrown at them. The Devils went to their people,
who asked them, "What is wrong with you?" They said,
"A barrier has been placed between us and the news of
heaven. And fire has been thrown at us." They said,
"The thing which has put a barrier between you and the news
of heaven must be something which has happened recently. Go
eastward and westward and see what has put a barrier between you
and the news of heaven." Those who went towards Tuhama came
across the Prophet at a place called Nakhla and it was on the
way to Suq 'Ukaz and the Prophet was offering the Fajr prayer
with his companions. When they heard the Qur'an they listened to
it and said, "By Allah, this is the thing which has put a
barrier between us and the news of heaven." They went to
their people and said, "O our people; verily we have heard
a wonderful recital (Qur'an) which shows the true path; we
believed in it and would not ascribe partners to our Lord."
Allah revealed the following verses to his Prophet (Sura 'Jinn')
(72): "Say: It has been revealed to me." And what was
revealed to him was the conversation of the Jinns.
Jinns to the Prophet were real
beings. They were not allegorical or symbolic as it is clear
from the above Hadith. He even dedicated a Surah to them. This
is what the Surah Jinns reads.
Say: It has been
revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Qur'an).
They said, 'We have really heard a wonderful Recital!
2) 'It gives
guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: we shall
not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord.
Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife
nor a son.
4) 'There were some foolish ones among us, who used to utter
extravagant lies against Allah;
5) 'But we do think that no man or spirit should say aught that
untrue against Allah.
These Jinns were not imaginary
fairs. To the Prophet they were very real entities. Some even
could go a live with them.
there were persons among mankind who took shelter with persons
among the Jinns, but they increased them in folly.
7) 'And they (came to) think as ye thought, that Allah would not
raise up any one (to Judgment).
The most amusing part of is when
Jinns try to listen to the secret of the heaven and they are
chased away by “shooting stars” that are fired at them as
missiles of fire.
we pried into the secrets of heaven; but we found it filled with
stern guards and flaming fires.
9) 'We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden) stations, to
(steal) a hearing; but any who listen now will find a flaming
fire watching him in ambush.
10) 'And we understand not whether ill is intended to those on
earth, or whether their Lord (really) intends to guide them to
11) 'There are among us some that are righteous, and some the
contrary: we follow divergent paths.
12) 'But we think that we can by no means frustrate Allah
throughout the earth, nor can we frustrate Him by flight.
Notice that some of the Jinns
even became Muslims!
as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have
accepted it: and any who believes in his Lord has no fear,
either of a short (account) or of any injustice.
14) 'Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to Allah), and
some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills
- they have sought out (the path) of right conduct:
15) 'But those who swerve,- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire'-
As it is clear from the above,
the Prophet used to think that some Jinns believe in Allah and
some don’t and those who don’t become fuel for Hell-fire. Of
course, it is not clear how they can become fuel since as he
explained; the Jinns are made of “fire”. So probably they
enjoy their sojourn in the Hell. To become “fuel” they have
to be made of carbonic substance.
Some of the stories that the
Prophet used to count for his followers are extremely funny. Not
that he had much sense of humor. In fact he hardly laughed and
covered his mouth whenever he could not help it. He told these
stories very seriously and precisely because of that, we find it
so laughable; like the following.
Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 533
Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
Prophet said, "Cover your utensils and tie your water
skins, and close your doors and keep your children close to you
at night, as the Jinns spread out at such time and snatch things
away. When you go to bed, put out your lights, for the
mischief-doer (i.e. the rat) may drag away the wick of the
candle and burn the dwellers of the house." Ata said,
"The devils." (instead of the Jinns).
However the following takes the
Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 200
he was in the, company of the Prophet carrying a water pot for
his ablution and for cleaning his private parts. While he was
following him carrying it(i.e. the pot), the Prophet said,
"Who is this?" He said, "I am Abu Huraira."
The Prophet said, "Bring me stones in order to clean my
private parts, and do not bring any bones or animal dung."
Abu Huraira went on narrating: So I brought some stones,
carrying them in the corner of my robe till I put them by his
side and went away. When he finished, I walked with him and
asked, "What about the bone and the animal dung?" He
said, "They are of the food of Jinns. The delegate of Jinns
of (the city of) Nasibin came to me--and how nice those Jinns
were--and asked me for the remains of the human food. I invoked
Allah for them that they would never pass by a bone or animal
dung but find food on them."
