The Prophet (sws) and magic
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

Did the Prophet (sws) ever remain under a magical spell?


There are many Ahādīth which say that the occasion of revelation (shān-i-nuzūl) of the last two sūrahs of the Qur’ān was that some Jews had woven a magical spell on the Prophet (sws). A number of questions arise in this regard:

1. These Ahādīth say that the Prophet (sws) remained a victim of this magical spell for almost six months. It is claimed that this situation in no way hindered his duties as a Prophet (sws), in spite of the fact that it caused amnesia (temporary loss of memory) in many of his daily routines. Sometimes, he thought that he had seen a thing when in fact he had not. At times, he thought that he had visited his wives while actually he had not. Now the question arises that if this condition really prevailed on the Prophet (sws) for a period of six months then how can it be safely said that during this time he received a revelation and did not have it written down, saw Gabriel when in fact he had not seen him, said his prayers when in reality he had not. Even if the Ahādīth mention no such omission on the Prophet's part, it can be easily said that there are many details which do not find mention in Ahādīth. Besides, the mental state which the Prophet (sws) remained in for such a long time as these Ahādīth say, in fact, almost necessitates that, God forbid, he faltered in many of his obligations as a Prophet.

The greatest thing which questions this shān-i-nuzūl is that it is in direct contradiction with the principle of infallibility of Prophets (`ismat-i-anbiyā), which according to the Qur’ān is a permanent feature of all Prophets. They cannot err in matters of religion. They remain under divine protection at all times whatsoever. No devil can in any way tamper with them. It is in fact this infallibility which gives credence to what these great personalities present before mankind on behalf of Allah.

2. If we judge these Ahādīth on the principles of rawāyah, a major weakness in the chain of narrators can be noted. These Ahādīth are Akhbār-i-A^hād up to the third chain of narrators, that is up to the third chain the number of narrators is very small. In other words, this event came to general notice almost a hundred years after the Prophet's death. Before this, only a small number of people were aware of it. The nature of this event, however, is such that it should have been reported by a large number of people in the first three links of the chain.

3. None of the Muhaddithīn of the Sihah regards these Ahādīth as the shān-i-nuzūl of these sūrahs. It is the later scholars who have linked these Ahādīth with this shān-i-nuzūl.

4. The subject matter of the sūrahs bears no connection to such a shān-i-nuzūl.

Unless a sound answer is given to these questions, the Ahādīth can in no way be accepted.

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