Stages of the Revelation
before we go into the details of the period of communicating the message and prophethood, we would like to get acquainted with the stages of the revelation which constituted the main source of the message and the subject-matter of the call. ibn al-qayyim, mentioning the stages of the revelation, said:
some religious scholars added a controversial eighth stage in which they state that allâh spoke to the prophet [pbuh] directly without a curtain in between. this issue remains however unconfirmed. [za'd al-ma'ad 1/18]
the first revelation sent to the prophet [pbuh] implied several injunctions, simple in form but highly effective and of serious far-reaching ramifications. the angel communicated to him a manifest message saying:
for convenience and ease of understanding, we are going to segment the message into its immediate constituents:
these were the basic preliminaries that the prophet [pbuh] had to observe, very simple injunctions in appearance, greatly fascinating in their calm rhythm, but highly effective in practice. they constituted the trigger that aroused a far-ranging tempest in all the corners of the world.
the verses comprise the constituents of the new call and propagation of the new faith. a warning logically implies that there are malpractices with painful consequences to be sustained by the perpetrators, and since the present life is not necessarily the only room to bring people to account for their misdeeds or some of them, then the warning would necessarily imply calling people to account on another day, i.e. the day of resurrection, and this per se suggests the existence of a life other than this one we are living. all the verses of the noble qur’ân call people to testify explicitly to the oneness of allâh, to delegate all their affairs to allâh, the all-high, and to subordinate the desires of the self and the desires of allâh’s servants to the attainment of his pleasures.
the constituents of the call to islam could, briefly speaking, go as follows:
the verses have been prefaced, in the voice of the most high, by a heavenly call mandating the prophet [pbuh] to undertake this daunting responsibility (calling people unto allâh). the verses meant to extract him forcibly out of his sleep, divest him of his mantle and detach him from the warmth and quiet of life, and then drive him down a new course attended with countless hardships, and requiring a great deal of strife in the way of allâh:
suggesting that to live to oneself is quite easy, but it has been decided that you have to shoulder this heavy burden; consequently sleep, comfort, or warm bed are items decreed to be alien in your lexicon of life. o muhammad, arise quickly for the strife and toil awaiting you; no time is there for sleep and such amenities; grave responsibilities have been divinely determined to fall to your lot, and drive you into the turmoil of life to develop a new sort of precarious affinity with the conscience of people and the reality of life.
the prophet [pbuh] managed quite successfully to rise to his feet and measure up to the new task, he went ahead in a spirit of complete selflessness, relentlessly striving and never abating in carrying the burden of the great trust, the burden of enlightening mankind, and the heavy weight of the new faith and strife for over twenty years, nothing distracting his attention from the awesome commission. may allâh reward him, for us and all humanity, the best ending. the following research at hand gives an account in miniature of his long strive and uninterrupted struggle he made after receiving the ministry of messengership. [fi zilal al-qur'an 29/168-171,182]