Diagnosis of Mohammed
Since we started talking about the psychotic signs in Quran in our facebook page, Muslim fanatics started casting doubt on the ability to diagnose some one who died hundreds of years ago.
So, is it possible scientifically to diagnose some one so remote in time and space?
The answer is yes, we can do that to a reasonable degree of accuracy if we have sufficient records of his speech and actions.
In fact, physical examination is not essential in Psychiatry. Diagnosis is based on a number of criteria obtained mainly by taking history.
And in case of mohammed, we have sufficient amount of his speech and behavior saved in Quran, Seerah and Hadeeth.
We depend mainly on Quran.
Therefore, let us here explore the diagnosis of mohammed according to His quranic verses and life history.
Muslim priests usually argue that if Mohammed is psychotic how could he establish such a state and religion?
The answer is that this is possible. Mohammed is psychotic but not Schizophrenic.
The diagnosis of mohammed is [monotheme] Delusional disorder. And people with delusional disorders can lead remarkable lives. As opposed to schizophrenia, delusional disorder is not marked by deterioration in socio-occupational functioning.
The patient can be a leader, a warier, and a successful professional, etc.
Delusional disorder ICD-10 code is F-22
The main criteria according to DSM-5 are as follows:
Delusional Disorder – Diagnostic Criteria 297.1 (F22) [DSM5]
A-The presence of one (or more) delusions with a duration of 1 month or longer.
B-Criterion A for schizophrenia has never been met. Note: Hallucinations, if present, are not prominent and are related to the delusional theme (e.g., the sensation of being infested with insects associated with delusions of infestation).
C-Apart from the impact of the delusion(s) or its ramifications, functioning is not markedly impaired, and behavior is not obviously bizarre or odd.
D-If manic or major depressive episodes have occurred, these have been brief relative to the duration of the delusional periods.
E-The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition and is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as body dysmorphic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Delusions are defined as fixed that not amenable to change despite the lack of evidence or even against the contradictory evidence.
Their content may include a variety of themes (e.g., persecutory, referential, somatic, religious,
grandiose). Persecutory delusions (i.e., belief that one is going to be harmed, harassed,
and so forth by an individual, organization, or other group) are most common. Referential
delusions (i.e., belief that certain gestures, comments, environmental cues, and so forth are
directed at oneself) are also common. Grandiose delusions (i.e., when an individual believes
that he or she has exceptional abilities, wealth, or fame)
Delusions are deemed bizarre if they are clearly implausible and not understandable to
same-culture peers and do not derive from ordinary life experiences
Hallucinations are perception-like experiences that occur without an external stimulus.
They are vivid and clear, with the full force and impact of normal perceptions, and not
under voluntary control. They may occur in any sensory modality, but auditory hallucinations
are the most common followed by visual hallucinations.
The person hears voices or sounds that no one else can hear and see things no one else can see.
Now let us see criterion A. The presence of delusions.
Mohammed believed that he is the chosen by the heavens to be the last and best messenger.
and he said that God and Angels pray for him. God prays for mohammed. He associated his name with God in everything.
Clearly this a grandiose delusion.
And think of this incident, In madina mohammed with a group of his companions went to the jews of Bani-an-nadheer to ask them for financial help. The Jews welcomed mohammed and agreed, but suddenly mohammed left the meeting without even talking to his companions who were surprised and astonished.
They followed him and asked why did he leave so suddenly? He said two men of the Jews were conspiring against him, and had the intent to kill him by throwing a stone on his head.
How did you know? They asked.
Gabriel came down from the heavens and told me.
When he said it was a revelation from the heaven by Gabriel who came to him with no one else seeing him and Mohammed heard him talking to him while no one else even noticed a thing, then no discussed him because they had a blind faith in his claims.
This incident clearly is a classic and typical example of persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations.
It is a bizarre delusion of course.
Another incident happened in bani Quraiza invasion.
Mohammed saw Gabriel coming to him wearing an embroidered turban and riding on a mule with a saddle covered with a piece of brocade and asked, “ You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet and I have just come from pursuing the enemy. “God commands you, Muhammad, to go to Bani Qurayza. I am about to go to them to shake their stronghold (to terrorize Jews). So set out for them.”
This is a hallucinatory scene resulting in a delusion.
Life of mohammed is full of referential delusions when he believed people were making fun of him, jealousy delusions which made him to keep his wives inside the house. Criterion A is fulfilled when we treat Quran scientifically.
Shizophrenia is not met. So it is essential that the disorder is not schizophrenia. Following is criterion A for schizophrena and it should not be present in delusional disorder:
[A. Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a
1 -month period (or less if successfully treated). At least one of these must be (1 ), (2), or (3):
- Disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence).
- Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior.
- Negative symptoms (i.e., diminished emotional expression or avolition).]
This is not met in mohammed case because his hallucinations were related to the theme of his delusion: prophecy.
He has the delusions of being the God messenger and his hallucinations were the voice of the Angel giving him this message.
The hallucinations of hearing the Angel voice is associated with the delusion of being chosen by God to be the savior and the greatest human being ever.
We can say comfortably that criterion B is met.
Mohammed functioning was not impaired and he established a gang and defeated his opponents and force them to follow him. Apart from the impact of his delusions which made him behave as the God sole agent and lead people accordingly.
Criterion C is typical in Mohammed case. His behavior was not odd, exotic or bizarre.
Mohammed suffered from manic episodes. That happened in Makka. When infer that from the form of Makkian Quran. It is written in short, crowding, racing sentences, showing pressured speech and high degree of rhyming and punning, and exhibiting clang association and occasional flight of ideas.
This was brief, and we can see that when comparing the late pieces of Quran in Madina, where the form change totally to prolonged sentences and paraghraphs with very little , if any, clang, rhyming or punning.
Though pressured speech is not enough to diagnose a mood disorder, but if we recall that Mohammed showed grandiosity in being the greatest man for whom God and Angels pray, his high sexuality, and presence of signs of distractibility and flight of ideas. But a manic episode is not necessary, this is just an exclusion criteria, absence of mood disorder supports the diagnosis of delusional disorder, and its short presence does not rule out the delusional disorder.
Hence, criterion D is met.
For criterion E, we can assume safely it is fulfilled but whether fulfilled or not it won’t make a big difference since our diagnosing process is retroactive and remote in time and space.