Has a major branch of history been determined by one man's bout with epilepsy? I think so!

Epilepsy Toronto has, on its web page, a list of famous people who have had epilepsy. The idea of the list is that epilepsy doesn't need to stand in the way of achievement. On that list - along with such luminaries as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Joan of Arc, Napoleon and Newton - was Muhammad. Well, you guessed it . . . the incendiary email this organization received from indignant Muslims, prompted them to quickly remove Muhammad from its on-line list. By now, we all know that nothing gets results like Muslim threats.

This article reminded me of the connection between epilepsy and the "God Module". If you're not familiar with the God Module or "God Spot", here's a quick summary . . . It was discovered when scientists explored the association between epilepsy and intense spiritual experiences. It seems that some forms of epilepsy create electrical storms in the brain that stimulates an adjacent area (now identified as the God Module). Many of these epileptics are hyper-religious.

Anyway, I did a Google search for "Muhammad and epilepsy" and hit pay-dirt. There appears to be a strong correlation between the symptoms of epilepsy and the witness descriptions of Muhammad's condition while in his "trances". Epilepsy (the "sacred disease", also known as the "falling sickness") is what the ancients thought were demon possessions. Muhammad was known to have had epileptic symptoms from at least the age of 5. His guardians were (allegedly) afraid he was demon possessed and pawned him off on other relatives.

Epilepsy would explain Muhammad's visions and preoccupation with spirituality and his solitary retreats to the mountains for contemplative meditation. Many epileptics describe the spiritual sensations surrounding seizures as so exquisite that they actually look forward to these fits. Fyodor Dostoevsky claimed that he would not trade 10 years of life for a single epilepsy-induced spiritual experience.

Ignorant and superstitious people, especially in Muhammad's day, were easily impressed by these seizures. They seemed real, because they were. However, they weren't demon possessions or contact with God; they were epileptic fits. These fits are reported to have scared Muhammad until his wife (the first, ever, Muslim) convinced him that they were divine communiqués. That's right . . . Muhammad's wife was the first Muslim - Muhammad was the second to believe.

There is only anecdotal evidence that Muhammad was an epileptic. It's just a theory. But, due to the preponderance of evidence, many historians and researchers believe it. The first to suggest it was the Greek monk, Theophanes. Theophanes (752-817) wrote, in his "Chronography", that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy. In 1869, Sir William Muir, made the same connection in his book, "The Life of Mahomet". More recently, Clifford Pickover writes:
Dostoevsky, another famous epileptic whose works are filled with ecstatic visions of universal love (and terrible nightmares of uncanny fear and radical evil), thought it was obvious that Mohammad's visions of God were triggered by epilepsy. "Mohammad assures us in this Koran that he had seen Paradise," Dostoevsky notes. "He did not lie. He had indeed been in Paradise - during an attack of epilepsy, from which he suffered, as I do."
I guess it takes one to know one.

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Replies to This Discussion

There was a BBC documentary on TLE. What was interesting is that they mentioned suspects of Moses, Paul, and Ellen white of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, but they did not mention Muhamed. They were obviously too afraid of the ramifications to even speculate he had epilepsy.

V.S. Ramachandran had a documentary where one epileptic thought he was God. He went around the neighborhood saying, "You want to fucking bet I'm not God?"

It's strange how appealing mental illness can be to people who don't have it.
Hi The Non-Prophet Muhamed (PBUH),

My first impulse was to say that mental illness is not at all appealing. Then I remembered Charles Manson and his followers; David Koresh and the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas; and Jim Jones' People's Temple and the 900+ followers who committed suicide in Guyana.

I looked up "mass suicides" on Wikipedia to see how many were related to religion. I found that most mass suicides were the result of war (mass suicide was seen as preferable to capture, enslavement, torture, rape and or death); here's what I found on religiously motivated mass suicides . . .

# The Jonestown suicides in Guyana, where 909 members of the Peoples Temple, led by Jim Jones, died in 1978. Of the 918 dead (including four in Georgetown and five non-members at an airstrip), 276 were children. The tragedy at Jonestown was the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the incidents of September 11, 2001. On a tape of their final meeting, Jones tells Temple members that the Soviet Union, with whom the Temple had been negotiating a potential exodus for months, would not take them after the Temple had murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, NBC reporter Don Harris and three others at a nearby airstrip. When members apparently cried during what the Temple called "revolutionary suicide," Jones counseled "Stop this hysterics. This is not the way for people who are Socialists or Communists to die. No way for us to die. We must die with some dignity."

