A differential diagnosis of the inspirational spells of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam

Epilepsia. 1976 Dec;17(4):423-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1976.tb04454.x.


This paper reviews the spells of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. During these spells, Muhammad sensed the approach of a figure whom he thought to be the Angel Gabriel. The inspirational message transmitted to Muhammad during these spells helped form the religion of Islam. This is a review of the historical details of these spells and an attempt to reach a medical diagnosis. Although an unequivocal decision is not possible from existing knowledge, psychomotor or complex partial seizures of temporal lobe epilepsy would be the most tenable diagnosis. An examination of Western civilization's views of Muhammad's spells reveals historical and modern misconceptions about epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Arabia
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / history*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / history
  • History of Medicine
  • Islam / history*
  • Religion and Medicine

Personal name as subject

  • None Muhammad the Prophet