Islam and Science
Forgotten Perspectives RememberedAugust 2004 version
What do the words algebra, alkali, alcohol, astrolabe, naphtha, and zircon have in common? These are all English words derived from Arabic and Persian words that hearken back to 700-1150 A.D., when the center of scientific learning was unquestionably the Mideast.
Many people might be unaware of the important contributions to science and mathematics from the Mideast. The following briefly lists some of these achievements, and then investigates scientific statements in the Qur'an. But, there are so many medical advances, they are not mentioned here; they merit their own discussion.
Ancient Middle Eastern Science
Even the early Sumerians (3500-2000 B.C.) had a classification of all the animals they knew. (Large insects such as locusts were lumped together with birds, as flying creatures.) Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used the stars to help them know when to start planting. The ancients had a number of advances in shipbuilding, animal herding, and surgery, even head surgery. Egyptians used toothpaste since 2,500 B.C.. Three of the most important scientific contributions were writing, farming and metallurgy.
Perhaps the crowning achievement of knowledge of the ancient world was the great library of Alexandria. Here in one location was stored hundreds of thousands of volumes of originals or copies of much of the literature from their world.
Ancient Engineering and Architecture
Egyptians had bows since 2500 B.C.. In architecture, everyone knows of the impressive pyramids in Egypt and Ziggurats of Sumeria and Babylon.
Less commonly known is that northeast of Iran was a large dam, which apparently burst around 1800 B.C., triggering huge migrations into India and Iran. A dam in Yemen made the kingdom of Sheba an important agricultural and commerce center, until it too broke more than a century before Mohammed. The building of canals, hanging gardens, and huge walled cities is impressive even today. In fact, if you could have put the Assyrian city of Nineveh between France and Germany in World War I, neither side would have been able to easily capture it. It was finally captured, but only when the Khosr River flooded and broke down part of the wall.
Ancient Middle Eastern Math
These architectural feats could not have been done without the support of mathematics. The Old Babylonians had a base-60 counting system. They liked reciprocal numbers; for example, they would divide a/b as a * 1/b. The Old Babylonians were the first to algebra for linear and quadratic problems. A tablet called Plimpton 322 is a table of Pythagorean numbers (a^2 + b^2 + c^2). Babylonians computed the squares of numbers as drawing a rectangle and then counting the area. Mathematically, they could not work with anything higher than squares. While the Babylonians had differing values for pi, the most accurate one was 3.125. The 10th century Arab mathematician Abu'l-Wafa' suggests the main transmitters of mathematical knowledge were the craftsman and artists.
Egyptian trigonometry was superior to Babylonian, because Egyptians understood the concept of an angle, and they had a value for pi of 3 1/7 or 3.16. This is not far 3.14159. This is documented in the Rhind papyrus (c.1650 B.C.) and the Moscow Papyrus from about the same time. Many Egyptian buildings had sides of 3 to 4, but they never knew the Pythagorean Theorem. Science and math in ancient times were very "practical". Perhaps that is why, curiously enough, nobody had the concept of "zero" until it was discovered in India.
Where Did the Algebra Come From?
The first algebra problem we know of is preserved in the Rhind Papyrus copied by an Egyptian scribe named Ahmes (c.1650 B.C.). This is long before Moses was born. While the Greeks were primarily interested in geometry, Chinese could solve quadratic equations before Christ was born, and Hindus (c.628-1150 A.D.) solved many complex problems. At Baghdad Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khowarizmi / Khawarizmi (c.825 A.D.), Abu Kamil (c.900 A.D.) and al-Karkhi (c.1100 A.D.) developed algebra further. They indirectly great influenced European mathematics when Robert of Chester translated al-Khowarizmi's book about 1140 A.D. calling it in Latin Liber Algorism, meaning roughly, "the Book of al-Khowarizmi". The word algorism later became algorithm and algebra.
Below lists some of the famous Middle Eastern and Muslim scientists and mathematicians.
