THE FIRST REVELATION OF THE QURAN

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How did the first revelations of the Qur’an come? Where did the first revelation of Muhammad occur? What did angel Gabriel talk with Muhammad? What did Waraqa ıbn Nawfal tell the prophet? You can read everything about the first revelations in Islam…

Having completed the six-month preparation toward perfecting his spiritual development so that he was now ready to receive Divine Revelation, Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace- was now forty years old.

THE FIRST REVELATION IN ISLAM

It was the seventeenth day of the holy month of Ramadan.[1] The Noble Prophet was in the Cave of Hirâ as usual, when Jibril –upon him peace- suddenly appeared and said:

“Read!”

“I cannot read”, answered our Beloved Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.

Thereupon, the Angel seized and constricted the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- so hard that he left him almost unable to breathe.

“Read!” Jibril –upon him peace- then ordered once more.

But the Light of Being -upon him blessings and peace- responded in the same manner:

“I cannot read!”

The Angel then seized him for the second time, compressing the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- until he had not strength to remain on his feet, repeating the command once again:

“ Read!”

“I cannot read!” answered the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, as if urging the Angel to indicate what exactly it was he wanted him to read.

THE FIRST REVELATION OF THE QURAN

Jibril –upon him peace- then forcefully squeezed the Light of Being -upon him blessings and peace- for the third time and then released him, beginning shortly thereafter to reveal the very first Revelation:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

“Read: In the name of your Lord Who created; created man from a clot. Read; and your Lord is the Most Bounteous; who taught with the pen…taught man that which he knew not.” (al-Alaq, 1-5)

With this Divine Command, the revelation of the Sacred Qur’ân, the greatest benevolence of the Lord for the whole of mankind, began its long course of revelation through the person of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.

It was thus these ayah of the Clear Quran that the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- received first from the gates of Heaven as a source of grace and vigor. Jibril –upon him peace- departed not long after and the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- returned home to Khadijah -Allah be well-pleased with her- trembling from the unbearable fright of the moment:

“Cover me, Khadijah, cover me!” he was saying.

After a few moments, the Blessed Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- recounted the experience to his wife, our mother Khadijah -Allah be well-pleased with her-, the noble woman with whom he lived an upright family life for the rest of humankind to emulate. Anxiously, he asked her:

“Who is going to believe me now, Khadijah?”

But the noble woman reassured her life companion:

“I assure you that Allah will never embarrass you; for you protect your kin, assume responsibility for those who cannot do so for themselves, give charity to the needy, do greater good than anyone else, treat your guests with honor and respect and assist those striving to do good. I will believe you and be the first to do so, even if nobody else does. Let me be the first you invite onto the path you call!”

These gracious words thus made Khadijah –Allah be well-pleased with her- the first person to testify to the truth of her noble husband and  help him in his arduous mission.

In other words, what Khadijah -Allah be well-pleased with her- was implicitly telling her husband was that only good can come out of good and benevolence could only engender benevolence, and nothing else. Rightly so, she could only expect the unfolding of a bright future from an immaculate past of moral uprightness, as if to echo the words of the Quran soon to be revealed:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ اْلاِحْسَانِ اِلاَّ اْلاِحْسَانُ

“Is there any Reward for Good – other than Good?” (ar-Rahmân, 60)

Khadijah –Allah be well-pleased with her- thereupon took the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to Waraqa ibn Nawfal, her paternal cousin, one of the exceptionally rare people who had never worshipped idols during the Age of Ignorance. With knowledge of Hebrew, Waraqa was similarly conversant with the Bible. Now in his elderly years, he was no longer able to see.

WHAT DİD WARAQA IBN NAWFAL TELL THE PROPHET?

“Listen, cousin, to what your nephew has to say”, Khadijah –Allah be well-pleased with her- said, upon arrival.

“What is wrong, my nephew?” then asked Waraqa curiously, which is when the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- recounted what he had seen.

