Author: Dr. Rafat Amari/Thursday, August 17, 2017/Categories: Islam, Quran, Quran Historical Criticism, History of Islam, Comparative Religion, Zoroastrianism and Islam, Article
The alleged Ascension of Mohammed to heaven
By Dr. Rafat Amari
Did Mohammed ascend to heaven as the Qu’ran states? Did he do so in a trance? How much was he influenced by the occult? These questions, which are important to the credibility of Islam, are the subject of our study today.
Ascending into heaven was the common way Middle Eastern sects explained how their leaders obtained the religious laws they taught.
Sects that arose in the Middle East before Mohammed put a great deal of emphasis on ascension to heaven. Those who claimed to be prophets within their sects, whether they were mythological figures in their tradition or were given biblical names, all had ascension stories.
Yima, a mythological Persian figure who represented the sun, was visited by the angel Sraosha who accompanied Yima to heaven. Yima was subsequently commissioned to spread the religion on earth.[i]
Zoroaster claimed to have ascended into heaven to obtain a religious law from Ahura Mazda for the nation of Iran.[ii] In like manner, Mohammed claimed to have visited heaven where he was commissioned with a religious law for the nation of Islam.
Vohuman, who was the angel that accompanied Zoroastrian figures in their ascension to heaven, is easily compared to Gabriel, the angel of ascension in the Qu’ran.
The angel Vohuman was aledged to have accompagny Zoroaster to heaven.[iii] Vohuman has many affinities with Gabriel in the Quran. First of all, he is the angel who accompagnies those who ascend to heaven. We find Vohuman descending from his golden throne to accompany Viraz to heaven into the presence of Ahuramazda.[iv]
The same thing is said concerning Gabriel in the Qu'ran. In Surah 81 and verse 20, Gabriel is described as “the personality with rank who stood before the lord of the throne.” He is the one Islam claims accompanied Mohammed in his ascension.
Another similarity between Vohuman and Gabriel is they were both huge in stature.[v] Vohuman is portrayed in the sacred Zoroastrian books as the judge who condemned sinners.[vi] In the Qu’ran, Gabriel is the judge who condemns the nations and the cities.
The word “spirit” is used of both personalities. Vohuman is called “spirit,” and the Dinkard, book nine, stresses the importance of loving Vohuman.[vii]
Likewise, in the Qu’ran, we find Gabriel referred to as the “spirit” and sometimes as the “holy spirit.” Many of Mohammed’s Hadiths stress or focus on the love of Gabriel for mankind even for those in heaven.[viii]
The angels in the Bible are agents who proclaimed a message to a few individuals, then they returned to heaven. They never drew attention to themselves or claimed a relationship with men. The angels hide themselves, pointing only to God.
But in the case of Vohuman and the spirit who claimed to be Gabriel in the Qu'ran, they both called attention to themselves connecting men to themselves. This indicates they were negative spirits competing with God rather than affirming Him. In reality, they behaved like the malignant spirits that possess mediums.
Occult characteristics of Vohuman in Zoroastrianism and Gabriel in the Qu’ran point to the true identity of both spirits.
We find Vohuman enters the mind of Zoroaster and mingled with his mind.[ix] Likewise, Gabriel is described by Mohammed’s biographers as entering the bodies of humans.[x]
On the other hand, angels never entered the bodies of humans. Other than demons, the only one who enters the body of a human is God, the Holy Spirit. He gently makes His home in the soul of a person when he is saved through the redemptive work of Christ. The Holy Spirit gives peace, joy and tranquility to human souls. But demons enter the bodies of people who invite them in or by people who are involved with magic and the occult. People who are demon possessed have signs such as convulsions, a feeling of terror, sweating, and they may lapse into a coma which is something that also plagues mediums who receive oracles from devils.
Mohammed claims Gabriel inspired Mohammed to write the Qu’ran. But if Gabriel was a true angel, why did Mohammed suffer from the same symptoms as those who are demon possessed when he received the Qu'ran? Mohammed experienced convulsions, a feeling of terror, comas and severe sweating. These symptoms were never encountered by any prophet in the Bible.
We also find Vohuman changing his shape and adopting the personality of another man.[xi] And Gabriel changed himself into the form of a man Mohammed knew personally, a man was named Dahieh دحية.[xii]
We know that true angels do not plagiarize the personality of another person. But this phenomenon does exist in Satanism, or Demonology, where the malignant spirits change their form and take on the guise of other humans who are known to the magician or to the medium to whom the malignant spirits give oracles in order to deceive many.[xiii] The Jinn/devils of Arabia were known to change their forms and appear in the guise of a man known to the Kuhhan or priests of the Jinn/devils.[xiv]
The trance of the medium causes occult hallucinating. They call it the “journey of the soul.”
