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Revelation of the Quran story and specificity

Unlocking the Quran's Revelation: Its Story and Unique Characteristics

In the realm of Islamic theology, the concept of “wahy” holds profound significance. Derived from the Arabic language, “wahy” denotes a secret form of communication, often used by Allah (God) to convey His guidance and knowledge to His chosen servants. This divine inspiration, although mysterious and concealed from human comprehension, plays a pivotal role in the unfolding of Islamic teachings and scriptures.

 

In this comprehensive exploration, we embark on a journey to decipher the intricate layers of wahy, shedding light on its meaning, purpose, and various forms of manifestation. Join us as we delve deep into the heart of this divine phenomenon, seeking to unravel its mysteries.

1. The Linguistic Essence of Wahy

At its core, wahy signifies the act of informing secretly. It encompasses the notion that Allah, in His infinite wisdom, imparts His divine messages to select individuals among His servants. This communication, shrouded in secrecy, operates in a manner entirely unfamiliar to humans. The linguistic roots of wahy extend to the concept of inspiration arising from an individual’s innate disposition or fitrah.

 

A prime example of this form of inspiration can be found in the Quran, where Allah says:

“And We inspired the mother of Moses [this]: ‘Breastfeed it.'” (Quran 28:7)

 

This verse exemplifies how Allah inspired the mother of Moses in her natural disposition to take care of her child. Similarly, divine inspiration can extend to the innate guidance of animals, as highlighted in the Quran:

 

“And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: ‘Take your habitations in the mountains and the trees and in what they erect.'” (Quran 16:68)

 

Here, we witness Allah’s inspiration guiding even the behavior of bees in their natural habitat.

2. Divine Revelation to the Prophets

The divine inspiration, often referred to as revelation, holds a specific purpose: to convey divine instructions to the chosen Prophets. While the origin of wahy remains the same, its objectives vary. Revelation can be defined as “secret teaching from Allah to the Prophets, peace be upon them.” This divine communication serves as a means of guidance, instruction, and illumination for the Prophets and, subsequently, for their communities.

 

Allah elucidates this phenomenon in the Quran:

 

“Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad SAW) as We inspired Noah and the Prophets after him…” (Quran 4:163)

 

This verse underscores the continuity of divine inspiration throughout the prophetic lineage, emphasizing its significance in conveying Allah’s messages to humanity.

3. The Commencement of Quranic Revelation

The initiation of the Quranic revelation holds a profound place in Islamic history. According to Aisha, the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the revelation of the Quran began with truthful dreams experienced by the Prophet during his sleep. These dreams acted as a precursor to the divine revelation.

 

The process unfolded as follows:

 

  1. The Prophet received truthful dreams during his sleep.
  2. These dreams led him to seek solitary retreats.
  3. He embarked on retreats to Mount Hira, dedicating himself to worship during the nights and preparing for the divine encounters.
  4. During one such retreat, the Angel Gabriel (Jibril) descended and initiated the revelation of the Quran by instructing the Prophet to “Read.”

 

This transformative moment marked the inception of the Quranic revelation, setting in motion a divine communication that would shape the course of history.

4. The Specificity of Quranic Revelation

The Quranic revelation is a heavenly phenomenon known only to Allah. It is a secret from His divine treasures, bestowed upon His chosen servants—the Prophets and Messengers. This revelation serves as a divine miracle, a testament to Allah’s privilege of His chosen messengers. It is essential to recognize that Quranic revelation is distinct from phenomena such as hypnosis, voice recordings, or modern communication technologies.

Divine Revelation and Knowledge

Quranic revelation always encompasses knowledge and awareness on the part of the recipient. Prophets and Messengers receiving revelation are fully aware that the messages conveyed to them originate from Allah. This awareness distinguishes divine revelation from mere imaginative thoughts or the instigations of the devil. Divine revelation imparts knowledge that is certain, devoid of doubt, and unshadowed by confusion.

Forms of Revelation

The Quran highlights three primary forms in which divine revelation can manifest:

 

  1. Inspiration into the Heart: Allah places a meaning or guidance directly into the heart of the Prophet.

  2. Speaking from Behind a Veil: Allah communicates with the Prophet behind a metaphorical veil, allowing for a direct exchange.

  3. Sending an Angel: An angel, often Angel Gabriel (Jibril), is dispatched by Allah to convey His messages directly to the Prophet.

 

These forms of revelation demonstrate the diverse ways in which Allah communicates His divine guidance to the Prophet.

Angel Gabriel's Role

Angel Gabriel (Jibril) plays a central role in delivering divine revelation to the Prophet. He can appear to the Prophet in various forms, including his true angelic form, a human form recognizable to witnesses, or as an invisible presence with visible effects on the Prophet. The interaction with Angel Gabriel during revelation induces a state of spiritual absorption in the Prophet, causing him to transcend his normal human state.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself described the experience of revelation, noting that it sometimes came as the sound of a bell. He further explained that the revelation was most challenging for him during these moments of intense spiritual connection. Sweat would flow abundantly from his forehead during these revelations.

5. The Divine Revelation and Truthful Dreams

It is crucial to distinguish divine revelation from other phenomena, such as inspiration (ilham) and truthful dreams (ru’yah sadiqah). While these experiences can occur among individuals who are not Prophets, they lack the specific characteristics of divine revelation. Truthful dreams, for instance, may be experienced by a wide range of individuals, including disbelievers, and are typically based on personal beliefs rather than divine guidance.

6. The Blessing of Quranic Revelation

The revelation of the Quran is a profound blessing from Allah to His servants. It is not a result of merit or individual accomplishments; rather, it is a divine favor bestowed upon those chosen by Allah. The Quran itself affirms that the revelation of the Quran is a mercy from Allah.

 

“By the mercy of your Lord, you are not a madman.” (Quran 68:2)

 

 

This divine gift is not subject to human control; it flows from Allah’s will and is bestowed upon His chosen messengers. The timing and content of revelation are determined solely by Allah’s divine plan.

7. The Pause and Resumption of Revelation

Interestingly, the revelation of the Quran was not a continuous process. There were periods when revelation paused, and the Prophet eagerly awaited its resumption. This pause in revelation occurred despite the Prophet’s intense desire for divine guidance.

 

One notable instance was when the Meccan residents posed specific questions to the Prophet regarding matters such as the Soul, the People of the Cave, and Dhu’l-Qarnayn. The Prophet promised to provide answers the following day but omitted the phrase “in shâ’a Allah” (God willing). As a result, the revelation was delayed for a fortnight, leading some disbelievers to question whether Allah had abandoned the Prophet.

 

However, Allah’s divine will governs the timing of revelation, and the Prophet could neither expedite nor delay it. The Quran addresses this aspect, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging Allah’s will in all matters.

Conclusion

In summary, wahy—divine inspiration and revelation—is a profound concept central to Islamic theology. It represents a secret form of communication through which Allah conveys His guidance, knowledge, and instructions to His chosen servants, the Prophets and Messengers. The initiation of the Quranic revelation was a momentous event in Islamic history, and the revelation itself holds distinct characteristics that set it apart from other forms of inspiration or communication.

 

As we continue our exploration of wahy, we uncover the intricacies of divine communication and its transformative impact on the lives of Prophets and, by extension, the entire Muslim community. It is through this divine revelation that the Quran, the ultimate source of guidance for Muslims, was revealed—an enduring testament to Allah’s infinite wisdom and mercy.

The Al-Dirassa Institute provides a range of online courses in Arabic, Quran, and Islam tailored for non-Arabic speakers. To enroll in our courses or learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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