Recognizing the greatest reality of all concealed within what had been explained to him there and then, Waraqa’s face glowed with a radiant smile, before becoming engrossed in a brief but deep meditation.

“What you saw”, Waraqa then remarked, “was but the Great Namus (Jibril) sent by the Almighty to Musa. If only I was still young when you would begin the Call…If only I would live to see the day your people expel you from your town.”

“And they will expel me from my town?” asked the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.

“Yes”, replied Waraqa. “There has not been a Prophet who has called to the Religion and not faced enmity and hostility and ultimately been driven out of his hometown. But if it happens that I live to see the days of your Call, I will run to your aid.”

Not long after the conversation Waraqa passed away; and Revelation, likewise, came to a temporary standstill (fatrah). (Bukhari, Bad’ul-Wahy, 1; Anbiya, 21; Tafsir, 96; Muslim, Iman, 252)

In the verses revealed afterward, Allah, glory unto Him, was to address His Prophet in the following:

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَّشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

“And thus did We reveal to you a Spirit of Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor what the faith was, but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants; and most surely you show the way to the right path.” (as-Shura, 52)

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ

“Surely We have revealed to you as We revealed to Nuh, and the Prophets after him…” (an-Nisa, 163)

As regards the fact that the foremost word of the very first wahy revealed to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was the command “Read”, the wise men of heart have rendered the following interpretation:

“Read! Read everything! Read the Book of Allah! Read His Signs! Read the book that is the universe! Read in order to attain guidance, to distance yourself from deviance! Read to complete your faith! Read in the name of Allah! Read in the name of your Lord who created you! Read in the name of Him who even though He created man from a clot of blood, still gave him the opportunity to read, to understand and become enlightened, and put to practice what has been understood! Read in the name of Allah who has blessed man with the ability to read, the grandest grace of all! Read in order to learn…Read each line drawn throughout the universe by the Pen of Might! Read in the name of Allah who has taught man what he did not know…”

In classifying himself during the spiritual stages he outgrew, Mawlana Rumi used the term raw for the time he spent reading books of exoteric content, cooked during the phase reading the mysteries of the universe, and burnt during his reading of Divine mysteries which virtually reduced him to ashes.

The command “read” conveyed through the ayah is of great importance; though the importance is matched by the condition that this reading ought to be in the name of Allah, glory unto Him. It shows the manner in which this reading must be undertaken.

“Reading” is not so much an external activity as it is a process of refining and cleansing the heart spiritually to the point where it becomes receptive to the Book and Wisdom. Suggested by the command, therefore, is the ability to read with the heart, the focal point of manifestations. More clearly, it requires the universe be perceived as a book, the pages of which the heart turns to read wisdoms and Divine mysteries therefrom; the gist of it all, that is to say, is for human beings to read, comprehend and live the universe, themselves, and not least, the Holy Quran.

From the first Revelation, the following conclusion may also be derived:

One must begin all noble activities in the name of the Almighty.

Human beings, created from a clot of blood yet given the most beautiful form, must never forget their vulnerability and insignificance before Divine Power.

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

“Who taught by the pen; taught man that which he knew not.” (al-Alaq, 4-5) inform human beings of the importance of knowledge, at the same time reminding them of the fact that whatever is learnt is learnt only by being taught by the Almighty, an enormous Divine blessing in itself.

Man must therefore always be conscious of the Greatness of his Lord and resist the urge to become ingrate.

Revelation slowed to a lengthy silence following the first revelation. In a way, this was to prepare the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- for the revelations to come. Receiving Divine Revelation was such an enormous undertaking that conceiving it was certainly not something easy. Underlining this fact are the words of the Almighty:

إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا

“Soon shall We send down to you a weighty Message.” (al-Muzzammil, 5)

After the initial stage of truthful dreams, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was overcome with anxiety upon suddenly seeing the Angel of Revelation right in front of him. Only with the comforting words of Khadijah and the confirmation of Waraqa did his heart feel at ease. Now, he enthusiastically desired for Revelation to resume, almost growing impatient. Time and again, he would go to Mount Hira, the place where he received Revelation for the first time, and wait in hope for it to come once again.

