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This article discusses Allah's revelations to Prophet Muhammad that he alleged to have received from God at convenient moments during his life. There are a number of such instances in the Qur'an where there is revelation (and in the Hadith Qudsi, where Muhammad asserts that God has told him something that is not to be included in the Qur'an) concerning Muhammad as an individual. Critics have suggested that such verses would scarcely merit inclusion in a eternal document of divine importance that conceives of itself as "guidance for all of mankind". According o Sahih Bukhari, Aisha, Muhammad's wife, once said to him after one such revelation, "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."
Allah revealed to Muhammad that Muslim men are permitted to marry up to four women.
Muhammad was granted an exception in this respect to be allowed to marry an unlimited number of wives:
And although Allah allowed men to marry up to four wives, Muhammad allowed only one wife for his son-in-law Ali who was married to Muhammad's daughter Fatima. When Ali desired to take a second wife, Muhammad insisted he first divorce Fatima before taking a new wife.
I heard Allah's Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, "Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don't give permission, and will not give permission unless 'Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me."
Treating Wives Equally Well
In the same verse noted above Quran 4:3 is an injunction to treat all wives equally... " but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one...".
Muhammad initially gave each of his multiple wives equal attention and time with him, visiting a different wife each night. As time progressed however, he developed favorite wives who garnered more attention and affection than others. This created a great deal of tension among the ladies, and jealousy, and often rage, ensued. Muhammad then received another revelation absolving him from the earlier admonition to treat all wives as equals and deal with them justly, and allowed him to select his favorite wives according to his desire alone:
Aisha, the favorite wife of Muhammad, was expressly suspicious about this sort of revelation. After Muhammad received the verse above, Aisha commented, "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."
Marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh
Zaynab was initially married to Zaid ibn Haritha, Muhammad's adopted son. One day Muhammad paid a visit to Zaid's house to consult with him about a matter, but he was not home. Not expecting Muhammad to be at the door, Zaynab answered the door instead, dressed in a revealing garment, and Muhammad immediately developed a carnal desire for her. When Zaid learned of the prophet's infatuation, he divorced Zaynab so Muhammad could marry her. This turned into quite a scandal among the Arabs, who equated Muhammad's actions with incest, since he married his daughter-in-law. Soon thereafter, Muhammad received this revelation:
Muhammad and Mary the Copt
As stated above, Muhammad used to take turns among his wives, visiting a different one each night. One night during the time allotted for Hafsa, she had to take care of an urgent need with another family member and so was not at home. Muhammad instead had intimate relations with Mary, a Coptic slave that had been given to him. Muhammad was not married to Mary the Copt.
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
When Hafsah found this out and questioned him, he promised (on oath) not to touch Mary again if she would keep this a secret, and promised that Umar and Abu Bakr should be his successors. Hafsah, however, did not keep quiet and told Aysha about this event. As a result Muhammad had no dealings with any of his wives for a full month, living with Mary alone. Aisha and Hafsa conspired with the rest of the prophet's wives against Muhammad and isolated him from physical relations.
Justify his actions with Mary, Muhammad received the following revelation:
Allah then proceeded to chastise Aisha and Hafsa for getting upset with Muhammad for having sex with Mary the slave girl:
The Satanic Verses
Pre-Islamic Mecca was a hotbed of paganism and polytheism. It is said 360 idols surrounded the Ka'aba and were worshiped as gods. Thus, it is storied that when Muhammad first began preaching monotheism and denouncing the other 359 gods, he was met with much resistance and hostility.
In an attempt to appease the Meccans, buy some time and bring relief to his followers from hostility, Muhammad one night had a revelation found in Surah 53:19-22 which originally read, "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat the third, the other; these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved."  Al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat were three female deities, known as daughters of Allah. By this revelation Muhammad acknowledged these deities as worthy of worship and whose intercession in heaven was to be sought. Acknowledging these deities had the desired effect. Later, the angel Gabriel chastised Muhammad for uttering these verses and informed him that Satan, not Allah, had put these words in Muhammad's mouth. Thus, these verses are known as the Satanic Verses.
Muhammad then received another revelation to relieve him of any wrongdoing:
There exists, however, no such instance of prophets succumbing to Satan's trickery and pronouncing false revelations in either the Bible or in Jewish literature.
In fact, Christian and Jewish scripture, scriptures recognized by the Qur'an as containing the words of other prophets, we see the following attestation made:
Violation of the Sacred Months
Four months of the year were considered sacred to early Arabs. During these months no warfare was allowed and bloodshed was completely forbidden. The months which the Arabs held sacred were al Mu'harram, Rajab, Dhu'l Qaada, and Dhu'l Hajja; the first, the seventh, the eleventh, and the twelfth in the year. Muhammad adopted this custom of the Arabs and codified it in the Quran: Quran 2:194 and Quran 5:97.
