How did the first revelation take place?

The Details of the Question

How did the first revelation take place?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The year was 610 in the Gregorian calendar. The Master of the Universe (pbuh) was forty years old.

He had a regular custom that he had been doing for years. He would spend the month of Ramadan with contemplation, worship, and prayer at the cave at the hill of the Mount of Hira. 1

It was quiet and serene in there. It was the best place for him to be left alone with his reflection. His blessed soul, which was bored with the corrupt atmosphere of the society he lived in, found tranquility and peace over there.

The Messenger of Allah did not worship randomly in the cave of Hira; he worshipped in accordance with the religion of Hanif, the religion of Ibrahim, his ancestor. 2

One day in the month of Ramadan, he went there again for worshipping and contemplation. He made his way to the mount of Hira with provisions that his wife Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) prepared for him.

The universe observed every step that its Master took with respect and stood in a deep silence. Yet, that stillness was not in vain. It was full of wisdom.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) accompanied the stillness with his reflection, which thus brought about some harmony. It was as though the universe whispered to his great soul as saying, “The reason why I was created is you. It is you who will explain my meaning best and that I am full of wisdom and lessons. Therefore, I am grateful to you.”

The Master of the Universe (peace be upon him) was now in the cave at the hill of the Mount Hira, where he soon was to be worthy of having divine revelation. He was engaged with his worshipping and contemplation.

The 16th night of the month of Ramadan had passed.

The 17th of Ramadan was a Monday night.

The mount of Nour and everything around it were covered with a deep and significant quietness to be able to hear and listen to what would be said soon. Maybe, out of respect to the ones who would speak and listen to.

It was past midnight and almost dawn. The exceptional time when nightingales sing and roses give out pleasant scents with all their beauties. The extraordinary time when those who mention the names of Allah are enthused and attain endless pleasure!

Gabriel (may Allah be pleased with him), the angel of divine revelation, took the shape of a most beautiful human being and was quite delighted. The environment smelled wonderful. The manifestations of fear and hope, and excitement and peace were intertwined.

Gabriel (may Allah be pleased with him) was very joyful because he would meet the last Prophet, the Prophet of the prophets and he would talk face to face with the Sultan of Lawlaka, who would deserve the title, “the Beloved of Allah” with his belief, worship, contemplation and struggle.

The expected moment finally came.

Gabriel (may Allah be pleased with him) appeared before the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his human form, sending out divine radiance around in the dark night. He spoke to him in a loud but calming voice:

The heart of the Master of the Universe was filled with wonder and fear. His heart shivered!
He answered: “I do not know how to read.”
Gabriel hugged him and held him tight; then, Gabriel released him, saying, “Read!..”
The Pride of the Universe gave the same answer, “I do not know how to read..”
Gabriel hugged him for the second time and held him tight; then, Gabriel released him, saying, “Read!..”
The Pride of the Universe said, “I do not know how to read. Tell me! What shall I read?..”

Thereupon, the angel recited the first verses of the Surah of Al-Alaq from the beginning to the end, which, through Allah Almighty’s ordering, he was in charge of conveying to the Prophet (pbuh):

“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read: And your Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who taught (to write) with the pen, taught man what he knew not.”3

The Master of the Universe (pbuh) was at the heights of excitement and amazement and recited what he heard word by word. The verses that came down became established both in his tongue and in his heart. Gabriel, who fulfilled his task, disappeared suddenly.


1. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, 1/252
2. Badiüzzaman Said Nursi, The Letters, 260
3. Surah al-Alaq, 1-5.

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
In order to make a comment, please login or register