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Types of Revelation

Tuesday 30/03/2010

Islamic scholars have discussed and mention types of revelation:

 
·        Good vision
A Good or True vision was the first stage of Divine revelation to be experienced by the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Any vision that he dreamed would take place in reality as clear as daybreak. It was narrated that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “Visions of the prophets are revelation.”Allah The Almighty says about Ibraaheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention (what means): {
O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you.} [Quran 37:102]
 
·        Inspiration
This is what the angel would breathe into the heart of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), without being seen. It is narrated that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said:
The Holy Spirit, Jibreel [Gabriel], may Allah exalt his mention, has inspired me that no soul will die until it has completed its appointed term and received its provision in full, so fear Allah and seek provision moderately.”[Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
 
·        Revelation coming like the ringing of a bell, and this was  the hardest form of all to receive. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that Al-Haarith, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Messenger,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), how the revelation would  come to him. The Messenger,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), replied: Sometimes it is like the ringing of a bell, and this is the most difficult. When it parts from me, I have grasped what is said. Other times the angel comes in the form of a man and speaks to me and I grasp whatever he says.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
·        What  Allah The Almighty revealed to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), without the mediation of an angel, like He spoke to Moosaa bin ‘Imraan (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention. This degree is certainly established as having occurred to Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, based on a Quranic text. It is also established to have occurred to Prophet Muhammad,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), based on the Hadeeth of Al-Israa’.
 
·        The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would see the angel in its original form and thus, the angel would inspire the Divine revelation to him that was sent by Allah The Almighty.
 
·        The angel would present himself like a man and address the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), who consequently comprehended what he said. In this case, the companions would see the angel too.
 
The above details about Revelation have been stated by Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him.
 
The Divine Revelation was the start of a new era in the history of humankind when it descended to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), after it had ceased, and humankind was straying in darkness.
 
The descent of the Divine Revelation was difficult for the Messenger,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), as is evident in the aforementioned text, although the Messenger,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was the most courageous person ever and had the bravest of hearts as indicated by incidents throughout the next twenty-three years. The revelation was not man addressing man. It was an address by an angel bearing the words of Allah The Almighty to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), whom Allah selected to bear His message and communicate it to humanity.
 
It was an extremely grave situation and a great responsibility that was manageable by only the person whom Allah The Almighty chose to bear and communicate the Divine message.
 
The seriousness of the situation was depicted by the part of the Hadeeth wherein the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said, to his wife, Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her:“I fear for myself.”It is also explained by what ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) went back with his heart pounding violently, until he came to Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, may Allah be pleased with her, and said: ‘Cover me! Cover me!’ His family did so, until his fear subsided.”
 
The difficulty of the descent of Divine Revelation is also expounded by the Hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, who said, “Indeed, I saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dripping from his forehead.”  [Al-Bukhari] ‘Ubaadah bin As-Saamit, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Whenever the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) received Divine Revelation, he felt its rigor and his complexion would change.” [Muslim]

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