The greatest support during the hiatus came from none other than the honorable Khadijah, a depth of spirit, elegance and grace the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was never to forget. Following her death, whenever he sacrificed stock, he would always make sure to pay tribute to his late wife by sending a share of the meat to her relatives. For the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, she always remained a cherished and unforgettable memory.

The life of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- is replete with incredibly admirable manifestations, unseen in Prophets before him. It was only him that Allah, glory unto Him, addressed as His “Beloved”. Again, among the entirety of Prophets, only he was granted the gift of Ascension, the Miraj.

The preeminence of the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- was confirmed by virtue of him leading the entire prophets in salat at the Masjid’ul-Aqsa. The لَنْ تَرينِى mystery of Musa –upon him peace- thus transpired in him in the form of قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ اَوْ اَدْنى.[2]

Salat, the moment of union with the Real, was thereby presented to the mass of Believers to come, as a reenactment of the Ascension within the climes of the heart. Commanded, at the outset, to be performed fifty times a day by the ummah, the number of salats per day was eventually reduced to five, as a result of the repeated pleas of the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.

Though an unlettered orphan, through Divine teaching and training, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- became a guide to the whole of humankind, a translator of the realities of the realm of the unknown, the teacher of the school of truth. As expressed by Ziya Pasha:

 At such a school was he a learner

That the Almighty was his personal teacher

Musa –upon him peace- had conveyed certain laws. Dawud –upon him peace- excelled through the prayers and psalms inspired to him by Allah, glory unto Him. Isa –upon him peace- was sent as an exemplar of virtue and piety. Muhammad Mustafa -upon him blessings and peace- came with all of these. Pronouncing laws, he at the same time taught ways of refining the self and praying to the Almighty with a pure heart. The paramount virtues he taught, he epitomized throughout his life. He advised not be beguiled by the deceiving dazzle of the world. Simpler said, he embodied all the rights and duties of the entirety of prophets before him. The nobility of both lineage and conduct, of beauty and perfection were personified in him.

Without a doubt, the fortieth year of his life proved to be the greatest turning point in the course of the history of humankind. He had spent forty years in an ignorant society, during which most of the perfections he later was to promote remained a mystery to nearly all. He was not known yet as a man of state. Little were aware of his eloquence. Speaking of his potential as an illustrious commander was one thing; he was not renowned even as an ordinary soldier.

Before that, nobody had heard him talk about the histories of peoples and prophets of the yesteryears, or of paradise and hell. Reputed only for leading a life of utmost virtue and solitude, that momentous return from the Cave of Hira where he was entrusted with Divine duty, marked a momentous change.

THE REALİTY OF REVELATİON AND THE WAYS OF İTS DİSCLOSURE

Wahy, or Revelation, contains a variety of meanings; a rapid sign, script, correspondence, inspiration and secret talk, just to name a few. In principle, it signifies what Allah, glory unto Him, informs his Prophets of whatever He wills, in whichever manner He pleases, as stated by the Quran:

وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ

“It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by Revelation, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah’s permission, whatever Allah wills. He is Most High, Most Wise.” (as-Shura, 51)

Narrated by Aisha –Allah be well-pleased with her-, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was once asked about the manner in which he received Divine Revelation, to which he responded:

“Sometimes it comes in a clanging sound, which is the most burdensome way I receive it. Once I comprehend and commit to memory what Allah has declared, the Angel then leaves me. And at times the Angel appears in human form. He talks to me and I immediately comprehend it.” (Bukhari, Bad’ul-Wahy, 1-2; Muslim, Fadail, 87)

Judging from numerous narrations, Muslim scholars have concluded that:

  1. Revelation sometimes came in the form of truthful dreams during sleep, which later took place in the exact way they were seen.
  2. Words to be revealed would at times be instilled in the Noble Messenger’s -upon him blessings and peace- heart, without the Angel appearing.
  3. As was the case in the Hadith of Jibril,[1] the Angel of Revelation would assume the form of a human being and impart the Revelation.