Besides being the most important physician between Roman and modern times, he was also a scientist, philosopher, and logician who wrote almost 200 works. Albert Magnus in England learned much from him
Averroes (Abu al-Walid Mohammed bin Ahmad ibn Mohammed ibn Roshd)
Admirer of Aristotle. Said much of the poverty and distress came from the way Muslims treated women
Avempace (Ibn Gabirol)
Jewish Spanish philosopher who espoused Aristotle
Chemistry / Alchemy and Physics
The Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad had a school of alchemy in the 9th or 10th century. The earliest Arabic alchemy works are partly in Arabic and partly in Syriac. Khalid ben Yezid (died 708 A.D.) a disciple of the Syrian monk Marianus, was the first Muslim writer on alchemy, according to the book Kitab-al-Fihrist. The talents of many alchemists were wasted on trying to turn lead and other substances into gold, but along the way they found out many things about chemistry too. Here are some of the outstanding Persian and Arab chemists.
Geber (Jabir ibn-Hayyan)
Arab alchemist who distilled vinegar and made nitric acid. He started the search for transmuting metals and was fascinated with liquid mercury. He was so influential that chemistry was nicknamed "The craft of Jabir"
Ibn al Haytham
Died 1039 A.H.
Studied pressure, magnetism, and optics. Said that we see by light hitting our eyes, not rays the eye shoots out.
Explained the shape of a rainbow
Rhazes (Al-Razi) c.850-c.925
Persian alchemist (and astronomer) who made plaster of Paris and studied antimony
Abdul Salam of Pakistan.
Shared the 1979 Nobel prize in physics. He was a Qadiani, whom many Muslims consider non-Muslim heretics
Geber (Jabir ibn-Hayyan) (died 808 A.D. 193 A.H.) was an ascetic Sufi who had a laboratory in Damascus. He 200 books, 80 of which were chemistry books, including books on fermentation, dyes, and weights and measures. In fact, others nicknamed chemistry "the craft of Jabir." He made a scale that could weigh down to about 1/6 of a gram. While the later Europeans thought that Phlogiston was added to materials when they burned, Jabir correctly understood that energy of a burning material was released, leaving incombustible ash behind. He invented fire-resistant paper, a rust inhibitor, and water repellent for clothes. Apparently he had some close calls though; he advised that chemical laboratories should be far from cities.
'Izz al Din al Jaldaki (died 1360 A.D. 762 A.D.) suggested masks to protect against dangerous gases coming out of chemical reactions, and that water can best be purified by evaporation and condensation. Chemicals could be added to soap to prevent the caustic in soap from damaging clothes. He could separate gold from silver by knowing that only gold does not dissolve in nitric acid. He wrote many books, two of which were over 1,000 pages each.
Ibn al Haytham (died 1039 A.D. / 431 A.H.) was invited by the cruel and eccentric caliph al-Hakim to come to Egypt after speaking of the benefits of the Nile River. He proposed building a dam at Aswan to improve irrigation. Al-Hakim rejected that though. Al-Haytham also investigated atmospheric pressure and the earth's magnetism on weight. He studied light and reflection as well as optics. Al-Haytham wrote around 200 books, 47 in mathematics, and 58 in engineering.
Ibn al-Haytham's knowledge of physics is all the more remarkable considering Mohammed says in the hadiths on fire and the seasons. Here is what Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 4 no.1290 p.302 says. "Abu Huraira reported : The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The Fire made a complaint before the Lord saying: 'O Lord, some parts of mine have consumed others.' So it was allowed to take two exhalations, one exhalation in winter and the other exhalation in summer. That is why you find extreme heat (in summer) and extreme cold (in winter)."
If the English names Aldebaron, Rigel, Atik, Algerib , Caph, Deneb, Sadr, and over 40 other stars appear to have Arabic-sounding names, it is because they do. Looking in the dark desert night, Arab astronomers found many stars that were not known before. Arabs and Persians studied many sciences, but they appeared to have a special interest in astronomy. Following are some of the more famous astronomers.
Works translated into Latin, including Flores Astrologici, from which we get our word astrology. Thought the world created when 7 planets in conjunction with stars.
Al-Khowarazmi (c.825 A.D.
A scholar in many subjects, he published the first definitive Arabic book on astronomy
Rhazes (Al-Razi) c.850-c.925
Persian alchemist who made plaster of Paris and studied antimony
Mohammed ben Begir al-Batani (Albategnius)
Corrected some of Ptolemy's tables. Introduced sines and tangents in the Mideast. His works published in Latin by Melanchthon.
