The most commonly used name of the last Divine book revealed by Allah on Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is Al-Qur’an. Allah Ta’ala has used this name at least sixty one times in Qur’an.
Meaning of Al-Qur’an:
The majority of Ulema believe that the word Al-Qur’an is derived from Qara, Yaqra’u, which means to collect, then this word was commonly used for reading as in written statements the letters and the words are collected.
Others say that Al- Qur’an is named so because it collects the fruits of all the earlier Divine Books while others say that it collects all the knowledge.
Other names of Al-Qur’an:
Alama Abu-al-Ma’ali has counted fifty five names of Al-Qur’an while some others have counted more than ninety. These people have in fact counted the attributes of Al-Qur’an as its names e.g. Karim, Hakim etc.
Actually Al-Qur’an has five names viz, Al- Qur’an, Al-Furqan, Az-Zikr, Al-Kitab, Al-Tanzeel. (Uloom-Ul-Qur’an)
The Qur’an is named Al-Furqan as it differentiates between Truth and Falsehood. Allah Ta’ala says:
“Blessed is He, Who sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures. ”(25:1)
It is named Az-Zikr, as it is full of advices and the incidents of past which in turn make a sane person wiser. Allah Ta’ala says:
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (15:9)
It is named so, as it collects past incidents and other information excellently. Allah Ta’ala says:
“Ta. Sin. Mim. These are verses of the Book that makes (things) clear.”(26:l-2) At-Tanzeel:
It is named so, as it is a revealed book from Allah Ta’ala. He says:
“Verily this is a Revelation from the lord of the worlds. ”(26: 192)
Meaning of WAHY :
This word “WAHY” in Arabic has many literal meanings viz., to write, to send, what is to be sent, to inculcate, to subjugate, to put some good or bad word in heart, that word which is put in heart, order and intuition or inspiration etc.
Al-Qur’an itself uses this word “WAHY” in many such meanings. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“So Zakariya came out to his people from his chamber: He told them by signs to celebrate Allah’s praises in the morning And in the evening”(19:l 1)
Here the word is used:
“And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills”. (16:68)
“So, We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: “Suckle (thy child).” (28:7)
These last two verses show that Al-Qur’an has not used this word “WAHY” exclusively for Prophets only but has also used for the creatures like bee and non- prophets like mother of Hadhrat Musa (AS).
Technical meaning of WAHY in Shari’ah:
“Words of Allah revealed to a prophet from His prophets.” (Uloom ul-Qur’an, Umdat-ul-Qari)
Allah Ta’ala first created this universe and then created the man with the faculties of senses and the intelligence, yet it was impossible for the man to know the Absolute infinite Reality with the help of these limited faculties, so Allah Ta’ala came to man’s rescue by sending His Guidance in the form of “WAHY” through prophets.
To understand the exact nature of “WAHY” is just impossible as it was exclusively experienced by prophets of Allah alone. Nobody else can imagine the exact nature of “WAHY”.
Kinds of WAHY:
One classification is on the basis of recitation viz..
1. Wahy-Matloo: That WAHY from Allah which is recited regularly. This term is used for Al-Qur’an i.e., WAHY-Matloo is that in which both words and meaning are from Allah.
2. WAHY G AIR-M ATLOO : That WAHY from Allah to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which is not in Al-Qur’an and is not recited like Al-Qur’an. In this the meaning is from Allah and words are from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Other classification is based on the way of receiving ‘WAHY’ by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
1. Direct speech from Allah:
In this type of ‘WAHY’ Allah Ta’ala speaks directly to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), there is no intermediary like Angels etc. This speech of Allah is not like human speech. This is very difficult for us to understand its real nature. This is considered to be the best form of the WAHY. This type of speech of Allah was heard by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during his ascent to the heavens, what is called as Me’raj, as is mentioned in the Qur’an:
“So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His servant (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.” (53:10)
Allah Ta’ala also talked to Hadhrat Musa (AS) directly.
“And to Moses Allah spoke direct.”(4:164)
2. WAHY’ through Angels:
In this type of WAHY the revelation is sent to a Prophet through an angel. Either the Prophet listens only the voice of the angel, or angel comes in the shape of human being as Hadhrat Jibra’eel (AS) used to come in the guise of Hadhrat Dhahya Kalbi (RA), a handsome companion of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), or rarely the angel would come in his real form to the prophet.