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas –Allah be well-pleased with them-, the incident recounted below provides a splendid example of revelation in the latter sense:

“I was next to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- with my father Abbas. By the side of the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was also another man and they were whispering to one another, for which reason the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- did not pay much attention to my father. When we left, my father asked me:

‘You saw how the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- did not take much notice of me, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, father’, I replied. ‘But he was talking to another man next to him’, I added.

Thereupon we quickly returned next to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.

‘Messenger of Allah’, explained my father. ‘I said so and so to Abdullah and he told me that you were whispering to a man next to you. Was there really someone by your side?’

‘Did you actually see him, Abdullah?’ the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then asked me.

‘Yes’, I replied.

‘That was Jibril’, he then said, ‘and he was the reason I could not attend to you.’” (Ahmad, I, 293-294; Haythami, IX, 276)

  1. Revelation every so often came in the form of a terrifying clanging sound. By the end of the process, the Blessed Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- would have grasped every word conveyed by the Angel.
  2. On two occasions, Jibril –upon him peace- brought Revelation in his actual angelic form. First of these was subsequent to the period of interval, as the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was descending down the Cave of Hira, while the second was during the Night of Miraj, by the Lote Tree, Sidrat’ul-Muntaha.
  3. Revelation, on occasion, would be disclosed directly to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, as part of Divine acceptance and grace, without the medium of the Angel of Revelation, as was the case during the Miraj.
  4. It was also the case that Jibril –upon him peace- would sometimes disclose the given Revelation to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- in his sleep. Some commentators are of the view that such was the way Chapter Kawthar was revealed.

Some Companions provide an account of how, during the process of Revelation, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would become overwhelmed, become flustered, close his eyes, and put his head down. The Companions, too, would put their heads down, not daring to look up or peek at the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-, until the process was concluded.

Sometimes a sound resembling the humming of bees could be heard near his face upon the arrival of Revelation. During those moments, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would take quick breaths, with drops of sweat trickling down his forehead even during the coldest of days.[2]

Zayd ibn Thabit –Allah be well pleased with him-,[3] among the scribes of Revelation, has stated that the intensity of a given revelation would correspond to the weight of its content. If the revelation consisted of a Divine promise or assurance, then Jibril –upon him peace- would appear in human form, a situation that would not cause much difficulty for the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-. But if Divine warnings and threats of punishment were being sent down, then the Revelation would arrive amid the sound of a most terrifying clanging.

If the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was riding on camelback at the time the Revelation arrived, incapable of withstanding its weight, the legs of the camel would buckle and it would be forced to crouch. Indeed, upon the revelation of the third ayah of Chapter Maida, it was as if the legs of his camel Adba, were on the verge of breaking, forcing the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- to dismount.[4]

Zayd ibn Thabit –Allah be well pleased with him- recounts:

“I was sitting on the floor next to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, with his knee on mine. Right at that instant he began receiving Revelation. Suddenly it was as if there was nothing else on Earth heavier than his knee. It was only a matter of time, I thought, before mine were crushed.” (Ahmad, V, 190-191)

In denial of the fact that the Sacred Quran is the word of the Almighty, some orientalists have contended Revelation to be nothing but inner inspirations felt by the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- as a result of profound contemplation and meditation. Such allegations only betray the ignorance set deep within their hearts, their weakness of judgment, and the zeal of their enmity.

The fear felt by the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- upon seeing the Angel for the first time during the initial arrival of Revelation, clearly disproves the possibility that it could have been an inner, personal case of hallucination.[5] The Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- receiving of Revelation consists of his conceiving an external reality, not related in any way to the state of his inner being. That Jibril –upon him peace- forcefully hugged the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- three times, urging him on each occasion to “read” before letting him go, is confirmative of the fact that the source of Revelation is not internal, but external, from Allah, glory unto Him.

