Muhammad and the Demonic
An objective evaluation of Muhammad’s experiences has been done, but how does his experiences hold up against Biblical comparison? There are some very obvious and telling characteristics of Muhammad’s experiences that can be compared to Biblical accounts of a similar nature. Through this comparison we can arrive at a sound Biblical understanding of Muhammad’s experiences.
Did Muhammad truly see an angel of God, namely the archangel Gabriel? If we take a Biblical survey, we can easily glean certain characteristics of angelic encounters. When an angel appears to a person, the angel almost always assumes the form of a man. There is great fear and weakness upon the person during the encounter, but with such fear it is often recorded that the angel would instruct the person to “Fear not.” Though certainly there are instances where angels were used as warriors, whenever an angel was to deliver a message there is no harm done to the receiver. The angel is benevolent in his demeanor. It should also be noted that the receiver had no doubt of the encounter, nor was there any doubt that the messenger was of supernatural origin.
In Muhammad’s experience we see several similar things. The being took the form of a man. There is recognition of the supernatural and there is fear involved. But there is no reassurance or clarification of misconceptions given by the angel. In fact, Muhammad went home believing he had encountered an evil spirit, and certainly by Biblical accounts an angel would have corrected that assumption.
In Muhammad’s experience, the being was initially very violent with Muhammad, and this is also not a picture of the behavior of angels as seen in the Bible. So did Muhammad actually encounter an angel? The evidence seems to suggest that he did in fact encounter a supernatural being, but it is one that does not fit the Biblical characteristics of a God sent angel.
If Muhammad’s encounter was not with an angel, then what was it according to Biblical interpretation? In the Bible there are only two kinds of spiritual beings other than God. Angels have already been discussed. The alternative is a demon. Demons are essentially angels, but have fallen away from God. They can and do exhibit all the characteristics of angels. However, there are some very notable differences. A demon’s tactic is to deceive its victim, especially when it comes to religious matters. If an angel would correct any misconceptions, then a demon is more likely to allow those misconceptions to continue to deceive the hearer. Whereas an angel would be benevolent to the hearer, a demon does not hold this benevolence and is more likely to try to harm the hearer. People recorded as having encountered demons in the Bible, exhibited very violent behavior, especially if they were possessed. Demon oppression can lead to depression, and a demonic attack is recorded as having the same characteristics as epilepsy. A demonic attack in the form of epilepsy has been recorded in the Bible and can be found in Matthew 17:14-20. Since this sort of epileptic experience is of a spiritual nature, it would have no mental degeneration as would epilepsy derived from mental illness. Muhammad’s experience easily falls into the former category.
It has been noted that Muhammad’s initial experience with the being was very violent, amounting to a physical attack to the point where Muhammad feared for his life. This certainly fits the description of a demonic encounter as opposed to an angelic encounter. There is a Biblical basis for demonic attack found in Acts 19:16.
If reports of depression and possible suicidal tendencies are to be believed, it greatly compounds on the idea that Muhammad’s experience was demonic instead of angelic. This sort of emotional experience is common with demonic interaction. However, an angelic experience is more likely to produce moods of joy.
In Muhammad’s experience we see attack instead of benevolence. We see a non-correction of the misconception about the being. Later, during revelation experiences it is recorded that Muhammad exhibited epileptic type symptoms. It seems more likely, based on the biblical descriptions of both angels and demons, that Muhammad encountered a demon masquerading as an angel.
The first revelation especially, and also the later revelations, are of important note in evaluating what truly happened in Muhammad’s experience. It would appear that as Muhammad was spending time in meditation and seeking spiritual guidance, that a demonic spirit found him and seized upon that opportunity to plant in him a false religion. Not only did Muhammad fear for his life, but he was physically and bodily attacked by this being. No angel would certainly exhibit such behavior. It was only later when others heard about the event and interpreted it for themselves that Muhammad was convinced by them that he experienced an angel, not an evil spirit. Muhammad’s initial reaction and intuition about this spiritual being is exact, and he would have done better to trust himself. Later, we can see through the comparison of demonic possession characteristics and Muhammad’s characteristics as he received revelation, that at regular intervals Muhammad was possessed for short periods of time in order to have the message delivered.
Posted on November 30, 2011, in Angels & Demons, My research journey, Nonfiction, Publications, Special Knowledge, Theology and tagged angel, demon, Gabriel, Islam, Jabril, Kadija, Muhammad, Muslim, possession, prophecy, prophet, research. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.