The difference between Revelation and Inspiration
It will help us to understand the value and nature of inspiration to know the differences between revelation and inspiration. They are as follows:
1- Inspiration can be regarded as evidence by Sufis, who are Islamic mystics, and some other people. However, it is not a proof or judgment that binds the majority.
2- Whereas the source of revelation is always divine, that of inspiration can be otherwise. For this reason, while revelation is absolute, inspiration is suppositional. This is because revelation comes via an angel. There is no possibility of making a mistake for the angel. However, as the heart has relation to the mind and to the evil commanding soul, it is affected by them. Therefore, mistakes may occur in this respect.
3- The prophethood contained in revelation belongs to the whole humankind. Inspiration, however, is restricted to the person who receives it. Revelation is like a sun which illuminates the entire universe. As for inspiration, it is like a lamp that illuminates only the person who receives it.
4- The prophet who receives revelation is responsible for communicating the revelation to people. However, a wali, a saintly person, is not responsible for communicating it to people. It is generally better to keep it secret.
5- Revelation is clear, pure and peculiar to prophets. Inspiration, though, is blurred and can be mixed up. It is a quality that angels and animals also possess other than humans.
The Mother of Prophet Moses
The Glorious Quran mentions the divine inspiration that the mother of Prophet Moses received:
The Pharaoh, who ruled Egypt at the time when Prophet Moses was born, had the male children of the Israelites killed. The mother of Prophet Moses, worried that her son might be killed, receives this divine consolation:
Suckle him (for a time, without anxiety for his life), then when you have cause to fear for him, put him in the river, and do not fear or grieve. We will surely return him to you and make him one of our Messengers. (Al-Qasas, 28:7)
This inspiration, which came to the mother of Prophet Moses, consoles and leads her to act in a certain way. At the same time it bears two pieces of good news that concern the future. These two pieces of good news are that Moses will be returned to her mother and that little Moses will be a prophet in future. Though it is unknown to us how the inspiration came to Prophet Moses mother, it can be that it was sent via dream or by way of an angel, as is the case with Virgin Mary.
It is a mistake to see such an experience of inspiration as peculiar to the mother of Prophet Moses. There are many people who receive such inspirations in similar cases. Such inspirations bear the qualities of consoling, directing, and informing about the future, as in the case of Prophet Moses mother.