Source of Muhammad’s Inspiration – Divine or Demonic?

According to the Islamic traditions, Muhammad would tremble, foam at the mouth and snore or moan like a camel or a newborn calf, whenever he received the so-called revelations:

“Narrated Safwan bin Ya’la bin Umaiya from his father who said: ‘A man came to the Prophet while he was at Ji’rana. The man was wearing a cloak which had traces of Khaluq or Sufra (a kind of perfume). The man asked (the Prophet), “What do you order me to perform in my ‘Umra?” So, Allah inspired the Prophet divinely and he was screened by a place of cloth. I wished to see the Prophet being divinely inspired. ‘Umar said to me, “Come! Will you be pleased to look at the Prophet while Allah is inspiring him?” I replied in the affirmative. ‘Umar lifted one corner of the cloth and I looked at the Prophet who was snoring. (The sub-narrator thought that he said: The snoring was like that of a camel). When that state was over, the Prophet asked, “Where is the questioner who asked about ‘Umra? Put off your cloak and wash away the traces of Khaluq from your body and clean the Sufra (yellow color) and perform in your Umra what you perform in your Hajj (i.e. the Tawaf round the Ka’ba and the Sa’i between Safa and Marwa).”’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 27, Number 17

Another thing to learn

Ibn Sa’d related that A’ishah said: “Whenever the Prophet received Inspiration (al-wahy), his head would twitch, HE WOULD FOAM AT THE SIDES OF HIS MOUTH, he would feel cold in his incisors, and he would break into a sweat until it flowed down like pearls.” (Imam Jalal-al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Suyuti, The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur’an: Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum Al-Qur’an (Great Books of Islamic Civilization), translated by Professor Hamid Algar, Dr. Michael Schub and Mr. Ayman Abdel Haleem, reviewed by Professor Osman S. A. Isma’il al-Bili [Garnet Publishing Limited, UK 2011], Volume 1, p. 104; capital and underline emphasis ours)

In the sahih collection of Muslim, there is an account by Hammam b. Yahya, from ‘Ata’, from Ya‘la b. Umayya, who is quoted as saying that,

“‘Umar said to me, ‘Would you like to look at the Messenger of God while revelation is coming to him?’ He raised the edge of his robe from his face while he was receiving revelation at al-Ji‘rana, and he was all flushed. And he would moan like a newborn calf.” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, UK, First Paperback Edition: 2000], Volume 1, p. 307; bold and italic emphasis ours)

We are further told that the buzzing of bees could be heard around his face:

“Imam Ahmad stated that ‘Abd al-Razzaq related to him, quoting Yunus b. Salim, who said that Yunus b. Yazid dictated to him, from Ibn Shihab, from ‘Urwa b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Abd al-Qart who said, ‘I heard ‘Umar b. al-Khattab say, “When revelation came down to the Messenger of God, it would be heard like the buzzing of a bee near his face.”’” (Ibid., p. 306)

Perspiration the size of pearls would fall down from Muhammad’s forehead, even if it were cold out. He would also hear the ringing of bells that caused intense pain:

“Narrated ‘Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers): Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah’s Apostle, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says.’ ‘Aisha added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 2:

“… So, there overtook him the same state which used to overtake him, (when he used to have, on being inspired divinely). He was sweating so much so that the drops of the sweat were dropping like pearls though it was a (cold) wintry day. When that state of Allah’s Apostle was over, he was smiling and the first word he said, ‘Aisha! Thank Allah, for Allah has declared your innocence.’ My mother told me to go to Allah’s Apostle . I replied, ‘By Allah I will not go to him and will not thank but Allah.’ So Allah revealed: “Verily! They who spread the slander are a gang among you…” (24.11). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 829:; – see also Vol. 4, No. 438)

He would even suffer headaches and faint:

Abu Nu‘aym related, from a tradition of Qutayba that ‘Ali b. Ghurab related to him, from al-Ahwas b. Hakim, from Abu ‘Awana, from Sa‘id b. al-Musayyib, from Abu Hurayra, who said, “When revelation came down to the Messenger of God, he would get a headache and would cover his head with the henna plant.” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Vol. I, p. 308; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Abu Hurayrah narrated: “When the revelation came from Allah to the Prophet it was as if he had fainted.” (Abu Nu’aym). (As-Suyuti, Tahdhib al-khasa’is al-nabawiyyah al-kubra (“The Awesome Characteristics of the Prophet”) [Iz Publication, Istanbul 2003], p. 300; bold emphasis ours)

To top it off, Muhammad would often turn red and start to breathe heavily:

“Narrated Safwan bin Ya’la bin Umaiya: Ya’la used to say, ‘I wish I could see Allah’s apostle at the time he is being inspired Divinely.’ When the prophet was at Al-Ja’rana and was shaded by a garment hanging over him and some of his companions were with him, a man perfumed with scent came and said, ‘O Allah’s apostle! What is your opinion regarding a man who assumes Ihram and puts on a cloak after perfuming his body with scent?’ The prophet waited for a while, and then the Divine Inspiration descended upon him. ‘Umar pointed out to Ya’la, telling him to come. Ya’la came and pushed his head (underneath the screen which was covering the prophet) and behold! The prophet’s face was red and he kept on breathing heavily for a while and then he was relieved. Thereupon he said, ‘Where is the questioner who asked me about ‘Umra a while ago?’ The man was sought and then was brought before the prophet who said (to him), ‘As regards the scent which you perfumed your body with, you must wash it off thrice, and as for your cloak, you must take it off; and then perform in your ‘Umra all those things which you perform in Hajj.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 508

Suffice it to say, no Biblical prophet ever experienced these conditions during revelation. In fact, we find spiritists, mediums, diviners and those in the occult experiencing these conditions. One such person was the pagan Socrates who claimed that his philosophy was inspired by his Daimon (demon), who was also the cause of Socrates’ seizures. It was in this condition that Socrates received the ideas for the philosophical treatise he would eventually produce, or so he claimed.

