Rise To Prophethood
Never was the Prophet (s.a.w) surprised when Jibril (the angel Gabriel) revealed to him the first divine statement. His life went through many stages so that he would be prepared to bear the divine message. From the early part of his life, His Lord nurtured him kindly and closely as he was the future Prophet. To this fact, Imam Ali (a.s.) referred him his sermon named al-Qasi'a. as well as Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) in a statement reported from him.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) began to spend more time in the cave of Hira' for worship and meditation. Those devotions in the cave of Hira', located at the top of Mt. Hira' northeast of Makka, was a manifestation of preparing him for the heavy task awaiting him. The longest period he would remain in the cave was a whole month, and that would be the month of Ramadhan. During other months, he would spend whole nights there. He began to hear the voice, and see the light, and have dreams that were to come to pass exactly as he saw them in the world of dreams.(20)
THE PROPHET AND MESSENGER
At the age of forty, Jibril (a.s.) descended to reveal to him the seal of messages beginning with the first divine verses:
"Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honourable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, Taught man what he knew not..."
Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)
It was so great, so majestic and so glorious an experience to receive the revelation, that he felt a little tired, and so he lay down on his bed to have some rest. During these critical moments Jibril appeared to him for the second time:
"O you who are clothed! Arise and warn, And your Lord garments do purify, And uncleanness do shun,..."
Holy Qur'an (73:1-5)
Thus, Allah ordered His Prophet to carry His message to all people.
KINDS OF REVELATION
It is interesting to note how the message was revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.).
Allah mentions the manifestations of the holy revelation in the following verses:
"And it is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases; Surely He is High, Wise. And thus did We reveal to you an inspired book by Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor (what) the faith (was), but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants; and most surely you show the way to the right path.
Holy Qur'an (42:51-52)9
In this respect, we understand from the Qur'anic texts and the holy sunna that Allah revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) His message in many ways.
One way was that Allah, the Most Exalted and High, would reveal to him, directly and without any other means, the truth. It is said that this kind of revelation was the most majestic and so moving that his mule would sink to the ground(21), and that his forehead would break into sweast even if it is . was bitterly cold.(22)
Another way was that Allah would send a messenger to His Prophet. He would appear in his angelic shape, or in the shap of a human being.
Another method was the true vision, for the Prophets never saw false dreams. Whatever they saw in their dreams they saw in reality, because of the immense spiritual powers they had, through which they perceived the truth during sleep and wakefulness. That was in addition to the divine inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.