The Holy Spirit in Islam and Christianity

Was Waraqah ibn Naufal a Teacher of Muhammad?

Prophet Muhammad

The light of truth cannot be put out with falsehood but it will continue to enlighten the path for humanity

Lady `Aisha (the mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira’ where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira’. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon, he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said,

Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. (Al-`Alaq 96:1-3)

Then Allah’s Messenger returned with the inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa ibn Naufal ibn Asad ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Messenger described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Messenger asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Revelation was also paused for a while.” (Al-Bukhari)

Waraqah was a pagan worshiping the idols at Mecca in the beginning of his life. He was one of four people who determined to forsake the idolatry of Quraysh and search for the right religion. This decision was at one of Quraysh’s pagan festivals. They were Waraqah ibn Naufal, `Uthman ibn Al-Huwairath, `Ubaidullah ibn Jahsh and Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufail. They decided to abandon the worship of idols as they deemed it contrary to every reason and sound understanding. Waraqah and `Uthman ibn Al-Huwairath professed Christianity. `Ubaidullah ibn Jahsh lived till the advent of Islam and embraced Islam. Zayd ibn Nufail kept to the remains of the religion of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) until he passed away.

Waraqah studied the Gospels and became knowledgeable of them so that he would write the Gospel. He grew old and lost his eyesight. When the revelation came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) by the angel Jibril (Gabreal, peace be upon him) the Prophet went to him upon recommendations from Khadijah, the Prophet’s wife, as Waraqah was relative of Khadijah. The Prophet related to Waraqah what happened to him and how an angel took and pressed him forcefully three times. Waraqah told him that this is the same angel that descended upon Moses (peace be upon him) with revelation. Waraqah gave the Prophet glad tidings of Prophethood, and also warned him of great harm he would receive at the hands of the disbelievers. He informed the Prophet that the people of Quraysh would expel him out of Mecca, and the Prophet found this queer.

Some scholars state that Waraqah a believer as he accepted what the Prophet said and gave him glad tiding of Prophethood. There is a hadith indicating that Waraqah is not in the Hellfire as narrated by `A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about Waraqah by Khadijah: “He (i.e. Waraqah) believed in you and died before you commence Prophethood.” The Prophet replied, “I saw him in a dream wearing white clothes. If he was from the people of the Hellfire, I would saw him wearing other clothes.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

This is almost what is related about Waraqah in the books of Sirah in brief. Now, it is odd to read in some distrustful books that Waraqah was a teacher of the Prophet Muhammad who taught Muhammad the Qur’an and thus he was the actual composer of the Qu’an and the Islamic Message.

One wonder, where is in the historical texts stated that Waraqah was the teacher of the Prophet Muhammad? Which historians said that? What is the source of these allegations? What is the evidence? Who narrated that the Prophet would frequent Waraqah seeking knowledge from him? Where were the people of Qurashy, who fought the Prophet with every possible means and lost their greatest leaders in battling with Muhammad, from these claims? Had not they seen the Prophet Muhammad once learning something from Waraqah or repeating his words? Had not they saw him accompanying Waraqah? Yet, how many days and night did the Prophet spend with Waraqah? What is the likeness between Waraqah’s views and the Prophet’s ones? No answer comes but just groundless allegations and blatant lies brought out of concealed grudge and malice against Islam and Muslims. No evidence but real falsehood.

The war against Islam takes multiple forms. The enemies of Islam miss no ill or dishonest way but pave it to attack Islam although false and fabricated. Thus, their efforts are fruitless and nothing avails Islam, the ever fast spreading religion worldwide. The light of truth cannot be put out with falsehood but it will continue to enlighten the path for humanity. We are not to withhold or conceal a fact, because Islam orders us to be honest and faithful. But, what can be done with ill-intentioned and insincere suspicions that manifest the lie of its people and their concealed hatred and animosity against Islam.

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