In this previous post, it was explained how various events of the Prophet Muhammad SAW involving Angels were witnessed by numerous people, so these events could not have been hallucinations by the Prophet SAW.
The response given to this by Murtad Gondal, and some other people, is that those witnesses were also hallucinating, and it is claimed these were events of ‘mass hallucination’.
Except that there is no such thing as ‘mass hallucination’. Because…
- Hallucinations are sensations, be it visual, auditory, feeling, smell, taste, that appear to be real but are actually not. They are subjective experiences in the mind, there are no actual external stimulus involved.
- Mass hallucinations are by default impossible, because one or more people cannot experience the same hallucinations that are created in the individual’s mind.
- There is little to no scientific basis that multiple people can generate the same vivid sensation in their minds. Hence why you will struggle to find anything on this subject in scientific literature.
What does exist as an idea is mass hysteria. This is where a person has uncontrollable emotions and in the form of mass hysteria, this happens to a group of people. In this state individuals and groups of people are susceptible to irrational beliefs and behaviours, but not sensory perception like hallucinations.
An example of mass hysteria could be: A person starting a rumour that there is a vampire going around killing people at night as they sleep, the rumour spreads and people actually start fearing this could happen to them, eventually this group of people start panicking and stop sleeping at night out of fear.
Going back to the events regarding Prophet SAW, we find no evidence of mass hysteria. For example in multiple events where other people saw Angel Gabriel in the form of a human, they were not in any hysterical state.
On the question of ‘heigheted susceptibility to suggestion’, which may be raised by some. This doesn’t fit in with the events of Prophet SAW, in those incidents the companions were not in a state of being susceptible to suggestions. For example in the incident where Umar RA narrates how they were sitting and a man dressed in pure white clothes appeared. There was no suggestions going on here nor were the compainions in a state of being susceptible. It was only until the ‘man in white clothes’ went away, that the Prophet SAW even mentioned Angels, explaining to them here as to who he was.
Gondal’s Quack Science
Gondal in a Twitter discussions with Omar Hamid of MuslimsRespond, tried to argue that all those events were ‘mass hallucination’.
He gave his response as:
He then goes onto cite an obscure fandom wiki as proof of ‘mass hallucination’. He has obviously just gone onto Google and searched for ‘mass hallucination’ and used the first result. The video he posts also resembles hysteria and not hallucination.
Gondal now changes his claim to mass hysteria, either realising his stupidity or conflating mass hysteria and hallucination. Either way he clearly has no idea what he is even talking about.
Another Ex Muslim points out to him that ‘mass hallucination’ does not exist. He claims he was merely using it as a “looseer definition”, at this point he is feeling embarassed and trying to save face, he goes on again to claim it is still ‘recognised’ by citing the fandom wiki again.
In conclusion, the explanation that events relating to Angels of Prophet SAW witnessed by many other people were ‘mass hallucinations’, is categorically false, nor do those events fit inline with mass hysteria.
This is yet another example of Gondal employing quack science as a way of giving a material explanation to events he cannot fathom.