Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Insanity and Prophets

By: Maged Taman

Prophets were commonly accused of one of three things: liars, insane or wizards. It is understandable that people have the right to be suspicious of them for two reasons. One prophethood is quite rare and the second one is liars, insane and wizards tried to falsely present themselves as prophets or the conduit between God and humans.

However, people got to believe in the prophets because with close observation and overtime they were able to prove that they are not liars, insane or wizards. The things make people believe them is their characters, message and something have to be quite extraordinary that humans are not able to do themselves. The last is commonly miracles. The other thing they also able to prove to people are prophecies. They would tell them about something will happen in the future and it comes to pass. Or they may be the prophecy themselves that were told by previous prophets.

No prophet was immune from calling him a madman. The greatest of them were called that including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad peace upon them all. It is commonly the establishment that wants to divert people from listening to them who would do that. True mental illness and with great sympathy to people who are plagued with it can make people claim anything.

Schizophrenia is the typical mental illness that does that. However, most of time it is quite easy even for layman to identify those patients since commonly they have paranoid thoughts not only related to being prophets or even God himself but have other claims or as we say others paranoid thoughts. Patient commonly identified as having hallucinations like hearing voices or seeing strange things. No one of them will come up with a miraculous thing like the Quran.

A selective disease of delusion can be more difficult to diagnose when patient is only affected by one thought of being a prophet and no other paranoid thoughts. He may be even functioning well in community and can be a smart and successful person. He may have even great ideas and plans. That is why a lot of Muslims are wondering if Al Mahdi Al Muntazer is to appear today how could we recognize him. Why would not him be like this delusional smart person that is identified in a subset of delusional disorders. Added to that many tyrants in the world would try to make it the case to keep the status qou of the world the same.

Unfortunately the Islamic prophecies about him are also vague which adds to this difficulty. It is not even clear to Muslim scholars if he would be guided by God through visions and inspiration as to what to think, read and write. It is not clear if angels will visit him and directly communicate to him God's plan. Is it possible that people through his ideas, physical features and their own personal visions will be able to identify him. The sure thing is it is a prophecy and thus it is destined to happen and if all the world to conspire against God he surly will win.

These here are some of the verses that elude to the accusation of the best of creatures the prophets of being madmen, so Al Mahdi should not feel bad about himself:

15:6 And they say: O thou unto whom the Reminder is revealed, lo! thou art indeed a madman!
وَقَالُواْ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِي نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الذِّكْرُ إِنَّكَ لَمَجْنُونٌ (15:6) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

26:27 (Pharaoh) said: Lo! your messenger who hath been sent unto you is indeed a madman! -
قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ (26:27) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

44:14 And they had turned away from him and said: One taught (by others), a madman? -
ثُمَّ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا مُعَلَّمٌ مَّجْنُونٌ (44:14) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

51:39 But he withdrew (confiding) in his might, and said: A wizard or a madman.
فَتَوَلَّى بِرُكْنِهِ وَقَالَ سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ (51:39) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

51:52 Even so there came no messenger unto those before them but they said: A wizard or a madman!
كَذَلِكَ مَا أَتَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا قَالُوا سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ (51:52) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

52:29 Therefor warn (men, O Muhammad). By the grace of Allah thou art neither soothsayer nor madman.
فَذَكِّرْ فَمَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَتِ رَبِّكَ بِكَاهِنٍ وَلَا مَجْنُونٍ (52:29) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

54:9 The folk of Noah denied before them, yea, they denied Our slave and said: A madman; and he was repulsed.
كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ فَكَذَّبُوا عَبْدَنَا وَقَالُوا مَجْنُونٌ وَازْدُجِرَ (54:9) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

68:2 Thou art not, for thy Lord's favor unto thee, a madman.
مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ (68:2)

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