We see that Vohuman caused Zoroaster to fall into trance before he could go to heaven.[xv] We know that the trance is the condition through which Mediums of malignant spirits travel through what they call “the journey of the spirit,” leaving their bodies. Their souls as stolen from them to commune with spirits. It is an hallucinative journey under the power of Satan, through which the victim sees things that are not real.
Occult Literature is full of names of people who were in trances and claimed to travel to heaven or other distant places. Often these alleged ascension are connected with people who have religious oracles. They are known to fall into comas. Richard Mainey is an example someone who claims to have passed to heaven in a trance. In the year 1586, he claimed to go to heaven passing through purgatory. He laid in a comatose state for two hours.[xvi]
Those claiming to have ascended to heaven often did so while comatose or in a state of ecstasy. Mohammed claimed he obtained verses of the Qu’ran this way. While receiving the Quran, he also experienced other negative symptoms such as convulsions, sweatings and feelings of terror.
One example of 18th century people who suffered trances was Emanual Swedenborg, the swedish visionary. He was known to be heavily demon possessed. While in a state of ecstasy, he claimed to see visions and tell about how hell and heaven were opened to him. He said God enabled his spirit to go to the other world where he encountered the souls of humans and met angels.[xvii]
Many of the founders of “Spiritism,” which is one of the Satanic movements, claimed they journeyed while their souls were separated from their bodies. They flew in the company of malignant spirits to distant places experiencing a “spirit journey.”
An example of this demon possession is a man named Davis who claimed to have been carried 40 miles from his home to the mountains where he spent the whole night with others discussing medicine and ethics.This hallucinative journey was performed while he was in a trance and experienced ecstasy. In reality, as demon possessed, he communicated in a trance with his devil.[xviii]
Zoroaster as a Medium for a spirit named Vohman. Zoroaster also was a witch doctor,or shaman, for his tribe
Now, I would like you to return with me to Zoroaster who claims to have fallen in a trance in which he was transported to heaven. The symptoms he experienced causes us to classify him with the mediums who serve the devil. He claims that when he was put in prison by Vistaspa, the king of an Iranian tribe, Zoroaster bound the legs of Vistaspa’s horse so the horse could not move, then he released it. What Zoroaster claims to have done was a practice of the devil’s magicians. Through this magic, Zoroaster impressed Vistaspa so much he became Zoroaster’s follower.
By analyzing the oldest Zoroastrian literature, the scholar Nyberg reached the conclusion that Zoroaster was a witch doctor or medicine man to his own tribe who’s religion was a form of shamanism.
A shaman is a magician who claims the ability to heal with the help of the spirits to whom he is connected. The main characteristic of shamanism is the ecstatic trance experience through which he communicates with spirits which are surely devils. In this state, they claim their souls leave their bodies and go to other places such as remote places of the universe. Shamanism flourished mainly in South and East Asia, some parts of Africa, and among the Indians of North and South America .
Zoroaster, according to Nyberg's point of view, led his tribe as chief shaman, to reach the state of ecstasy. Once in this state, they were in contact with the god Vohu Manah,[xix] who we previously identified as Vohuman, who later is said to have accompagnied Zoroaster to heaven to meet with Ahura Mazda. Vohuman eventually became a strong angel in Zoroastrianism. We also saw that Vohuman had things in common with the malignant spirits. His behavior doesn’t vary from that of the malignant, diabolic spirits with which modern mediums are connected. This leads us to conclude that Vohuman was a devil the tribe of Zoroaster worshiped, and that Zoroaster was a medium to this malignant spirit. We already saw the similarities between Vohuman in Zoroastrianism and Gabriel in the Qur’an.
Zoroaster emigrated to the tribe led by Vistaspa which was impressed by his magic, such as the binding of Vistaspa's horse's legs. Vistaspa was introduced in an ecstatic shaman-induced diabolic trance experience with the spirit Vohman. Through these experiences Vistaspa was able to see unusual things.[xx] Certainly this was a kind of hallucination under the influence of the diabolic spirits to which Zoroaster was connected.
After this, Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda ordered Vistaspa to wage war to subdue the Iranian nations to his religion. To do this, Zoroaster, had to incorporate some of the creeds of the tribe of Vistaspa, which is of Ayro Iranian back ground, into his creed system. Zoroaster also copied many ideas from the Israelites who were dispersed by Sargon II to Madi, the homeland of Zoroaster before he migrated to Vistaspa's tribe. The Assyrian king, Sargon II, occupied Samaria around 722 , at least half a century before Zoroaster was born.
