Jul 17, 2008, 6:59 AM
The Prophet (PBUH) returned home shivering with fear. He found Khadija bint Khuwyled and said: “Wrap me in a sheet” “Wrap me in a sheet” they covered him by a sheet till he calmed down and fright was over. They asked Khadija: “What’s the matter with me?” Then he informed her of what happened saying: “I feared that something bad should befall me.” Khadija replied: “No Allah will never forsake you; you keep good ties with your relatives and endure fatigue and hardship; you feed the destitute, show hospitality towards guests and help others in time of misfortunes.”
Afterwards, Khadija took him to Warqah Ibn Nawfal who was Khadija’s cousin. He embraced Christianity before Islam and used to write down the Gospel in Hebrew. He was a blind aged man. Khadija said to him: “O my cousin! Hear from your nephew.” Warqah said to him: “O my nephew! What have you seen? After Allah’s Prophet told him what he saw, he said to him: “This angel or revelation are like that which was sent down on Moses. I wish I were a strong young man in this land. I wish I were alive when your people drive you out.” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Oh, will they force me out? He said: “Yes, no one came with the same thing you brought without facing animosity. If I should live till that day, I will support you staunchly. But Waraqah died rapidly and revelation came to a pause.
The interruption of revelation:
Scholars differ over the duration in which revelation discontinued and hold many views. But the truest view is that this pause lasted for several days, Ibn Sa’ad reported the same thing on the authority of Ibn Abbas.
There is something strange that appeared to me after I thrashed out the transmitted hadiths and the views of scholars. This matter is that such views and narrations show that 1-Allah’s Messenger had the habit of secluding himself in the Cave of Hiraa during one month, the month of Ramdan, for three consecutive years, prior to Prophethood; 2- the year of Prophethood was the last of the three years; 3-he used to complete the month of Ramadan inside the Cave, then he got out of the Cave on the morning of the first day of Shaw- wal and returned home.
The version that occurred in the two Sahihs (the two Collections of authentic Prophetic hadiths) mentions that revelation descended again upon the Prophet (PBUH) when he was returning home after he had completed a whole month in the cave.
I say that this confirms that revelation which was sent down following the pause was on the first of Shawwal that came after Ramadan when the Prophet (PBUH) received the divine Message for the first time. Because this was the last time he secluded himself in Hiraa. If it is established that the first time revelation was sent down was on Monday night, of the 21st of Ramadan, this will mean that the pause of revelation lasted for only days and that revelation was sent down again on Thursday morning, the first of Shawwal, the first year of Prophethood. This may, in my point of view, account for singling the last ten days of Ramadan for I’itekaf (seclusion in the mosque) and designating the first day of Shawwal as the happy feast.
The Prophet, during the pause of revelation, remained distressed bewildered and astonished. Al-Bukhary narrated what reads: “And the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet (PBUH) became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say: “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger”. Whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before.”
Gabriel descends again with revelation:
Ibn Hajarr: “Revelation discontinued for several days so that the Prophet’s fright would be over and he would long for return. When he yearned for divine revelation and began to wait for it, Allah honoured him with revelation for the second time”. The Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have said: “I stayed in Hiraa for one month and when my stay was completed, I come down and went into the heart of the valley. Somebody called me aloud. I looked around me but i did not see anybody. I was again called and I looked about but saw nothing. Someone called me again and he raised my head, and there on the Throne in the open atmosphere he, i.e. Gabriel (peace be upon him) was sitting. I began to tremble with fear. I hastened to Khadija and said: “Wrap me up.” They wrapped me up and threw water on me and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, sent down this:
You who are shrouded! Arise and deliver warning, your Lord magnify, your clothes cleanse. And uncleanliness avoid (Al Muddathir 1-5)
This happened before the prescription of prayer. Then revelation escalated and followed successively.
The aforementioned verses are the beginning of the Prophet Message. They include two types of obligations and their relevant results.
1. Obligating the Prophet (PBUH) to convey the Message and warn other people. This is implied in the verse reading: Rise and warn’, i.e. warn people of the seven punishment of Allah that they would bring upon themselves unless they abstained from aberration, worshipping idols and setting up partners with Allah in the Self Attributes, Rights and Actions.
2. Ordaining him to put the commands of Allah into practice and commit himself to them before anyone else. This is made essential so that the Prophet (PBUH) would gain the pleasure of Allah and become the good model for all those who would believe in Allah. This meaning is concluded from the remaining verses: the verse reading: ‘Your Lord exalt’ means exalt Him in particular and don’t make anyone share Him with such glorification and exaltation. As for the verse that says: [And your cloths cleanse], it means the purification of clothing and body. As it is insensible for a person who glorifies and supplicates Allah to be impure or unclean. If cleanliness is required cleansing oneself of the bad characteristics and shameful deeds will be eminently more needed. The verse reading: [And impurity abandon] means distance yourself from the causes of Allah’s anger and punishment through obeying Him all the time and shunning acts of disobediences.
The verse ‘Do not consider any favour you have conferred to be great (Al-Muddathir: 6)’ means don’t do a favour and anticipate reward from people or aspire of a greater recompense in this world.
The last verse refers to the inconveniences and harms that his people will cause to him when he is at variance with them regarding religion, calls them upon to worship Allah alone and warn them of His retribution and wrath. More to the point, the verses commenced with the sublime call that entrusts the Prophet (PBUH) with such a grand mission and arouses him from sleep to pass on to strife, labour and discomfort. Allah says:
And for your Lord be patient (Al-Muddathir: 7)
Surely, one who lives for his own benefits may find comfort. But you will bear considerable burden. So what sleep do you want? What comfort do you expect? what warm mattress or quiet life do you aspire to? Rise to receive the great undertaking that awaits you and the heavy burden you will bear. Rise to strive and act laboriously. Rise as the time of sleep and repose elapsed. From now hence nothing remains but incessant staying up and long assiduous struggle. Rise and get ready for this task.
To be continued