Leaving Islam





Jinns that Haunted the Prophet's mind


Like 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. 

When 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.

As I grow and my mind developed my left-brain became more dominant. I started to think, rationalize, reason, and gave up imaginings and daydreaming.

The 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.  

Muhammad saw those Jinns and demons quiet often as is clear from the following hadithes

 Sahih 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.

By “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.

81: 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."

 69: 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?   

W.M. 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. 

"...two 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."

The 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.     

A 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.

In 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.

However, 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. 

There 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.

There are many verses of Quran and stories in the Hadith that speak of Jinns.

 Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 12, Number 740

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The 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.  I

 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.
 3)  'And 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.

6) 'True, 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.

8) ’And 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 right conduct.
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! 

13) 'And 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.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 533

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

The 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 cake.

 Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 200

Narrated Abu Huraira:

That once 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

Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0903

Dawud 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).

One 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 by Sahih.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 53, Number 400
Narrated Aisha:
Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 490
Narrated 'Aisha:
”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.”

Of 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. It 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? 

Well, 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? 

By Ali Sina






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