Just as the wahy was conveyed by different methods (direct and indirect) and forms (visions and speech), there were variations in the types of Wahy ( revelation) which were conveyed: the Qur’aan, hadeeth qudsee, and hadeeths of the Prophet ().

Wahy in the form of the Qur’aan is defined as Allaah’s word revealed to Prophet Muhammad () in Arabic, whose style and construction is miraculously inimitable and whose recitation is a form of worship. On the other hand, wahy in the form of hadeeth qudsee is defined simply as Allaah’s word revealed in Arabic to  Prophet  Muhammad  ().  Such  hadeeths  are  those  in  which  the  Prophet  () attributes statements directly to Allaah, saying, for example, “ Allaah said…” or “ Your  Lord  said….”  or  the  sahabee  says,  “The  Prophet  ()  reported  from  his Lord…”

As  for the  hadeeths of the  Prophet  (), they can  be  divided  into  two  main categories. The  first  consists of statements of the  Prophet () based on his own reasoning (ijtihaad). Such statements are not considered to be wahy. However, even this category is indirectly connected with wahy, because his statements were either corrected by revelation if incorrect, or approved by the absence of revelation if correct. The second category is prophetic statements whose meanings were revealed (wahy), but whose expressions were in the Prophet’s own words.  This is the only part of the hadeeths  of the Prophet () that can rightly be considered wahy.


Attempts to create doubts about the authenticity of the Qur’aan have been made from the time of the Prophet () until today. Hence, a study of wahy would be incomplete without a look at the doubts which have been raised, as well as the replies which have been given to them.

The following objections to the divine origin of the Qur’aan are the two most commonly raised:

(1) The Qur’aan was the product of Muhammad’s intelligence. (2) Muhammad () was taught the stories of the Qur’aan by someone else.

Some critics claim that the meanings of the Qur’aan were made up by the Prophet  (),  and  its  unique  style  devised  by  him.  If  such  a  claim were  true,  it would mean that the Prophet’s claim that the Qur’aan was revealed was false. That is, the Prophet () either knowingly or unknowingly deceived his followers. The  kinder  critics  claim  that  the  Prophet  ()  was  well-intentioned,  as  his biography has proven him to be, but the “revelations” were really delusions and hallucinations which afflicted him from time to time. This claim is totally unsubstantiated historically, and the clarity and coherence of the Qur’aan could not have been the result of a madman’s ramblings.

The less kind critics claim that the Prophet () deceived his followers in order to firmly establish his leadership over them and eventually over the whole of Arabia. However, if the Prophet’s goal had been personal glory and leadership, it would have been more to his advantage to claim the Qur’aan for himself, since his enemies among the pagan Makkans had all conceded its superiority over all other literary works and had offered the Prophet ()   the   position of kingship over Makkah if he would only stop preaching the unity of God.

Other  critics  of  the  Qur’aan’s  divine  origins  claim  that  the  Prophet  () attributed it to Allaah in order to give more weight to his words in the minds of people and increase their obedience to him. But if that were the case, he would  not have bothered to attribute any of his statements to himself. In fact, his attribution of statements to himself has not in any way affected the obligation of his followers to obey him.

Criticisms  such  as  those  previously  mentioned  would  put  the  Prophet  () among worldly leaders who deceive their followers in order to achieve power, prestige, and the luxuries of this life. However, the Prophet’s biography, which has been recorded in the minutest of details, proves the exact opposite. Instead of deception and corruption, we find the Prophet () known for his truthfulness and generosity, so much so that he was named “ al-Ameen” (the Trustworthy). He lived very simply, and we find that he died without leaving any wealth or debts behind him.

It should also be noted that there are many instances in the Qur’aan where the Prophet’s  mistakes  were  openly  corrected.  For  example,  when  the  Prophet  () accepted ransom for the prisoners of Badr, the following verse was revealed:

“It is not fitting for a prophet to take prisoners until he has established himself in the land (by overcoming the enemy in war). You all desire the fleeting gains of this world while Allaah wishes (for you the fruit of) the next world. And Allaah is Powerful and Wise. Had it not been for a previous decree by Allaah, you all would have been struck with a severe punishment.”

Another  example  is  when  the  Prophet  ()  brushed  aside  ‘Abdullaah  ibn  Umm Maktoom,  who  had  asked  that  he  be  taught  the  Qur’aan.  The  Prophet  ()  had been earnestly engaged with a group of Qurayshee leaders whom he  was calling to Islaam. Allaah revealed the following verses:

“He frowned and turned away because the blind man came to him. Yet for all you knew he might have grown in purity or been reminded and benefited from the reminder. As for him who regards himself as self-sufficient, you attend to him, though you are not to blame if he does not become purified.”

For  the  Prophet  ()  to  expose  such  minor  errors  which  were  imperceptible  to those around him was certainly not to his advantage if his goals were power and prestige.

Other  critics  have  claimed  that  the  Prophet  ()  learned  the  knowledge contained in the Qur’aan from Christian or Jewish sources. There is a report, about whose authenticity the scholars of hadeeth are divided, that the Prophet (), while still a boy, travelled to Syria with his uncle and guardian Aboo Taalib, and on the way met a Christian monk, Buhayraa. There is no dispute that after the beginning  of  revelation,  Prophet  Muhammad  ()  was  introduced  by  his  wife Khadeejah to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who was known to have knowledge of the Torah and Gospels. The Prophet () is also known to have met Jewish and Christian scholars after his migration from Makkah to Madeenah.

However, his meeting with the monk was short, and all that transpired was the monk’s prophecy to the Prophet’s uncle Aboo Taalib of his nephew’s impending prophethood. As for Waraqah ibn Nawfal, he only confirmed that what was revealed to the Prophet () came from the same source as the revelations of the stories that do not occur in the Torah or Gospels, or which contradict them, have earlier prophets. There is no record of the Prophet () having studied with him, and Waraqah died shortly after this incident. In Madeenah, the Christians and the Jews  used  to  debate  with  the  Prophet  ()  and  ask  him  questions;  many  of the Madeenan verses answered their questions. They would ask him questions in order to disprove his prophethood, and he would answer with the Qur’aan.

There is no historical record of anyone having taught the Prophet (). Some, however, claim that Haddaad, the Roman, was his teacher, but such a claim is quite erroneous, because the Makkans did not consider Haddaad knowledgeable, nor was he free to teach. He was known to be fully occupied as a blacksmith, and it was known that he was a foreigner who could barely speak Arabic.The Arabs  of the Prophet’s time were very anxious to discredit the Qur’aan, but they were unable to do so. If there had been a secret teacher, he would surely have been exposed at that time.

Recently, most of the Qur’aanic been traced to apocryphal books of the Christians and Jews.  This has been cited as proof that the Prophet () studied the books of the Christians and the Jews. However, the number of obscure books to which the Qur’aanic stories have been traced is great, and the languages of these books vary between Amharic, Syriac, Hebrew and Greek. Consequently, the Prophet (), who could not read or write, would have had to spend most of his time studying foreign languages, searching all over the Middle East for the books and studying them in depth. Thus, even the most recent of critical research only further confirms the divine origin of the Qur’aan.

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