With that said, the Word of God reveals the true source of Muhammad’s condition and supposed revelations:

“Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord terrified him. So the servants of Saul said to him, ‘See, an evil spirit from God troubles you. Let our lord now tell your servants, who are before you, that they might seek out a man experienced in playing the lyre. And it will come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he will play with his hand, and you will be well.’ Saul said to his servants, ‘Find me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.’ Then one from the servants answered, and said, ‘I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is experienced in playing music, a mighty man of valor, a man of battle, and skillful in words, even a man of fine appearance. And the Lord is with him.’ Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.’ Jesse took a donkey laden with bread, a bottle of wine, and a young goat and he sent them with his son David to Saul. David came to Saul, and stood before him. And Saul loved him greatly and he became his armor bearer. Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.’ It happened that when the evil spirit from God came on Saul, David would take the lyre in his hand and play. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” 1 Samuel 16:14-23

“When He came to His other disciples, He saw a great crowd around them, and the scribes disputing with them. Immediately when all the people saw Him, they were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. He asked the scribes, ‘What are you debating with them?’ One in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. Wherever it takes hold on him, it dashes him to the ground. And he foams at the mouth and gnashes with his teeth and becomes rigid. And I told Your disciples so that they would cast it out, but they could not.’ He answered, ‘O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.’ So they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit dashed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. He asked his father, “How long has it been since it came to him?’ He said, ‘From childhood. Often it has thrown him into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying to it, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and enter him no more.’ The spirit cried out and convulsed him greatly. But it came out of him, and he was as dead, so that many said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. When He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:14-27

The foregoing passages indicate that the symptoms which Muhammad experienced were caused by a demon, an evil spirit, if not Satan himself. It could not have been God’s Holy Spirit or one of his righteous angels that brought upon these conditions which Muhammad underwent.

What makes this all the more interesting is that Muhammad himself believed at first that he was being tormented and possessed by a jinn (demon-spirit):

“Narrated ‘Aisha: The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s apostle was in the form of good righteous (true) dreams in his sleep. He never had a dream but that it came true like bright day light. He used to go in seclusion (the cave of) Hira where he used to worship (Allah Alone) continuously for many (days) nights. He used to take with him the journey food for that (stay) and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again for another period to stay, till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ (The prophet added), ‘The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, “I do not know how to read,” whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?).” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, “Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most Generous,” up to, “that which he knew not.” (96.1-5)’

“Then Allah’s apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles twitching WITH TERROR till he entered upon Khadija and said, ‘Cover me! Cover me!’ They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, ‘O Khadija, what is wrong with me?’ Then he told her everything that had happened and said, ‘I fear that something may happen to me.’… But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended SEVERAL TIMES TO THROW HIMSELF FROM THE TOPS OF HIGH MOUNTAINS and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, ‘O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Apostle in truth,’ whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before. (Ibn ‘Abbas said regarding the meaning of: ‘He it is that Cleaves the daybreak (from the darkness)’ (6.96) that Al-Asbah means the light of the sun during the day and the light of the moon at night).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111:

The very foster-mother of Muhammad, Halima, also believed he was possessed:

‘Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, “Two men clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring it up.” We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and I asked him what was the matter. He said, “Two men in white raiment came I and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what.”1 So we took him back to our tent. His 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.” So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, “God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished.” She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied that I did. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra in Syria, and that she had borne him with the least difficulty imaginable. When she bore him he put his hands on the ground lifting his head towards the heavens. “Leave him then and go in peace,” she said.’ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 71-72; bold and italic emphasis ours)


The following story connected with Muhammad’s stay with Halimah is related by Abu ‘l-Fida’ (p. 64). When some time passed, Muhammad and his foster-brother went out to a distance from the house, when Halimah’s son came to his mother and said. “Two men clothed in white raiments have taken hold of the Quraish boy, and have thrown him down and have ripped open his belly.” So Halimah and her husband went to the place where the child was, but found him standing on his feet. And they said, “What has happened to thee child?” And he answered and said, “Two men came to me, and threw me down and ripped up my belly.” Then Halimah’s husband said to her, “I greatly fear that this boy has got the epilepsy.” So they took him to his mother Aminah. And Halimah said to Aminah, “I am afraid he is possessed of a devil.” But Aminah said, “What in the world can Satan have to do with my son that he should be his enemy?” (T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p. 368; bold and italic emphasis ours)

We again need to reiterate the fact that none of the biblical prophets ever thought of jumping off a cliff after receiving inspiration. Nor did Gabriel strike dread and terror into the hearts of the servants of God, but actually comforted and strengthened them:

“When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought for the meaning. Then there before me stood one who had the appearance of a man. I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, ‘Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.’ So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was afraid and fell upon my face; but he said to me, ‘Understand, son of man, that the vision deals with the time of the end.’ Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face toward the ground. But he touched me and set me upright.” Daniel 8:15-18

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not fear, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife well advanced in years.’ The angel answered him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. And I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.’” Luke 1:11-19

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’ When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:26-35

This is totally unlike Muhammad’s “Gabriel” who struck fear and terror into Muhammad’s heart, causing him to tremble, foam and sweat profusely.

A further indication of the occultic nature of Muhammad’s revelations is seen by the following example from al-Waqidi who wrote that, “Muhammad had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with that figure upon it.” (Dictionary of Islam, p. 63; bold emphasis ours)

With that in mind, it is very hard to deny that, in light of the biblical revelation, Muhammad was clearly demonized, and the source of his revelations were demonic, in fact satanic.

All Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

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