Epilepsy, the God Module and Muhammad


Has a major branch of history been determined by one man’s bout with epilepsy? I think it might have!

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 incident 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 temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) creates 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 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.

Ancient, 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 seizures. These seizures are reported to have frightened 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.

There is only anecdotal evidence that Muhammad was an epileptic. It’s just a theory but is a convincing one: 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.


© Copyright 2011 AtheistExile.com
eMail: AtheistExile@AtheistExile.com


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6 thoughts on “Epilepsy, the God Module and Muhammad”

  1. You know it’s probably not just Muhammad whose epilepsy influenced religion. What about Paul? Remember he was on his way to Damascus when he saw a bright light that some people have atributed to a temporal lobe siezure. It seems that many Biblical personages had the problem. I’ve heard that Ezekiel also is said to have had them too.

    I’ve seen a program on the Science channel where they were able to induced religious feelings in people using electromagnetic fields around their heads. They can do this even with atheists.

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    1. Yes, I’m familiar with Saul’s conversion but have heard it more often attributed to migraine headaches than to TLE. However, TLE seems as viable an explanation as migraines. Joan of Arc is another famous Christian who probably had TLE. I wouldn’t be surprised if a high percentage of ancient prophets and mystics had TLE.

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  2. I guess you really don’t know a thing about epilepsy or Mohammad so please just don’t write based on a google search…
    Epilepsy is a serious diseas and siezurs doesnt make any one epileptic it can be a side affect and from my understandig it’s really believable that some one wold get seizures from demon possession because of the understanding that they can get into brain waves there are creatures its not nessasery that they have flesh and blood it’s really stupid to bileave based on what you see all the great minds imagen the possible.

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    1. Ah . . . what have we here? It looks like a scornful reply from a Saudi Muslim. That undoubtedly means you’re a Sunni Muslim of the Hanbali school . . . either Salafi or Wahhabi. You grew up in an ultra-conservative theocratic country in which it is illegal for ANY citizen to NOT be Muslim. And like a good Saudi Muslim, you dutifully reflect the orthodoxy and intolerance you’ve been brainwashed into believing. If what you believe is the truth, why does your country have to force people to follow it? If Allah has spoken, why does Saudi Arabia need to outlaw other religions? Isn’t Allah’s word good enough on its own? Does Saudi Arabia feel compelled to force religion on all citizens because they are afraid that Allah might not punish disbelievers, misbelievers, nonbelievers and ex-believers? Does Saudi Arabia know better than Allah? They must. Why else would they interfere with Allah’s judgment?

      As for epilepsy, it’s not a big mysterious disease any more. Most people (at least in the West) know plenty about epilepsy. And those that don’t can quickly learn whatever they want to know about it.

      You speak of what’s “really stupid to bileave [sic]” but also claim that demons can cause seizures by possessing hapless victims via “brain waves“. LoL, if only you knew how ridiculous you sound . . . you might realize how much of life you’ve missed by filling your brain with impossilbe religious nonsense. Take my word for it . . . you have a purpose in this life: a quest — and you’ve surrendered that quest for the sake of beliefs you’ve never really looked at objectively. Beliefs that are a transparent lie to anybody with an open mind.

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    2. “and from my understandig it’s really believable that some one wold get seizures from demon possession because of the understanding that they can get into brain waves there are creatures its not nessasery that they have flesh and blood it’s really stupid to bileave based on what you see all the great minds imagen the possible.”

      That has got to be the dumbest, and worst written, thing I have ever read.

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