Besides, the temporary interval of Revelation invalidates, in no uncertain terms, the claims of Revelation being an internal phenomenon transpiring within the mind of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- as a consequence of his profound contemplation. The sudden break in Revelation and the urgent desire nurtured by the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- for it to resume, visibly proves that it was an occurrence of an external nature, independent of the Noble Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- will.

In addition, as reminded by the verse below, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was entirely unaware that he would be receiving Revelation in the first place.

وَمَا كُنتَ تَرْجُو أَن يُلْقَى إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابُ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ ظَهِيرًا لِّلْكَافِرِينَ

“And you did not expect that the Book would be revealed to you, but it is a mercy from your Lord, therefore be not a supporter of the unbelievers.” (al-Qasas, 86)

One only needs to glance at the difference of style between the Quran and Hadith to be further convinced of the revelatory source of the former.

Such incidents would come to pass at times, that in spite of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- needing an urgent answer, the arrival of an enlightening Revelation would be postponed; as was the case with the Ifk or the Slander Incident and the recurring questions many a time asked by the Israelites. Had the Quran been, as claimed, a fruit of the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- meditation, it would have been better for the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- to provide an instant answer rather than put himself in an awkward position by waiting for a Revelation instead.

What’s more, Revelation would at times inform of the Prophet’s incorrect stance regarding certain issues or command things counter to his preferred tendency. Even a slight deferral of communicating a certain command would lay the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- open to Divine criticism. All this exposes the illogicality of the accusations holding the Quran to be a product of the Noble Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- personal contemplation.

Just to recount a relevant incident, while communicating Islam to a few notables of Quraysh, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum –Allah be well pleased with him-, a blind Companion who had previously entered the fold of Islam, came up to the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-, insisting him teach him some of the truths revealed by the Almighty. Preoccupied at the time with trying to convince the prominent figures of Quraysh however, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- took little notice of him, even frowning a little upon Ibn Maktum’s insistent attitude to learn, for which he was subject to the following rebuke of Allah, glory unto Him:

أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى

فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّى

وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّى

وَأَمَّا مَن جَاءكَ يَسْعَى

وَهُوَ يَخْشَى

فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّى

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ

فَمَن شَاء ذَكَرَهُ

“As for him who considers himself free from need (of you) to him you do address yourself; but no blame is on you if he would not purify himself. And as for  him who comes to you striving earnestly and with fear of Him, from him you divert yourself! Nay! Surely it is an admonishment; so let him who pleases mind it.” (Abasa, 5-12)

In times subsequent to the above Revelation, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- would at every given opportunity seek to compliment Ibn Maktum with kind words. Upon seeing him, he would sometimes comment:

“Greetings, Ibn Maktum, on behalf of whom my Lord rebuked me!” (Wahidi, p. 471)

The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would, on occasion, receive Divine Commands in concise (mujmal)[6], for which he would not provide a subjective interpretation, so long as they remained unelaborated by the Almighty. A case in point is the following verse:

لِّلَّهِ ما فِي السَّمَاواتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَإِن تُبْدُواْ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ الل

“Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is Allah’s; and whether you manifest what is in your minds or hide it, Allah will call you to account according to it…” (al-Baqara, 284)

Upon hearing the above Revelation, apprehensive that they might be held responsible for even the fleeting thoughts in their hearts, the Companions worriedly asked:

“How, Messenger of Allah, are we supposed to cope with that?

