In the last essay entitled, "Early Life of Muhammad Before Becoming The Messenger Of God",it was made clear that Muhammad was a happily married man. He was blessed by truly loving wife and four daughters. Family-wise, his life was fulfilled to the fullest. At the top of that, the family was considered wealthy.
What had bothered Muhammad was something spiritual, since Arabia was spiritually in a state of flux or in a state of increasing entropy,or rather increasing social and religious disorder. To put it simply, it was in a state of chaos and endless confusion:
~ The Meccans, including Muhammad own clan worshiped mainly three goddesses made of stones. These goddesses were namely: Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.
~ The Nebatean Arabs in the fascinating ancient antiquity of the city of Petra, in southern Jordan, worshipped a god named Hubal and was made of stone also.
~ There were some Arab tribes in other part of Arabia that worshipped the sun and the moon.
~ Other tribes in isolated part of Arabia built their own god from dates and worshipped the dates-god for a while, but when they felt hungry, they ate their own god made of dates.
~ There were, at least, five Jewish tribes in Arabia. The well known Jewish tribes were specifically: Nadir, Qaynuqa', Qurayzah, Thalabah,and Hudl and they worshipped a G-d as described in a book, a G-d no one ever saw. That's the way the Arabs of ancient Arabia saw their fellow Arab Jews as " The People of The Book. "
~ There were a small number of Christian Arabs who worshipped, like the Arab Jews, a God described in a book, a God no one ever saw. Waraqa, the oldest brother of Khadijah, Muhammad's loving wife, was well known Christian. Again, the Arab Pagans of ancient Arabia called their Arab Christian minority, " The people of The Book " also.
After the appearance of Islam, the Qur'an also called both Jews and Christian as " The People of The book " also.
While Arabia lived in such spiritual chaos and tribal war-fares, Muhammad was about 40 year old and started looking for what might be called spiritual serenity. He found his oasis of serenity for meditation in Mount Hira', a walking distance from Mecca. The meditation in Hira' had become a habit. It seems that Muhammad was looking for a spiritual guidance.
While Arabia was living in "Al-Jahiliyah",translation: "The Time of Ignorance" when it came to religion, Muhammad was meditating in the cave of Hira'.
What had happened next to Muhammad in the cave of Hira', while meditating, I personally had/have found difficulty in describing based on so many references I had reviewd. Therefore,I will quote from a book entitled, " The Life of Mahomet " by Sir William Muir, a Scottish orientalist, for that purpose, in spite of the fact that Muir was devoted to his Christianity and considered Islam a foe and should be defeated. I do so because I have found his description of what took place in cave Hira' between Muhammad and the Angel Gabriel was/is so fascinating and quite close to what I heard, in formal academic lectures, given by well known Islamic scholars I had the privilege of listening to, in both,in Jordan and Egypt, at different times, in the 1970 s and 1980 s:
Now in the night that the Lord was minded to be gracious unto him, Gabriel appeared to Muhamet in the cave, and holding a writing up before him said, " Read. " He,(Muhammad), answered, " I cannot. " Whereupon came." Read! " cried Gabriel the second time; and thereupon, but only to escape the agony, Mahomet said, " What shall I read ? " Gabriel then went on-
" Read! in the name of thy Lord is most gracious
it is He that hath taught to write with the pen,
Hath taught man that which he knoweth not, Nay, verily, for man rebillious when he seeth himself becoming rich:
O' Mahomet, thou art the prophet of the Lord, and I am Gabriel."
Muhammad was completely shaken and he finally gathered himself and walked as fast as he could to reach his home. Still shaken, he told Khadijah, his loving wife, what took place in Hira' and thought it was a nightmare. To comfort him, Khadijah put him in her lap and told him that God did not make such a great happening as a nightmare. She insisted that God wanted him to be His prophet. As her Christian brother, Waraqah, heard of what had happened in Hira', he also insisted that was no nightmare, but God Wanted Muhammad to be his messenger. Muhammad was finally persuaded that was no nightmare but what God wanted him to do.
So, Muhammad kept his usual meditation at mount Hira' and eventually he had another encounter with Gabriel. And I quote from Sir William Muir's book mentioned above and in which Gabriel told Muhammad the following:
O thou art covered
Arise and preach,
And magnify thy Lord
And purify thy garments
And depart from all uncleanness
And show not favour seeking for thine own aggrandizement.
And more and more encounters with Gabriel took place and Muhammad started his new spiritual duty by preaching that there was only one God to worship and it was wrong to warship stones. He conducted his new message among his immediate family and relatives and close friends and they recited what Gabriel dictated to him. The first convert to this new message was his loving wife, Khadijah. As converts, beside family members, relatives and friends, came the new converts of slaves and poor people.
Balal is a name of a black African slave whose name is revered across the Muslim world, because of what he went through as he converted to the new religion. his story will be told in a later topic as appropriate.
And so it was, a new religion, called Islam, appeared in Arabia and subsequently would change the core of the social and spiritual confusion of the society from Jahiliyah, (Time of Ignorance), and entropic social disorder and disunity to a united Arabia with peace among its warring tribes. But, unfortunately the road to a peaceful Arabia was not easy, at all, as we shall see later on.