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Muhammad: A Narcissist  

From Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography of Allâh's Prophet

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts.”  (reference 80, p. 61)

In translation, a narcissistic person typically is someone who obsessively seeks self-gratification, domination, and ambition.  They tend to exaggerate their skills, talents and accomplishments.

Narcissists are pathological liars.  They will look you right in the eye, swear to God, and tell you the biggest lie you've ever heard.  They will say they're not going to do something, while plotting to do that very thing. 

The third and fourth editions of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) of 1980 and 1994 and the European ICD-10 describe NPD in identical language:  

An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts.  Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:  

1.        Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2.        Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

3.        Is firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special,  unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

4.        Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation, or failing that, wishes to be feared and notorious (narcissistic supply)

5.        Feels entitled.  Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment.  Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations

6.        Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

7.        Is devoid of empathy.  Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others

8.        Is constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her

9.        Is arrogant, has haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted [1]  

All these traits were confirmed in Muhammad.  Apart from thinking he was the anointed messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets, (Q.33:40) Muhammad regarded himself as Khayru-l-Khalq “Best of Creation,” an “excellent example,” (Q.33:21) and explicitly or implicitly hinted to be “exalted above other prophets in degrees.” (Q.2:253) He claimed to be “the preferred one,” (Q.17:55) to have been sent as a “Mercy to the worlds,” (Q.21:107) to have been risen “to a praised estate,” (Q.17:79) a station which he said none but he would receive and this is the Station of Intercession at the right hand of the Almighty next to his Glorious Throne.  In other words, he would be the person who would advise God as to who should he sent to Hell and who should be admitted to Heaven.  These are just some of Muhammad’s megalomaniac claims about his own lofty station, reported in the Qur’an.

The following two verses express vividly Muhammad’s sense of self importance and grandiosity. 

Truly, Allâh and His angels send praise and blessings [forever] upon the Prophet. O you who believe! Praise and bless the Prophet with utmost laud and blessing. (Q.33:56)  

In order that you (O men) may believe in Allâh and His Messenger, that you may assist and honor Him, and celebrate His praise morning and evening. (Q.48:9)  

He was so impressed with himself, that he put the following words in the mouth of his sock puppet deity:  

“And you (stand) on an exalted standard of character” (Q.68:4) and are “a lamp with spreading light.” (Q.33:46)  

Ibn Sa’d reports Muhammad saying:  

“Among all the people of the world God chose the Arabs.  From among the Arabs he chose the Kinana.  From Kinana he chose the Quraish (the tribe of Muhammad).  From the Quraish he chose Bani Hashim (his clan).  And from Bani Hashim he chose me.”[2]  

The following are some of the claims Muhammad made about himself in the hadith.    

·         The very first thing that Allâh Almighty ever created was my soul.

·         First of all things, the Lord created my mind.

·         I am from Allâh, and the believers are from me.[3]

·         Just as Allâh created me noble, he also gave me noble characters.

·         Were it not for you, [O Muhammad] I would not have created the universe. [4]  

Compare that to the words of Jesus, who when someone called him “good master,” he objected and said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.”[5] Only a pathological narcissist can be so cut off from reality to claim the universe was created because of him.

To an average person, a narcissist may seem to be quite self-confident and accomplished.  In reality he or she suffers from a great deficit of self-esteem and needs an outside supply of adulation, admiration, and greatness.

Dr. Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self-Love. He claims to be a narcissist himself and perhaps because of that, can be regarded as an authority on the subject. Vaknin explains:  

Everyone is a narcissist, to varying degrees.  Narcissism is a healthy phenomenon.  It helps survival.  The difference between healthy and pathological narcissism is, indeed, in measure.  Pathological narcissism… is characterized by extreme lack of empathy.  The narcissist regards and treats other people as objects to be exploited.  He uses them to obtain narcissistic supply.  He believes that he is entitled to special treatment because he harbors these grandiose fantasies about himself.  The narcissist is NOT self-aware.  His cognition and emotions are distorted…  The narcissist lies to himself and to others, projecting ‘untouchability,’ emotional immunity and invincibility...  For a narcissist everything is bigger than life.  If he is polite, then he is aggressively so.  His promises are outlandish, his criticism violent and ominous, his generosity inane. …  The narcissist is a master of disguise. He is a charmer, a talented actor, a magician and a director of both himself and his milieu.  It is very difficult to expose him as such in the first encounter. [6]

In Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography of Allâh's Prophet I have dedicated an entire chapter to this subject, showing the influences in the life of Muhammad that made him develop this personality disorder. I believe to have made a strong case. 


[1] The language in the criteria above is based on or summarized from:

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV). Washington , DC : American Psychiatric Association.

Sam Vaknin. (1999). Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited, first edition. Prague and Skopje : Narcissus Publication. ("Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" http://www.geocities.com/vaksam/faq1.html )

[2] Tabaqat V. 1 p. 2 

[3] http://www.muhammadanreality.com/creationofmuhammadanreality.htm

[4] Tabaqat V. 1, p. 364

[5] Mark 10:18

[6] healthyplace.com/Communities/Personality_Disorders/Site/Transcripts/narcissism.htm  

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