Episode 5: IN THE CAVE OF HIRA
peace be and blessings upon him preferred the solitude of Cave Hira where he
remained for as many days as the provision with him required, spending his
nights in vigils and prayers, in the manner he thought reminiscent of the way of
Ibrahim (peace be and upon him).
It was the 17th Ramadan/ 6th August, 610 AD of the year following the fortieth year of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. Muhammed peace be and blessings upon him was wide‐awake and fully conscious when the Angel Gabriel came to him and said: “Read”. Muhammed peace be and blessings upon him answered truthfully, “I cannot read.” The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him related that the Angel took and pressed him until he was distressed, after which he released him and said again, “Read.” The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him replied for the second time, “I cannot read.” The Angel again pressed him tightly until he felt squeezed and then letting him go, said, “Read.” When the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him replied once again, “I cannot read,” he took him and pressed tightly a third time in the same manner. He then let the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him go and said:
Read (O Muhammed) in the name of Your Lord who createth, Createth man from a clot. Read: and Your Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teacheth by the pen, Teacheth man that which he knew not. [Qurʹaan 96:1‐5]
Upset and frightened by the strange experience which had never occurred to him earlier or having not heard of the same prior incident, the Messenger of God peace be and blessings upon him came back with verses, his heart trembling, and went to Khadijah and said: “Wrap me up, wrap me up!ʺ for he still felt horrified. Khadijah asked the reason for the Prophetʹs peace be and blessings upon him restlessness and the latter told her what had happened. Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was intelligent and prudent and had heard a great deal about the messengers of God, Prophethood and angels from her cousin Waraqa Ibn Naufal (who had embraced Christianity and familiarized the Torah and Gospels). She was herself dissatisfied with the pagan cult of the Makkahns like several other enlightened ones who had broken away from the idol worship. Khadijah was the wife of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. She had spent many years with him as the closest companion and knew him like she knew herself. By that alliance, Khadijah became the most reliable and credible testament of the nobility of her husband’s character. Worthiness of his moral fiber had convinced her that succor of the Lord would in any case stand by such a man. She knew in her heart of hearts that the good grace of God could never allow one so high‐minded, truth‐loving, trustworthy and upright man such as her husband, to be possessed by a jinn or a devil. And so she assured him with domineering self‐confidence: “By no means; I swear to God that He would never embarrass you. Because you consolidate and salvage relationships, you speak the truth, you bear peoples’ burdens, you help the destitute, you entertain guests and you relieved the pain and grief suffered for the sake of truth.” (Mishkat al‐Masabih, Vol. IV, p. 1253)
PREDICTION OF WARAQA IBN NAWFAL
Khadijah had tried to comfort and encourage her husband on account of what she thought was correct or on the basis of her own knowledge and understanding. But the matter was serious, crucial and imperative. She had no peace of mind until she had consulted someone knowledgeable of the revealed religions, their history and scriptures, as well as the biography of the earlier Prophetʹs of God (peace be upon him). Khadijah wished to know for sure what had befallen her husband. Khadijah knew that Waraqa Ibn Naufal was the man who could clarify the matter. She took the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him to Waraqa and when the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him told him what he had seen and heard, Waraqa cried out, “Verily by Him in whose hand is Waraqa’s soul, Lo, You art the Prophet of this people. There hath come unto thee the greatest Namus, (Archangel Gabriel) who came unto Moses at his time. A day will come when You wilt be called a liar, Your people wilt maltreat thee, cast thee out and fight against thee.”
The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was surprised to hear Waraqa’s premonitions for his fellow citizens had always received him with courtesy and esteem. They addressed him as the trustworthy and honest. Holding his breath in amazement, he demanded from Waraqa, “What! Will they expel me?” “Yes”, (replied) Waraqa, “For no man has ever brought anything like what You hast brought without being opposed and fought by his people, which hath always been so. If I live to see that day, I shall stand by thee.” The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him waited, day after day, but no revelation came for a long time. Then, it began again, so the revelation of the Qur’an started to manifest itself little by little and then in quick succession and was completed throughout the entire period of twenty‐three years.