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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


One night, in 610 AD, Muhammad ibn Abdullah was in retreat in the cave of Hira, when he was visited by an angel of God. “Read!” said the angel. “I do not know how to read,” Muhammad replied. The angel then clasped him in tight embrace until the pressure became too much for him. Releasing him, the angel again said, “Read!” Again Muhammad begged to be excused, saying that he did not know how to read. Then the angel took hold of him and exerted such pressure upon him that Muhammad could bear it no more. Releasing him, the angel said, “Read!” “I cannot read,” pleaded Muhammad. And the angel said: “Read in the name of your Lord, who created you from a clot of blood. Read: your Lord is most bounteous.” This was the first verse of revelation to the Prophet Muhammad.

After this experience, the Prophet came home to his wife Khadijah in Makkah. Trembling, he cried out to her, “Cover me up, put a blanket over me!” Khadijah then made the Prophet lie down. When he had recovered from his shock, he explained the entire episode to his wife who, being older, was more experienced. “I feared for my life,” said the Prophet. “That could never be,” said Khadijah, “For you are one who cultivates the bonds of kinship. You help the needy and enable the destitute to earn their living; you are hospitable to guests; you offer assistance to those in distress. Is it possible that God would put you to shame? By God, that could never happen!”


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