In response, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- stated:

“What now? Are you trying to say ‘we hear, yet we rebel’ like the People of the Book before you? Better for you to say instead ‘we hear and we obey…we entreat You, our Lord, to forgive us, for to You is every return!’” (Muslim, Iman, 200; Ahmad, I, 233; Wahidi, p. 97)

Owing to the concise meaning of the relevant Revelation, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- did not provide further clarification but insisted that the Companions keep faith in Allah, glory unto Him. It was not long afterwards, however, that an ayah revealed anew shed light upon the previous:

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

“Allah does not impose upon any soul a burden greater than it can bear; for it, is the benefit of what it has earned and upon it, the evil of what it has wrought: Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake! Our Lord! Do not lay on us a burden as You did lay on those before us! Our Lord! Do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us! You are our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.” (al-Baqara, 286)

Thanks to the above ayah, the Companions had now become aware that they would not be held accountable with regard to thoughts which they could not help.

That the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- recoiled from offering a clarification for a mujmal revelation, over and above being a Prophetic reality, provides at the same time another incontestable evidence that bears out the Divine source of the Quran. Had that not been the case, then an explanatory revelation would have been redundant, and a subjective explanation would have sufficed as enough clarification. The absence of the occurrence of such a scenario supports the case for the miraculous nature of the Holy Quran.

Another irrefutable fact that proves the Divine source of the Quran lies in its providing news of the unknown, that is, of ghayb.

In like manner, the Quran also provides a factual account of history. Neither a scholarly institution, nor a single cultured individual existed in 7th century Mecca, with insight into the historical knowledge presented therein. All they boasted in the name of historical knowledge was nothing beyond a few local Persian legends that swarmed with contradictions, brought to town by its seasonal traders. Not only does the Quran offer a coherent and a total picture of history, it is not, in any way, of the kind that can be articulated by any individual, no matter how intelligent and inventive he may be.

Furthermore, an intelligent person ought to stop and think: Could an unlettered man, raised in an ignorant society, really be the source of the exceptional meanings of the Quran, other than through obtaining it from a Divine source? Of course not!

And this shows that all that has been conveyed by the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- has sprung forth from its very source in Divine Revelation.

The Holy Quran has also foretold events of the future, which have come to pass in the exact manner foretold, when their times came. The Quran perennially leads the way, and science only follows in its wake.

Undeniably, the following incident recounted in the Quran provides only one example of many.

To the Pharaoh, who, being on the verge of drowning in the whirlpool of the Red Sea wanted to seize the rope of belief as a last resort, the Almighty declared:

آلآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

“What! Now? When hitherto you had rebelled and been of the wrong-doers?” (Yunus, 91), rejecting his desperate bid to affirm faith amid the throes of death, before continuing:

فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً وَإِنَّ كَثِيراً مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ

“But We will this day deliver you with your body that you may be a sign to those after you, and most surely the majority of the people are heedless to Our signs.” (Yunus, 92)

Zamakhshari interprets the ayah in the following:

“We shall throw your naked corpse in a corner by the shore and protect it, in its wholeness, preventing it from decomposing, as a lesson for those after you in the centuries to come.” (Zamakhshari, III, 24)

Recent discoveries have found Pharaoh’s corpse washed upon the shore, prostrate. This was his very final state before death. Dreading the horrible scenes he had been made to witness in his dying moments, he wanted then to surrender to belief, but since his stance was out of desperation, it was not accepted. Thus, approximately three thousand years following that plight, and having survived decay, his corpse has emerged, and as was proclaimed by the Quran, exposed to be exhibited to humankind as warning. The corpse is exhibited at the British Museum as we speak: only one among many instances of the miracles of the Quran set to survive till the Final Hour.

But as the main objective of the Quran is to communicate tawhid and thereby call humankind to guidance, such miraculous instances of scientific and historical nature are only secondary. It must not be forgotten, that compliant with the Divine proclamation:

وَلاَ رَطْبٍ وَلاَ يَابِسٍ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

“….nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a Clear Book”, (al-Anam, 59), truths of every single kind are hidden in the Quran. Accordingly, the Holy Quran is a perfect narrative of all realities engraved across the universe, comprising the nucleus of all truths within. This characteristic of the Quran, necessitated by its being a miracle, will be better appreciated through the unfolding of events and in proportion with progress in human knowledge.

