Throughout the centuries there has been many rumors about Prophet Mohammad suffering from epilepsy. Mr. Arnold Ireland (1886) *1 and Dr F. Freeman (1976) *2 have been able to provide some documentation in this area and attribute Mohammad's condition to a form of seizure disorder called "complex partial seizures". However, they had the limitations of lack of access to original sources of Islam and accurate knowledge of the Quran, Making their work incomplete
During last few decades there has been an abundance of research on Complex Partial Seizures which has been recently named the "Geschwind Syndrome". This term is attributed to this condition because of the original research of late Dr Norman Geschwind on this topic*3. *4
Also, there are a lot of well controlled studies which point to existence of a gradual change in character caused by seizure disorder called "Interictal personality disorder". This gradual change caused by the seizures manifest itself by hyper religiosity, hyper sexuality and an increase in aggressive behavior*5.
Many of the researchers point to the damage to temporal lobe of brain as being the origin of these problems *6. Since the volume loss in temporal lobe of schizophrenic patients is one of the original causes of schizophrenia, that is probably the reason for the similarity between some of the symptoms of these two entirely different conditions*7
I published a comprehensive book on this topic called "Sword and Seizure, Prophet Mohammad's epilepsy and creation of Islam" in 2006*8. However, that book is out of print and all of its copies were bought and destroyed by an unknown group for very high prices. Meanwhile I was just informed that the book is downloaded and available on the internet as "Sword and Seizure"!!!
This article is an attempt to provide a comprehensive yet concise source for those who might be interested in the topics of Mohammad's seizure disorder and his Interictal personality changes.
Main Sources of this Article:
In order to explore the history of Islam we have to rely on two entirely different sources.
1) Quran: which is the sacred book of Islam. The advantage of the Quran to other religious books is that. It was written by the followers of Mohammad who were around him. Once he became more popular, he had a secretary who would write each verse and put it in the Quran according to Mohammad's instructions. There is only one version of the Quran around the world and there is not any dispute among historians that Quran is Mohammad's own words. I should also mention that the Quran is extremely well written in Classical Arabic. There are only very few people who could create writings almost as good as the Quran*9. Mohammad Introduced Quran as his miracle and would ask others if they could write a verse as eloquent as Quran. The Quran is the most reliable source of studies on Mohammad and Islam.
2) Hadith: One of the advantages of Islam to most other religions are that people who were around Mohammad were aware that they were seeing history as it was happening. Also, he lived to be 63 years old which was rare at those times, and he became popular at 53 therefore for ten years his devout followers memorized and wrote his behaviors, orders, suggestion and explanations into minor details. After Mohammad died his followers would repeat those stories of his life to other people. Each one of those stories is called a Hadith. About 150 years after his death, some scholars traveled around the Islamic empire, collected these stories weeded out the inaccurate ones and wrote Mohamed's biography and the events around him with extreme precision. There are ten of these biographies which are considered to be the original sources of Islam. Thousands of books which are written about him later on are based on those ten books and the Quran. In this article all of my references to Mohammad beside Quran are from the top 6 original sources of Islam. The only exception is the historical events which are well known and are not disputed.
Mohammad's Life before Islam
Mohammad was born on Monday Aug 23,570 AD*9. He was born and raised in the city of Mecca in western edge of Saudi Arabia. His father died before he was born. He lost his mother at the age of five. He was raised by his grandfather until the age of eight, then he was taken care of by his uncle until early adulthood*10. He worked mostly as a shepherd in childhood and as a small merchant in early adult life. It looks like his childhood as an orphan was very hard on him. There are 20 verses in Quran asking people to be nice to orphans. He is not known for having any abnormal behavior in younger ages.
Being a small merchant caused him to have several trips to southern Syria. Apparently, he was curious about different religions and those trips helped him to be able to meet people of other religions and become well versed in details of the faiths of his time (mostly Judaism and Christianity). Mohammad got married to a rich lady who was much older than him at the age of 25 and had a couple of kids who all died except one daughter. *11
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