The allegation of the rationalists that Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W) suffered from Schizophrenia is a very serious and notable one. For, as far as those who do not recognize the existence of God are concerned, no matter how often the truth of revelation is reiterated to them, they will never ever appreciate it. It is for this reason that any discussion with the atheist must, necessarily, begin with the issue of the existence of God. How, indeed, can a people, who reject the very existence of the Lord Creator himself, be made to accept the truthfulness of a revelation that proceeds from Him ?
With regard to the question posed here, however, it is its second part that must actually be dealt with first. Was Muhammad ( S.A.W) called a madman by his contemporaries? If so, what were the symptoms of madness, which he exhibited, on the basis of which they had made this allegation?
Upto the age of forty, Muhammad ( S.A.W) had been the owner of a personality that was truthful in its disposition and accepted by all in society. In this long period of time none had ever, in any way, attributed to him the malady of lunacy. It is, however, true that after prophethood he had been subject to the allegation of being a madman. But significantly enough, it was not just a madman that Muhammad ( S.A.W) was called. Indeed, he had been abused with the allegations of being a sorcerer, a magician, one who practiced witchcraft, a poet and the like. Was it because of a marked and obvious difference in his personality, or mental disposition, that they abused him as being such ? That this was, indeed, the case, was never advocated by any of them. Their problem had been the Qur'an and the ideas which it contained. Muhammad ( S.A.W) had spoken out against their traditional beliefs. Moreover, because he had called it divine, people were fast being attracted to the Qur'an which he now recited to them.All these allegations against him were but the deliberate fabrications of the guardians of the traditional religion who now realized that they had to resort to his character assasination if they were to isolate him from the people.
The time when Muhammad( S.A.W) had publicly declared his prophethood; the time of the Hajj was at hand. The leaders of Mecca greatly feared that Muhammad( S.A.W) would propagate his religion among the people who would come from different parts of Arabia and that they would be attracted by the Qur'an. Forthwith did they convene a meeting. It was then decided that they would first meet with those who arrived for the Hajj and unleash a propaganda against Muhammad( S.A.W). The next discussion centered on the question as to how Muhammad(e) was to be described. That each should give a different description would be an affront to their own credibility. What, then, would be the allegation that may be made in common between them? Some said, 'Let us say that Muhammad( S.A.W) is a soothsayer.' To this, Waleed bin Mugheera, a prominent tribal chief retorted, 'That can never be. For, by Allah, he is not a soothsayer and we have seen soothsayers. Muhammad's words are not the prophecies of soothsayers.' Yet others said, 'We shall say that he is a madman.' Then said Waleed, 'He is not a madman. We have seen madmen and he has nothing either of their mad talk or of their antics and devilish tendencies.' At this, they said, 'Then, in that case, let us say that he is a poet.' But Waleed countered, 'He is no poet. For we are aware of all the types of poetry and, for surly, it is not poetry that he uttereth.' The people then said, ' Let us say, then, that he is a sorcerer.' But Waleed retorted once again, 'He is no sorcerer and he uses neither their knots nor their lutes.'
'Then what is it that you propose?' they demanded. He then declared, 'Verily, there is a particular sweetness in his words. Its value is expansive, even as fruit-laden are its branches. For certain all that you may utter against him will, in time, prove to be meaningless and futile. It is, therefore, suitable that he be described as a magician who is out to disrupt the ties between father and children, husband and wife as well as between the elder and the younger brother!' Accept this the people did. They started, also, the propagation likewise.
What is it that this incident gives us to understand? The allegation that he was a madman was but one among the other false propaganda fabricated by his enemies to alienate the people from the guidance of the Prophet. In fact, the very people who spread this misconception themselves never believed in it. It is for this same reason, therefore, that to accept as evidence their allegation, they deliberated a lot and arrived at such a concensus.
The Prophet had lived fourteen centuries ago. As such, to examine whether he did actually suffer from schizophrenia is, as of today, beyond us. It is, however, the revelation and dreams which he experienced that are now upheld as evidences by those who allege that Muhammad ( S.A.W) had, indeed, been a schizophrenic patient. Moreover, this claim has been put forward by the critics on the basis of the ahadith which describes the nature of the revelation as told by the Prophet and the external and physical changes to which the Prophet was subjected while in receipt of the divine revelation. However, an impartial enquiry into the subject as to whether the symptoms of a schizophrenic disorder were, indeed, present in the Prophet will make it amply clear that this allegation is without any substance, whatsoever.
