by Silas


A Muslim writer, MENJ, wrote a response to my article "Muhammad’s Suicide Attempts" ( MENJ’s response is found here:

I have three series of comments on his response:

  1. Elaboration on critical points that the reader may overlook.
  2. Comments on MENJ's misunderstandings, mistakes, and misrepresentations.
  3. Discussion of the validity for the justification of the "Fatrah".

Please note that Mr. Sam Shamoun also wrote a detailed response to MENJ’s article available under this address: I will not belabor points and refutations already established by Sam Shamoun.


1)   Do not overlook the most important point: Muhammad was suicidal! People not familiar with Islam need to understand this and Muslims need to acknowledge it. Do not miss the big picture. Islam’s root, Islam’s foundation, Islam’s source, is revealed in Muhammad's experience! You want to know about the root of Islam? Then know its beginning. If Satan met with Muhammad in the cave then Islam is indeed a spiritual and physical poison in humanity’s body. If poison is mixed with hot chocolate, the drink may taste good, but nonetheless it is still lethal.

2)   I emphasize Muhammad became suicidal after his experience and remained in that suicidal state because I want people to think about it. I showed in my original article that suicidal people have a mental disease. And, as a result of his experience Muhammad became depressed and suicidal. Muhammad had a mental disease that caused him to live in the darkness of doubt and fear. Is the true God the author of Muhammad's horrible experience? Or did Satan cause him such pain?

3)   No prophets in the Bible, (the Bible endorsed by the Quran itself), became suicidal because of an experience with God. In fact, the contrary occurred. Many people visited by God, or His angel, received a wonderful sense of peace, joy, and of love. These spiritual experiences correspond to the Biblical verse, "The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit," (Romans 14:17). Prophets have been challenged by their suffering and rejection, and often despaired of deliverance. But those emotions are due to external conditions thrust upon them. They are not due to doubt about the source of their spiritual experience and fear of demonic possession.

4)   On the other hand, Satan's touch or possession causes mental anguish. Cases in point: a) After Satan influenced Judas, Judas betrayed Jesus and later committed suicide, b) When Jesus allowed demons to enter a herd of pigs they went berserk and rushed into a lake and drowned, c) there are various NT accounts of demon possessed people harming themselves.

5)   All of the early Islamic sources state that Muhammad believed he had become mad or demon possessed. His suicide attempts were the result of this horrible experience. Many of Muhammad's actions following his experience point to demonic possession or influence. At one point he was filled with dread, ran to his wife, and asked to be wrapped up much like a child hides under the blankets from an imagined monster. Imagine the fear he felt. What an incredible amount of terror Muhammad experienced causing him to cower like a small child.

6)   Jesus said that Satan was a murderer and liar. As Muhammad gained power he had many people murdered in cold blood. Muhammad's trail of blood grew ever wider as he grew in power. He did not bring peace, he brought suffering and death. Muhammad's actions, Muhammad's fruit, make him Satan's emissary, not God's prophet. If we judge real Islam by its fruit, i.e. the actions and teachings of Muhammad and his closest followers, then I say that Islam’s fruit was very bad. You can read about this fruit in a series of seven articles beginning with

Additionally, you can read about Muhammad’s deeds of darkness in many articles I’ve, and others, have written. For example Muhammad’s murder of an old man:

7)   Does my statement above sound too strong? Take a look at the Islamic world today. Wherever you find committed Muslims you find Satan’s fruit. Muslims are murdering and bombing people in Russia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Algeria, America, Turkey, and so on. Why is this? What is the link between Islam and violence? What is the true root of this violence?


MENJ argues several points:

1)   The period of time between Muhammad’s first experience with the spirit in the cave and the time he began to publicly preach was from a few days to six months:

But it is most certainly reasonable to maintain that it was in fact short, lasting only a matter of days or a few months and not exceeding six at the most.

2)   The Biblical prophets experienced similar things to Muhammad:

That this experience of the first Revelation, so uncannily similar to the Biblical prophets mentioned ...

3)   This period of time was a transition period from private to public ministry, and this time had an actual value, or significance:

No doubt that the religious significance of the Fatrah is that it marks the transition from Nubuwwah (Prophethood) to a state of Risalah (Apostleship) for the Prophet

I will address the first point in detail, and make just a few comments upon point 2 because it is refuted completely by Sam Shamoun’s article, and discuss point 3 briefly.


