Episode 30: Divine Revelation and Inspiration: It’s Nature, Protection, Preservation, Types, and Interaction
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
From this point on, revelation was consistent. This episode discusses revelation in more detail.
Revelation is a treasure that warrants protection from dangers, like the shayateen of the jinn. The jinn are similar to humans in that there are believers and disbelievers amongst them. The shayateen al-jinn would eavesdrop on the discourse of the angels e.g. about the commands of Allah and the rizq and qadr of people. They would then pass this information on to soothsayers, fortune-tellers and magicians. The latter would then convince people of their abilities to predict the future. The Quran was protected, as fireballs were sent against shayateen trying to steal news from the heavens. When they reported this to Iblis, he said this could only be happening because of an important event, and they were told to travel searching for the answer. It is said the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stopped to pray Fajr and when they heard the Quran being recited, they stopped, listened and surmised that this is what had come between them and the news of the heavens. Another narration relates that Iblis himself came to Makkah and he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) coming down from Hira and Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam), and he then realised what had happened.
How would revelation come to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and what effect did it have upon him? Accounts from throughout his life report that:
- Never did the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) leave a sitting or anyone from his family ever leave the house, except he would receive revelation i.e. it was frequent.
- The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would be gripped by the weight and pressure of receiving revelation e.g. he would break into a sweat, even on the coldest of days, with the sweat dripping off his face as if they were pearls falling; his face would become red; his body and face would heat up; Zaid ibn Thabit reports that the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) leg was over his when he received revelation, and it felt as if his leg would be crushed and break.
- Close to his face, you could hear the sounds of bees buzzing.
- The experience did not take away the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) consciousness e.g. he received revelation when he was eating and holding food and he did not spill anything.
- He would pull back from the people around him and not talk or respond to people.
- His eyes would remain open, but his hearing and heart would become devoted to what was coming down.
- He would receive revelation whilst riding his animal- on one occasion, Surah al-Ma’idah came down in its entirety whilst he was riding a camel: it was so heavy it weighed down the camel, so the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) descended as a mercy to the animal.
- The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was seen to be moving his lips rapidly as he would try to read it back to Jibreel(alayhi as-salaam) who was relating the Quran to him. Allah revealed: