Was Mohammed more of a psychopath or a narcissist? It’s a tricky one isn’t it? Both views have their proponents.
On the one hand there is the Mohammed who executed eight tribesmen by branding their eyes with red hot iron, cutting off their hands and feet and throwing them into a desolate place to die (Bukhari 8:82:796).
Not much empathy or conscience there.
On the other hand there is the Mohammed who said “The earth has been made for me” (Bukhari 1:7:1331) and who imagined that he had bargained with Allah in the seventh heaven about the required number of daily prayers, passing Jesus in the second, and Moses in the sixth weeping because he knew Mohammed would be a greater prophet than himself (Bukhari 4:54:429).
Grandiose or what?
So I thought I’d put it to the test. I feel I’ve come to know Mohammed quite well over the last couple of years, if not quite as a friend, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind my answering for him.
This is an interactive version of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale:
For me, what’s right is whatever I can get away with.
“Allah generally squares things with a handy revelation”
Most of my problems are due to the fact that other people just don’t understand me.
“Well actually, most of their problems”
I tell other people what they want to hear so that they will do what I want them to do.
“Ah yes, the doe-eyed virgins”
I often admire a really clever scam.
“Allah is the best deceiver!”
Cheating is not justified because it is unfair to others.
“Who are we talking about, Muslims or the Kuffar?”
Result – more psychopathic than 71.75% of the population.
And this is an interactive version of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory:
If I ruled the world it would be a better place.
I can usually talk my way out of anything.
“You mean like that Satanic verses business?”
Sometimes I tell good stories.
“The best – in 114 chapters”
I think I am a special person.
“Does God talk to you?”
I wish somebody would someday write my biography.
“They will, they will”
Result – more narcissistic than 95.7% of the population.
So, narcissistic wins by a mile but I don’t think either of them does complete justice to Mohammed’s character.
Let me just rummage around in Wikipedia a minute
Yes, here we are – malignant narcissism:
“Malignant narcissism is a psychological syndrome comprised as an extreme mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, and aggression and sadism.
The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism.
Malignant narcissists, in contrast to psychopaths, are said to be capable of developing ‘some identification with other powerful idealized figures as part of a cohesive ‘gang’…which permits at least some loyalty and good object relations to be internalized’. Some of them may present rationalized antisocial behavior – for example, as leaders of sadistic gangs or terrorist groups…with the capacity for loyalty to their own comrades”.
Yes, I think that gives a more rounded picture of our man, don’t you?
Are you shocked that I should be so rude about the founder of “a great salvation religion”? I venture to think that you would not be so shocked if I said the same about Jesus. In fact no one would turn a hair, partly because the charge would be patently ridiculous but, more importantly, Christians no longer regard murder as a suitable response to criticism.
On the other hand you only have to dip into the Sira (biographies) and Hadiths (traditions) to be sickened by the casual cruelty of Mohammed and his companions. However we have learned to be polite about anything to do with the religion of peace because we all know that death threats, and sometimes deaths, are to be expected when telling the truth about Islam. And why not? That section of the Muslim community who engage in these things are only following the example of Mohammed, the “perfect man”.