# The Order of the Solar Temple mass suicide killed 74 people in two towns in Switzerland and one in Canada in October 1994. About two thirds of the deaths were murders, including the ritual murder of a newborn child.

# The Heaven's Gate mass suicide occurred in a hilltop mansion near San Diego, California, in 1997. They were mistakenly reported to believe an alien spaceship was following in the tail of the Comet Hale-Bopp and that killing themselves was necessary to reach it. They were cited on their website as wishing to reach the next plane of existence. The victims were self-drugged and then suffocated by other members in a series of suicides over a period of three days. Thirty-nine died, from a wide range of backgrounds.

# The 778 deaths of members of the Ugandan group Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, on March 17, 2000, is considered to be a mass murder and suicide orchestrated by leaders of the group.
There was a BBC documentary on TLE. What was interesting is that they mentioned suspects of Moses, Paul, and Ellen White of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, but they did not mention Muhamed. They were obviously too afraid of the ramifications to even speculate he had epilepsy.

Yes, thank you for providing that pertinent anecdote.

Changing the subject somewhat, is it the case that all (or virtually all) Muslims get to believe everything that is in the Koran? What do they make of startling claims like the two that follow next---on astronomy and anatomy:

The quoted Internet comments were actually written by "Lancevoix” on The Guardian Podcast of 7 March 2007.

“Perhaps we could incorporate some of the holy Koran’s unique scientific insights into the curriculum. Astronomy students will benefit from the knowledge that our Sun is not rotating on the outer edge of the Milky Way, but actually sets every night into a murky pond of water. This was confirmed by none other than Alexander the Great [Zul-qarnain]!

“He [i.e. Zul-qarnain] followed, until he reached the setting of the sun. He found it set in a spring of murky water.” (Surah XVIII ( Kahf) vs. 85-86)

Biology students will also be fascinated to discover that human semen is actually produced in the area between a man’s backbone and ribs (Sura 86:6-7), and not in the testes and prostate gland, as has been laughably claimed by modern anatomists. It is curious that the ancient Greeks also asserted this to be the case, and we know that much of their learning had been preserved in Arabia and Egypt. But I doubt very much if the compilers of the holy Koran would have incorporated these Greek beliefs into their text, as we all know that all the material within represents a true account of the angelic discourse to Mohammed and not, as some scallywags have asserted, a garbled, pan-Arabic regurgitation of absurd Judeo/Christian dogma, full of contradictions and factual errors.”
I wouldn't be too hasty, Terence,

It's only been about 1400 years since Allah and Gabriel revealed these wondrous scientific secrets to Muhammad (PBUH). Science has not yet had a sufficient opportunity to track down the facts he revealed. After all, we're talking about our Creator, here. You can't expect us mere mortals to confirm so quickly the mysteries of Allah's intricate designs.

Allah revealed these signs so that we would have no doubt of his supreme greatness when we finally discover and understand the truth of these mysteries. I'm sure it will be only a few more centuries before we confirm Allah's word.

Patience. :-)
I hope people recognize "dry", tongue in cheek, ironic, facetious, humor . . .
If semen is produced in the area by the backbone, what did the Holy Prophet say was the purpose of that strange, odd-looking, grapy sac located in such a vulnerable position?
What I want to know is what happen to the Arabic world. I was watching a documentary on the wonders of the ancient world and the Arabs contributed some fantastic works. What happened to them? The Pharaohs are out a new religion came along and intelligence is tossed out the window. The entire area seems to have gone into a dark age more backward than Baptist revival. It seems to me that the Arabs were very technologically advanced millennia BCE and look at them now. Is this what an Epileptic fit brought them?
Yes, the dogma of Islam has dogged them ever since. They hate dogs.
. . . and "dogma" spelled back wards is "am god".
. . . and the 'amgod dogma' believers have been backward ever since.

"amgod dogma" is a palindrome . . . I guess the believers don't know if they're coming or going!
My Dalmatian Max is always bugging me to take him to church.

He likes to listen to Catholic dogma.




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