There are many similarities between the way Mohammed spread his religion and the the way Zoroastrianism spread. We also compare the role of Mohammed as a witch doctor in Mecca and the life of Zoroster.
First of all, the witch doctor or “shaman”, in Arabia is equivalent to the “rakhi,” الراقي the one who brings the powers of the spirits to which he is connected to the bodies of others, claiming to heal them .
Ibin Hisham, the oldest and the most authoritative Islamic biographer of the life of Mohammed, wrote the very famous poem, “Abu Taleb.”, the uncle of Mohammed recited. The leaders of Mecca came to Abu Taleb asking him to give Mohammed to them to be judged by them. Abu Taleb refused, and recited a poem lauding and praising Mohammed. There is a stanza in this poem in which he described the caves of the mountain of Harra, as a place or center for Rachis. Abu Taleb said: "a Rachi, or conjurer who conjures spells in Harra where he dwells."[xxi] Harra’ is the caves near Mecca where Mohammed used to spend his time before he claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel and allegedly entrusted with the role of prophecy.
For Abu Taleb and in the eyes of many Arabians, the witch doctor, or rakhi, was a benevolent occupation because of the Jinn religion’s influence and the reputation that rakhis had for evicting the spirits that caused disease through their own Jinns. Mohammed confirmed that his uncle recited the poetry about him and boasted about its contents.[xxii]
Another similarity between Zoroaster and Mohammed is that Mohammed also emigrated from his own city to Medina, where he convinced two savage tribes, Oas and Khasrej, to rage war against the Arabian tribes in order to subdue them and convert them to Islam.
The rukhah, plural of rakhi, were known to be among the Kuhhan or priests of the Jinn religion of Arabia.
The trances and comas that Mohammed experienced produced the same symptoms that affected the priests of Jinns in Arabia.
Mohammed used to go into a coma before he wrote the Qu'ran, which reveals his involvement with Kahaneh. When he started receiving the Qu’ran he fell into a coma.[xxiii]
Sahih Al Buchari, reports one occasion on which Mohammed fell in trance while he was a youth before he claimed to receive the Qu'ran.[xxiv]
Mohammed was known to have suffered from trances since his childhood because Amneh, his mother, brought on him a ruchieh, or bewitching.[xxv] In the ruchieh a Kahan priest of Jinn brings the spirit of Jinn to a person to whom the Kahen is connected as a medium. Amneh was the niece of Soda Bent Zahreh, the priest of Jinn at Mecca. This may explain why she was able to practice occult over her son, Mohammed.
Someone may ask why Amneh bewitched Mohammed when he was a small infant. Walker in his book, Unclean Spirits, says that many dangerous magicians and mediums of the devil were exposed to magic in their infanthood.[xxvi] Most of them were exposed by their parents who were known to be in service to the devil.
Among the reasons for which parents bewitch their infants is that the mother wanted to have the opportunity to speak with the devil when he enters the body of the infant. In other words, she does so in order to take direct information from the devil when he speak in a loud voice through the tongue of her son. This phenomenon is reported in spiritism worship in China and India.[xxvii]
Another reason for bewitching infants is to ensure the continuity of the priesthood for the devil in the family. Sometimes, under orders from the devil, the child is prepared to have a future occult oracle.
In satanic worship in Japan, the founders of the worship were called as children and prepared by the devils for the role they would assume. The British anthropologist, Carmen Blacker, who did important research on the lives of the founders of religions that venerate wicked spirits in Japan, revealed how the devils took hold of the children through dreams or through bewitchment induced by their parents. Then, the devils announced that those children are dedicated to them for future goals or purposes. As a result, special power was given to those who were bewitched since childhood. They were given magical powers. Many believed in them, followed them and helped them establish a religion.[xxviii]
Anthropologists believe that,like a hereditary disease, the priesthood which serves the devil is transmitted from individual to individual in the same family.[xxix] Could it be that the Jinn priesthood was transmitted from Amneh to her son Mohammed? A study of Islamic sources supports this idea.
While Mohammed was receiving the Qu’ran, he was afflicted with the same symptoms the Kuhhan were afflicted with when they received oracles from devils. Both Mohammed and the Kuhhan experienced comas, convulsions and sweatings. These symptoms were also experienced by Mohammed as a child after his mother bewitched him.
