12.The Second Revelation


And so we come to the story of the second revelation and the early days of the dawah.


After the prophethood descended upon Muhammad (SAW) along with the first few ayat of Surah Alaq, wahi (revelation) stopped coming to him for 40 days. In this time, the prophet wondered the entirety of Mecca and Jabir An-Noor in the hopes that he would see Jibrael again, and he would trek up to the cave of Hira every day expecting to meet him there. Alas he did not, until one day when he was descending from the mountain and he heard his name called. And so he looked ahead and he looked behind but did not see anyone, before finally looking up and seeing the angel Jibrael ‘on a throne between the Heavens and the Earth’. At this the prophet began to tremble in fear – despite his desire to meet with the angel – and he ran back into his house to Khadija (RA) and told her, ‘Cover me up cover me up,’ as he had the first time Jibrael had come to him. And it was here where the first 7 ayat of Surah Muddathir were revealed to him.

Oh you who is wrapped up

1.      يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلْمُدَّثِّرُ

Stand! And warn the people

2.      قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ

And glorify your lord

3.      وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ

And make sure your garments are clean

4.      وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

And leave all idols

5.      وَٱلرُّجْزَ فَٱهْجُرْ

And don’t remind of the favours you have given

6.      وَلَا تَمْنُن تَسْتَكْثِرُ

And for your lord be patient

7.      وَلِرَبِّكَ فَٱصْبِرْ


Let’s look at the symbolism of these verses: The first ayat is a direct reference to the prophet himself, first literally – as he had just been covered in a cloak by Khadija (RA) – and second metaphorically as ‘being wrapped up’ is direct symbolism of the comfortable life that Muhammad (SAW) was living at this point. This moves onto the second ayat which is a direct command to the prophet, ordering him to get out of this sheltered life and begin the dawah. As he does this he is told to praise and glorify his lord and to ‘make sure your garments are clean’. Now has both a literal and symbolic meaning; of course it’s telling him to wear clean clothes and always be presentable, but it also means for him to be pure of deeds and action. He is then also instructed to leave all idols, and to not ‘remind of the favours’. What this actually means is that whenever he does a good deed or is kind to a person he should not expect any reward from them, and he should also not do it for their sake but rather for Allah’s sake. And indeed, the prophet was also never allowed to take zakat or charity, so that he could tell the people of the Quraish that he was ‘neither taking their money nor their sustenance’. The final ayat revealed here by Jibrael warns the prophet that he will have to be patient for the cause of his lord, as many trials will come his way and he will have many hardships to face.

Now, many scholars say that the revelation of Surah Alaq is where Muhammad (SAW) became a nabi, while the revelation of Surah Muddathir is where he became a rusul. But what is the difference between these two? Well there are many opinions, but the most likely is that of Ibn Tamiyyah who said a nabi is someone who preaches or gives information (so every prophet), while a rusul is someone who was sent to a peoples who oppose him. So in this way every rusul is a nabi, but not every nabi is a rusul. And indeed, this adds up as the prophet said, ‘There were 310 something rusuls – a large number – and 124,000 nabi.’ And so we can confirm that there were less rusul than nabi.

Now after the revelation of Surah Muddathir, we have a few stories of the very early days of the dawah. The first convert was Khadija (RA), and the second was Waraqa ibn Nawful who, as we know, Khadija took the prophet to after the revelation of Alaq. Then it highly debated who the third, but the main three candidates are Ali (RA), Abu Bakr (RA) and Zayd ibn Haritha (RA). Now Zayd and Ali obviously both lived in the house of the prophet, and so it is expected that they would have converted after Khadija but it is unknown. The conversion of Abu Bakr, however, is readily mentioned by the prophet on many occasions. When Muhammad (SAW) brought Islam to Abu Bakr he converted immediately, and the prophet would later say, ‘There was not a single person who accepted without doubt except for Abu Bukr (RA).’ And in fact, other than Zayd ibn Haritha (who was mentioned by name), Abu Bakr was the only other sahabi who was referenced in the Quran when in Surah Tawbah Allah said, ‘The two of them were in the cave (meaning the prophet and Abu Bakr).’ And there are many, many other blessings of Abu Bakr (RA) of which we will get into further on in the Seerah.

The next batch of converts all came from the hands of Abu Bakr: Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Uthman ibn Affan, Zubayr ibn Al-Awam, Abd Al-Rahman ibn Awf. Now Sa’ad was the youngest, around 16, and he came from a very prestigious family in the Quraish. When his mother found out about his conversion, she began threatening him, trying to torture him, and then tried to use emotional blackmail by not eating or drinking until Sa’ad would worship idols. Sa’ad tried to convince her otherwise, but she would not eat and withered away until she was on her deathbed at which point Sa’ad became very emotional and said, ‘I swear by Allah I will not give up Islam no matter what you do – even if I had 100 lives and in each life I saw you die I will not go back to worshipping idols.’ On seeing this determination his mother broke her fast and began eating again. He also had many blessings, not all of which can be covered here, but he was the only person to whom the prophet said, ‘May my father and mother be given to you in ransom,’ which was an Arab saying and was a huge honour. Uthman was the second convert by Abu Bakr and Zubayr was the third (Zubayr also happened to also be a cousin of the prophet through his mother, Saffiyah binti Abdul Muttalib). The fourth, Abd Al-Rahman, was an old, wise businessman who famously had to give up all of his belongings in the Hijra to Yathrib, and he turned up with nothing but the clothes on his back. He then went to the marketplace with simply a stick of butter and began selling and buying, selling and buying until he once again became extremely wealthy through the mercy of Allah.

Now so far all these converts had been from the noblemen of the Quraish, but the next convert was from the ‘working class’ so to speak. And this was Abdullah ibn Masud. He had been tending to a flock he had been hired to watch when he saw two men who he didn’t recognise. Now this was Abu Bakr and the prophet, who said to him, ‘Oh young man, we are thirsty can you give us some milk?’

Now to this Abdullah honestly replied, ‘This milk isn't mine so I cannot give it to you.’ And so the prophet asked to be shown an old she-goat that had stopped producing milk, and he took the goat and began to rub its udders and right before their eyes it began to fill. Abdullah was astonished, and asked the prophet who he was before converting right there and then.

After this many of the converts were from the slave class, the most famous of all being Bilal but there were many others as well such as Khabab ibn Al-Aratt, Yasir, his wife Sumaya and their son Amar. Now these were the early days of Islam, when it was preached in privacy to the inner circles of Muhammad (SAW) and his followers. However soon, as we will come to see, the announcement of the prophethood would take place and the dawah would be taken to a whole new, public scale.


Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 011