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The Revelation of the Qur’an in Muhammad’s Life, Essay Example

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Essay

Introduction

The religion called ‘ISLAM’ has many events and critical happenings that can be called as a turning point in the believer’s history. These chains of critical events can be divided in to past, present and future. The past is associated with the purification of the religion. Although, the time has left blue prints on the believers with new believes and consequently the division of the Muslim’s unity. This division was utilized by the extremists as a prime opportunity to promote Jihad. We will explore the past section of the Islam that is associated with revelations by a prophet.

First Revelation

The first revelation was received by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is on the early retreats in a cave situated few miles from Mecca, on Mount Hira. This night changed the life of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) forever and is known as “night of power” (Linnard 37). Moreover, many Islamic scholars believe that this miracle has been occurred on 610CE. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) has spent his time in reflecting the oneness of God, as Meccans have rejected the religion and encourage others to worship many gods instead of one. During the first revelation, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) reported hearing a loud, commanding voice of cry “Iqra” (the Arabic word that means to read). Moreover, the word was repeated second time thus believing that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was alone in the cave. Hence Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was scared by the voice. He replied “I am not one of those who can read!” Thus Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was elevated, embraced and let go as the voice again ordered “Iqra!” now Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) asked by saying “What shall I read?” the voice spoke some words, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) repeated or recited those words. This is the first revelation and the beginning of Surah 96 of the Qur’an.

“Recite in the name of your Lord, who created, Created mankind From clots (of blood), Recite, and your Lord is the bountiful, who Has taught by the pen, taught mankind what it did not know.”  (Linnard 37)

(Brown 18) Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) then rushed to home while running down the mountain he was stopped by a vision of angel who introduced himself as Gabriel. This angle informed Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) that he is the messenger of God. Terrified and perplexed, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) tried to run away from that angel but in every direction Gabriel appeared before him. Finally when the angle has vanished Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) returned home. In addition, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) discussed the whole scenario with his wife Khadija. However, Khadija became the first converted women in Islam, as she truly believes about the divine nature of her husband. This first revelation was preached by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) among his close relatives and friends for instance his cousin Ali, his adopted son Zaid and his close friend Abu Bakr. These are the people considered among the earliest converts to Islam (Linnard 37).

Since Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) did not receive a new revelation for a period of time thought to be six months to two years, this time was marked by both excitement and self-doubt. The self-doubt eventually subsided because of the support of a small, dedicated group of believers. Confident and determined, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was now ready to take his message to the public (Linnard 37).

Revelation in Mecca

After the first revelation occurred, the Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) waited anxiously for the three years. During this time of waiting, he engaged himself towards the intense prayers and spiritual chase. (Ghazi and Ghazi ) The revelations were then restarted and the following verses reassured Mohammad that God had not forsaken him. On the other hand, Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) was ordered to warn people who are involved in the evil practices, help poor people and orphans and to worship only one God (Allah). In accordance with the guidance of Qur’an, the Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) initially kept his revelations private and confidential. He shared his revelations only in a small circle of people including his family members and close companions. With time, Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) then started to preach the message Qur’an into his own tribe. Later his preaching was distributed throughout the city of Mecca (Abdul-Rahman).

However, his teachings were not well received by the people of Mecca. Many people became rich, because the city was a central hub for trade and a spiritual center for polytheism. For this reason, people of Mecca did not appreciate the message and teachings of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) of embracing social equality, rejecting idol worshiping and sharing wealth with the poor and needy. Therefore, many people initially that embrace Islam and followed Mohammad’s preaching were among the lower classes, slaves and women. These Muslims that are initial followers of Islam faced horrible mistreatment and harassment by the people of Mecca. Many Muslims were tortured, others were killed and some took temporary refuge in Abyssinia (Mahmoud). The Meccan tribes then arranged full social boycott of the Muslims hence, not allowing people to trade with, care for, or socialize with the Muslims. In the harsh climate of the dessert this social boycott turned as a death sentenced for the Muslims of Mecca (“Later Life of the Prophet Muhammad – Timeline of the Life of the Prophet Muhammad “).

