11. A New Life Begins

“What you describe,” said Waraqa “is the Namoos that came to Prophet Musa. Oh! If only I were younger, I would help you when your people throw you out.”  

“Will my people throw me out?” 

“Yes” said Waraqa, “never did a person bring to his people such a message but that they drove him out of his land. And if I am alive when that happens, I will support and defend you.” And that is how Muhammad, the Trustworthy, became Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was forty years old when this happened. 

If you have ever tried to understand someone who couldn’t speak your language then you know how difficult and frustrating it is to figure out what they are telling you. Imagine if it not only was someone trying to tell you something in a language you didn’t understand, but the someone was not even a human being. Angels are very different from humans; and when Angel Jibreel recited Quran to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, it was very hard on the new Prophet. The first time, it felt like someone was strangling or smothering him. He was surprised and frightened. But after his wife Khadija reassured him that no harm would come to him, and her uncle Waraqa explained to him about being a messenger, perhaps it all made sense to him, especially after the years of being alone in the cave Hira’ thinking and hoping for answers.

But then something awful happened. Angel Jibreel stopped coming altogether. 

Prophet Muhammad was filled with sadness and worry. He wondered if God no longer wanted him as His Messenger. He wondered if he did not deserve this honor. Days passed, perhaps weeks and Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him was very upset. He climbed to the tops of mountains and felt desperate. Finally, when Angel Jibreel returned and reassured him that Allah had not abandoned him, he had become stronger. His longing for more words from Allah had made him more able to bear the revelation. It would always cause him to break out in beads of sweat on his forehead even on a cold winter day, but it no longer felt like choking anymore.

Although the next ayas to be revealed asked Prophet Muhammad (s) to rise and call people to Islam, it was something joyful because now everything made beautiful sense. Our Creator had chosen Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to carry the last and complete message of God to all of humanity. This message was to be the last, and Allah would protect it so that people, till the end of time, could benefit from it. Khadija was the first to know about the message of Islam and the first to become Muslim. Quickly then, did his whole household accept Islam. Ali was told to take his father’s permission before he accepted Islam but he immediately accepted it instead.

Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him continued to go up to the cave of Hira’. One day when he was gone for too long, Khadija prepared food for him and started climbing the mountain to the cave. It was a difficult climb, and when she finally arrived, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was expecting her. He told her that Angel Jibreel had said to him, “Here comes Khadija to bring you food, give her the good news of a house for her in heaven that is made from a giant hollow pearl. Tell her in this house she will hear no noise nor will she feel tired.”

And so, Quran continued to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Quran, as we know it now, was revealed on the night of Qadr, all together from one place in the heavens to another. But Angel Jibreel would be sent with different parts from different surahs in the Quran. The order of the surahs of Quran as we see it today was also dictated by Angel Jibreel.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, began to tell the people closest to him and those he trusted about Islam. He told his best friend, Abu Bakr, who became a Muslim immediately without asking or hesitating. Others would ask, “What is Islam?” and he would answer, “It is to believe that God has no partner or family. It is to believe in Allah alone and that I am His Messenger.” 

Something exciting happened around this time. Remember how I said the family still had two more additions? Fatima was the first addition. Now, almost six years later, a baby boy was born to Khadija and Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and they named him Abdullah. He was also called al-Tayyib and al-Tahir because he was born after Islam. For a short while, the baby filled the household with the kind of happiness that only babies can bring; but this lasted for only a few months because baby Abdullah suddenly got very sick. Sadly, Al-Tahir died as an infant.  Because of that, some of the mean people of Quraish would later call Prophet Muhammad (s) al-Abtar or the one who has no sons. 

Since his marriage to Khadija (r), Muhammad (s) had lived a peaceful life. He had a loving wife and a happy family. He was respected by Quraish and known for his wisdom, fairness, honesty, and trustworthiness. He did not worship idols or join the people in any of their bad customs. But the quiet life he had enjoyed so far was about to change greatly. Muhammad (s) was now a prophet. With prophethood came great responsibility. He knew something his people did not know, and because he was the Messenger of God, that meant he must tell everyone what he knew. He must tell them that worshipping idols was wrong. He must tell them to worship and pray only to God. He must tell them about the Day of Judgement, when good people would be rewarded and evil would be punished. But how? How should he do so? And how would Quraish, who loved and respected him, respond to his call?