During his last days at Mecca, the Prophet
happened to be in Nakhla, a valley between Taeif and Mecca.
There, he went lost for a night and the next day when he was
found claimed to have passed the night in the company of a crowd
of Jinns pressing forward to hear his exhortations, and ardent
to embrace Islam. The story in described in Quran as follow:
Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns
(quietly) listening to the Qur'an: when they stood in the
presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!"
30-When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their
people, to warn (them of their sins).
31-They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book
revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it
guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path.
"O our people, hearken to the one who invites (you)
to Allah, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults,
and deliver you from a Penalty Grievous.
There is also a Hadith that ratify that romantic encounter of
the Apostle of Allah with the Jinns
Muslim Book 004, Number 0903
reported from 'Amir who said: I asked 'Alqama if Ibn Mas'ud was
present with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on
the night of the Jinn (the night when the Holy Prophet met
them). He (Ibn Mas'uad) said: No, but we were in the company of
the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) one night and we
missed him. We searched for him in the valleys and the hills and
said. He has either been taken away (by jinn) or has been
secretly killed. He (the narrator) said. We spent the worst
night which people could ever spend. When it was dawn we saw him
coming from the side of Hiri'. He (the narrator) reported. We
said: Messenger of Allah, we missed you and searched for you,
but we could not find you and we spent the worst night which
people could ever spend. He (the Holy Prophet) said: There came
to me an inviter on behalf of the Jinn and I went along with him
and recited to them the Qur'an. He (the narrator) said: He then
went along with us and showed us their traces and traces of
their embers. They (the Jinn) asked him (the Holy Prophet) about
their provision and he said: Every bone on which the name of
Allah is recited is your provision. The time it will fall in
your hand it would be covered with flesh, and the dung of (the
camels) is fodder for your animals. The Messenger of Allah (may
peace be upon him) said: Don't perform istinja with these
(things) for these are the food of your brothers (Jinn).
wonders how a sane person could see mythological creatures like
Jinns? But there are hadithes that cast the shadow of doubt on
the mental sanity of the Prophet. The Apostle of Allah was
indeed delirious. This was admitted by him and is reported in a
hadithes that are considered by the majority of the Muslims to
Bukhari Volume 4, Book 53, Number 400
Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that
he had done a thing which in fact he had not done.
Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 490
”Magic was worked on the Prophet so that he began to fancy
that he was doing a thing which he was not actually doing. One
day he invoked (Allah) for a long period and then said, "I
feel that Allah has inspired me as how to cure myself. Two
persons came to me (in my dream) and sat, one by my head and the
other by my feet. One of them asked the other, "What is the
ailment of this man?" The other replied, 'He has been
bewitched" The first asked, 'Who has bewitched him?' The
other replied, 'Lubaid bin Al-A'sam.' The first one asked, 'What
material has he used?' The other replied, 'A comb, the hair
gathered on it, and the outer skin of the pollen of the male
date-palm.' The first asked, 'Where is that?' The other replied,
'It is in the well of Dharwan.' " So, the Prophet went out
towards the well and then returned and said to me on his return,
"Its date-palms (the date-palms near the well) are like the
heads of the devils." I asked, "Did you take out those
things with which the magic was worked?" He said, "No,
for I have been cured by Allah and I am afraid that this action
may spread evil amongst the people." Later on the well was
filled up with earth.”
course we know that no one can work a magic to make someone
fancy that he is doing things that he is not doing. No one has
the power to bewitch another person. These were the tales of
primitive people who used to call the mentally infirm and the
sick possessed by demons. Having visions of Jinns is
hallucination and is a symptom of schizophrenia.
is no more a secret that those who hear voices and feel that
someone is directing their lives are schizophrenic. Perhaps
Muhammad did not lie when he rushed to Khadija filled with
terror claiming to have seen the Angel Gabriel. The above Hadith
sheds light on the state of the mind of the prophet. Could it be
that a billion people are following a mentally disturbed man?
Could it be that if the prophet appeared today we could have
solved his problem with a little bit of Prozac?
Muhammad is dead and it is not easy to diagnose his mental
health only through his writings and teh tales of his life.
Prescribing medications for his is of no use either. But perhaps
it's we who should take a dose of rational thinking, end this
madness and come to our own senses. All indications make us
suspet that the Prophet was a mentally disturbed, but what can
be said about us who in our sanity still follow a disturbed man?