Revelation Medina

The situation for the Muslims has become worse and unbearable due to the harassment and maltreatment by the residence of Mecca, Muslims decided to migrate to a small town/city named as Yathirb in the north of Mecca. Moreover, the offer is made by the residential of Yathirb to preach them a faith and oneness of God. Due to the fact that the people of Yathrib had more faith in unity of God because many people belong to Jews and Christian tribes. They were open to the preaching of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and undertaking their assistance. Small groups are formed and in the mid of night they migrated towards the north of Mecca towards Medina. The people of Mecca replied by seizing the property and leftover of Muslims. Moreover they planned assassinate Mohammad. The Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) then asked his cousin Ali to stay behind and take care of their final business in Mecca. He and his close companion Abu Bakr then migrated towards Medina in order to join other Muslims in Mecca. The city Yathrib was renamed to Medina An-Nabi (the City of Prophet) when the Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) arrived. Later the city was named as Medina Al-Munawarah (the Enlightened City). The migration of the Muslims from Mecca to Medina was completed in the 622 C.E, that marks “year zero” (the beginning) of the Islamic calendar.

The importance of migration of the Muslims in Islam should not be misjudged. This is because, for the first time Muslims were living there without any harassment and torture. In Medina, Muslims were allowed to practice their religion and faith in full freedom. Therefore, Muslims began to transform a society that is based on the principles of justices, equality and faith mentioned in Islam. The Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) expanded his role as Prophet towards political and leadership in order to guide people towards right path.

What Mohammad Experienced in Revelation

Initially, many people thought Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was simple, harmless and friendly but soon they got aggressive. In fact, after the death of Muhammad’s wife Khadija in 619, the leader of Muhammad’s family rejected to support and protect him from anger of people. During the year 619 C.E, maltreatment and hardships were at the fullest with Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). But there was a year that was significantly difficult for the Mohammed and is known as “the year of Sadness”. During that year Mohammad’s beloved wife Khadija and his caretaker/uncle Abu Talib died. There is no one who helped Mohammed and Muslim community from the people’s harassment and tortured in Mecca (Haykal, Haykal, and Islamic).

Due this maltreatment, Muslims decided to settle to a new place in order to get rid of those hardships. Therefore, Mohammad first visited Taif to preach the Islam and seek asylum for Muslims from the Meccan oppressors. Unfortunately, this attempt was unsuccessful.

However, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) left Mecca in 622 (Stevenson 1). Mohammad and his followers, who are in small number, went to the town Yathrib later known as Medina. Mohammad achieved the respect from the residential of Medina including Jews and Christians who further asked support to resolve their family disputes. These are the great qualities of Mohammad that inspires many people in Medina. As a result, the followers were increasing more rapidly. Many people accepted his claim that he was sent as a last of a long life of prophets that included such biblical characters as Noah, Moses and Jesus Christ (Stevenson 1). The most famous petition of Islam includes the belief in oneness of God.

During this midst of hardships and struggle Mohammad had an experience that is known as Isra and Mi’raj (the night Visit and Ascension). During the month of Rajab, the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) made a nighttime trip to the city of Jerusalem (isra’), visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and from there was raised up into heaven (mi’raj). This experience gave comfort and hope to the struggling Muslim community.

Collection of the Qur’an

The Qur’an was constantly revealed to Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) during different time periods and this revelation procedure lasted for about twenty-three years. Moreover, Qur’an was revealed part by part, ayat by ayat and sometimes as whole chapters. In fact, Qur’an includes 114 chapters and 6000 ayats or quotes. During the initial thirteen years of revelation of Qur’an are known as Mecca period whereas, the remaining ten years are known as Medina period of revelation (“Qur’an Surah Revelation – Location Which Surah was revealed in Madinah/Makkah(Mecca) ? – UniteIslam – The Humanity In All Of Us – Frank, Thought Provoking Discussions About Islam, Muhammad, Terrorism, Muslims “).

Meccans and Medina Surahs

Surahs of the Qur’an have also been classified, according to their origin, into Meccan and Medinan Surahs. A Surah is said to be of Meccan origin when its beginning was revealed in the Meccan phase, even if it contains verses from Medina. A Surah is said to be of Medinan origin when its beginning was revealed in the Medinan phase, even if it has verses from the Meccan period in its text.

The following 85 Surahs are, according to Az-Zarkashi, of Meccan origin:

“96, 68, 73, 74, 111, 81, 87, 92, 89, 93, 94, 103, 100, 108, 102, 107, 109, 105, 113, 114, 112, 53, 80, 97, 91, 85, 95, 106, 101, 75, 104, 77, 50, 90, 86, 54, 38, 7, 72, 36, 25, 35, 19, 20, 56, 26, 27, 28, 17, 10, 11, 12, 15, 6, 37, 31, 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 88, 18, 16, 71, 14, 21, 23, 32, 52, 67, 69, 70, 78, 79, 82, 84” (Az-Zarkashi 1:193)

There is a difference of opinion as to what was last revealed in Mecca. Some say, following Ibn `Abbas, that it was Surah29 (Al-`Ankabut); others say Surah23 (Al-Mu’minun); still others say Surah83 (Al-Mutaffifun). Some believe that Surah83 is actually Medinan.

