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Muhammad received revelations from 609632 CE, which became the basis for the Qu'ran, the central religious text of Islam. LEARNING OBJECTIVES [ edit ] Discuss the origins of the first Muslim converts Identify the circumstances that led to Muhammad's prophecies Identify why some chose to believe Muhammad's prophecies. KEY POINTS [ edit ] Muhammad first received revelations in 609 CE in a cave on Mount Hira, near Mecca. Muslims regard the Qu'ran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, the proof of his prophethood, and the culmination of a series of divine messages revealed by the angel Gabriel from 609 632 CE. The key themes of the early Qur'anic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of the dead, God's final judgment, and the signs of God in all aspects of life, while religious duties included belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth, being chaste, and not to kill newborn girls. Muhammad's immediate family first believed he was a prophet, followed by three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and unprotected foreigners. TERM [ edit ] Abu Bakr a senior companion (Sahabi) and the fatherinlaw of the Islamic prophet Muhammad Revelations Muhammad adopted the practice of praying alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira in the year 609 CE, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded Muhammad to recite verses which would later be included in the Qu'ran. Upon receiving his first revelations, he was deeply distressed. After returning home, Muhammad was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin. He also feared that others would dismiss his claims as being possessed. On the other hand, Shi'a tradition maintains that Muhammad was neither surprised nor frightened at the appearance of Gabriel but rather Muhammad welcomed him as if he was expecting. The cave Hira The cave Hira in the mountain Jabal alNour where, according to Muslim belief, Muhammad received his first revelation from angel Gabriel. The initial revelation was followed by a pause of three years (a period known as fatra) during which Muhammad felt depressed and further gave himself to prayers and spiritual practices. When the revelations resumed, he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching. The Qu'ran Quran AlQurʾn ﺍ Arabic calligraphy for "qu'ran" Muslims believe that the Qu'ran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. At the beginning of these revelations, Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from these messages. Sahih alBukhari narrates Muhammad describing the revelations as, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell" and Aisha reported, "I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over). " Muhammad's first revelation, according to the Quran, was accompanied with a vision. The agent of revelation is mentioned as the "one mighty in power", the one who "grew clear to view when he was on the uppermost horizon. Then he drew nigh and came down till he was (distant) two bows' length or even nearer. " The Islamic studies scholar Welch states in the Encyclopaedia of Islam that he believes the graphic descriptions of Muhammad's condition at these moments may be regarded as genuine, because he was severely disturbed after these revelations. According to Welch, these seizures would have been seen by those around him as convincing evidence for the superhuman origin of Muhammad's inspirations. However, Muhammad's critics accused him of being a possessed man, a soothsayer or a magician since his experiences were similar to those claimed by such figures well known in ancient Arabia. Welch additionally states that it remains uncertain whether these experiences occurred before or after Muhammad's initial claim of prophethood. The Quran describes Muhammad as "ummi", which is traditionally interpreted as "illiterate," but the meaning is rather more complex. The medieval commentators such as AlTabari maintained that the term induced two meanings: firstly, the inability to read or write in general and secondly, the inexperience or ignorance of the previous books or scriptures; however, they gave priority to the first meaning. Besides, Muhammad's illiteracy was taken as a sign of the genuineness of his prophethood. For example, according to Fakhr alDin alRazi, if Muhammad had mastered writing and reading he possibly would have been suspected of having studied the books of the ancestors. Some scholars such as Watt prefer the second meaning. According to the Qu'ran, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of their punishment at the end of the world. The Qu'ran did not explicitly refer to Judgment day, but provided examples from the history of extinct communities and warns Muhammad's contemporaries of similar calamities. Muhammad did not only warn those who rejected God's revelation, but also dispensed good news for those who abandoned evil, listening to the divine words and serving God. Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism: the Qu'ran commands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols or associate other deities with God. A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel (from the manuscript Jami' altawarikh by RashidalDin Hamadani, 1307, Ilkhanate period) Muslims regard the Qu'ran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, the proof of his prophethood, and the culmination of a series of divine messages revealed by the angel Gabriel from 609 632 CE. The key themes of the early Qur'anic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of the dead, God's final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in Hell and pleasures in Paradise; and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste, and not to kill newborn girls. Rise of Islam in Mecca According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad's wife Khadijah was the first to believe he was a prophet. She was followed by Muhammad's tenyearold cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid. Around 613, Muhammad began to preach to the public. Most Meccans ignored him and mocked him, although he began to gain followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners.