8 March 2019
The reality of “magic” on the Prophetsa
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
Hazrat Qaisra bin Mihsan was a companion from among the Ansar. In several narrations, his name has also been recorded as Qais bin Hisan. He belonged to the Banu Zuraiq tribe of the Ansar. His mother’s name was Aneesah bint Qais and his father’s name was Mihsan bin Khalid. He participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud. One of his daughters was Umm Saad bint Qais. At the time of his demise, his children were in Medina. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, p. 422, Qais bin Mihsanra, Dar-ul-Kutb Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)(Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Sa‘d, Vol. 3, p. 443, Qais bin Mihsanra, Dar-ul-Kutb al-Ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990)
The next companion is Hazrat Jubairra bin Iyaas. His father’s name was Iyaas bin Khalid. He participated in the Battle of Badr. He belonged to the Banu Zuraiq branch of the Khazraj tribe. Hazrat Abdullahra bin Muhammad states that his name was Jubair bin Ilyas. His name has also been recorded as Jabar bin Iyaas in another narration. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Sa‘d, Vol. 3, p. 444, Jubairra bin Iyaas, Dar-ul-Kutb al-Ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).
It is mentioned in the Ahadith that a Jewish man cast a magic spell on the Holy Prophetsa and that the Holy Prophetsa was influenced by it – God forbid. It is mentioned in narrations that the spell was cast on a comb and some strands of hair and thrown into a well named Zhi Arwan. The Holy Prophetsa later had it removed.
It is written in Fath-ul-Bari, a commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, that it was Hazrat Jubairra bin Iyaas who took out the comb and the strands of hair from the well of Zhi Arwan. According to another narration, it was Hazrat Qaisra bin Mihsan who pulled them out. (Fath-ul-Bari, Imam ibn Hijar, Kitab-ul-Tibb, Baab Al-Sehr, Hadith no. 5763, Vol. 10, p. 282, Qadeemi Kutb Khana Karachi)
Hence, I have mentioned both of the companions together. However, what is more important to know is that whether or not the Holy Prophetsa was influenced by any kind of magic and what the true reality of this incident is as opposed to determining which of the two companions took those items out of the well. Moreover, it is important for us to know what our viewpoint is regarding this. We have to reply to anything which can or does give rise to an allegation against the Holy Prophetsa. Thus, I shall present some of the details found in our Jamaat literature regarding this incident. I will expound upon this incident today in relation to both of these companions.
While mentioning this incident in the introduction to the commentary of Surah Al-Falaq, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“According to some, Surah al-Falaq and al-Nas – i.e. the last two chapters of the Holy Quran – were revealed in Mecca. Some, however, call them Medinitechapters i.e. chapters that were revealed in Medina.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes:
“Those who are of the view that it is a Medinite chapter present the argument that this and the subsequent chapter were related to the illness of the Holy Prophetsa during which it had been considered that a magic spell had been cast on him by the Jews. It is thought that these two chapters had been revealed on that occasion and the Holy Prophetsa would blow over his body after reciting them.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra is mentioning what is said by others in relation to these chapters. He further writes:
“Commentators say that because this incident occurred in Medina, hence, Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Nas are Medinite chapters. Nonetheless, it has been the preferred view that both of these chapters were Medinite (i.e. they were revealed in Medina).”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Muadra writes,
“This is what commentators [of the Holy Quran] have inferred but not proven from a historical account. We also do not possess any conclusive evidence based on which we could say that these chapters were Meccan, but the argument which they have given is also weak and trivial because even if this Surah had been revealed in Mecca, the Holy Prophetsa could have recited and blown it on himself during an illness. Thus, this argument is incorrect to think that this was revealed in Medina only on the basis of him blowing it on himself.”
“When the Holy Prophetsa fell ill, people thought that it was as a result of a spell cast by the Jews. I shall present the account of this incident exactly as it is found in the narrations.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has mentioned this account in the introductory notes of the aforementioned chapters. He writes:
“Since the commentators have given precedence to the narration of Hazrat Aishara, hence I will only present the translation of this narration. Hazrat Aishara narrates, ‘The Jews had cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa with such an effect that on occasions, he felt that he had completed a particular task, whereas in fact, he had not done so. One day, or during one night, the Holy Prophetsa supplicated before God Almighty and then again supplicated and he once again supplicated and said, “O Aishara, God Almighty granted me everything for which I had supplicated.’
“Hazrat Aishara further narrates: ‘I asked, “O Messengersa of Allah what did you ask for? (What has Allah bestowed you with?)” He replied, “Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other near my feet. The one seated near my head said to the one near my feet…”’ Hazrat Aishara states, ‘Or perhaps he said, “The one who was seated near my feet said to one seated near my head: ‘What does this individual (i.e. the Holy Prophetsa) suffer from?’ The other one replied, ‘A spell has been cast on him.’ He then enquired, ‘Who has cast the spell?’ He replied, ‘It was a Jew named Labeed bin al-A‘sam.’ He then asked, ‘What is the thing by which he transmitted its effect?’ The other one replied, ‘Using a comb and by the hair wrapped around the spathe of a date-palm.’ He then asked, ‘Where is it located?’ He replied, ‘In the well of Zhi Arwan.’”’
“Hazrat Aishara states: ‘The Holy Prophetsa went to the well along with some of his companions. When he returned, he said, “O Aishara, by God! The water of the well had a reddish complexion resembling extracts of henna.”’”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has further expounded on this:
“It seems that it was the practice of the Jews that when they would cast a spell on someone, they would add henna or something similar into water. This was done to portray that as if through the power of the magic the water had turned red.”
This was a technique they used to deceive the people who were naive and simple. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:
“The Holy Prophetsa then stated, ‘The dates were like that of Satan i.e. like the head of a snake.’ (Here the dates have been compared with the head of a snake, illustrating that the branches of the date palm were almost ripe). Hazrat Aishara states, ‘I then said, “O Messengersa of Allah! Why did you not burn it?” The Holy Prophetsa replied, “Since Allah has cured me, I did not wish to carry out an action which can become a means of contention among people. Therefore, I commanded that they should be buried.”’”
Thus, those items were then buried. Regarding the narration of Hazrat Aishara, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“It seems that the two men who came to the Holy Prophetsa were in fact angels. Had they been humans, surely Hazrat Aishara would have seen them.”
In relation to the narration of Hazrat Aishara, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:
“The narration of Hazrat Aishara simply states that the Holy Prophetsa was informed by God Almighty through the angels that the Jews had cast a spell on him. It certainly does not mean that the Holy Prophetsa was affected by the spell in the way people believe spells to work.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:
“Nevertheless, when the Holy Prophetsa had buried their instruments of magic in the ground, the Jews considered that their spell had been broken. At the same time, God Almighty had granted the Holy Prophetsa health as well. In short, the Jews were convinced that they had cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa and due to this, their attention was naturally drawn to the fact that the Holy Prophetsa would fall ill.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes,
“While this narration reveals the hostility that the Jews harboured against the Holy Prophetsa, it also proves that the Holy Prophetsa was a true prophet of God Almighty. The reason for this is that the Holy Prophetsa had been informed by God Almighty of all the ploys being hatched against him by the Jews. Hence, for the Holy Prophetsa to have received knowledge of the unseen and for the Jews to have failed in their objectives are clear and evident signs of the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, pp. 539-542)
In any case, the conclusion drawn by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra is in fact the truth; the Jews thought they had cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa. However, it did not have any impact on the Holy Prophetsa. Furthermore, the ailment and the illness of forgetfulness, or whatever illness it was, had some other causes. Nevertheless, having informed the Holy Prophetsa of this scheme of the Jews, God Almighty completely negated their assumption that they had cast a spell. Furthermore, by informing the Holy Prophetsa, those Jews who saw the illness of the Holy Prophetsa and rejoiced and propagated this news believing that this illness was due to the impact of their spell, the truth of this matter became manifest.
Moreover, there is an article in the literature of our Jamaat written by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, which details this incident from a historical and intellectual perspective and further elaborates upon this incident. He writes:
“In the annals of history, in fact, even in the Ahadith, it has been mentioned that following the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, a hypocrite of Jewish descent, whose name was Labeed bin al-A‘sam, once cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa – God forbid. This spell was cast by tying strands of hair to a comb, and then uttering some incantations over it and it was then thrown down a well.”
He further states:
“It is said that, God forbid, the Holy Prophetsa remained under this spell for quite some time.” (This was the rumour they had spread.) “During this period, the Holy Prophetsa would often feel low and disheartened and in this state of anxiousness, he would repeatedly supplicate. One prominent aspect in relation to this state during that period was that it had affected the Holy Prophetsa’s memory. He used to forget certain matters, so much so that at times, he would think that he had already completed a certain task, whereas, he had not in fact done so. Or at times, the Holy Prophetsa would believe that he had already visited the home of one of his wives, whereas he had not in fact done so.”
Expounding on this particular matter regarding the wives, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra says:
“It should be remembered that it was the practice of the Holy Prophetsa that he had appointed set days for his wives in accordance with the commandments of Islam and he would go to the house of each wife in the evening and enquire about their wellbeing. In the end, the Holy Prophetsa would arrive at the house of the wife, whom he had assigned the day to. The aforementioned narration is referring to this practise.”
The narration further continues, “Eventually, God Almighty disclosed the reality of this evil plot.”
This was the summary of the account related in Sahih al-Bukhari, which Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has also mentioned in his commentary. However, he further writes:
“This is the summary of the narration which has been mentioned in certain books of history and Ahadith. Many tales have been invented about this incident that it is difficult to decipher the truth.”
So many stories have been fabricated based on this narration that it has become very difficult to determine the truth of the matter. He further writes:
“If all of these narrations were to be accepted then, God forbid, the blessed and holy character of the Holy Prophetsa would appear to be of a very weak disposition who, at least in worldly affairs, could be led by his opponents into any direction they wanted as a result of their incantations. Furthermore, it would also seem as if they could make him a target of their impure attention and influence his heart and mind and that, God forbid, the Holy Prophetsa was helpless in confronting their magic.
If the incident is accepted exactly as it has been narrated in historical accounts and the Ahadith, consequently, only a wrongful conclusion could be drawn from all this. However, this is certainly not possible.
If one carries out an in-depth analysis, both rationally and from a historical perspective, they would arrive at the conclusion that this was nothing more than an illness of temporary lapse in memory, which can occur at times due to anxiety or physical weakness. At the same time, some evil-minded enemies took advantage of this and spread rumours that the Holy Prophetsa was under the influence of an incantation, God forbid. However, God Almighty swiftly restored the Holy Prophetsa back to health and destroyed the false propaganda of the enemies and the hypocrites.
The great conqueror of satanic forces, the most eminent amongst the prophets, who defeated and crushed Satan and his armies, neither has such a person ever existed nor will anyone like him ever be born. To think that he was a target of evil sorcery by a Jewish man is severe misjudgement. (Such a thought cannot even be entertained).
This is not only our claim, in fact, the Holy Prophetsa himself has refuted this. This matter has been elaborated upon in a Hadith. Hazrat Aishara asked the Holy Prophetsa: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Is there a Satan with me?’ (Hazrat Aishara asked in relation to herself). The Holy Prophetsa responded: ‘Yes.’ She then asked if Satan is attached to every human. The Holy Prophetsa answered in the affirmative. Astonished, Hazrat Aishara then enquired: ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Is there a Satan attached with you?’ The Holy Prophetsa responded: ‘Yes. However, God has granted me victory over Satan to the extent that my Satan has even become a Muslim.’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Sifatul Qiyamah Wa Al-Jannah Wa Al-Naar, Baab Tehrik Al-Shaitan)
Despite this clear saying, how can someone imagine that a Jew, who in light of the Holy Quran belongs to those people who have incurred the displeasure of God and was a hypocrite, would be able to influence someone as exalted and lofty as the Holy Prophetsa through his incantations with the help of his Satan? And moreover, the Holy Prophetsa, as a result of this, remained troubled, sorrowful and sick for a long time?
