05 Nov Revelation:Part 1
What Is the Revelation?
Can we understand the true nature of Revelation?
It is impossible for human beings to fully understand the true nature of Revelation. Only the Messengers to whom the Revelation was made can know its true nature. The attempt of ordinary people to define the Revelation process is like a blind man trying to describe colors. However, depending on the forms and times of the Revelation, the people in the Messenger’s close vicinity would witness certain manners and attitudes, such as his body trembling, a change in facial color, sweating despite cold weather, the emission of certain sounds, or feeling heavier than usual. All of these were evidence that a Revelation was descending. Also, as the angels are able to take different forms by God’s will, the Archangel would
sometimes appear to the Companions in the disguise of Dihya, one of the Companions of the Prophet, and sometimes the angel came to the Prophet in the form of an unfamiliar person, as the angels that were sent to Prophet Abraham and Virgin Mary had done. The world of creatures (the universe) is not composed of only those things that are visible to us. There are many things that we can feel but cannot see. Intelligence, love, fear, and grief are just some of the realities which exist that we can never see with our eyes. Thus, it would not be wise to deny that they exist just because we are unable to see them.
Revelation is the words of Allah told the prophets chosen by Him among human beings to convey those words to human beings.
Revelation is the knowledge and information that prophets find in their spirits (hearts) directly or indirectly.
It is not appropriate to try to explain revelation through material things. It is something peculiar to prophets. A being that is not an angel does not know what it is like to be an angel. A person who is not a prophet cannot experience and know prophethood truly. However, the existence of revelation is definite.
Prophets receive the decrees and truths from Allah through revelation. All of the prophets received revelation from Allah.
The following verse shows that revelation is something common and valid for all prophets:
“We have sent thee inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David, We gave the Psalms”(an-Nisa, 4/163)
There are many kinds and degrees of revelation:
The most common kind of revelation is the conveyance of the divine decrees to prophets through Gabriel, the angel of revelation. The Quran was sent down like that. Gabriel conveyed the revelation in different forms. He sometimes brought revelation as he was, that is, as an angel; he sometimes brought revelation disguised as a man. Sometimes, he came without being seen, with the sound of a bell or buzz and placed the revelation into the heart of prophets.
Sometimes, Allah makes His prophets hear the commands and decrees directly. For instance, Moses received revelation directly from Allah in the Mount Sinai and Hazrat Prophet received revelation directly from Allah during the Ascension (Miraj).
Archangel Gabriel and the Revelation
Why could other people who were in close vicinity to the Prophet not see Archangel Gabriel when he was delivering the Revelation to the Prophet?
There are living creatures as well as sounds that exist in different dimensions of the universe. We, as human beings, are capable of seeing, hearing or perceiving only some of these. There are, for instance, thousands of sounds and species around us that we have never heard or seen. Our being totally unaware of them does not mean that they do not exist. Moreover, we are able to see certain species only with the help of special devices, for instance, microscopes. Likewise, the one who delivered the Revelation to the Prophet was an angel, and the angels are luminous, spiritual creatures, invisible to the human eye. It is impossible for us to be aware of them with our senses. It was possible, however, for people to witness certain manifestations of the Revelation while the angel was delivering it to the Prophet; when the Companions were in the presence of the Prophet they were occasionally able to witness such manifestations and thus knew that the Prophet was receiving a Revelation.