The Jinn religion in Arabia was the strongest and the most wide spread. It had a huge number of Kuhhan who represented the religion in each city. Many Arabians at the time of Mohammed suffered from severe symptoms like ones Mohammed experienced. This is due to the Kuhhan who cast spells on children and on sick people.
The Kuhhan claimed that the diseases were caused by Jinn/devils brought by other Kuhhan. Therefore, Arabians used to go to different Kuhhan to treat diseases through their devils. The Kuhhan boasted that their devils were stronger than the devils that caused the diseases in the first place. The diseases were believed to be caused by “the look of a Jinn or his medium or Kuhhan.” So the patients went to the Kuhhan who practiced rukieh by conjuring spells on the body of their patients. The result was that the devils of the Kuhhan through the rukieh take hold of the body of the sick person, and the poor sick person exhibited convulsions and other symptoms like Mohammed suffered when his mother conjured spells on him.
The Arabians at the time of Mohammed recognized the symptoms the Kahen caused when he conjured spells on a person. For example, the Arabians recognized the trance as an affliction from a devil. They called it “affection through Ain,” or the eye. The eye of the Jinn looked at a person and caused the trance to happen.[xxx] The trance was communicated to children who were born in Kuhhan families under servitude to Jinns.
Trances and comas were common occurrences for the Kuhhan and for the founders of the occult religions through which they received their oracles. For example, the Kuhhan of Arabia would go into a comatose state when receiving oracles from their devils.[xxxi] Khater, Kahen of the Jinns, went into to a coma for three days while he said the rhymed prose exalting Mohammed.[xxxii]
There is a common phenomenon among the founders of religions that venerate the malignant spirits. They receive their oracles through trances or comas. We also see this in the founders of the occult religions in Japan. For example, Deguchi Nao, the founder of the religion called Omoto, received her oracles during a trance. Okada Yoshikazu, founder of Sukyo Mahikari, wrote his sacred book while in trance.
Trances were a significant part of occult worship. Mohammed fell into a trance before claiming the role of a prophet as manifestation of his occult relationships and practices. This occurred again when he received verses of the Qu’ran.[xxxiii] Aisheh, his youngest wife, mentioned how Mohammed suffered from severe comas and sweating, often falling on the ground with severe symptoms as he received the Qu'ran.[xxxiv]
In the Bible, these things were never reported in the lives of the prophets, but they were common in the lives of the Kuhhan of the Jinn of Arabia .
Sahih Al Buchari, mentioned that Asmaa, the sister of Aisheh, the youngest wife of Mohammed, fell in trance on at least in one occasion.[xxxv] This may shed light on the occult experiences of those who were close to Mohammed .
While in trances, Mohammed often had “occult journeys” before his famous “night journey on the winged camel” to visit Jerusalem.
Mohammed, like Zoroaster and other mediums who through trances and ecstasy had shamite-type experiences leading to occult journeys with the spirits. The books that narrate the life of Mohammed confirmed that he used to have such experiences before he claimed to become a prophet.[xxxvi] The book of Halabieh describes his journeys in spirit claiming Mohammed used to “sleep in the spirit.”[xxxvii]
This expression “sleeping in the spirit” endeavors to describe the deep coma and trance in which Mohammed fell when he was experiencing such hallucinations. All who claim to have such occult journeys pass through trances and comas. In the life of Mohammed we see several experiences like this. The book of Halabieh states that Al Israa', occurred to Mohammed 30 times.[xxxviii] Al Israa, is a journey of the soul to distant places. This is actually the occult journey known to all mediums who through trances were under the hallucinate power of the spirits. Sheik Abdel Wahab Al Sharani said that the number was 34.[xxxix]
So we see what the Qu’ran claims happened to Mohammed when he boarded the Baraq, or winged camel, to go to Jerusalem. He was not in reality having a real experience, but it was just part of Mohammed’s occult life before he claimed to have the role of prophecy.
Though Muslims want us to think that Mohammed really was carried bodily in the company of Gabriel by a winged camel to Jerusalem, Aisheh the youngest wife of Mohammed and the most reliable reporter of his life and Hadith says, “The body of the prophet of Allah was never missed or carried, but Allah journeyed with his soul.”[xl]
So we see that the report, claiming to be a true experience of Mohammed, only confirms the nature of his journey which was part of his past occult routine, something that had occurred for many who were connected as mediums to malignant spirits. At the same time, they claimed to receive oracles or important wisdom through hallucinative journeys.