All readers please note: I am not creating something from nothing. I am not taking Muhammad’s experience and fancifully formulating it to be identified as demonic possession or influence. The Islamic sources state Muhammad had an encounter with a spirit, believed he was demon possessed, became deeply depressed, and attempted suicide many times. Therefore, my position concerning Muhammad's experience and state is that I agree with his initial analysis: he was demonically influenced.

First question to MENJ: Do you agree that after Muhammad’s initial experience he became deeply depressed and attempted suicide several times?


MENJ implies that I quote only from Ibn Ishaq:

The aforementioned missionary then proceeded to quote from Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah [1] in order to justify his claim.

I question MENJ’s comprehension or forthrightness. Read my article and note that I quote from Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d, Tabari, Watt, the Quran, and the Bible. In fact Bukhari’s collection details Muhammad’s subsequent suicide attempts.

Here is the quote from Bukhari:

And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before ... Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9, number 111

If MENJ is going to deal adequately with my argument he has to tell his readers that I use many Islamic sources in establishing Muhammad’s suicide attempts and deal with all their writings.


MENJ quotes Sir William Muir, the great Islamic scholar, on Muhammad’s sincerity to support his position that Muhammad's mental illness and suicide attempts are acceptable:

It is strongly corroborative of Muhammad's sincerity that the earliest converts to Islam were not only of upright character, but his own bosom friends and people of his household who, intimately acquainted with his private life, could not fail otherwise to have detected those discrepancies which ever more or less exist between the professions of the hypocritical deceiver abroad and his actions at home. The faithful Khadijah is already known to the reader as sharer in her husband's searching of heart and probably the first convert to his creed.

MENJ commits a foolish error here and quotes a passage completely off the subject! The quotation is irrelevant to this discussion. MENJ’s desperation caused him to grasp for straws to salvage Muhammad’s reputation. Does being sincere alleviate concerns about madness or suicidal tendencies? Of course not! If anything, Muhammad’s sincerity indicates that a demonic power caused his unstable mental condition.

The passage addresses Muhammad's sincerity, not his sanity or source of inspiration. A crazy man, demon-possessed man, a suicidal man, can all be sincere. Sincerity is not necessarily a test of truth or of prophethood.

Muir was a critic of Muhammad. He did not believe Muhammad was from God. You can read some of Muir’s quotes concerning this in Sam Shamoun’s article. Read a couple of them and you’ll see that Muir thought about Muhammad like I think about him: Muhammad was a sincere false prophet!


MENJ gets confused commenting upon the duration of the "Fatrah", or the time between revelations. His writing shows that he cannot comprehend what he reads. Take a look:

First MENJ quotes Yusuf Ali who states that it could have been up to two years:

...the duration cannot be exactly ascertained, as there was no external history connected with it. The usual estimate puts it at about six months, but it may have been a year or two years.

Then MENJ writes that there is no uniform agreement on the duration:

As we can see, there is no unanimity between scholars as to the duration of Fatrah of the Prophet.

But then MENJ states:

But it is most certainly reasonable to maintain that it was in fact short, lasting only a matter of days or a few months and not exceeding six at the most.

I have two more questions for MENJ:

1)   If "there is no uniformity of agreement", and since you quote Ali who states "two years", why is it now reasonable to assume it lasted a few days or months instead of two or even three years that Ali, and other cited scholars, have stated?

2)   If Muhammad were suicidal for just 6 months, would that be more acceptable to you, and somehow alleviate the concern that what happened to Muhammad was Satanic in origin? It certainly does not alleviate my concern. Imagine walking into a psychiatrist’s office and telling him, "I’ve had an experience that terrified me, depressed me, and caused me to be suicidal for the past six months, but I think I’m all better now." I’m sure he would raise an eyebrow and ask you to have a seat on his couch.


Since MENJ thinks Muir is credible enough to quote on Muhammad’s sincerity, let’s take a look at what Muir writes on the fatrah’s duration. Isn’t that fair? I’ll point out that this quote is from the very same book MENJ used, page 51.

