Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was very shaken by his first meeting with Angel Gabriel in the cave outside Makkah.
He was concerned about what had happened and afraid for his own wellbeing.
Lady Khadijah did her best to calm him down, as mentioned in Part 1. To reassure him further, she took him to meet her elder cousin, Waraqa ibn Naufal, who was a man of religious knowledge.
Waraqa was known as one of the four hunafaa’ (followers of the teachings of Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him) who rejected the idolatrous practices of the tribes of Makkah and Arabia.
He had become a Nazirite and used to write using the Hebrew alphabet. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. When he met Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he was an old man and had lost his eyesight.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told him what had happened in the cave, Waraqa immediately recognized the angel as being the same angel who had come to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
This hadith summarizes Waraqa’s response:
Aishah narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari:
… The Prophet returned to Khadijah while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa ibn Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospel 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.”
Angel Gabriel’s Absence
A few days later, Waraqa died and the revelation also subsided. Angel Gabriel did not return to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for a number of weeks.
The precise duration of this absence is not known. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) needed time to physically recover from the first instance of revelation and this absence also made him long for the return of Angel Gabriel and the Divine Revelation.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sad that Angel Gabriel disappeared during these weeks, but he resumed his life till this happened:
When I was walking, I heard a sound and looked up and saw the same angel that came to me in the cave of Hira, sitting on a throne that was in the heavens. And once again I trembled – and I rushed back again and that was when Gabriel came and revealed, ‘Oh you who is wrapped up in a cloth. Stand up and warn (be active and warn people) …’ (first seven verses of Chapter 74 of the Qur’an)
After that, the revelation started coming strongly on a regular basis. Angel Gabriel would come to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at different times and locations to reveal to him new chapters and verses of the Qur’an.
Who Were the First Converts?
After Lady Khadijah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed the people closest to him of the revelation he had received from God.
The first four persons who were dear and close to him were his wife Khadijah, his best friend Abu Bakr, his cousin Ali, and his servant Zayd.
Abu Bakr converted to Islam instantly, without hesitation. Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was raised in the house of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and was around 10 years old at that time, also accepted Islam after one night of thinking about it.
It is narrated that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Khadijah praying, and asked what they were doing. When the Prophet told him about the revelation, Ali asked him to let him think about it. He spent that night thinking, and the next morning he went back to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and embraced Islam.
The story of Zayd, whom Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) loved so much, is an amazing story. After he was freed, Zayd chose to stay and serve Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) rather than return to his tribe as a free man with his father and uncle who came to Makkah to escort him back.
The stories of each of these early converts are amazing and inspiring, as each one of them contributed so much to Islam through their strong faith and dedication to the spread of the religion and their support of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him).
More Converts Accept Islam
Abu Bakr had an important role in conveying the message to four persons who later became leading companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
They were Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Uthman ibn Affan, Al-Zubayr ibn al-Awam, and Abdur Rahman bin Awf.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to meet and teach the new converts the religion in private. Because the call to Islam was still occurring on an individual and secret basis.
He (peace be upon him) used to meet them in the home of a young man in Makkah by the name of Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam. He recited to them the verses revealed from the Qur’an and helped guide them on their journey on the path to Allah.
All new converts needed the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) support, as they faced tremendous pressure from their families and tribes. One such case was Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, who was only 16 years old when he converted to Islam.
His mother threatened him and tried to torture him to force him to leave Islam. When that did not work, she tried emotional blackmail to make him leave the religion. She said she would stop eating and drinking till Sa’d returned to the worship of idols and that she would die a painful death if her son did not leave Islam.
But Sa’d was firm in his faith and told his mother he would never leave Islam, no matter what she did. When she saw his determination, she broke her fast.
After this incident, Allah (SWT) revealed the following verses in the Qur’an:
“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” (Qur’an, 29:8)
The next article in this series will look at an important turning point, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) presented Islam first to his relatives and tribe, then to the people of Makkah and declared his prophethood.
Please stay tuned…
Suggested Activities for New Converts Following this Series
1- Learn More About Some of the First Converts to Islam
This is How Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Best Friend, Embraced Islam
The Wealthy Companion – How Uthman Converted to Islam
Ali – The First Child to Convert to Islam
2- Shahadah is One of the Five Pillars of Islam
In this second part of the series, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) invites some of his close relatives and friends to Islam.
Check these resources to learn more about Shahadah in Islam, one of the five pillars of Islam:
How to Revert to Islam and Become a Muslim
When Should I Declare My Conversion to Islam?
4 Basic Steps to Convert to Islam
3- New Verses of the Qur’an Revealed
In his second encounter with Angel Gabriel, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the revelation of the first 7 verses of Surat Al-Muddathir (Chapter 74 of the Qur’an).
Read these 7 verses here:
Listen to their recitation here:
4- Send us your questions on this series to: [email protected]
As this is a special series for new converts to learn about Islam in a comprehensive way through learning the Seerah (Biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in a gradual chronological way, we will add a few more resources of other areas of Islamic knowledge related to each part of the Seerah at the end of each article as extra learning resources.
We will add new videos to this series as we progress from Year 1 to Year 23 in sha’ Allah.
The references used in each article are given for further details, so please feel free to send us any questions you may have to this e-mail: [email protected]
You may also wish to join our Facebook Group, Islam 101, for further learning and also to interact with fellow new converts and those who are new to Islam here.
The Sealed Nectar by Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarkpuri
Seerah of Prophet Muhammad – 11: The Second Revelation (Video by Dr. Yasir Qadhi)