Fresh Lines
How revelation came to the Prophet (pbuh)?
  Taleemul Islam
  October 10, 2017

By: Allama Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani


This sacred sequence of Wahy (revelation) and Risalah (prophethood) came to an end with the last of the prophets, Muhammad al-Mustafa (pbuh). Nevermore, shall Wahy descend upon any man, nor there is need for it. Wahy used to come to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in several forms and modes.


In a hadith from Sahih al-Bukhar;, Sayyidah 'A'ishah (wife of the prophet pbuh) says that Sayyidna Harith ibn Hisham (r) once asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as to how did Wahy come to him. 


The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that 'there are times when I hear something like the chiming of bells and this mode of revelation is the hardest on me. After that, when this chime-sequence ends, that which has been said by the sound seems to have been committed to my memory.


 And there are times when the angel appears before me in the shape of a man.(Bukhari 2/1) 


As regards the likening of the sound of Waby to the sound of bells in the hadith cited above, Shaykh Muhyy al- din ibn a larabhi as explained it by saying that, in the first place, the sound of Wahy is continuous like the sound of a bell which does not break off in between; and in the second place, when the bell rings continuously, it generally becomes difficult for the listener to determine the direction of its sound because its sound seems to be coming from all directions.


And the Divine Word too carries with it the distinction that it has no one single direction, in fact, the sound gives the impression of being heard from all directions. A correct realization of this phenomenon is just not possible without auditory experience, however, in order to bring this happening closer to common comprehension, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has simply likened it to the sound of bells. (Fayd ul Bari 19,2011)


On occasions, so much intensity would be generated in this state of Wahy that the animal he would be riding at that time would sit down, wilting under his weight. Once, when he was resting his blessed head on the lap of Sayyidnii Zayd ibn Thabit (r), there started the descent of Waby in that very posture. This released so much weight on Sayyidna Zayd's thigh that it seemed to break. (Zad al ma'ad 1/18,19)


There were times when a low-volumed sound of this Wahy was sensed by others as well. Sayyidna 'Umar ((r) says: When Wahy (revelation) came to him, a sound somewhat similar to the buzzing of honey-bees could be heard close to his most bright face. (Tabwib Musnad Ahmad, Kitab al-Sirah al-Nabaviyah, 201212)


Under the second mode of Wahy, an angel would come to him in some human form and deliver Allah's message. Generally, on such occasions, Sayyidna Jabril (pbuh) the famous angel used to come to him in the form of Sayyidni Dihyah al-Kalbi (r) . 


Certainly, at other times, he has come in other forms as well. In any case, this mode of the coming of Wahy when it was brought by Sayyidnii Jibrail (pbuh) the angel appearing in human form, was the easiest on the Holy Prophet . (Al-Itqan 1/46)


The third mode of the coming of Wahy used to be that SayyidnG Jabril (pbuh) would appear as he was, without having
taken on the shape of a man. But this has happened only thrice in his entire life-time. First of all, it was when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had himself wished to see him in his real form and shape.


The second time, it was in the Miraj (the Ascent to Heaven), and the third time it was at Ajyad in Makkah al-Mukarramah during the very early days of prophethood.


 The first two happenings stand proved authentically, however, the last one suffers from weak chains of authority and is, therefore. doubtful. (Fathul Bari 1/18.191)


The fourth mode is distinguished by a direct, non-intermediary, two-way conversation with Allah Almighty. This honour was bestowed upon the Holy Prophet (pbuh) only once, that is, in Miraj, while awake. In addition to that, once it was in a dream as well that he was in a conversing situation with Allah Almighty.


and the fifth mode of Wahy (reveraltion) it so happened that Sayyidna Jabril (pbuh) would, without appearing physically In any form whatsoever, let some words of the message fall into his heart. This is technically known as Nafs Fil Ruh (blowing into the heart) (Ibid).


Source: Introduction to the holy Quran (Mariful Quran)