Liars and deceivers in all ages have used such false tricks against the truth. However, God the Powerful and the Magnificent has continuously exposed all such liars. He states:
كَتَبَ اللّٰهُ لَاَغْلِبَنَّ اَنَا وَرُسُلِيْ
“Allah has decreed: ‘Most surely I will prevail, I and My Messenger.’’’ (Surah al-Mujadalah, Ch.58: V.22)
This means, God has decreed that He, along with His messengers will be victorious in all ages and no satanic deceit will prevail over them.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra further writes,
“The question then arises as to the truth of this incident, which has been narrated by Hazrat Aishara and recorded even in Sahih al-Bukhari. If one were to consider the context of this incident and take into account the ways and habits of the Jews and the hypocrites, one can easily determine the truth regarding this incident.
“First of all, it is important to note that this incident of sorcery took place after the Treaty of Hudaibiya. It is recorded in Tabqaat ibn Saad that the Holy Prophetsa decided to travel to Mecca in order to perform Umrah, based on a dream he had seen. While he was travelling for this purpose, the Quraish prevented him from entering Mecca, as a result of which he had to return in what appeared to be a state of loss. This apparent failure caused immense grief, and the disbelievers and the hypocrites began to mock and ridicule this, which indeed was expected. However, this incident had such an immense impact to the extent that it affected even sincere Muslims, as it is recorded in a Hadith that even an eminent companion such as Hazrat Umarra was greatly perturbed for a brief period owing to the apparent defeat.” This incident relating to Hazrat Umarra is found in a Hadith of Bukhari.
“During this time, the Holy Prophetsa became anxious and worried for those individuals that were weak of faith, lest they be put into a trial. Inevitably, this had a severe impact on the Holy Prophet’ssa health and he was concerned regarding this for quite some time. This anxiety naturally affected the health of the Holy Prophetsa. He would pray fervently to God in this state of apprehensiveness, as is indicated in the words of the Hadith:
دَعَا وَ دَعَا
[Meaning, he prayed and prayed…]
“He prayed so there would not be any kind of temporary hindrance in the progress of Islam owing to the incident of Hudaibiya. This prayer was similar to the prayer he recited during the Battle of Badr, whereby despite the fact that God Almighty had promised him victory, but on seeing the apparent strength of the opposing army, the Holy Prophetsa prayed:
اَللّٰهُمَّ اِنْ تَهْلِكَ هٰذِهِ الْعِصَابَةَ لَا تُعْبَدُ فِي الْاَرْضِ
“Due to these reasons, it impacted him psychologically and he suffered from temporary amnesia [memory loss].”
According to some narrations, it lasted a few days whereas in other narrations it is stated that this illness lasted two days or one day and a night. Regardless of however many days this persisted, the illness naturally affected his health. The conclusion of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra is that the illness lasted a few days which came about due to the deep worry and concern the Holy Prophetsa had for those Muslims who were still weak in their faith.
“Hence, this is an intrinsic component of human nature, which even the prophets of God are not exempted from. When the Jews and hypocrites witnessed that the Holy Prophetsa was unwell during those days and under a lot of strain both mentally and physically and that he was suffering with a spell of memory lapse, therefore, as was their habit, they began creating mischief by announcing that they had cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa and that his forgetfulness etc. was a result of this sorcery. Furthermore, as was their longstanding custom, they tied knots of hair around a comb and buried it in a well, as a physical demonstration. When the Holy Prophetsa came to know of this supposed sorcery, he prayed further to God Almighty in order to put this mischief to an end. (As stated by Hazrat Aishara that once the Holy Prophetsa was made aware of this, he prayed fervently for a day and night). The Holy Prophetsa supplicated to the Lord of the heavens for the name of the one who instigated this and the way in which this fabricated sorcery was carried out, so that he could completely eradicate this mischief. Thus, God Almighty heard his ardent pleas and manifested the truth to him in a vision.
“The Quran declares unequivocally:
لَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ اَتٰي
“In other words, no sorcerer can ever be successful against the prophets, in any case whatsoever, regardless of how they try to attack.” (Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.70)
“Furthermore, we read in the Holy Quran:
يَقُوْلُ الظَّالِمُوْنَ اِنْ تَتَّبِعُوْنَ اِلَّا رَجُلًا مَّسْحُوْرًا
“I.e., the wrongdoers say, ‘You follow none but a man who is a victim of deception’ (Surah Bani Israil, Ch.17: V.48). This claim of the disbelievers is mentioned in the Holy Quran. Furthermore, after pondering over the wording of this Hadith, the phraseology and the Arabic idiom, this narration of Bukhari can only be understood to be the viewpoint of others stating what seemed to have taken place. This means that the narrator although seems to write on his own account, but in reality, it is merely relating what others have been saying.
“Therefore, the translation of this narration would be as follows, ‘Hazrat Aishara narrates that once, a spell was cast on the Holy Prophetsa, i.e. the enemies had spread the rumour that he was a victim to this sorcery.’ Hazrat Aishara did not hold this view herself. Hence the translation would be that ‘the opponents themselves spread the rumour that the Holy Prophetsa was influenced by a spell. Similarly, in those days, the Holy Prophetsa would think he had carried out a task, which he had not done so.’ And according to one narration it states that he would think that he had just visited the house of one of his wives, but in actual fact he had not.
“Then, Hazrat Aishara further gives clarification in which she states that in those same days, the Holy Prophetsa was once at her house and would supplicate to God Almighty again and again regarding this concern of his. After making this supplication, he addressed her saying, ‘O Aishara, are you aware that God Almighty has disclosed to me [the truth] in regard to that which I enquired.’ She replied, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, what is it that you enquired about?’ He answered, ‘Two people came to me (in a dream or in a vision). One of them sat near my head whilst the other sat towards my feet. One of them asked the other what had happened to him?’”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes,
“This method of conversation likewise seems to be describing a narrative from the perspective of the opposing party. Thereafter, it is the same lengthy account which has already been mentioned, that is the ailment of the Holy Prophetsa was allegedly due to the effect of a certain Jew’s sorcery.
“Hazrat Aishara states that after this dream or vision, the Holy Prophetsa – along with some of his companions – went to that well and inspected it. Several date palm trees had grown around it (and the well was completely dark and very deep). The Holy Prophetsa returned to Hazrat Aishara and told her ‘O Aishara, I have seen the well. The water of the well is like the colour of henna extract and red in colour. It was a practice amongst the Jews there – (as has previously been mentioned that to trick the people, they would contaminate the water with artificial colour) and the palm trees appeared like cacti.’ Hazrat Aishara states, ‘I asked the Holy Prophetsa why he did not take the comb and its related objects out and dispose of them?’ Some narrations say she asked why he did not burn them? The Holy Prophetsa stated ‘God has kept me safe and cured me. Why then should I throw it out in front of the people and needlessly spread an ill (which risks causing the weak-minded to believe that sorcery was the root of it all).’ Therefore, the well was buried and closed off.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes,
“Speaking from the perspective of other people, or narrating the words of other people is a method of conversation that was prevalent amongst the Arabs. In fact, at certain occasions, the Holy Quran itself has made use of this method of speech. Accordingly, in one instance while addressing the inmates of hell, God Almighty states:
ذُقْ اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَزِيْزُ الْكَرِيْمُ
‘Taste it! Thou didst consider thyself the mighty, the honourable.’ (Surah al-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.50)
“In other words, ‘O one who is entering Hell, taste this punishment of God. Indeed, you are a man most mighty and honourable.’ In this verse, it is never meant that – God forbid – God considers the inmates of hell respectable and honourable. Rather, it is in the context of describing another person’s perspective meaning that the associates of these inmates and the inmates themselves considered their own selves honourable and respectable. (I.e. those who – after committing wicked deeds in the world – still believed themselves to be highly honourable and respectable) They are explicitly told to taste the fire of God’s punishment.
“It is exactly this style of conversation that was adopted by the two men or angels whom the Holy Prophetsa saw in his vision. Therefore, when both concluded in saying that this individual has been stricken by sorcery, their purport was not, ‘We think he has been stricken by sorcery’ but what they actually were expressing was, ‘The people are claiming that he has been stricken by sorcery and magic.’