The following 29 Surahs are, according to Az-Zarkashi, of Medinan origin:

2, 8, 3, 33, 60, 4, 99, 57, 47, 13, 55, 76, 65, 98, 59, 110, 24, 22, 63, 58, 49, 66, 61, 62, 64, 48, 9, 5. (Az-Zarkashi 1:194)

Some hold that Surah1 (Al-Fatihah) is of Meccan, others that it is of Medinan, origin. The Meccan surahs constitute about 11, and the Medinan about 19 juz’ (parts) of the text. From the above division it is obvious that the Medinan Surahs are the longer ones and comprise a much larger part of the Qur’an.

Chronology

According to a list based upon Nu`man ibn Bashir and given in Ibn An-Nadim’s Fihrist, the chronological order of the revelation of the Surahs is as follows:

“96, 68, 73, 74, 111, 81, 94, 103, 89, 93, 92, 100, 108, 102, 107, 109, 105, 112, 113, 114, 53, 80, 97, 91, 85, 95, 106, 101, 75, 104, 77, 50, 90, 55, 72, 36, 7, 25, 35, 19, 20, 56, 26, 27, 28, 17, 11, 12, 10, 15, 37, 31, 23, 34, 21, 37, 40, 41, 47, 43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 88, 18, 6, 16, 71, 14, 32, 52, 67, 69, 70, 78, 79, 82, 84, 30, 29, 83, 54, 86. (Ibn An-Nadim 1:49-52)” (“Makkan and Madinan Revelations – Quran Institute of America”)

Conclusion

The repeatable revelation process went on and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) shared these revelations among the believers and non-believers of Islam. However, the messenger of God faced extreme circumstances, situations, fights and a deep struggle with a solid personal faith in God. The invasion of Islam in the world was governed with extraordinary effectiveness and litheness. The conversion of new people to Islam took place and a great number of unbelievers living in the occupied territories heavily trusted the faith in Islam and accepted Islam. Moreover, the purity of the message that was derived by the religion forced many non-Islamic people to convert in to Muslims. Moreover, apart from the strong message that Islam portrays, the enforcement of personal tax on all non Muslims gave confidence to convert to Muslims. Furthermore, even today, Islam is one of the most successful religions in eliminating or minimizing barriers associated with human race and nationality. In addition, there were certain advantages that were utilized by the Arabs such as dissimilarities were in majority for economic ranks that were viable in the early days of invasion. And therefore, Islam embraced and converted beliefs of numerous people with different race, culture and nationality. These are the few features of the rapid spread of the religion of peace i.e. Islam.

References

Abdul-Rahman, [compiled by] Muhammad Saed. Islam Questions and Answers . London: MSA Publication Ltd., 2004. Print.

Brown, Bryan. “The Spread of Islam.” Junior Scholastic 106.8 (2003): 18. Print.

Ghazi, A. G. T., and T. K. Ghazi. Mercy to Mankind: Makkah Period. IQRA International Educational Foundation, 1991. Print

Haykal, M. H., M. Ḥ Haykal, and Book Trust Islamic. The Life of Muhammad. Islamic Book Trust, 1994. Print.

Linnard, AttiaAlam. “Muhammad’s First Revelation.”Calliope 19.3 (2008): 37. Print.

“Later Life of the Prophet Muhammad – Timeline of the Life of the Prophet Muhammad “Web. 12/1/2012 <http://islam.about.com/od/muhammad/tp/bio_muhammad2.htm>.

Mahmoud, O. Muhammad: An Evolution of God. AuthorHouse, 2008. Print.

“Makkan and Madinan Revelations – Quran Institute of America “Web. 12/2/2012 <http://www.quran-institute.org/articles/makkan-and-madinan-revelations/>.

“Qur’an Surah Revelation – Location Which Surah was revealed in Madinah/Makkah(Mecca) ? – UniteIslam – The Humanity In All Of Us – Frank, Thought Provoking Discussions About Islam, Muhammad, Terrorism, Muslims “Web. 12/2/2012 <http://uniteislam.com/Quran_Surah_Revelation_Location_Which_Surah_was_revealed_in_MadinahMakkahMecca_-60-blog>.

Stevenson, Keira. “Mohammad & the Development of Islam.” Mohammad & the Development of Islam (2009): 1. Print.

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