Avempace (Ibn Gabirol)
Jewish Spanish philosopher who liked Aristotle
The first stage of Muslim astronomy was getting past the prohibition in Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3726 p.149: learning about astronomy is learning about magic. Sunan Abu Dawud vol.2 ch.1480 no.3896 p.1095 in English says the same thing, except that it uses the word "astrology".
After this, Muslims collected the works of Greek, Persian, and even Indian astronomers. A first Greek book on astronomy (said to be by Hermes Trismegistus) was translated into Arabic in 742 A.D. (125 A.H.) The Abbasid caliph al Mansur had the Persian astronomer Nawbakht, and later his son, accompany him.
Other astronomers included 'Ali Ibn 'Isa al Astrolabi, from whom we got our term astrolabe, though this instrument for measuring latitude and relative altitude was first invented 300-100 B.C..
In 772 A.D., al Mansur had Abu Yahya al Batriq translated into Arabic the works of Claudius Ptolemy and other Greek books al Mansur had requested from the Byzantine Emperor. Mohammad al-Farazi even translated an Indian book on astronomy. Building on these, Khowarizmi (c.825 A.D.) wrote his Table of Calculations Indexing the Positions of the Heavenly Bodies.
Later the Arabs and Persians did much more than merely repeat previous knowledge however. Fakhr al Din al-Razi (died 1209 A.D. 606 A.H.) questioned Aristotle's claim that stars were immobile and equidistant from the earth, as well as the claim that the movements of other heavenly bodies were all alike and similar. This was 300 years before Copernicus, who died in 1543 A.D. Planets p.12 says that way back in 275 B.C. Aristarchus of Samos said the heavens revolve around the sun, not the earth, but everybody back then "knew" that was crazy.
Sura 2:258 says Abraham said Allah causes the sun to rise from the east, and challenged unspecified idolaters to make it rise from the west. al-Razi's commentary on Sura 2:258, said that there is no evidence of the sun rising in the east or west, because the real movement might be different from what we see.
Al-Battani / Batani from Damascus discovered how long a solar year was, only missing the correct value by 2 minutes 22 seconds. Muslims built a great many observatories, but the largest observatory in the world in its time was built at Maraghah in 1258 A.D. (657 A.H.)
Various Scriptures and Astronomy
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all teach there is a God who created the universe in an orderly way, Psalm 91:1-2 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
The Qur'an 41:53 in Yusuf 'Ali's translation says, "Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (farthest) Regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until It becomes manifest to them..." However, in another translation it says, "We shall show mankind Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe as well as in themselves until they become convinced that this revelation is the truth" N.J. Dawood's translation is similar in talking about the earth, as is the Ahmadiyya translation of Maulawi Sher Ali which says, ""...Signs in all parts of the earth,..." (italics in the original.
Instead of "(farthest) Regions (of the earth), is says ""universe" in Mohammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik's translation. Arberry's translation takes an intermediate approach, saying "Our signs in the horizons..." Regardless though, the Qur'an says that Allah shows signs in nature somewhere far away.
"The lowest heaven has lamps [stars], and 'We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.'" Sura 67:5
"The creation of these stars is for three purposes, i.e. as decoration of the sky, as missiles to hit the devils, and as signs to guide travellers. So, if anybody tries to find a different interpretation, he is mistaken and just wastes his efforts..." Bukhari vol.4 book 54 ch.3 before no.421 p.282.
Shooting stars are sometimes hurled at devils who try to listen in on heavenly secrets. Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 4 no.902 and footnote 674 p.243.
Shooting stars are to hit [bad] angels before they spread what they heard. Sometimes the bad angels tell soothsayers before they are hit though. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 book 1 no.194 p.110.
One Muslim suggested that I might be wrong here, because in his study there are no bad angels, only bad genies. I do not want to say anything incorrect about any either Islam or Christianity, and I appreciate corrections, but the word in the translation here is actually "angels". Here is the quote:
194. Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, 'As Allah decideth a matter in heaven, the Angels strike their wings submissively before his Word (and produce a sound) as if an iron-chain is struck on a rock. Yet when fear is vanished from their heart, they say 'What was it that your Lord had said?' They say, 'The Truth. And his is the Exalted and the Great (al Qur'an, 34 : 23).' The (the Holy Prophet) said, 'Then they hear these (words) lending their ears to overhear some utterance and deliver it to those below them. It often happens that a shooting star hits them before they whisper it to those who are below them. They put this (utterance) in the mouth of a soothsayer or a sorcerer. And more often it (the shooting star) does not hit them till they deliver it (to others). Then they add to it one hundred lies. Only the word that is overheard from the heaven comes out to be true.' Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 book 1 no.194 p.110
These are definitely "angels acting badly".
Meteors are to attack jinn (genies) Sahih Muslim vol.4 book 24 no.5538 p.1210
Some of the famous Arab mapmakers were Ya'quibi, Ibn Haukal, Mas'udi, Makdisi / Mokaddasi, Ibm Khurdadhbih of Samarra, Abakri, Yakut, and Abulfeda. al-Idrisi was the most comprehensive geographer, showing Hastings England and Paris, France in Europe, and Canton in China. In the tenth century a Spanish-Arab sailor attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Lisbon.
On the other hand, the earth actually sits on a big fish according to the Muslim historian al-Tabari vol.1 p.220 (839-923 A.D.). So, just like the Europeans, Persians and Arabs had a lot of myths to overcome.
Sura 18:85-86 states that the ruler Zul-Qarnain, followed the setting sun and found that it went down into the waters of a muddy spring. Now we know the sun does not go down into a muddy spring, but early Muslims believed this literally, as al-Tabari vol.1 p.234. As a second example, "[Dhu al-Qarnaiyn] witnessed the setting of the sun in its resting place into a pool of black and foetid slime." according to al-Tabari vol.5 p.173-174.
Study of Climate in the Hadiths
"Abu Huraira reported : The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The Fire made a complaint before the Lords saying: 'O Lord, some parts of mine have consumed others.' So it was allowed to take two exhalations, one exhalation in winter and the other exhalation in summer. That is why you find extreme heat (in summer) and extreme cold (in winter). Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 4 no.1290 p.302.
While some spices are grown in the Mideast, the Mideast had easy access to the large number of spices Asia. Even today Mideastern food has varied and interesting tastes due to the centuries of experience with many spices. Coffee was first used in the Mideast. Since coffee is a stimulant, Muslim clerics at first tried to ban its use. Common Muslims claimed coffee was good, because it helped keep them awake for prayers at night, and gradually the clerics changed their minds.
No Stomach for Sword Making?
Outside of Japan, the finest swords in the world were called Damascene swords from Syria. They had stumbled on the secret of "annealing", that steel that is cooled very slowly can be stronger and much sharper than steel that is cooled quickly. Unfortunately, the way they accomplished this was to plunge the red hot sword "into the body of a well-muscled slave".
Muslims besieged Constantinople at least ten times starting in 670 A.D., but they never conquered it, - until they encountered a Chinese merchant. The merchant offered to sell the 10,000 Byzantines trapped in the city gunpowder; they turned him down because they said they already had Greek Fire, a thick petroleum distillate that floated on water and could be ignited. So the merchant turned around and sold the gunpowder to the 80,000 to 100,000 Turks, who made primitive cannon and down came the walls in May 29-30th 1453 A.D.. The Turks conquered Greece in the next seven years, and even fought as far north as Austria from 1526 to 1528.
Philosophy and Logic
When the Nestorian Christian were driven out of Syria by the Emperor Zeno, many of them settled in Persia, and later Baghdad. Many of them preserved both medical knowledge and Aristotelean philosophy.
Avempace, also known as Ibn Gabirol (1021-1058 A.D.) was a Jewish philosopher living in Muslim Spain. He was also an advocate of Aristotle's philosophy. The Muslim Averroes (1126-1198 A.D.) was a great admirer of Aristotle.
Thomas Aquinas (c.1125-1274), also an admirer or Aristotle, wrote a work On the Uniqueness of Intellect Against Averroists. Mulla Sadra changed the philosophical thought of Iran from being Platonic to being Aristotelean, similar to what Thomas Aquinas did in Europe.
Cosmology - Kalem Argument for the Existence of God
Kalem means "eternal" in Arabic, and the Kalem Cosmological argument is an argument both Christians and Muslims can rightly use to show there is a God. Norm Geisler in the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics p.399 calls it "a horizontal (linear) form of the cosmological argument."
1. Everything that was created had a cause for its creation.
2. The universe had a time when it was created.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause for its creation.
This is in contract to some atheists, who try to say that something can be caused by absolutely nothing.