The period succeeding the revelation of the 96th Sura, during which inspiration was suspended, and Mohammad in despondency contemplated suicide, is generally represented as of longer duration than in the above statement. The interval [which is called the fetra] is variously held to have lasted from six months to three years. Sir William Muir, "The Life of Muhammad", p. 51.

Why did MENJ fail to post this? Is MENJ hiding evidence from his readers? I call MENJ on his surreptitious or shoddy omission.

MENJ quotes from Zakaria Bashier's "The Meccan Crucible", but MENJ has only provided Bashier's conjecture or conclusions without providing substantial material. MENJ posts from Ibn Sa'd's writings as conclusive proof that the Fatrah could only be very short in duration ...

After the revelation came to him (Muhammad) at Hira, he waited for some days in which he did not see Gabriel. He then grieved tremendously and so great was his grief that he frequented Thubayr and Hira (two mountains overlooking Mecca) with the intention of throwing himself down from their peaks. One day, as he was wandering amongst these mountains, he heard a voice from heaven. The Messenger of God stopped, greatly shaken by the voice. Then he looked up, and it was Gabriel sitting on a throne between the ground and the sky, 'O Muhammad! Thou art the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel’

But MENJ seems to have overlooked the other accounts I provided that state this experience was repeated many times during Muhammad's time of depression. Let’s take a look at some of the other sources and analysis.


... But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before…. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9, number 111.


Bukhari illustrates that each time Muhammad went up to the mountains to kill himself, this "Gabriel" would appear to him and comfort him. Bukhari implies that there were several long periods of time before Muhammad stopped attempting suicide. Bukhari corroborates Ibn Sa’d, but adds the fact that the suicide attempts persisted! Note, that it was only this spirit, this "Gabriel", that stopped Muhammad from killing himself.


W. M. Watt quotes from an early Muslim writer named az-Zuhri.

Az-Zuhri said: There was a gap for a time in the revelation to the Messenger of God, and he was very sorrowful. He started going early to the tops of the mountains to throw himself down from them. But whenever he reached the summit of a mountain, Gabriel would appear to him and say, Thou art the Prophet of God. At that his restlessness would cease and his self would return to him. W. M. Watt, "Muhammad at Mecca", page 41.

Watt analyzes az-Zuhri’s body of writings on this event from pages 41 through 52. Watt sums up his position on the length of the Fatrah on pages 48 through 50:

It is unlikely, however, that it should have lasted three years as is sometimes suggested; this figure is possibly due to confusion with the duration of the non-public ministry. These considerations suggest that there probably was some gap in Muhammad’s religious experience; az-Zuhri’s conjecture (for such I take it to be) that it came immediately before the beginning of the public ministry is not strong evidence but is quite probable.

The picture which is formed when these uncertain details are fitted together is somewhat as follows. There was what we might call a preparatory stage in Muhammad’s career as prophet, lasting three years. In this he apparently began to receive revelation of some sort; in the Asrafil traditions it says that Muhammad "heard his voice but did not see his figure". The first part of Surat al-‘Alaq and Surat ad-Duha may belong here; they may also have been revelations of a more private character which Muhammad did not consider to form part of the Quran. Towards the end of the three years one might place the Fatrah ...

The thought of suicide, however, could hardly have been attributed to Muhammad, one would think, unless he had said something which gave a basis for the attribution. It goes beyond the exegesis of Surat ad-Duha. Moreover, such a period of despair would fit in with the accounts of the Fatrah. This does, therefore, seem to give us some real information about Muhammad.


Watt’s position is that the Fatrah, and Muhammad’s subsequent suicide attempts, occurred a short time before he began public ministry. Therefore Watt is implying that Muhammad’s next series of suicide attempts occurred some three years after those that followed his initial encounter. I.e. Muhammad’s mental state was so fragile that even after his initial experience, even after Khadija’s encouragement and meeting with Waraqa, and even after the personal instruction he received from another spirit, "Asrafil", Muhammad’s mind collapsed and he returned to suicidal tendencies. This is a mark of a man with a mental disease and unstable mind.


Ibn Kathir provides expository, additional details, and another analysis of Muhammad’s experience in "The Life of the Prophet Muhammad", volume 1, from pages 278, through 301, (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), translated by Trevor Le Gassick, published by Garnet Publishing, Reading, UK).

