A neurological analysis
Author links open overlay panelHasanAziz
•The debate on The Prophet’s epilepsy has been analyzed from a neurological perspective.
•Fairly reliable Hadith literature is available as resource material to analyze an event as epileptic or nonepileptic.
•Some notable inaccurate and erroneous translations have been identified, which may have added to wrong conclusions.
The Prophet of Islam is one of the several famous religious figures who allegedly suffered from epilepsy. Early Greek chronicler Theophanes was one of the first to mention that the revelations of The Prophet were episodes of epilepsy, sparking a debate that has continued to date. This argument, for the most part, was confined to historic literary writings only until it was quoted by some eminent neurologists of recent times. They suggested probable diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy, adding credibility to the historical claims.
Material and method.
Review of works of some prominent historians, orientalists, literati from previous twelve centuries, and recent neurologists who believed The Prophet to be epileptic was done. The resource material that influenced them to believe this was likewise examined. Other archived literature including Hadith, the primary resource material that provides detailed information about the day-to-day happenings in The Prophet’s life with books on the life of The Prophet by orientalists and Muslim historians describing such features during revelations and other events, was scrutinized. Documentations of these events from all resources were compared and analyzed from a neurological perspective.
The author on analysis found literature indicating faulty translations of the original Arabic text into Latin as one of the reason for misleading conclusions. Verbatim translations of Arabic phrases used symbolically have taken away the exact construal giving it a wrong perspective. Similarly, The Prophet’s peri-revelation episodes as they appear in Hadith when evaluated from a neurological perspective suggest that The Prophet did not have epilepsy.
A judicious analysis of the features on which the historians and literati based their suspicion to label The Prophet epileptic, provides little supportive evidence when analyzed from a neurological perspective. Without judicious analysis of clinical data chances of misdiagnosis tend to be fairly high.