Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interruption in the Course of Revelation (Fatrat al–Wahy)

The revelations stopped for a while after the first one. The discontinuance of the revelations caused Prophet Muhammad great anxiety, since the worry and difficulty of the first revelation had not been completely eliminated. He would frequently go to the Hira cave and wait for Gabriel to come, yet the angel did not appear. The Prophet experienced days of apprehension as he thought that God had forsaken him. In the sources the duration of this period, known as Fatrat al-Wahy, ranges from a couple of months up to three years. However, it is possible that the period of three years has been confused with the period of the secret invitation, which lasted three years, and that the duration of discontinuance was actually much less. One day when Prophet Muhammad was returning back from the Hira cave, he saw Gabriel; he was again filled with fear and concern and returned home and slept. Gabriel appeared to Muhammad in his house and read the first verses of the Surah Al Muddaththir (74/1-5). In these verses, it is said that the time had come to convey the divine message to mankind, but that first of all Muhammad must rely on Allah while fulfilling the task and that he needed to stay away from moral impurity.
According to the accounts, during this period Gabriel taught the Prophet how to perform the ablution and prayer; Prophet Muhammad taught Khadija what he had learned from Gabriel and they performed the prayer together in their home.

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