Why did divine revelation stop after Waraqa died?

The Details of the Question

- A Christian asked me why the divine revelation stopped after Khadija’s cousin died. I said that it did not stop and that the revelation continued for 23 years.
- I do not know why it stopped and for how many days the revelation was interrupted.
- Will you clarify the issue. It somehow affects my faith.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to the relevant part of this incident, which was told at length by Aisha (r.a.), after Khadija (r.a.) consoled the Prophet (pbuh), they went to Waraqa together. After listening to what the Prophet (pbuh) said, Waraqa said, “What appeared to you is the angel. He also went to Moses. I wish I were young and helped you; if only I were alive when your people drove you out” said. The Prophet asked: “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa said, “Anyone who brought a religion like you brought was treated with hostility! If I remain alive until that day, I will help you!” However, Waraqa passed away soon and the revelation paused for a while. (Bukhari, Badul-Wahy, 3)

In the hadith of Aisha, which we summarized above, the following statement exists: “Waraqa passed away soon and the revelation paused for a while.”

The death of Waraqa and the interruption of revelation for a while are connected with the letter “waw” (the conjunction and). In Arabic waw can be used as a conjunction as well as the beginning of a phrase. (1)

In the narration above, waw is used as the beginning of a phrase. Accordingly, the revelation had nothing to do with Waraqa’s life or death. (2)

Some orientalists associate it with Waraqa to cast doubt on the Islamic revelation. They use the fact Waraqa was a close relative of Khadija, that the prophet met him after the first revelation - as it is explained in the narrations - and that Waraqa knew the previous heavenly books as reasons for it. In fact, the interruption of revelation for a while is interpreted by them as the time period the Prophet (pbuh) needed to receive the necessary information from him.

As a matter of fact, the orientalist W. M. Watt (1427/2006) claims the following regarding the issue:

“It is clearly understood from the stories told about the news that Muhammad was a prophet that the Prophet interpreted his first revelation experience with the help of the people who knew something about the Judeo-Christian notion of revelation, such as Waraqa (a close relative of Khadija, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad).” (3)

However, according to the narration we quoted above, the Prophet (pbuh) did not receive any information from Waraqa; on the contrary, Waraqa said, “If only I were young when you invited people and if only I lived when your people drove you out. If I remain alive until your invitation starts, I will help you.” (4)

It is seen that the narration on which they base their claims spontaneously refutes the claim in question.

And if Waraqa had such knowledge, why did he not claim prophethood before the person he taught (the Prophet Muhammad).

If Waraqa had been too ignorant to know that prophethood could not be attained through education, he could not have been trusted anyway.

Besides, Waraqa’s death after a while and the interregnum are mentioned in the narration in question. Since Waraqa died in a short time, how did the revelation, which continued for more than twenty-two years, continue without any interruption?

When the polytheists slandered the Prophet (pbuh), why did they not accuse him of having learned lessons from a Jew or a Christian? In fact, they knew Muhammad, son of Abdullah, whom they regarded as an enemy, better than the current orientalists.

Since Waraqa helped the prophet in his revelation experience(!), why did the Jews not use such an opportunity by expressing that claim in Madinah and accusing the prophethood?

Besides, among them were dozens of scholars who knew the Torah. Moreover, that they were not pleased with the Prophet of Islam is certain according to the Quran:

“Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion.” (al-Baqara, 2/120)

It is Allah who sends the revelation. He sends or does not send revelation if He wishes. Even this fact alone proves that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah.

As for how long the revelation was interrupted:

According to a sound narration, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

I was in Hira for a month; when I finished my i’tikaf, I went down. I was called when I was in the valley. Immediately, I looked ahead, behind me, to my right and left but I could not see anyone. I was called again. This time, I raised my head and saw that he (Jibril) was in the air on the chair (kursiyy). Therefore, I began to tremble severely. I went to Khadija and told her to cover me. They wrapped me up and threw water on me. Thereupon, Allah Almighty sent down the following verses: “O thou wrapped up (in a mantle)! Arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy garments keep free from stain!” (al-Muddaththir, 74/1-4) (5)

Click for additional information:

- Was it appropriate for our Prophet to receive suggestions from Waraqa bin Nawfal after the first revelation?

- What kind of effect did the interruption of the revelation called, “the suspension of revelation” have on the Prophet (pbuh)?


1) Ibn Hisham, Mughnil-Labib, Beirut, 2006, 2/414.
2) Zabidi, Sahihî Buharî Muhtasarı Tecrid-i Sarih Tercemesi, (Ahmed Naim, Kamil Miras) Ankara, 1987, 1/13.
3) See. Watt, W. M. Modern Dünyada İslam Vahyi, (trnsl. Mehmet S. Aydın), p. 63; Bodley, R.V. C., Tanrı Elçisi Hz. Muhammed (trnsl. Semih Yazıcıoğlu), pp. 61. 65.
4) Buhari, ibid; Muslim, Iman, 252;
5) Muslim, Iman, 257; see Zertürk, Hidayet. Fetretü’l-Vahy (İslami Vahyin Bir Süreliğine Kesintiye Uğraması), Yüksek Lisans, İstanbul Üniversitesi, 2015.

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