… a mercy from your Lord.
His favor to you is indeed immense.
(Surat al-Isra': 87)
The Prophet's (saas) Miracles
As Allah says, He sent our Prophet (saas) as the last prophet to humanity: "… the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets" (Surat al-Ahzab: 40). This blessed man delivered the final revelation and serves as humanity's role model because of his goodness, piety, and closeness to Allah. He is a friend of Allah, and the friend and advocate of believers. Allah tells us that He entrusted our Prophet (saas) with a great responsibility:
We will impose a weighty Word upon you. (Surat al-Muzzammil: 5)
With his powerful faith in Allah, the Prophet (saas) carried out his responsibility perfectly by inviting humanity to follow the Way of Allah and serving as their guide. The Revelation of the Qur'an
According to Islamic and historical texts, Allah bestowed prophethood upon the Prophet Muhammad (saas) when he was forty years old. But even before that time, certain miraculous events took place. For example, his dreams came true. The hadiths say that these dreams lasted for about six months. The eminent Islamic scholar Imam al-Bukhari relates:
The hadiths tell us that when he turned forty, he would often go by himself to the Cave of Hira' (Ghar Hira) in Jabal al-Nur (the Mountain of Light), which was located about twelve kilometers from Mecca. During the Ramadan of his third annual retreat, Allah granted the Prophet Muhammad (saas) the rank of prophet by sending Gabriel to reveal some Qur'anic verses to him. The first revelation was given on August 10, 610 CE (Monday night, 21 Ramadan).
This was certainly a wonderful grace from Allah. Our Prophet (saas) was blessed; he was an able, good, and a man of deep faith; had a degree of fear and respect toward Allah; and was worthy of this honor:
… but for a mercy from your Lord. His favor to you is indeed immense. (Surat al-Isra': 87)
You did not expect to be given the Book. It is nothing but a mercy from your Lord ... (Surat al-Qasas: 86)
The fact that his dreams came true is one proof that our dear Prophet (saas) was chosen by Allah. Islamic scholars interpret this as meaning that Allah prepared him for this great responsibility while he slept. After these dreams, the Prophet (saas) received the first revelation and was entrusted with guiding humanity to the true path. He continued to do so, with great determination, until he died.
The hadiths relate the miraculous events that occurred before he received the first revelation:
Aisha narrated: The first thing with which the revelation began for the Messenger of Allah was correct dreams in sleep. He never saw a dream but that it came like the breaking of the dawn. He used to go in seclusion to (the cave of) Hira', where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many nights. He used to take provision with him for that (stay) and then like-wise come back to Khadijah to take his food again for another period. Then suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira'. The angel came to him and asked him to read.
We are told in the Qur'an about his conversation with Gabriel and the revelation of the Qur'an to him. It is revealed in Surat al-Najm that Gabriel taught the Qur'an to the Prophet (saas):
Your companion is not misguided or misled; nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed, taught to him by one immensely strong. (Surat al-Najm: 2-5)
We also learn of the wondrous events that occurred as Gabriel transmitted the Qur'an to the Prophet (saas):
… possessing power and splendor. He [Gabriel] stood there stationary, there on the highest horizon. Then he drew near and hung suspended. He was two bow-lengths away or even closer. Then He [Allah] revealed to His servant what He revealed. His [Muhammad's] heart did not lie about what he saw. What! Do you dispute with him about what he saw? (Surat al-Najm: 6-12)
It is also stated in several other verses that Gabriel, also called the "Purest Spirit" or the "Faithful Spirit," delivered the revelation:
It does not befit Allah to address any human being except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or He sends a messenger who then reveals by His permission whatever He wills. He is indeed Most High, All-Wise. (Surat al-Shura: 51)
Say: "Anyone who is Jibril's enemy should know that it was he who brought it [the Qur'an] down upon your heart, by Allah's authority, confirming what came before, and as guidance and good news for the believers." (Surat al-Baqarah: 97)
Say: "The Purest Spirit has brought it down from your Lord with truth, to make those who have faith firm, and as guidance and good news for the Muslims." (Surat al-Nahl: 102)
Truly it is revelation sent down by the Lord of all the worlds. The Faithful Spirit brought it down to your heart so you would be one of the Warners. (Surat al-Shu'ara': 192-194)
There is a tradition that the revelations ceased for a while after the first verses had been revealed. The hadiths tell us that when the revelations resumed, the first verses he received were the opening verses of Surat al-Muddaththir. After that, the Prophet (saas) assumed his responsibility of proclaiming the revelation. Later, by a command from Allah, he told people to have faith only in Allah and not to make any creature His equal:
O you who are enveloped in your cloak, arise and warn. Magnify your Lord. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 1-3)
It is also said in Surat al-Shura 194 that revelations were placed in the Prophet's (saas) heart. In addition, Allah caused him to memorize the Qur'an: "We will cause you to recite so that you do not forget" (Surat al-A'la: 6). His ability to memorize the Qur'an in this way was another one of his miracles.
The verses of the Qur'an were rooted in the Prophet's (saas) heart, and he spent his whole life proclaiming them. In Surat al-A'la 8, "We will ease you to the Easy Way," Allah announced that He is the Prophet's (saas) helper and will give him success. Allah tells us that He is the blessed mesenger's constant Helper: "It is Our duty to help the belivers" (Surat al-Rum: 47). He refreshed the Prophet's (saas) heart and created marvellous things in his mind and memory. He tells us that it is He Who enabled the Prophet (saas) to recite and remember all of its verses:
Do not move your tongue trying to hasten it. Its collection and recitation are Our affair. So when We recite it, follow its recitation. Then its explanation is Our concern. (Surat al-Qiyamah: 16-19)
Clearly, Allah placed the Qur'an's verses in his memory in a special way:
High exalted be Allah, the King, the Real! Do not rush ahead with the Qur'an before its revelation to you is complete, and say: "My Lord, increase me in knowledge." (Surah Ta Ha: 114)
With his love and lively faith in Allah, our Prophet (saas) willingly and wholeheartedly obeyed all of His commands. Allah made him powerful and gave him success, granted him many blessings, and made him special in both worlds.
What Happened While the Prophet (saas) Was Receiving Revelation
Allah tells us that He told our Prophet (saas) to get up in the night and prepare to receive a revelation, a "weighty Word":
The hadiths inform us about how extraordinary it is to receive a revelation and of the marvellous spiritual things the Prophet (saas) experienced in his room. We learn that when the revelations came, those who were with him heard a sound like a bee buzzing around his face. Sahih al-Bukhari states:
1. Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 9, book 87, hadith no. 111
2. Sahih Al-Bukhari
4. Al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidhi
6. Abu Nu'aym