We have more testimony about Mohammed’s claim from his cousin, Fatikheh فاتخة, with whom he spent the night when he claimed to journey with the angel Gabriel to Jerusalem . She confirmed that he was asleep in her house that night.
She was called also Um Hani, the mother of Hani. She was the daughter of his uncle Abu Taleb. She said,” the prophet of Allah was transported while he was in my house. He slept in my house that night and prayed at night, then slept and we also slept . When it was dawn, he woke us. Then, after we prayed together, he said,” Oh, Um Hani I prayed with you the evening prayer as you saw in this valley, then I went to the temple of Jerusalem and prayed in it. This morning I prayed with you.”[xli]
He claims to have prayed the Islamic prayer in the evening, slept under the watchful eyes of his cousen, woke early in the morning and prayed again. After this he claimed to have visited the temple of Jerusalem during the night. What he does not tell us is that the temple was destroyed by the Romans six centuries earlier. He could not have made that visit.
[i] R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, Weidenfeld And Nicolson, London 1975, pages 137 and 138
[ii] Dinkard-Book IX, Chapter XXVIII, 3-4, Pahlavi Texts, Part IV, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 37, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 235
[iii] Dincard, book VII, Chapter III: 61, Pahlavi Texts, Part V, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 47 ,Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 50
[iv] Textual sources for the study of Zoroastrianism, edited and translated by Mary Boyce, Manchester University Press, 1984, page 86
[v] Dincard, book VII, Chapter III:52, Pahlavi Texts, Part V, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 47 ,Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 48
[vi] Dinkard-Book IX, Chapter LXIII, 7, Pahlavi Texts, Part IV, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 37, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 372
[vii] Dinkard-Book IX, Chapter LVIII, 5, Pahlavi Texts, Part IV, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 37 ,Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 354
[viii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 7, page 83; and 8, page 195
[ix] Selections of Zad-Sparam, Chapter XIV, 12-13, Pahlavi Texts, Part V, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 47 ,Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 142
[x] Halabieh, 1, page 412
[xi] Selections of Zad-Sparam, Chapter XXI, 8, Pahlavi Texts, Part V, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 47, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 156
[xii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 6, pages 96 – 97; 1, pages 2-3; and 4, page 80; Halabieh, 1, page 408
[xiv] Robertson Smith, lectures on the Religion of the Semite, p. 120; Jawad Ali, al-Mufassal Fi Tarikh al-Arab khab al-Islam, 6, page 717
[xv] Dinkart 7.3.55; Yasna 43.5 ;Selections of Zat-sparam 21.9-10 quoted by ( but you have to check the references )
Zoroaster, The Profet of Ancient Iran, by A.V. Williams Jackson, AMS Press INC, New York, 1965, pages 40 -41
[xvi] Unclean spirits, pages 48-49
[xvii] See, Arthur C. Doyle, History of Spiritualism , ( New York : George Doran, 1926)
[xviii] Arthur C. Doyle, History of Spiritualism ( New York : George Doran, 1926), I, page 45
[xix] R.C. Zaehner, Weidenfeld And Nicolson, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, London 1975, pages 352-359
[xx] Dincard, book VII, Chapter IV: 84, Pahlavi Texts, Part V, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred books of the East, Volume 47, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1969, page 70
[xxi] Ibn Hisham, 1 pages 189 and 218
[xxii] Ibn Hisham, 1 page 225
[xxiii] Halabieh, 1, pages 406-407
[xxiv] Sahih al-Bukhari, 1, page 96
[xxv] Halabieh, 1, page 75
[xxvi] Walker, Unclean Spirits, page 26
[xxvii] Blacker, pages 252-53; quoted by Godman, How about the Demons, page 77
[xxviii] The Catalpa Bow , a study of Shamanistic practices in Japan by Carmen Blacker, page 129
[xxix] Demonolgia , a discourse on Witchcraft, pages 32-33
[xxx] Taj al-Arus, 5, page 381
[xxxi] Halabieh, 1, page 405
[xxxii] Halabieh, 1, page 338
[xxxiii] Halabieh, 1, page 415
[xxxiv] Ibn Hisham, 3 page 236
[xxxv] Sahih al-Bukhari, 2, page 28
[xxxvi] Halabieh , 2, page 71
[xxxvii] Halabieh , 2, page 71
[xxxviii] Halabieh , 2, page 71
[xxxix] Halabieh , 2, page 71
[xl] Ibn Hisham, 2, page 31
[xli] Halabieh , 2, page 72; Ibn Hisham, 2, page 33
Copyright 2004 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All rights reserved
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Scholar in comparative religions and Author of over 30 books