“The real and ultimate purpose of the dream thus was none other than for God to reveal to His Prophetsa, the object which those wretched mischief mongers had concealed in the well and by means of which they would spread deception amongst likeminded people. (They were using this excuse and spreading these lies amongst hypocrites and others like them). God’s intent was thus to reveal this to His messengersa in order to utterly annihilate this fabricated sorcery of theirs. Subsequently, it so happened that their alleged object of sorcery was buried and the well was likewise destroyed. Also, the Holy Prophet’ssa worry and anxiety that such deceptions might cause the simple-minded people to go astray was also alleviated. God’s promise of:
لَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ اَتٰي
‘And a magician shall not thrive, come where he may’ (Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.70) was indeed fulfilled in full glory and grandeur. That is, whatever trickery a magician or a conjuror may try; if he comes against a prophet of God, he can never be victorious. In all cases, the aforementioned Hadith strongly establishes the following points:
“After the incident of the Treaty of Hudaibiya, because of the strain of his constant concern lest people stumbled in their faith due to the incident of the Treaty of Hudaibiya, the Holy Prophetsa would sometimes suffer lapses in memory in relation to his domestic affairs.
“Secondly, the Jews and the hypocrites, who would leave no stone unturned to make such issues a basis for defaming Islam and its Holy Foundersa, saw this state of the Holy Prophetsa and began a secret rumour that they had – God forbid – cast a spell over the Prophet of the Muslims. This rumour of theirs was just like the one that they started at the expedition of Bani Mustaliq in order to make a horrible attempt to defame Hazrat Aishara because she got left behind, thereby trying to create hardship and agony for the Holy Prophetsa.
“Thirdly, as a physical symbol of their so-called magic, these evil-natured people used Labeed bin al-A‘sam, a hypocrite of Jewish decent, to tie knots of hair around the teeth of a comb. He pressed it into a well so that simple-minded people would be easily deceived and started secret rumours which only raised more concern for the Holy Prophetsa.
“The fourth point is that the Holy Prophetsa began to offer fervent supplications, praying, ‘O Allah! You Yourself exterminate and put an end to this evil ploy and reveal its reality to me so that I may expose this trickery and thereby save simple-minded people from misgivings.’ Hence, God accepted this prayer and revealed the truth of the matter.
“The fifth point is that God Almighty heard the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa and exposed the mischief-making of Labeed bin al-A‘sam, upon which the Holy Prophetsa, accompanied by some witnesses, proceeded to the well, buried the comb and totally covered up the well, so that the matter could come to an end once and for all.
“In the end, the only question that remains, is how could it be that the Holy Prophetsa, a prophet of such lofty stature who is in fact the greatest of all prophets could fall victim to a brief spell of memory lapse, which could apparently become an impediment in the way of fulfilling the duties of prophethood? So, in response to this, one should bear it well in mind that every prophet comes in two capacities. One is that of a prophet and messenger from God Almighty, by virtue of which he is honoured with divine revelation, and stands as an educator in all matters of faith for his followers, becoming an example to be followed by them. The second capacity of a prophet is that he is also a man from among mankind, and so is subject to all those human requirements and natural vulnerabilities attached to other human beings.
“This is why God Almighty, while addressing the Holy Prophetsa in the Holy Quran, states:
قُلْ اِنَّمَا اَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوْحٰي اِلَيَّ
‘O Messenger, tell them, “I am but a human being like yourselves, (and subject to all those laws to which other human beings are subject to). Yet, I am also a Prophet of God and have been granted divine revelation from God for the guidance of mankind.”’ – This is an explanatory translation of this verse. (Surah al-Kahf, Ch.18: V.111)
“In this beautiful verse, God has expounded the two different states of prophets in an extraordinary fashion, i.e. that in one regard they have been given a distinction from other human beings, whereas on another front, they have not been placed outside the category of other men. Therefore, whoever contends that prophets stand outside the perimeter of human requirements and natural weaknesses is a liar.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes:
“Indeed, prophets also fall ill like other people, and can fall victim to malaria, fevers and typhoid – (One should bear in mind that according to the apparent symptoms recorded by the Ahadith and books of history, the Holy Prophetsa passed away due to typhoid – tuberculosis, asthma, flu, cough, gout, migraine, psychological ailments such as anxiety, stress, lapses in memory, and injuries due to accidents or as a result of war etc. Thus, a prophet can suffer from any of these, and have always been subject to them, except in special cases where a particular prophet has been given a divine promise of protection from a specific illness.
