Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

The Call

Although the Arabs had a concept of God as such, yet they kept idols and worshipped them. Muhammad, however, refrained from idol worship. Some years after his marriage to Khadijah, and when he was thirty-two or thirty-three years old, he would repair to the cave of Hira, near Mecca. There he would spend hours in meditation and praying to the one and only Allah. This went on till he was forty years of age, when one day an angel appeared and addressed him as follows: “Iqra” (i.e. read). Muhammad replied that he could not read, whereupon the angel pressed him to his bosom and again asked him to read, and again Muhammad replied that he could not read. After this process had been repeated three times, the angel said:


“Read in the name of thy Lord Who creates… Creates man from a clot, read and thy Lord is most Generous, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not.” (The Holy Quran, 96:1–5)

The angel then disappeared, and Muhammad came back to his house pale and trembling, and asked his wife to cover him up with a blanket. On her inquiry, he told her about this experience which had filled him with fear. Upon hearing this, Khadijah, his close companion who knew him as nobody else knew him and from whom he could not conceal anything, consoled him. She attested to the truth of the message in these words:

“Joyful tidings do you bring. By Him in Whose hand is the soul of Khadijah, I will henceforth regard you as the Prophet. Allah will not suffer you to be dejected. Have you not been affectionate to your kinsfolk, kind to your neighbours, charitable to the poor, hospitable to the stranger, faithful to your word and ever a defender of truth?”

Lady Khadijah then took Muhammad to her cousin Warqa bin Naufal, who was a scholar and knew the biblical lore. She related to Naufal what had happened. Warqa assured Muhammad that it was the same type of Divine message as was revealed to Moses. He said:

“The mantle of prophethood is being put on your shoulders. Your preaching will invite opposition and a day will come when your people will turn you out of this city, for this has been the lot of prophets before you.”

After this, Muhammad continued to visit the cave of Hira. After some time, the revelation started coming again, at which time Muhammad was enjoined to go and preach and make people believe that

“There is no god but Allah1, and Muhammad is His Prophet.”



  1. Allah is the proper name applied to the Being Who exists necessarily by Himself, comprising all the attributes of perfection.