Wednesday, May 12, 2010

After the harrowing experience with the Archangel Gabriel, in the Cave of Hira, and Waraqah bin Nawfal's shocking revelations, Muhammed(pbuh)found himself at the mercy of his own inner turmoil. He wasn't sure if what he had seen had been an illusion or whether it was just because he had been spending so much time alone in the Cave. Why was everything such a mystery? And why was this happening to him? Was he busy losing his mind?

Khadija, his wife, kept on reassuring him that he was not going insane and on occasions consulted with her cousin, Waraqah bin Nawfal, who told her that Muhammed(pbuh) just had to be patient, that the same God who had spoken to Moses, would also speak to him and that he was the true Prophet of Islam. God's way was a mystery, he had said, not always easy to understand.

But Muhammed(pbuh)took little solace in these assurances. He continued visiting the Cave of Hira on Jabal Nur(Mountain of Light), hoping to see Gabriel again- hoping to find an answer to this terrible nightmare that was refusing to let go of him. Night after night, week after week, he persevered, till the weeks turned into months and the months into years, and, when nearly three years had passed we find him, one day, climbing past the Cave of Hira.

"By Allah!" he mutters to himself as he pulls himself onto a ledge. "I shall not abhor anyone more than a madman and a poet! I shall end my life and be free from the accusing eyes of those who respected and loved me. I shall finally be free from my torment!" He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. He prepares to jump.

"O Muhammed!" A loud booming voice suddenly calls out and stops him in his tracks. "You are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel!"

Muhammed(pbuh) looks up and sees the same 'Figure' he had seen in the Cave of Hira,staring down at him from the heavens- only this time he was unbelievably big!

Muhammed(pbuh) blinks and looks the other way. Again he hears that unimaginable voice. "O Muhammed! You are the Messenger of Allah and I am Gabriel!"

The Prophet(pbuh) shifts his gaze from one side to the other, but wherever he looks the Archangel is there!

He breaks down and cries bitterly- his body heaving as despairing thoughts of insanity wracks through his mind. Why oh why was this happening to him? Couldn't he just end it there and then?

To understand Muhammed(pbuh)diffidence and dilemma though, one has to backtrack and look at the set up of the different Arab tribes frequenting the Kaabah(Black-clothed building in the centre of the Harram- prayer area in Mecca). There were the idol worshippers, the Pagan Arabs, who performed the circumambulation around the Kaabah-naked! and the Hunafa who were known to be believers in the natural world as opposed to those believing in the 'Supernatural'.

These Hunafa(meaning those who turn away from idolatry), and, of which Muhammed{pbuh)became a member of, did not form a community. They, however, believed in the One God that Abraham and Ishmael believed in and they were looking at ways and means of reviving the monotheism of the 'True Belief'. They still called the Kaabah, 'The House of Allah' and Soothsayers, mad men, sorcerers and even poets(at that time)did not form part of their fraternity- mainly because these believed in dabbling in the 'Unnatural' and 'Spirits'- mostly evil!

So it stands to reason that Muhammed(pbuh), being taxed with the almost 'inhuman' task of telling, not only the Arabs, but the whole world! that there was only One God Allah, and that he, Muhammed(pbuh)was the Messenger of Allah, was way beyond his imagination!

Strange enough, it was after this appearance of the Archangel Gabriel in the sky that things started happening very fast. It was then that Muhammed(pbuh) was commanded to 'Arise' and Call to the People and bring them unto the True Belief. After three traumatic years!

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