OF MOHAMMADAN REVELATION
Sir William Muir, in his “Life of Mahomet” remarks: The idolatry and moral debasement of his people, pressed heavily upon him and the dim and imperfect shadows of Judaism and Christianity excited doubts without satisfying them; and his mind was perplexed with uncertainty as to what was the true religion.
Mohammed had been wont, for years after his marriage, to seclude himself in a cave in Mount Hira, a few miles from Mecca. To his cave he used to betake himself for prayer and meditation, sometimes alone and at others with his family. There he often spent whole nights in deep thought and profound communion with the unseen, yet all–pervading God of Universe. It was during one of those retirements and in the still hours of the night, when no human sympathy was near, that Mohammed believed that an angel came to him, to tell him, that he was the Apostle of God, sent to reclaim a fallen people to the knowledge and service of their God.
Renowned compliers of authentic traditions of Islam agree in the fallowing account of the first revelations received by the Prophet:
It was in true dreams that Mohammed received the first revelations. “He never dreamt, but it came to pass as regularly as the dawn of the day.”
After this Mohammed continued to seclude himself in the cave of Mount Hira and to worship there day and night. He would, whenever he wished, return to his family at Mecca and then go back again, taking with him the necessaries of life. Thus he continued to return to Khadija, from time to time, until one day the revelation came down to him and the angel appeared to him and said “Read”, but as Mohammed was an illiterate man, having never received any instruction in reading or writing he said to the Angel: “I am not a reader”. The Angel took hold of him and squeezed him as much as he could bear, and then said again: “Read”; and the Prophet said, “I am not a reader.” Then the Angel again seized the Prophet and squeezed him for the third time and said: “Read, in the name of thy Lord who created; created man of congealed blood. Read thou for thy Lord is the most Beneficent, who hath taught the use of the pen, who taught man that which he knoweth not.” Then the Prophet repeated the words with a trembling heart. And he returns to Khadija (namely from Mount Hira) and said: “Wrap me up, wrap me up”. And he was wrapped up in a garment until his fear was dispelled. And he told Khadija what had occurred, and that he was becoming either a soothsayer or one smitten with madness. She replied: “God forbid. He will surely not let such a thing happen. For you speak the truth, you are faithful in trust, you bear the afflictions of the people, you spend in good works what you gain in trade, you are hospitable and you assist your fellowmen. Have you seen aught terrible?” Mohammed replied: “Yes”. And told her what he had seen. Whereupon Khadija said “Rejoice, O dear husband and be cheerful. He, in Whose hands stands Khadija’s life, bears witness to the truth of this fact, that thou wilt be the prophet to this people. Then she arose and went to her cousin Waraqa, son of Noufal, who was old and blind and who knew the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, and is stated to have translated them into Arabic. When she told him of what she had heard, he cried out: “Holy! Holy! Holy! Verily, this is the Namus (the Holy Spirit) who came to Moses. He will be the prophet of his people. Tell him this and bid him be of brave heart”. And when the two men met subsequently in the street, the blind old student of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures spoke of his faith and trust. “I swear by Him, in Whose hand Waraga’s life is,” said the old man, “God has chosen thee to be the prophet of this people. They will call thee a liar, they will persecute thee, they will banish thee, and they will fight against thee. Oh, that I could live to those days. I would fight for thee. “And he kissed him on his forehead.
The first vision was followed by a considerable period, during which Mohammed suffered much mental depression. During this period, the commentators state, the Prophet was seized with so much melancholy that he wished to throw himself when the Angel of God recalled him to his duty to mankind. The Angel spoke to the grieved heart of hope and trust, of the bright future, when he should see the people of the earth crowding into the one true faith. His destiny was unfolded to him when, wrapt in profound meditation, melancholy and sad, he felt himself called by a voice from heaven to arise and preach. “O thou who art wrapped in thy mantle, rise and warn and glorify thy Lord.” And he arose and engaged himself in the work to which he was called. Khadija was the first to accept his mission. She was to believe in the revelation, to abandon the idolatry of her people and to join him in purity of heart in offering up prayers to the Almighty God.