In one of the earliest raids on a trade caravan by warriors dispatched by Muhammad, a convenient revelation is received regarding the sacred months. Muhammad's men spotted the caravan passing by on the last day of a sacred month. According to ibn Ishaq:
In the end they decided to attack the caravan and capture its goods, thereby violating the prohibitions against warfare in the sacred month. When Muhammad learned of it, he at first admonished them for violating the sacred month, but then received a new revelation:
Battle of the Trench
When preparing for the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad ordered his followers to dig a large trench around the perimeter of Medina, to hold off the expected army of Meccans intent on killing Muhammad. Many of Muhammad's men put less than full effort into the task, and some even left without Muhammad's permission. At the same time, another Muslim needed temporary leave to attend to an urgent matter. He asked Muhammad's permission, was granted permission, and returned to trench digging as soon as he could.
Muhammad became upset and angry at those who left the task without asking his permission. Here, Muhammad received another revelation:
Further emphasizing the point, ibn Ishaq records the following words from Allah:
Muhammad and Genetics
'Abdullah bin Salam heard the news of the arrival of Allah's Apostle (at Medina) while he was on a farm collecting its fruits. So he came to the Prophet and said, "I will ask you about three things which nobody knows unless he be a prophet. Firstly, what is the first portent of the Hour? What is the first meal of the people of Paradise? And what makes a baby look like its father or mother?. The Prophet said, "Just now Gabriel has informed me about that." ... "As for the first portent of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to West. And as for the first meal of the people of Paradise, it will be the caudite (i.e. extra) lobe of the fish liver. And if a man's discharge proceeded that of the woman, then the child resembles the father, and if the woman's discharge proceeded that of the man, then the child resembles the mother." On hearing that, 'Abdullah said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that you are the Apostle of Allah...
Observe the hadith above. Abdullah bin Salam wanted to determine if Muhammad was a legitimate prophet and so posed three questions that he assumed only a prophet would be able to answer correctly:
- What is the first portent of the Hour?
- What is the first meal of the people of Paradise?
- Why does a child look like its father or mother?
Muhammad responds, Just now Gabriel has informed me of that. Muhammad proceeds to share the following revealed answers:
- The first portent of the hour is an all-consuming fire from east to west.
- The first meal in paradise is extra fish liver.
- A child looks like whichever parent achieves orgasm first during sexual intercourse. (This response is evidently at odds with science)
Assuming this exchange in fact occurred, one wonders how Abdullah b. Salman could have hoped to confirm whether Muhammad had in fact given the correct responses to his questions regarding the hereafter and the science of reproduction.
Muhammad Corrects Allah
There was revealed: 'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive and fight in the Cause of Allah.' (4.95)
The Prophet said, "Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the inkpot and the scapula bone (or the scapula bone and the ink pot)."' Then he said, "Write: 'Not equal are those Believers who sit..", and at that time 'Amr bin Um Maktum, the blind man was sitting behind the Prophet . He said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is your order For me (as regards the above Verse) as I am a blind man?" So, instead of the above Verse, the following Verse was revealed:'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame etc.) and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah.' (4.95)
Note the sequence of events in the above hadith:
- Muhammad receives a revelation, which is part of Sura 4:95 as it exists today.
- Muhammad calls Zaid to write down the revelation and begins to recite it to Zaid: All who fail to participate in jihad are viewed as inferior to those who do participate.
- A blind man asks how the verse applies to him, since he is blind and cannot participate in jihad.
- Muhammad then conveniently receives a new revelation that adds an exception to jihad for the blind and disabled.
Allah Corrects Muhammad
At one time some big chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the assembly of Mohammad, and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. Muhammad disliked his interruption and ignored him. Later, remorseful, Muhammad received a revelation acknowledging the blind man's plight.
The verse no doubt left the blind man feeling better about his unfortunate encounter with Muhammad.
Muhammad's followers were at some point staying too long in and around his house and talking to his wives. Muhammad was thus revealed a verse to help Muhammad with this nuisance.
- Muhammad's Revelations - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Muhammad's Revelations
- Sahih Bukhari 6:60:311
- Sahih Bukhari 6:60:311
- Gerhard Nehls & Walter Eric - The Challenge of Islam/ Chapter II - English Press Limited Nairobi, New Revised Edition 1996, ISBN 9966 895 16 7
- ibn Ishaq, p. 165-166; see also History of al-Tabari , vol VI: Muhammad at Mecca, p. 108-109
- ibn Ishaq, p. 287
- ibn Ishaq, p. 451