Had such knowledge, hidden in the depths of the universe as part of Divine Will, received detailed exposition in the Quran instead of its present concise form, then libraries would not have been spacious enough to accommodate its voluminous size. Besides, as human beings are prone to reject any claim unjustified by the expertise of the time, belief in the Quran would not have lasted intact until the Final Hour. Just to give one example, even if the reality of television had been exposed then as we know it now, people would have balked at believing it until physically seeing it before their eyes, which would have given them reason to reject the Quran; and hence the reason as to why the Quran, though having embodied every single truth, voices most of them in an undetailed manner.

All the issues dealt with by the Quran are conducive to the greater aim of tawhid, the impulse behind its touching upon scientific facts. A distinctive miracle of the Quran is that it survives in all times and places until the Final Hour. This is another testimony to a splendor revealed all the more with every moment and discovery.[7]

Unable to stomach the magnificence of the Holy Quran and the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, some orientalists have resorted to making the absurd and illogical claim of describing the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- state, while receiving Revelation, as an ‘epileptic seizure’.[8] We need only mention the following in response:

After undergoing an epileptic seizure, one is overcome with exhaustion and soreness, leaving him or her in great pain and a disturbed state of mind. Yet, not only did the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- not undergo any of these said sufferings, he would also consider a pause in Revelation as a break in proceedings, longing for its arrival, and becoming delighted beyond description when it did.

The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would not undergo the experiences characteristic during Revelation all the time, often remaining in usual manner.

During an epileptic seizure, a fact known to medicine, one loses all capacity to think and all consciousness, remaining oblivious to everything around him; yet the Revelation that the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- received were conveying to humankind the magnificent ayah of the Quran, boasting the most perfect blueprints of law, morality, piety and the most splendid accounts of history.

The violent tremor known to take over an epileptic during seizure was never witnessed during the coming of Revelation.

Epileptics tend to utter nonsensical even absurd words during seizure. The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was never seen to engage in such behavior; not only that, spilling from his tongue were the most eloquent and meaningful words mankind can ever imagine.

Moreover, medically proven is the fact that no single body has the power to endure a seizure as lengthy as that needed to utter six-thousand odd verses.

Such deliberate allegations, which lack the least sense, are therefore only an outcome of an inability to come to terms with the truth of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, The Prophet Muhammed Mustafa the Elect, Erkam Publications

[1] Ibn Saad, I, 194.

[2] لَنْ تَرينِى: “You shall never see me!” (al-Araf, 143). On Mount Sina, Musa –upon him peace- was subjected to training in preparation for speaking with the Almighty. He was made to fast for thirty days, completed to forty with a further addition of ten, which elevated him from the ego-dominated life and prepared him for the conversing that was to take place between him and the Almighty. Allah, glory unto Him, did not speak to Musa –upon him- peace through the medium of a language or a sound, much rather with His eternal attribute of Kalam, or Speech, which was not heard or even sensed either by Jibril –upon him peace-, or the seventy men brought to stand witness. Musa –upon him peace-, in the face of this manifestation, lost sight of himself. Forgetting whether he was on Earth or in the Hereafter, he traversed beyond space and time. A forceful desire awakened in him, fuelled by a grand love and rapture, to see the essence of the Almighty, in response to which came the Divine decree: “You shall never see Me!” And when Musa –upon him peace- involuntarily insisted on gazing at the Essence of the Divine, the Almighty told him to turn his gaze towards the mountain, and that he could have his wish of gazing at the Essence of the Divine granted, on the condition that the mountain would remain in one piece upon the Almighty’s manifestation thereon. When a light of Divine Essence trickled forth from behind innumerable veils and manifested itself to the mountain, the mountain shattered, the terrifying sight of which made Musa –upon him peace- faint. Upon regaining consciousness, he repented to Allah, glory unto Him, for having overstepped his boundary.

