In the night of Mab’ath (Commissioning, Appointment, Assignment, Mission, Resurrection) when Muhammad (SA), had gone to pray alone in a cave on Mount Hira' (later called Mount Nur), Gabriel (PBUH), the same angel of Almighty Allah, who had appeared to The Prophet Abraham (PBUH), and to Mary, the honourable mother of The Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH), appeared to Muhammad (SA) who was then about forty years old. Angel Gabriel (PBUH) instructed him, in his mother tongue, with a mighty voice, surging like the waves of the ocean, "Recite aloud!" In fear and uneasiness, Muhammad (SA) cried out: "I am not learned!" The angel repeated the command, and elicited an identical response from Muhammad (SA). Angel Gabriel (PBUH) embraced him hard, and commanded him the third time:
"I â€‘ Recite! in the name of thy Lord (and Cherisher), Who created. 2 â€‘ Created humankind, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. 3 â€‘ Proclaim! And thy Lord is the Bountiful, 4 â€‘ He Who taught (the use of)Pen, 5 â€‘ Taught man that which he knew not... " XCVL:1â€‘5
After this Divine revelation, a great trembling came upon Muhammad (SA). Shattered and feeling tired, he hastened home to his wife, Khadijah, hoping to recuperate from this great shock. She wrapped him in the thick cloak he used to use as a blanket, and helped him sleep.
These first five ayat of surah 96, alâ€‘‘Alaq, (the very first wahy to Muhammad (SA) carry considerable significance which cannot be dis cussed in this introductory account. Volumes of commentaries have been written about this revelation, which cannot be covered in this book. However, the referral to the Pen as a symbol of the eternal plan of Allah the Omnipotent should be mentioned briefly. Many Divine words through numerous messengers have been lost, forgotten or tampered with because they were not recorded early enough. Islam, as the Perfect and Final stage of Almighty Allah's din, had to be provided with a wellâ€‘documented record so that the purity and the integrityof Exalted Allah's words should be safeguarded for ever as a Book of human guidance. This is why in the very first revelation the use of Pen is mentioned.
Only three years later, one complete Surah, called alâ€‘Qalam (meaning The Pen) was revealed to Muhammad (SA), to strengthen the symbol ofpermanence of His Final Testament (the Great Qur'an). This Sarah starts:
"Nun! By the Pen and by the (Record) which (humankind) writes." LXVlll:1
Knowing Muhammad (SA), so well, and seeing the unequivocal transformation that had come over him, Khadijah became his first follower. The second follower was °Ali, (A.S.), who was only ten years old, and the next was Zayd (a slave boy who was adopted by Muhammad (SA), after setting him free). Soon Muhammad's (SA) friend Abu Bakr was also convinced. At this stage, Muhammad (SA), had not talked about his experience openly.
Some months later, he had another heavenly experience. Suddenly he heard the voice again, and this time saw a huge pair of eyes staring at him, which became a gigantic figure whose wings (or feet) straddled the hori zon. He shut his eyes and turned away, but no matter what he did he could still see the angel. There was no escape.
Once again he rushed home in shock. Kha&jah noticed this time that when she wrapped him up, he began to breathe deeply, and sweated pro fusely. He was seeing the angel again, who said:
"O thou wrapped up (in thy cloak), arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy raiment keep free from stain! And all abomination (idolatry) shun! Nor expect any compensation (in return of what you give). But for thy Lord's (cause) be patient." LXXIV:1â€‘7