People who espoused the Kalem argument include the Muslims Alfarabi, Al Ghazali, Avicenna, and the Christian theologian Bonaventure. A Christian philosopher who saw a weakness in this argument was Thomas Aquinas. He noticed that it was possible that God could have caused the universe from eternity past, and there was no proof from nature whether God created the universe at a point in time or eternally. Aquinas advocated a more advanced version of the cosmological argument. Everything that has a cause (whether created in time or eternally past) had to be created by something.
People of all continents were very fanciful at this time. Chinese had their (good) dragons. Europeans had their own bad dragons, sea monsters, and cockatrix. Arabs had unicorns and fabulous roc birds, as large as elephants with eggs even genies refused to carry. Genies (jinn) were made of fire, as people were made of dirt.
However, the Mugharrihum people have some jinn ancestry in them. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.5088 footnote 4436 p.1415-1416
Sura 16:69 says that within the bellies/bodies of bees is a syrup/drink (honey) that is good for the healing of men. That is a sign from Allah. Actually, honey is really made outside the bee's body; that is why they have honeycomb cells.
Cattle, produce milk between excretions and blood. Sura 16:66
There are no animals on earth or flying in the heavens, that does not also have communities like men do, according to Sura 6:38.
A female monkey was stoned to death by other monkeys for illegal sexual intercourse. Bukhari vol.5 book 58 no.188 p.119. It is unclear by whose law it was illegal.; Bukhari vol.6 book 60 no.7 p.9
"Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, 'If anyone of you rouses from sleep and performs the ablution [ritual washing], he should wash his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it out thrice, because Satan has stayed in the upper part of his nose all night."(1)
This ancient fable persists even today, as footnote (1) shows. It says, "We should believe that Satan actually stays in the upper part of one's nose, though we cannot perceive how, for this is related to the unseen world of which we know nothing except what Allah tells us through His Apostle." Bukhari vol.4 book 54 no.516 p.328.
Satan spends the night in people's noses is also in Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 2 no.462 p.153 (also footnote 450), Sunan Nasa'i vol.1 no.91 p.167
Sniffing water up your mouth and nose drives the sins out of the mouth and nose. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 book 1 no.282 p.163. But be sure to cleanse your nose an odd number of times. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 book 1 no.406 p.228
Blowing your nose and menstruating are acts of Satan. Ibn-i-Majah vol.2 no.969 p.87. While menstruation might have sanitary issues, saying women by nature do acts of Satan every month is a little too much.
For that matter, yawning is from Satan according to Bukhari vol.8:242 p.157
The Evil Eye and the Qur'an
The evil eye is a truth. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3506,3507 p.39
"...The influence of the evil eye is a fact." Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 24 no.5426 p.1192. See also Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 24 no.5424-5427 p.1192.
Amir bin Rabia was said to have given the evil eye to someone. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3508 p.40
However, Mohammed's hair was a cure for the evil eye. Bukhari vol.7 book 72 no.784 p.518
When Mohammed got his hair cut, his companions wanted to catch every lock to preserve it. Mohammed generously had it distributed among the people. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.2991-2994 p.656-657
Incantation cures the evil eye. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3510,3511 p.41; vol.5 no.3512 p.42; Muwatta' Malik book 32 ch.542 no.`686 p.395-396
Incantation is permissible against the evil eye and a scorpion. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3513-3518 p.42-44
Mohammed used incantation against the evil eye and poisonous reptiles. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3525 p.48
Mohammed gave 'Aisha an incantation to cure the evil eye Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 24 no.5445,5447-5450 p.1196
Mohammed believed in the evil eye, and there were charms against it. al-Tabari vol.39 p.134
Last two suras (113 and 114) of the Qur'an were given against the evil eye according to Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3517 p.41
However, Suras 113 and 114 are absent in Ibn Mas'ud's version of the Qur'an (The Fihrist p.57). This omission was not accidental. It is reported that Ibn Mas'ud said, "The two charm-Suras [113, 114] are not of the Book of God!" (www.Answering-Islam.org/Quran/Text/distortion.html)
Ibn Mas'ud was a personal secretary of Mohammed. Mohammed told other people to learn the Qur'an from Ibn Mas'ud and three others. (Bukhari vol.6 book 60 no.521 p.486-487)
