Why was the Holy Prophet, Peace be upon him and his progeny, frightened after receiving the revelation? Why did he resort to Warqa bin Nofel to confirm his prophethood? Is it acceptable for God to send a person who does not know that he is a prophet and has to seek help from his wife or a Christian? Why did the angel of revelation, Gabriel, crush the Prophet three times almost to death? Did Gabriel bring a writing for the Prophet to read that the Prophet replied three times: “I do not know how to read’? Why Gabriel did not accept the words of the prophet the first two times, but in the third time he did?
What is narrated as the beginning of revelation in famous sources of Sirah and Hadith, including in the books of Bukhari and Muslim, is taken from a narration of Zuhri by Urwah Ibn Zubayr, which is narrated from Aisha. The summary of this is as follows:
The angel came to the Prophet in the cave of Hara and said: Read. He said: I do not know how to read. The Prophet says: then the angel took me and pressed me so hard that I became weak. Then he released me and the same thing was repeated two more times, and then Gabriel said: Read, O Prophet, in the name of your Lord Who has created. He created man from a clot. Read! and your Lord is the Most Generous.
The Prophet, with a frightened heart, returned home where his wife Khadijah was there. He told her: Cover me, cover me … until his fear disappeared. The Prophet, who did not know what he saw was from God or the devil, told Khadijah that he was afraid. Khadijah comforted the Prophet and accompanied him to visit her cousin Warqa bin Nofel. Warqa, who was a Christian, blind and wise old man, heard the words of the Prophet and said: This is the same honor that God sent to Moses … I wish I would be alive when your people expel you. The Messenger of God asked: Will they expel me? Warqa replied: Yes, no man like you brought anything, except he was driven away. If I see the days of your prophethood, I will help you … not long after that, Warqa died and the revelation was cut off.
In popular Sunni historical books, there are 9 contradictory narrations with this famous narration, each of which has told this story with some differences. These variances cannot be taken as a simple mistake, because if we don’t say contradictions and differences are in all aspects of the narrations, at least in most of their content, signs of intentional forgery and distortion are visible.
There are serious questions about this story, and we cannot accept this narration without answering them. Has such a story happened? or is this a big distortion in the history of Islam?
When we see the narrators of this hadith, we find that Zuhri was one of the trusted scholars of the Umayyads, and Imam Sajjad Peace be upon him, in a letter, warned about Zuhri’s affiliation with the rulers. According to what Urwah ibn Zubayr has said about himself, although he knew that his leaders did not tell the truth, and even though he knew that their judgments are unjust, but he approved them and praised and strengthened their judgments. Aisha also has quoted this narration in the form of “Morsal” or without a reference document, while she was born after the designation and prophetic mission of the messenger of Allah, it is not clear how and from whom she narrates the events of the beginning of revelation.
But what is the real story about the revelation behind this distortion? The Prophet was under the care of the Holy Spirit until his designation to prophethood, but the courier of revelation had not yet been revealed to him. He used to receive signs from the unseen world, but he was not commissioned to bring them to the attention of the people. When the Holy Prophet was in the cave of Hara, he received revelation. Gabriel did not do any of that strange things to the Holy Prophet. After receiving the first verses of revelation, he was delighted and happy with the divine dignity and went back home with confidence in the important mission entrusted to him as Ibn Ishaq narrates. The members of the house of the Prophet expressed their belief in him and also shared his joy and happiness.
Zorarah asks Imam al-Sadeq Peace be upon him:
“How was Messenger of God sure that what has come to him is not from Satan? Imam replied: “Whenever God chooses one of His servants as a messenger, He gives him dignity and tranquility. What came to Prophet Peace be upon him and his progeny from God was so clear to him as if he sees them by his eyes.”
Even among Sunni scholars, it is stated that the Prophet does not have doubt about the revelation. Ghazi Ayaz has said:
It is not acceptable to say that Satan appears to Prophet as an angel and makes him doubt about the truth of the matter; neither at the beginning of the mission nor after it. The Prophet has no doubt that the one who brings revelation to him is the true angel and sent by God, and he finds this through his divine knowledge or the clear proof that God has revealed to him.
Staying away from the original and authentic sources of religious knowledge, which are the Qur’an and the progeny of the Messenger of God, has caused historians to blunder and accept the Israelites and draw such a disturbing picture of the Messenger of God. The Holy Prophet of Islam who is a blessing and grace to mankind.
Writer & Director
Motion Graphics Designer