3. WAHY through inspiration or dreams:
In this type of WAHY Allah Ta’ala inspires directly in the heart of prophet something which the prophet realises that it is hundred percent WAHY. This can happen while awake or in dream. The dream of a prophet is also a WAHY as Al- Qur’an mentions about the dreams of Hadhrat Yousuf (AS) and Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS): “Behold, Joseph said: To his father: “O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me.” (12:4)
Methods of ‘WAHY’ on Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) narrates that one day a Sahabi, Hadhrat Haarith bin Hisham (RA) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), how WAHY comes to him, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “Sometimes it comes like ringing of a bell and this type of WAHYis toughest for me, and when this process ends, I remember whatever has been said. And sometime an angel comes to me in the form of a man.”(Sahih Bukhari)
It literally means the ringing of a bell. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) compared this with the ringing of a bell. It was not because of the fact that it exactly resembled the ringing of bell, then, why was this comparison made? Great Ulema have given different explanations viz.,
i) To know the exact nature of ‘WAHY’ is impossible for any body, its actual nature was only experienced by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There were no words to explain its exact nature, that is why Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) explained it with most appropriate words from the sensual world and he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) found it appropriate to compare it with the ringing of a bell.
ii) Some Ulema believe that it was the sound of the wings of the angels that produced the sound like that of a ringing bell. (Uloom -Ul-Qur’an)
iii) Imam-ul-Asr Hadhrat Alama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) while quoting Ibne Arabi (RA) says that it was compared to the ringing of a bell, not because its sound resembled with it, but because it resembled the ringing bell in continuity and secondly as it is difficult to localise the direction of the sound of a ringing bell, so was it difficult to localise the direction of ‘WAHY’. Since, it is the word of Allah, Who has no single direction, so is His word without any particular direction.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that this type of WAHY was toughest for him and it was relatively easy for him when the angel used to come with ‘WAHY’ in the form of a man. Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) narrates: “I have witnessed descent of WAHY on Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during very cold days of winter, after the completion of WAHY I used to see lot of sweating on the blessed forehead of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).” (Sahih Bukhari)
In other tradition it is mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to turn pale, ashen grey in colour during descent of WAHY.
It is reported that once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), placed his blessed head on the thigh of Hadhrat Zayd bin Thaabit (RA) and descent of ‘WAHY’ started during that very time, Hadhrat Zayd (RA) felt so much weight on his thigh that he thought it was going to crack.
Hadhrat Umar (RA) says that when ‘WAHY” used to come to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), there used to be sounds like those of buzzing of bees around his blessed face. This should not be confused with the earlier Hadith where ‘WAHY’ has been compared with ringing of a bell, later (ringing of a bell) was experienced by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and former i.e., buzzing of bees was experienced by the listeners around, so no confusion.
Arrival of Angel in Human Appearance:
In the Hadith of Hadhrat Aayseha (RA) mentioned above, the second form of ‘WAHY’ that has been mentioned is coming of an Angel in the form of a human being. Hadhrat Jibreaal (AS) used to come usually in the guise of Hadhrat Dhahya Kalbi (RA), most handsome amongst the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In the famous Hadith of Hadhrat Umar (RA), Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) came in the form of a stranger whom no Sahabi knew. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says that it was the easiest form of ‘WAHY’ for him.
Arrival of Angel in his Actual Form:
It is reported that Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) came in his actual form only three times with the WAHY to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He has six hundred wings and his one wing is enough to spread between whole earth and the heavens.
Dreams of prophets are also WAHY. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to receive this form of WAHY even before Prophet-hood. Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) says: “WAHY got started to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the form of dreams, whatever he used to see in dream, would come true next day like broad day light.”
Direct Speech from Allah:
This type of direct speech from Allah was heard by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during his ascent (Me ’raj) to the heavens. In other tradition, it is mentioned that Allah Ta’ala spoke to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once in a dream also.
Inspiration from Angel into the QALB:
In one tradition it is reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Jibra’eel (AS) once inspired (something) in my QALB”.
In this form of WAHY, the angel does not come in front but just puts some word in QALB without being seen. This is a form of intuition or ‘Ilham’. Intuition or ‘Ilham’ of prophets is 100 percent WAHY as compared to intuition or ‘Ilham’ of other pious people which always has a possibility of falsehood or misinter- pretation. It is for this reason that to follow ‘Ilham’ of prophets is obligatory while as to follow ‘Ilham’ of others is not.-Qur’an.