“However, if the thought arises in someone’s mind that regarding the Holy Prophetsa, the Holy Quran states:
سَنُقْرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنْسٰ
‘We shall teach thee the Quran, and thou shalt forget it not’, [Surah al-A‘la, Ch.87: V.7] in response to this one should remember that this promise is only regarding the Quranic revelation and is not to be applied as a general rule for everything. The meaning of this verse is that ‘O Prophet! The teaching We shall reveal to you for the benefit of mankind, We shall cause you to not forget it and We shall safeguard it till the Day of Judgment.’ However, this promise was not for general day to day dealings, or worldly matters, or even the physical rituals related to the religious injunctions.
“Thus, we find in the Ahadith that owing to the natural human tendencies, the Holy Prophetsa would, on several occasions, fail to remember or recall something. In fact, in a Hadith, recorded in both Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophetsa at times would forget the number of rak‘aat [units of prayer] he had offered whilst leading the prayer and his Companionsra would remind him. Similarly, on many other occasions, the Holy Prophetsa would have a lapse in memory.
“In another Hadith, the Holy Prophetsa is reported to have even stated:
اِنَّمَا اَنَا بَشَرٌ اَنْسٰي كَمَا تَنْسَوْنَ فَاِذَا نَسِيْتُ فَذَكِّرُوْنِيْ
‘I am also a human like you, and at times, just like you forget something, I also forget. Therefore, if I fail to remember something, then remind me.’ (Abu Daud, Kitab Al-Salat)
“Therefore, just as the Holy Prophetsa would at times have a lapse in memory, he also suffered from the illness of temporary amnesia after the Treaty of Hudabiyya. Thus, the earlier scholars have offered a similar interpretation to the narration regarding sorcery. For instance, Allama Maazari states:
‘There exists countless sound and irrefutable arguments which establish the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa, moreover the miracles of the Holy Prophetsa further testify to his truthfulness. However, all other aspects of attached to one’s life for which the Holy Prophetsa was not divinely commissioned for as a prophet, and this includes suffering from ailments like other humans do, this [temporary lapse in memory] would also be considered as a form of ailment.’
“Allama ibn Al-Kassar states:
‘When the Holy Prophetsa suffered from this lapse in memory, this was also a form of ailment as is clearly evident from the concluding words of the Hadith in which the Holy Prophetsa stated that God Almighty had granted him cure.’ (These words are clearly written)
“In short, after the Treaty of Hudaibiya, the Holy Prophetsa suffered from the aforementioned ailment, but the enemies alleged that this was a result of sorcery. However, this was certainly not the case, in fact owing to the circumstances of the time, the Holy Prophetsa suffered from temporary amnesia and some mischievous individuals took this as an opportunity to create false propaganda against the noble character of the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Quran strongly rebuts such fallacies of sorcery against prophets and neither does human intellect accept this. The words of the Hadith also reject this false interpretation, moreover the Holy Prophet’s lofty and noble status completely dispels this notion of sorcery.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra further states:
“It would not be out of context to mention Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’sra narration, may Allah be his Helper,” (Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra Sahib was mentioning this during the lifetime of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra.) “In part one of Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration number 75 states that one day a Hindu, who was full of prejudice and lived in Gujrat, came to Qadian. He was an expert in the art of hypnotism and sat in a gathering of the Promised Messiahas and secretly began to focus his attention on the Promised Messiahas so that he could influence him to carry out some inappropriate acts and thus make the Promised Messiahas a target of mockery and ridicule. However, when he began to focus his attention upon the Promised Messiahas, he suddenly screamed out aloud and ran away. When he was asked about what had happened to him, he said that when he focused his attention on Mirza Sahib, it seemed as if a ferocious lion was standing before him, ready to pounce at any moment. That is why he became terrified and ran away.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes:
“The Promised Messiahas was the servant of the Holy Prophetsa; if the servant holds such a status that God Almighty did not allow for him to be hypnotised, then how can one believe that the master – i.e. the Holy Prophetsa – was hypnotised by the Jews, God forbid?” (Mazameen-e-Bashir, Vol. 3, pp. 642-653, Mazameen 1959)
In the end, I will read the sayings of the Just Arbitrator of this era [i.e. the Promised Messiahas] which prevails over all other commentaries and explanations. In one of his gatherings, a person asked the Promised Messiahas what he thought about the incident where the disbelievers asserted that they had cast a spell on the Holy Prophetsa. The Promised Messiahas stated:
“Sorcery is also the work of Satan. It does not behove the status of a prophet or messenger to come under the influence of a spell. Rather, all spells are broken when they come in contact with a prophet, just as God Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
لَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ اَتٰي
[“And a magician shall not thrive, come where he may.” (Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.70)].
