“Recite in the name of thy Lord…”
Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was forty years old – in the year 610 AD when the Divine Call came to him in his retreat in Hira, the cave to which he was in the habit of retreating to for prayer and contemplation. He beheld a gracious Presence, the Angel Gabriel, who asked him to recite. Holy Prophet answered that he knew not how to recite. The Angel took hold of Holy Prophet, squeezed him firmly against his body and insisted:
“Recite in the name of thy Lord Who created: Created man from a clot of blood. Recite! Thy Lord is the Most Beneficent, Who taught man by the pen, taught him what he knew not” (96:2-6)
Holy Prophet Muhammad repeated the words as commanded. The Angel then vanished.
The Wife Testifies
After this dialogue the Holy Prophet Muhammad was left in a state of deep anxiety and restlessness and his heart was panting, for only God knew what this matter was and what was about to take place. In this state, the Holy Prophet hurriedly left the Cave of Hira, returned home, and said to his wife Khadeeja, “Cover me with a mantle! Cover me with a mantle!”. The Holy Prophet related the entire event and in the end said, “I have begun to fear for my life”, but Khadeeja said:
“God is witness, He has not sent you this Word that you should fail and prove unworthy, that He should then give you up. How can God do such a thing, while you are kind and considerate to your relations, help the poor and the forlorn and bear their burdens? You are restoring the virtues which had disappeared from our country. You treat guests with honour and help those who are in distress. Can you be subjected by God to any trial?” (Bukhari).
Khadeeja’s observations on this occasion throw a flood of light on the Holy Prophet’s character as observed by his closest and most intimate companion – his wife for fourteen years at that time. The honest testimony of husband or wife with regard to the character and disposition of the other is of the utmost value, for no other person has the opportunity to make so accurate an estimate based upon close observation and personal experience.