The Revelation

After Prophethood

After Prophethood

INTIMATIONS OF PROPHETHOOD: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was forty when the first glimpses of light and of his future happiness appeared. The time of his mission approached. It had always been the Divine practice that whenever the darkness had become too intense and the wickedness widespread, a Messenger appeared. The Messenger of Allah’s distaste for what he saw reached a peak. It was as if he was being guided towards a certain spiritual destination. He loved going into retreat. He was always content when he could be on his own. He used to walk away from Makkah until he was well out of sight of the houses. He got to know all the paths, the flat areas and the valleys outside Makkah. From every rock or tree he passed he heard, ‘Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah.’ But when he looked around, to his right, to his left and behind him, he could see nothing but trees and rocks. The first intimations of the future came in the form of dreams, so vivid that they were as clear as the break of day.   THE CAVE OF HIRA The Messenger of Allah usually went to the Cave of Hira. He would remain there for several nights in a row, having taken along with him enough food to last for that time. He used to worship and pray in the manner of his ancestor, Ibrahim, the Hanifiyyah, and followed the pure human need to turn to Allah.   THE MISSION BEGINS: The Messenger of Allah was alone in the Cave of Hira on the day destined for the start of his prophetic mission. He was forty-one years old and it was the seventeenth day of Ramadan, the sixth of August 610 C.E. Suddenly an angel appeared and said to him, ‘Read!’ ‘I cannot read,’ he replied. Later, the Messenger of Allah, when recounting what had happened, said, ‘He seized me and squeezed me as hard as I could bear and then let me go and said, “Read !” ‘I said, “I cannot read.” ‘Then he squeezed me as hard as I could bear a second time and let me go. Again he said, “Read.” ‘I cannot read.’ ‘Then he squeezed me a third time and let me go and said: “Read in the name of your Lord’ Who created, created man of a blood-clot. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he did not know.”‘(96: 1-5) This was the first day of his prophethood and these were the first verses of the Qur’an to be revealed.   KHADIJAH’S REACTION: Naturally, the Messenger...

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The Revelation

The Revelation

In or about the year 570 the child who would be named Muhammad and who would become the Prophet of one of the world’s great religions, Islam, was born into a family belonging to a clan of Quraysh, the ruling tribe of Mecca, a city in the Hijaz region of northwestern Arabia.   The Revelation (audio)   Originally the site of the Ka’bah, a shrine of ancient origins, Mecca had with the decline of southern Arabia become an important center of sixth-century trade with such powers as the Sassanians, Byzantines, and Ethiopians. As a result the city was dominated by powerful merchant families among whom the men of Quraysh were preeminent. Muhammad’s father, ‘Abd Allah ibn’Abd al-Muttalib, died before the boy was born; his mother, Aminah, died when he was six. The orphan was consigned to the care of his grandfather, the head of the clan of Hashim. After the death of his grandfather, Muhammad was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib. As was customary, Muhammad as a child was sent to live for a year or two with a Bedouin family. This custom, followed until recently by noble families of Mecca, Medina, Tayif, and other towns of the Hijaz, had important implications for Muhammad. In addition to enduring the hardships of desert life, he acquired a taste for the rich language so loved by the Arabs, whose speech was their proudest art, and learned the patience and forbearance of the herdsmen, whose life of solitude he first shared and then came to understand and appreciate. About the year 590, Muhammad, then in his twenties, entered the service of a widow named Khadijah as a merchant actively engaged with trading caravans to the north. Sometime later Muhammad married Khadijah, by whom he had two sons – who did not survive – and four daughters. During this period of his life Muhammad traveled widely. Then, in his forties he began to retire to meditate in a cave on Mount Hira outside of Mecca, where the first of the great events of Islam took place. One day, as he sat in the cave, he heard a voice, later identified as that of the Angel Gabriel, which ordered him to: Recite: In the name of thy Lord who created, Created man from a clot of blood. Three times Muhammad pleaded his inability to do so, but each time the command was repeated. Finally, Muhammad recited the words of what are now the first five verses of the 96th surah or chapter of the Quran – words which proclaim God the Creator of man and the Source of all knowledge. At first Muhammad divulged his experience only to his wife and his immediate...

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