One : The behavioral patterns of a schizophrenic patient is constantly in a flux. This inconsistency manifests itself in the behaviour displayed while dealing with other people and in one's conversation as well.
Examine the life and speech of Muhammad ( S.A.W). We are unable to trace out any contradiction, whatsoever, in his approach or character. If Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W) was, indeed, of a behaviour that constantly shifted as well as of a manner of talking in which there was no relation between his present and past utterances, how was it possible that he did have so many trustworthy and devoted companions?
The companions of Muhammad ( S.A.W) were never like the followers of the ordinary divines whom we have come to know of today. They were ever engaged in carrying out into practice all that he recommended them to accomplish. Is it believable that a great multitude of people would go on to carry out the biddings of a schizophrenic patient?
Two : The responses of the schizophrenic patient, will also be contradictory. Indeed, such people might burst out crying in times of joy and burst out laughing in times of grief. It is also seen that they cry and laugh for no particular reason.
The responses exhibited by Muhammad ( S.A.W) were, however, well-balanced. Consider just an incident in this regard. The Prophet was once resting himself in the shade of a tree. Suddenly he is confronted by an attacker with a drawn-out sword who asks, 'Who will now save thee from myself ?' With firmness came the Prophet's reply, 'Allah!' Upon hearing this reply, behind which was a great, and manifest conviction, the sword slipped down from the hand of the would-be attacker.
Is it possible to expect such strength of conviction from a schizophrenic patient?
Three : Schizophrenic people are usually introverts. They never take the slightest interest in the happenings of the outside world.
Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W) had never been an introvert. Indeed, he was a man who not only viewed with the greatest interest the developments in the world around him, but he also played out his own role whenever the prevailing circumstances called forth such a necessity. He was, furthermore, a person who had striven not only to provide a moral code to the people, but also to live out a life that would stand as an exemplary model for them to follow.
Lamartine wrote: 'Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, the conqueror of ideas, the restorer of the faith, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and one spiritual empire - that was Muhammad. As regards all the standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask the question: 'Is there any man greater that he?' (Historie De la Turquie, vol. 2, page 277)
Is this the evaluative account about an introvert who was also a schizophrenic?
Four : Those who suffer from Schizophrenia can hardly work systematically towards the attainment of any lofty objective. Such people, who are unable to accomplish anything of significance, will necessarily be a mentally and physically exhausted lot.
Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W) had been the last of the messengers of God who had been sent for the guidance of humanity. He was eminently successful in that he accomplished the very purpose of his mission in a span of time which stretched roughly over two decades. Indeed, Muhammad ( S.A.W) managed to attract scores of people to the religion of truth by way of a disciplined method of propagation. It had been just twenty- three years that was all that was required to transform a people who had been nowhere in civilization and culture into a race that became the highest exemplars for the whole world. All those who have analysed history with impartiality have opined that Muhammad ( S.A.W) was indeed, the person who has most influenced the world.
Will those, who know even a little about the said disorder, ever accept that all this was possible by a schizophrenic patient?
Five : The Schizophrenic patient suffers from delusions as well as hallucinations. These delusion and hallucinations have no semblance or relation with reality.
The critics have attributed Schizophrenia to him by classifyng the revelations and visions which the Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W) received into this category. We have, however, seen that none of the other symptoms of Schizophrenia were present in the Prophet. Then how will it be possible to attribute a schizophrenic disorder to him in the light these revelations alone? The 'revelations' to which the schizophrenic patient is subject are but a symptom of the disease. Such revelations will be related and confined only to his own personal domains. But what of the revelations which Muhammad ( S.A.W) had experienced? Those revelations had served to carve out an ideal community in a step by step fashion. Firstly, it inculcated, in the people, the consciousness about God and of the Hereafter. Stage by stage, it struck at the very root of the evils that had afflicted the society. In such manner was it, therefore, that the revelations experienced by Muhammad ( S.A.W) were able to become the very cause behind the creation of an exemplary society. Indeed, the revolution that was wrought stands at the pinnacle of greatness. In the broad sweep of history there has not been another revolution to rival it in any way.
Is it ever possible that the delusions of a schizophrenic patient can serve as the cause of the creation of an exemplary society and of a faultless and incomparable revolution?
It is clear from all this that the allegations that Muhammad ( S.A.W) was a schizophrenic patient and that it is the delusions which he had heard that form the contents of the Qur'an are merely allegations that do not deserve to be considered in their own right.