One should apply collyrium [to the eyes] an odd number of times. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3498 p.35-36
Odd numbers of stones for cleaning oneself are better. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.2982 p.655
Clean yourself with an odd number of clods [of dirt]. Sunan Nasa'i vol.1 no.43 p.149
When answering the call of nature, a person should always wipe with an odd number of pebbles. Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 2 no.458-463 p.153-154.... Three stones according to Abu Dawud vol.1 ch.21 no.40 p.10
Mohammed regularly ate an odd number of dates. Bukhari vol.2 book 15 no.73 p.38
On prayers, make sure you end with an odd number of rak'ahs. Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 4 no.1632-1644 p.362-364
At night pray an odd number of rakahs. Sunan Nasa'i vol.2 no.1295 p.392; vol.2 no.1711-1712 p.398 vol.2 no.1714-1718 p.399-400; vol.2 no.1724 p.403-404; vol.2 no.1725-1730 p.404-405; vol.2 no.1759 p.415
Cleanse your nose an odd number of times. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 book 1 no.406 p.228
A Muslim needs to pray an odd number of prayers Ibn-i-Majah vol.2 no.1169-1170 p.194-195
"He who ate seven dates (of the land situated) between these two lava plains in the morning, no poison will harm him until it is evening." Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 21 no.5080 p.1129. vol.3 book 21 no.5081 also adds magic.
Mohammed gave the Ansar people an incantation for remove the poison of scorpion stings. Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 24 no.5442-5444,5448 p.1192,1196
Amulets work, but they are not for use by Muslims. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3530 p.51-52
A serpent causes miscarriage of a fetus. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3534-3535 p.54-55
Put on the right sandal first, and take off the left sandal first. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3616 p.95-96
A man who says certain things will not suffer sudden affliction that day or night. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.5069 p.1411
Gabriel cured Mohammed of every incantation and evil eye against him with an incantation. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3533 p.47
Following a Prophet Who Was Bewitched???
Mohammed at one point was bewitched: "Narrated 'Aisha: Magic was worked on the Prophet so that he began to fancy that he was doing a thing which he was not actually doing. One day he invoked (Allah) for a long period and then said, 'I feel that Allah has inspired me as how to cure myself.'..." Bukhari vol.4 book 54 no.490 p.317. See also vol.4 no.400 p.267, vol.8 no.89 p.56-57, vol.8 no.400 p.266-267. vol.7 no.658-660 p.441-443.
There are more details in this account. Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet continued for such-and-such a period imagining that he has had sexual relation with his wife, and in fact he had not. One day he said, to me, "O 'Aisha! Allah has instructed me regarding a matter about which I had asked Him. There came to me two men, one of them sat near my feet and the other near my head. The one near my feet, asked the one near my head (pointing at me), 'What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied, 'He is under the effect of magic. The first one asked, 'Who has worked magic on him?' The other replied, 'Lubaid bin A'sam." The first one asked, 'What material (did use?).' The other replied, 'The skin of the pollen of a male date tree with a comb and the hair stuck to it, Kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan.'" Then the Prophet went to that well and said, "This is the same well which was shown to me in the dream. The tops of its datepalm trees look like the heads of the devils, and its water looks like the Henna infusion."...'Aisha added, "(The magician) Lubaid bin A'sam was a man from Bani Zuraiq, an ally of the Jews." Bukhari vol.8 book 73 no.89 p.57 See also Bukhari vol.8 book 73 no.400 p.266
Labid bin el-Asam the Jew put Mohammed under a spell. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3435 p.60-61
Mohammed was bewitched Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 24 no.5428-5429 p.1192-1193; Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.1888 p.411
Also, if anyone deliberately attributes a lie to Mohammed, their abode is hell. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3754 p.161-162, also Abu Dawud vol.3 ch.1372 no.3643 p.1036. So, based on this, a Muslim should be careful if he says one should trust and follow all of Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Ibn-i-Majah, which form much of the basis of Muslim Sharia.
Faith in God Means Leaving Superstitions Behind!
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>World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc. 1990
Yahya Bin Sharaf An-Nawawi, Imam Abu Zakariya (compiler), S.M. Madni Abbasi (translator) Riyadh-Us-Saleheen. International Islamic Publishing House. (no date) (2 volumes)
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic for a history of medicine in the Arab/Persian world.
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