Here are some quotes. Ibn Kathir cites Bukhari:

The Messenger of God returned home with this, his heart palpitating. He went in to Khadija, daughter of Khuwaylid, and said, "Wrap me up! Wrap me up! They did so until the terror left him. He then spoke to Khadija, telling her what had happened, saying, "I was afraid for myself." (Page 279)

Not long thereafter Waraqa dies, and the revelation waned for a period, so that the Messenger of God was so depressed - as we have been told - that he would frequently feel like throwing himself down from the summits of high mountains. Whenever he reached the top of a mountain, to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear and say, "O Muhammad, you are in truth the Messenger of God! This would relieve his distress and he would return down. And if the inspiration was again long incoming, he would feel and do the same. (Pages 279, 280)

Thereupon he choked me till I thought it meant death. But then he released me. (Page 280)

... that the Messenger of God received his mission when he was 40 years old. The angel Israfil was entrusted with his prophethood for three years, during which he would teach him words and facts; the Quran was not revealed then. After those three years Gabriel was entrusted with his prophethood and the Quran was revealed through his voice over a 20 year period, 10 in Mecca and 10 in Medina. The prophet died when he was 63 years old ... This chain of authorities back to al-Sha’bi is a correct one. It establishes that Israfil was entrusted with him for a 3-year period after his age of 40, and that Gabriel came thereafter. (Page 281)

Abu Shama stated, "The Messenger of God used to see strange visions before his mission." (Page 282)

Some authorities state that the intermission lasted for approximately two years, or two years and a half. (page 300)


Ibn Kathir writes that Gabriel did not instruct Muhammad for 3 years and during that time another spirit, "Israfil" interacted with Muhammad. And all the sources tell us that it was only Gabriel that could calm down Muhammad and keep him from committing suicide. During this time Muhammad was without Quranic revelation. Hence he was unsure, depressed, and attempted suicide several times. It was only the intervention of Gabriel, at the last minute, that stopped him from killing himself.

d)   IBN SA’D

Verily the Apostle of Allah was commissioned to prophethood when he was forty years old. Saraphel was with him for three years, then he was replaced by Gabriel who remained with him…(Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, volume 1, page 220)


Ibn Sa’d also details the three-year period during which Muhammad was not instructed by Gabriel.


Below is a quote from an Islamic website on the duration of the Fatrah:

Along with this discreet spread of Islam came hardship, and continuing self-doubt and need for reassurance. Muhammad's (S) doubts about the nature of what was happening to him must have been exacerbated during a long period (six months to two years called fatrah or break) without any revelation. (Source:


MENJ wrote:

"As we can see, there is no unanimity between scholars as to the duration of Fatrah of the Prophet."

I agree with this. But there does seem to be a general consensus that there was a period of three years between his first experience with the spirit and the ensuing lack of revelation from the spirit, and the beginning of his public ministry.

We do know that during this time of no "revelation" Muhammad was suicidal. Perhaps it was only for the six months, or perhaps his suicide attempts extended over the course of the three years. We don’t know for certain. But he was doubtful, depressed, and suicidal during this time.

Muhammad’s suicidal tendencies were all related to his initial experience. He believed he had become demon possessed and therefore sought to end his life. Only when this spirit "Gabriel" showed up and reassured him that he was God’s man did Muhammad calm down. Satan was indeed protecting his investment.


Sam Shamoun refuted MENJ’s unsubstantiated position that Muhammad’s experience was similar to the Biblical prophet’s experience. Clearly, MENJ is wrong. Despite MENJ’s appeal to Karen Armstrong’s writings, (please, she is not a scholar and if any of you are interested in learning about Islam, don’t waste your time and money on her books), MENJ is unable to provide material that correlates their experiences. Sam Shamoun challenges MENJ to provide some material and I’ll repeat Sam’s challenges to MENJ here:

a) Please find one biblical prophet who thought that he was demon-possessed after his encounter with God.

b) Please find one biblical prophet who contemplated suicide as a result of thinking that he was demon-possessed.

c) Please find one biblical prophet who fell under Satanic possession, or was bewitched either by a sorcerer, occultist, Satanist, demon etc.

