Revelation of the Divine Message to Muhammad

Question and answer details
James Hole
Where did Muhammad receive the message?
Shahul Hameed
Salam, James.

Thank you for your question.

God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, has not only created everything but also has provided the means to sustain everything properly. What we call "the laws of nature" are a part of this system of divine guidance. 

But when God created humans who are intelligent beings, He gave them a special form of guidance suited for them through His chosen prophets, and the first prophet was the first man, Adam (peace be on him).

Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus (peace be on them all) were all prophets sent by God to guide their respective peoples along the right path.

And finally when the time was ripe, God completed His guidance through the last prophet, Muhammad (peace be on him).

In the Qur'an, God Almighty speaks to Muhammad: 

*{We have sent thee revelation, as We sent it to Noah and the messengers after him: We sent revelation to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.}* (An-Nisaa' 4:163)

From the above verse, we understand that God sent revelation to Muhammad as He did to other prophets.

From his early youth, Muhammad had earned the name Al-Ameen (Arabic for "the trustworthy one") from his people.

Guidance Is Revealed

When he was 40, he developed a habit of withdrawing to the solitude of a cave in Mount Hira which was close to the city of Makkah. He used to spend hours, sometimes days on end, meditating in the cave.

Once while he was in the cave, an imposing figure suddenly appeared before him and asked him to read a scroll held before him.

He was terribly frightened by this sudden appearance, and when the figure asked him to read again, he stammered saying that he had not learned how to read. But the figure, who was Gabriel, the angel of God, told him,

*{Read in the name of your Lord Who created; created man from a thing that clings. Read, for your Lord is the Most Generous; and He has taught by the pen; taught man what he knew not}* (Al-`Alaq 96:1-5)

These were the first revealed verses of the Qur'an, and thus started the revelation of the last Testament of God for mankind. Since the revelation of this verse, the Prophet's meditation in the Cave of Hira came to an end.

From then on, he was not to rest, for he had been chosen by God to be His last messenger on earth.

The Transformation of a Nation

Guided by divine revelation, Muhammad began preaching Islam when he was 40 years old. At that time, the Arabs were in the depths of ignorance and superstition; a set of mutually contending idolatrous tribes, who even buried their baby girls alive. But when the Prophet completed his mission in his 63rd year, they had become transformed into a unified nation of cultured people who were ready to make all and any sacrifices to help a needy brother.

This wonderful transformation of a whole nation would have been impossible if Muhammad had not been moved by God. He taught the people the most elementary things of life such as how to wash oneself, as well as the most important affairs of human society, such as how a country should be governed.

The Prophet taught his followers always to be truthful and sincere. He taught them to be committed to the cause of freedom, justice, and peace.

What the Prophet achieved in Arabia was the establishment of a society based on one god (God), one humanity, and one religion, which superseded all narrow considerations of clan or color.

Professor Philip K. Hitti writes in The History of the Arabs:

Within a brief span of mortal life, Muhammad called forth of unpromising material a nation never welded before. … and laid the basis of an empire that was soon to embrace within its far-flung boundaries the fairest provinces of the then civilized world.

The Qur'an, which came as the culmination and completion of all previous scriptures, gives all the important ideas in them. It speaks of God and His attributes, and of mankind and its role and destiny.  It charts out all the guidelines necessary for man to live a meaningful life on earth.

The Qur'an also contains verses revealed largely in answer to the questions that naturally arose in the Prophet's mind as well as in the minds of his followers on particular occasions.

But these occasions were typical of events that happen in the lives of all of us irrespective of time and place, and so even those verses that came in response were of a generic nature.

As the final revelation sent through the Last Prophet, the revelation of the Qur'an was a milestone in the history of man's cultural and intellectual development.   

The Message of the Qur'an

The Qur'an teaches that the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe is one, and so human beings, He created, are all equal. All man-made barriers of race, color, language, and nationality have no ultimate significance. What is important is the readiness of man to submit to his Creator and accept His laws as binding on him.

Man is God's trustee on earth, and so he has to utilize all the blessings God has provided on earth with responsibility. He must strive for the peace and welfare of all, not only in this life, but also in the life to come.  

Everyone is accountable in this life for their chosen beliefs and actions and God will finally judge people on that basis and reward or punish them in the world to come.  

Justice and Mercy

Justice and mercy are the central Islamic values that the Qur'an emphasizes and so all should struggle to make the society merciful and justly balanced. Balance and justice are inherent in God's act of creation, and so discernible in the whole cosmic order and nature, as much as it is a clearly stated spiritual and ethical value. No human is to upset that balance.

So the Qur'an teaches justice as a universal concept, to be observed in every sphere of human activity, whether it be in the family, society, state, or international affairs.

The Qur'an also underscores mercy as the other side of justice: Addressing the Prophet, God in the Qur'an says what means:

*{And (thus, O Muhammad), We have not sent you, but as mercy to all the worlds.}* (Al-Anbiyaa' 21:107)

The Prophet explained, "He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully." (Al-Bukhari)    

As Islam means "peace," all its teachings tend toward the attainment of universal coexistence of all sections of humanity in love, peace, and justice.

I hope this answers your question.


Useful Links:

Credibility of the Revelation

Qur'an: A Racist Book or a Global Message?

The Truth About Muhammad

Status of Prophet Muhammad

Did Prophet Muhammad Copy the Bible?

The Light of Muhammad