Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) - The Dawn of Prophethood


Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) before the first revelation unto him, beside being a thriving businessman, was a restless man too. The injustices around him, the treatment of the poor at the hands of the wealthy merchants of Makkah, the never ending tribal feuds and moral degeneration of the society concerned him the most. Finding no solution to the misgivings around him, he started to spend his extra time in seclusion and praying endlessly. He would often go out of Makkah and take solace in a cave, called Hira in Mount Jabal e Noor some three miles out of the city.

He would many days in the cave praying to some divine power he had no idea of. Then as the time went by, he started seeing bright light in his dreams and he often wondered what that light could be. He did not know that it was the divine light perhaps testing him for the last time for award of the prophet hood. 

And then night it finally happened. While he was engrossed in his prayers, Angel Gabriel came, a sight which terribly frightened him. The Angel asked him to READ. To which he replied that he could not read. The angel came forward and embraced him so tightly that could feel his bones cracking. The Angel released him and then asked him again to READ. He again said that he could not and the Angel again embraced him tightly and asked him to READ for the third time. When he still gave the same reply, the Angel embraced him for the third time and then said:
“Read in the name of thy Lord Who created: Created man from a clot of blood. Recite! Thy Lord is the Most Beneficent, Who taught man by the pen, taught him what he knew not”
(Later these verses became the opening verses of Surah Alaq (Clot) 96:2-6)
When he repeated the words as commanded, he started to swat profusely as these heavenly commands were to heavy to bear. He therefore rushed home and asked his wife Khadija to cover him. After a while when he gained control over him, he narrated the entire episode to his wife.

Next morning his wife Khadija took him to one of his cousins Waraqa ibn Nawafal, who was a devout Christian and had was a wise man. Though very old and blind, he was able to listen to what had happened to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and said: You must have been visited by Namoos (that was how Angel Gabriel called in old scriptures) who also visited Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him), but feared that one day his own people will drive him out. This really surprised Muhammad (peace be upon him) and asked why would his people drive him out? Nawafal said that in the past whenever such tidings were brought from heaven to a person, people never believed him and was treated unjustly. Nawafal wished he were alive to that day and would have supported him and his truth.

Although Waraqa ibn Nawafal passed away shortly thereafter, his prediction were to come true in letter and spirit as Muhammad (peace be upon him) from then was to live a difficult life and the non believers of Makkah made his life miserable and difficult. But for prophets such are the hostilities they had to face as did Moses and Jesus and many others.

Among the first few people who embraced Islam at the hand of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the very first instant they heard of his heavenly revelation included his wife Khadija, his cousin Ali, then aged 10 years), Zaid bin Haritha (Prophet's adopted son) and Abu Baker (Prophet's best friend and companion). Khadijah was thus the first woman to embrace Islam and the first woman to pray with him.

The life of Muhammad (peace be upon him) as last of the prophets will be discussed in the next post.

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