Come MENJ, bring forth your proof! Can MENJ meet the challenge? Of course he can’t. None of the Biblical prophets experienced what Muhammad experienced and none of them reacted the way Muhammad reacted.


It’s obvious that Muslims need to make some sense of it all. This embarrassment haunts them. They need to rationalize this "intermission" and Muhammad’s subsequent suicide attempts. Some suggest that this was a time for Muhammad’s personal training and marked a transition period from private to public ministry. MENJ wrote:

No doubt that the religious significance of the Fatrah is that it marks the transition from Nubuwwah (Prophethood) to a state of Risalah (Apostleship) for the Prophet

Now think about their rhetoric and reasoning for a minute. Why wasn’t Muhammad sound in mind through this time? What nagging doubts and fears were at work in his soul that caused him to frequently attempt suicide? Couldn’t God have calmed his soul once and for all? Why did this 6-month to 3 year period have to exclude revelation? Why would God leave His man in the lurch? The "training period" excuse doesn’t hold water. There is no reason or justification for the "revelation" to have stopped, or for God’s failure to comfort Muhammad properly.

I believe that this was a time in which Satan continued to strive for domination over Muhammad’s mind and soul. This was a Satanic jihad. Muhammad struggled with what he knew was happening, was confused, and could not cope. His conscience told him something terrible had happened and he tried to address the pain through suicide. But Satan deceived him into thinking that perhaps he truly was a prophet. Slowly Satan took control.

I am not saying that Muhammad was demon possessed; I am saying he was influenced strongly by Satan. Satan put his bridle on Muhammad’s soul and placed his bit in Muhammad’s mind. Muhammad struggled but was eventually tamed. All the while Satan played against Muhammad’s sanity, fear, and self-doubt. When Muhammad began his public ministry, Satan’s deep work was done.


Muhammad suffered great anguish and was suicidal. He is to be pitied during this time. Below are references from webpages that deal with suicide. Note how many of the symptoms described below fit Muhammad perfectly.

Why do people kill themselves?
Experts in the field suggest that a suicidal person is feeling so much pain that they can see no other option. They feel that they are a burden to others, and in desperation see death as a way to escape their overwhelming pain and anguish. The suicidal state of mind has been described as constricted, filled with a sense of self-hatred, rejection, and hopelessness. (

Emotional and behavioral changes associated with suicide
Overwhelming Pain: pain that threatens to exceed the person's pain coping capacities. Suicidal feelings are often the result of longstanding problems that have been exacerbated by recent precipitating events. The precipitating factors may be new pain or the loss of pain coping resources.
Hopelessness: the feeling that the pain will continue or get worse; things will never get better.
Social isolation; or association with a group that has different moral standards than those of the family.
Declining interest in sex, friends, or activities previously enjoyed. (


Muslims try to justify Muhammad’s deep depression and suicide attempts by saying that his experience was similar to the Biblical prophets’ experiences, and that the length of time was short. They add that the reason for this is Muhammad’s training.

None of these reasons hold water, and their ship of logic sinks. None of the Biblical prophets were suicidal, and a person in a suicidal state for 6 months is in very bad shape. If the length of the Fatrah were only six months it would not paint a rosier picture of the tragic event. Furthermore many of the earliest Islamic source materials state that this period lasted for up to 3 years. Finally, training or transition is no excuse for Muhammad’s deteriorated state during this time.

Muhammad was a false prophet. Jesus predicted such false prophets would come:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15, 16.


Do not trust in Muhammad’s teachings to guide you to truth and salvation. Do not trust in Muhammad’s word for guidance. Trusting in a false prophet’s word, even if you are sincere, will not earn you entrance into Paradise.


This prayer is written for anyone. This includes Muslims who are seeking the truth and who want to know God in a personal and truthful way.

"Lord Jesus, I believe in You. I believe that You are the Son of God and the Lord. I believe that You died for my sins and were raised from the dead. I confess that I am a sinner and I ask You to come into my heart, cleanse me from my sins, and forgive me for my sins. I turn to follow and obey You – I put my faith in you. I now receive You as Messiah and Lord and totally commit my life to You." Amen.

Sept 9, 2003

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