One can draw the following lessons from the incident: There is no single place in the universe that can stand an essential manifestation of Allah, glory unto Him. This is attested by the eruption of a mountain, which could not even endure an infinitesimal amount of Divine manifestation. Thus in terms of His Essence, Allah, glory unto Him, is hidden (ghayb), but apparent through the manifestations of His attributes, for which reason that in describing Believers, the Quran reiterates that they “ اَلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ”,  “…those who believe in the ghayb”.

Another fact of the matter is that human cognition is incapable of comprehending the manifestation of the Essence of the Almighty, something verified by the fainting of Musa –upon him peace-. Accordingly, there is no manifestation of Divine Essence in our world, due to  the inadequacy of the cognition of both man and jinn to bear the intensity of its appearance.

 “قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ اَوْ اَدْنى: “And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer… (an-Najm, 9): On the night of Miraj, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was delivered beyond the Sidrat’ul-Muntaha, the Lote Tree, never before passed by any being, including Jibril -upon him peace-. Taking place there was a union, whose nature remains impossible and too confidential for our understanding to grasp, disclosed to cognition simply as a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer….

These are expressions articulated to accommodate our levels of understanding, in depicting the two grand manifestations which Musa –upon him peace- and Muhammad Mustafa -upon him blessings and peace- were subjected to.

[1] One day while the Blessed Prophet was at the Masjid, Jibril -aleyhissalâm- came to him in the form of a man and asked him questions regarding îman, Islâm, ihsân and the signs of the Day of Judgment, with the aim of helping the Companions learn their religion. The hadith explaining this incident has thereafter been known as the Jibril Hadith. (See Bukhârî, Iman, 37; Muslim, Iman, 1, 5)

[2] Bukhari, Bad’ul-Wahy 1/2, Umra 10; Muslim, Fadâil 87, Hudûd 13; Tirmidhi, Tafsir 23/3173; Ahmed, V, 327.

[3] Zayd ibn Thabit –Allah be well-pleased with him- was among the scribes of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. At the time of the Noble Messenger’s -upon him blessings and peace- migration to Medina, Zayd was an eleven year old orphan. As a child, he had committed to memory seventeen chapters of the Quran. The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- advised him to learn Assyrian and Hebrew, both of which he became conversant with within a matter of forty days, supervising the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- Assyrian and Hebrew correspondences afterward. But one of his most honorable services was, with the aid of another two Companions, the assembling of the Quran. He passed away in Medina in the 45th year of Hegira, having narrated 92 hadiths.

[4] Ahmed, II, 176; VI, 445; Ibn Saad, I, 197; Tabarî, Tafsîr, VI, 106.

[5] Hallucination: Originally from French, in psychology, the term denotes sensations more commonly observed in cases of schizophrenia or paranoia, where the person undergoes experiences without the stimulation of his senses and imagines things that have no reality of their own.

[6] Mujmal are expressions that contain succinct meanings, which until further clarification, remain obscure.

[7] For relevant examples, see, Osman Nûri TOPBAŞ, Rahmet Esintileri, Istanbul 2001, p. 184-239.

[8] The observable changes undergone by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- during the receiving of Revelation, the details of which are explained above, have lead some orientalists to conceive the experience as an epileptic seizure, centered upon which they have conjured further arguments, even taking it so far as to make the inconceivable allegation of dubbing the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- mentally insane. They were even able to persuade the French National Academy of Medicine to at least consider the scientific value of the case, hoping for the eventual confirmation of their claim. In 1842, a committee consisting of the most outstanding doctors of medicine at the time assessed the claims, finally submitting a long and elaborate report, rejecting the claim as medically unacceptable. Those interested can refer to Rapor, a 1996 translation of the report from French to Turkish by Prof. Feridun Nafiz Uzluk.

THE INCEPTION OF DIVINE REVELATION ‘TRUTHFUL DREAMS’

MONK NESTOR AND YOUNG MUHAMMAD

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