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Amoeba Friday, October 28, 2005 02:17 AM

Revelation (wahy)

Revelation is a religious term that designates the disclosure of divine or sacred reality or purpose to men. In the religious view, such disclosure may come through mystical insights, historical events, or spiritual experiences that transform the lives of individuals and groups.


Every great religion acknowledges revelation in the wide sense that its followers are dependent on the privileged insights of its founder or of the original group or individuals with which the faith began. These profound insights into the ultimate meaning of life and the universe, which have been handed down in religious traditions, are arrived at, it is believed, not so much through logical inference as through sudden, unexpected illuminations that invade and transform the human spirit. Those religions that look upon God as a free and personal spirit distinct from the world accept revelation in the more specific sense of a divine self-disclosure, which is commonly depicted on the model of human intersubjective relationships. In the "prophetic" religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism), revelation is conceived as a message communicated by God to an accredited spokesman, who is charged to herald the content of that message to an entire people. Revelations received on behalf of the whole community of the faithful are often called "public" (as opposed to "private" revelations, which are given for the guidance or edification of the recipient himself).

The media by which revelation occurs are variously conceived. Most religions refer to signs, such as auditory phenomena, subjective visions, dreams, and ecstasies. In primitive religions, revelation is often associated with magical techniques of divination. In the prophetic religions, revelation is primarily understood as the "Word of God," enabling the prophet to speak with certainty about God's actions and intentions. In mystical religion (e.g., Islamic Sufism, Tantric Buddhism) revelation is viewed as an ineffable experience of the transcendent or the divine.


[B]Religions of nonliterate cultures.[/B]

In nonliterate culture revelation is frequently identified with the experience of supernatural power in connection with particular physical objects, such as stones, amulets, bones of the dead, unusual animals, and other objects. The sacred or holy is likewise believed to be present in sacred trees, groves, shrines, and the like and in elemental realities such as earth, water, sky, and the heavenly bodies. Once specified as holy, such objects take on symbolic value and become capable of mediating numinous (spiritual) experiences to the adherents of a cult. Certain charismatic individuals, such as shamans, who are believed to be in communion with the sacred or holy, perform functions akin to those of the prophet and the mystic in more developed religions.Religions of the East.

Eastern religions are concerned with man's struggle to understand and cope with the predicament of his existence in the world and to achieve emancipation, enlightenment, and unity with the Absolute. Western religions, on the other hand, lay more stress on man's obedient response to the sovereign Word of God. The notion of revelation in the specific sense of a divine self-communication is more apparent in Western than in Eastern religions.


In Hinduism, the dominant religion of India, revelation is generally viewed as a process whereby the religious seeker, actuating his deeper spiritual powers, escapes from the world of change and illusion and comes into contact with ultimate reality. The sacred books are held to embody revelation insofar as they reflect the eternal and necessary order of things.

A major form of Hindu thought, Vedanta, includes two main tendencies: the monistic (advaita) and the theistic (bhakti). The leading sage of Advaita Vedanta, Shankara (early 9th century), while acknowledging in principle the possibility of coming to a knowledge of the Supreme Reality (Brahman) through inner experience and contemplation of the grades of being, held that in practice a vivid apprehension of the divine arises from meditation on the sacred books, especially the Upanisads. In Bhakti, systematized by the philosopher Ramanuja (e="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">c. 1050-1137), the Absolute is regarded as personal and compassionate. Revelation, consequently, is viewed as the gracious self-manifestation of the divine to those who open themselves in loving contemplation. The devotional theism of Bhakti, very influential in modern India, resembles the pietism and mysticism of the Western religions.


Buddhism, the other great religion originating on Indian soil, conceives of revelation not as a personal intervention of the Absolute into the worldly realm of relativities but as an enlightenment gained through discipline and meditation. Gautama the Buddha (6th to 5th century BC), after a striking experience of human transitoriness and a period of ascetical contemplation, received an illumination that enabled him to become the supreme teacher for all his followers. Although Buddhists do not speak of supernatural revelation, they regard the Buddha as a uniquely eminent discoverer of liberating truth. Some venerate him, some worship him, and all Buddhists seek to imitate him as the most perfect embodiment of ideal manhood--an ideal that he in some way "reveals."

[B]Religions of the West.[/B]

In the three great religions of the West--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--revelation is the basic category of religious knowledge. Man knows God and his will because God has freely revealed himself--his qualities, purpose, or instructions.


The Israelite faith looked back to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) for its fundamental revelation of God. God was believed to have revealed himself to the patriarchs and prophets by various means not unlike those known to the primitive religions --theophanies (visible manifestations of the divine), dreams, visions, auditions, and ecstasies--and also, more significantly, by his mighty deeds, such as his bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and enabling them to conquer the Holy Land. Moses and the prophets were viewed as the chosen spokesmen who interpreted God's will and purposes to the nation. Their inspired words were to be accepted in loving obedience as the Word of God.