Observe, Prophet Mosesas was confronted by the magicians, did Mosesas not succeed? To say that the Holy Prophetsa was influenced by magic is absolutely incorrect and we can never accept there to be any truth in this matter. It is contrary to our beliefs to heedlessly accept everything that is written in Bukhari and Muslim. Even logic does not accept the fact that a spell could have any influence over such a grand and noble prophet. For one to say that the Holy Prophetsa was put under a spell, God forbid, in which his memory was affected, or caused any other effects, is completely false.”
The Promised Messiahas further states,
“It seems that these statements were fabricated by a wretched individual. Despite the fact that we have high regard for the Ahadith, however, we can never accept a Hadith which is contrary to the Holy Quran and the honour of the Holy Prophetsa. During the time in which the Ahadith were being collected, those that compiled the narrations worked meticulously and recorded them with due care. However, despite all their efforts and precautions, they were unable to safeguard them from error. That was the period in which the Hadith were to be collated, but now is the time to reflect and ponder.” Read and deliberate over them. “Any Hadith that is averse to the teachings of the Holy Quran or the honour and dignity of the Holy Prophetsa ought to be rejected or one should ensure that its meanings do not contradict them” just as Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra did.
The Promised Messiahas then writes:
“To collate the Aathaar of the Holy Prophetsa is a noble deed (i.e. to collect incidents about the lives of prophets is a virtuous deed). To collate these incidents is a noble deed, however, in principle, the people that collate such incidents can never do so with complete accuracy. Now, it is the responsibility of every individual to deliberate over them and having analysed them they ought to decide which ones should be accepted and which ones ought to be rejected. To accept that the Holy Prophetsa was influenced by a spell cast on him, (God forbid), is a belief in which one can lose their faith.”
The Promised Messiahas continues,
“God Almighty states:
اِذْ يَقُوْلُ الظَّالِمُوْنَ اِنْ تَتَّبِعُوْنَ اِلَّا رَجُلًا مَّسْحُوْرًا
‘When the wrongdoers say, “You follow none but a man who is a victim of deception”’ – (who is under the influence of a spell). (Surah Bani Israil, Ch.17: V.48).
People who say such things are wrongdoers and not Muslims. It is the non-believers and transgressors who make such statements that the Holy Prophetsa was under the influence of a spell (God forbid). People do not think that if the Holy Prophetsa could have been influenced in such a way, (God forbid), then what would be the state of the Muslim ummah? In such a case, it would certainly perish. I am lost for words that the Prophet regarding whom all the prophets declared that he would be free from the grasp of Satan, and yet regarding that very prophet they believe in such statements which are against his honour.” (Maluzat, Vol. 9, pp. 471-472)
All praise is for Allah that we accepted the Imam of the Age, through which we can recognise the true rank and status of the Holy Prophetsa.
اَللّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰي مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَليٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَبَارِكْ وَسَلِّمْ اِنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَّجِيْدٌ