Boreal

Waraqa

The Christian who convinced a retired allegedly illiterate merchant that God had indeed chosen him to be His spokesperson and changed the course of history

We are again indebted to Aisha for the story of her husband's first encounter with the Angel Gabriel and how a fellow by the name of Waraqa, a cousin of Khadija, his first wife, convinced him that the apparition was indeed an angel sent by Allah to speak with him on His behalf and not to be afraid.

Narrated Aisha:

The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him.

He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family.

He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read.

The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read."

The Prophet added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.'

Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?'

Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, 'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.' (96:1, 96:2, 96:3)

Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely.

Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, 'Cover me! Cover me!'"

They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me."

Khadija replied, "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones."

Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin Abdul Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight.

Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!"

Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?"

Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen.

Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out."

Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?"

Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly."

But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while.

Bukhari 1.3

In the same Bukhari hadith whose entire 6,000+ collection are considered authentic i.e. faultless and trustworthy another narrator tell us that Khadija's husband again sought the safety of bedsheets when Gabriel appeared to him a second time, in this instance outside the cave sitting on a chair.

Narrated Jabir bin:

Abdullah Al-Ansari while talking about the period of pause in revelation reporting the speech of the Prophet "While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the cave of Hira sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said, 'Wrap me (in blankets).' And then Allah revealed the following Holy Verses (of Quran): 'O you (i.e. Muhammad)! wrapped up in garments!' Arise and warn (the people against Allah's Punishment),... up to 'and desert the idols.' (74:1-5) After this the revelation started coming strongly, frequently and regularly."

In another faultless Bukhari hadith, Waraqa reads the Gospel in Arabic, there is nothing about recording them in Hebrew.

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?"

When he told him, Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet) Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly."

Bukhari 55.605

In still another account of what the Prophet Muhammad said and did, Waraqa actually writes them in Arabic. This would make the most sense if he wanted to make them known to his Arabic speaking tribesmen, which included God's latest and greatest spokesperson.

Narrated Aisha:

...

Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father's brother, who during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write ...

Bukhari 87.111

There was another Christian, an apostate, whose name is not mentioned, who claimed to have done more than acquaint God's Messenger with Christian doctrine.

Narrated Anas:

There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say: "Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him."

Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning they saw that the earth had thrown his body out.

They said, "This is the act of Muhammad and his companions."

They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them.

They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is an act of Muhammad and his companions."

They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them.

They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out.

So they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground).

Bukhari 56.814

Bernard Payeur

Muhammad’s Introduction to Christianity in the Koran