Call to Prophethood
With age and growing understanding Prophet Muhammad PBUH became more aware of the corrupt society around him and it disturbed him greatly. He could not believe the polytheistic ideas of the pagans of Makkah and often thought of God of his forefathers, Ibrahim and Ismail.
He did not follow any particular method of worship, because he was not aware of any; but he realized that there is a force of truth beyond this world which must have power and control over the whole universe.
A few years before the conferment of prophethood, he became more and more fond of solitude. He started retiring for days with a supply of dates, oatmeal and water into a cave)in a nearby mountain known as Hira. There he pondered and meditated over the condition of his people. These spells of loneliness and meditation became more frequent as he approached the age of forty.
One day towards the end of Ramazan he was at the mount of Hira, when angel Jibrael appeared before him and asked him to read. This was so sudden and unexpected that startled by the strange voice he answered ” cannot read Then he felt that he was being hugged and squeezed so hard that he thought That he would die of suffocation.
He was then released and the request to read was repeated. ” cannot read”, said Muhammad again. The angel again hugged him and asked him to read. Muhammad was afraid of being squeezed a third time, so he asked: “What shall I read? The angel then recited the following verses:
Proclaim (or read) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created, Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood, Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He who taught (the use of) the pen, Taught man that which he knew not” (96: 1-5)
Muhammad PBUH recited these verses after the angel and the words were imprinted on his mind. This was the first revelation and the beginning of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad He was then forty years old.
Muhammad was greatly shaken by this experience and he ran out of the cave. Suddenly, he heard a voice and raising his head in the sky. he saw “The same angel in the form of a man filling the whole horizon and saying Muhammad(PBUH), you are the messenger of Allah and I am Jibrael. Whichever may he looked, he saw the same vision and heard the same voice He stood there until the angel disappeared.
After that experience, he came home a bit shaken at his selection for this great and noble mission. He feared the thought of the huge and tremendous task of this mission. He narrated the incident to Hazrat Khadija. She comforted him and assured him that no harm could come to a man of his nature and that Allah would protect him from all evils. Then she took him to her cousin Warqa Bin Naufal, who was a scholarly person and had embraced Christianity.
After hearing what had happened to her husband at the mount of Hira, he Said that it was the Angel Jibrael who had always brought revelations to previous Messengers of God. He also informed her that his enemies would turn the new Prophet out of his city.