Rabbinic Judaism, which probably originated during the Babylonian Exile and became organized after the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, concerned itself primarily with the solution of legal and ethical problems. It gradually developed an elaborate system of casuistry resting upon the Torah (the Law, or the Pentateuch) and its approved commentaries, especially the Talmud (commentaries on the Torah), which was regarded by many as equal to the Bible in authority. Orthodox Judaism still recognizes these authoritative sources and insists on the verbal inspiration of the Bible, or at least of the Pentateuch.


The New Testament took its basic notions of revelation from the contemporary forms of Judaism (1st century BC and 1st century AD)--i.e., from both normative rabbinic Judaism and the esoteric doctrines current in Jewish apocalyptic circles in the Hellenistic world. Accepting the Hebrew Scriptures as preparatory revelation, Christianity maintains that revelation is brought to its unsurpassable climax in the person of Jesus Christ, who is God's own Son (Heb. 1:1-2), his eternal Word (John 1:1), and the perfect image of the Father (Col. 1:15). The Christian revelation is viewed as occurring primarily in the life, teaching, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, all interpreted by the apostolic witnesses under the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Commissioned by Jesus and empowered by the divine spirit, the apostles, as the primary heralds, hold a position in Christianity analogous to that of the prophets in ancient Israel.

The Apostle Paul, though not personally a witness to the public life of Jesus, is ranked with the Apostles by reason of his special vision of the risen Christ and of his special call to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. In his letters, Paul emphasized the indispensability of missionary preaching in order that God's revelation in Christ be communicated to all the nations of the world (Rom. 10:11-21).

Christianity has traditionally viewed God's revelation as being complete in Jesus Christ, or at least in the lifetime of the Apostles. Further development is understood to be a deeper penetration of what was already revealed, in some sense, in the 1st century. Periodically, in the course of Christian history, there have been sectarian movements that have attributed binding force to new revelations occurring in the community, such as the 2nd-century Montanists (a heretical group that believed they were of the Age of the Holy Spirit), the 13th century Joachimites (a mystical group that held a similar view), the 16th-century Anabaptists (radical Protestant sects), and the 17th-century Quakers. In the 19th century the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (popularly known as Mormons) recognized, alongside the Bible, additional canonical scriptures (notably, the Book of Mormon) containing revelations made to the founder, Joseph Smith.


Islam, the third great prophetic religion of the West, has its basis in revelations received by Muhammad (c. 7th century AD). These were collected shortly after his death into the Qur`an (Koran), which is regarded by Muslims as the final, perfect revelation--a human copy of the eternal book, dictated to the Prophet. While Islam accords prophetic status to Moses and Jesus, it looks upon the Qur`an as a correction and completion of all that went before. More than either Judaism or Christianity, Islam is a religion of the Book. Revelation is understood to be a declaration of God's will rather than his personal self-disclosure. Insisting as it does on the absolute sovereignty of God, on man's passivity in relation to the divine, and on the infinite distance between creator and creature, Islam has sometimes been inhospitable to philosophical speculation and mystical experience. Yet in medieval Islam there was both a remarkable flowering of Arabic philosophy and the intense piety of the mystical Sufis. The rationalism of some philosophers and the theosophical tendencies of some of the Sufis came into conflict with official orthodoxy.


A fourth great prophetic religion, which should be mentioned for its historic importance, is Zoroastrianism, once the national faith of the Persian Empire. Zoroaster (Zarathushtra), a prophetic reformer of c. 7th century BC, apparently professed a monotheistic faith and a stern devotion to truth and righteousness. At the age of 30 he experienced a revelation from Ahura Mazda (The Wise) and chose to follow him in the battle against the forces of evil. This revelation enabled Zoroaster and his followers to comprehend the difference between good (Truth) and evil (The Lie) and to know the one true God. Later forms of Zoroastrianism apparently had an impact on Judaism, from the time of the Babylonian Exile, and, through Judaism, on Christianity.


Recurrent questions concerning revelation include the relationship between general and special revelation; the relationship between word and deed as media of special revelation; the authority of the sacred books; the revelatory value of tradition; the nonverbal component in revelation; the interpersonal dimension of revelation; and the relationship between faith and reason.

[B]General revelation: the role of nature.[/B]

The Eastern religions, on the whole, differ from Western religions in that they place less emphasis on a special or exclusive revelation received by a "chosen people" and rather speak of the manifestation of the Absolute through the general order of nature. There is, however, no irreconcilable opposition between general and special revelation. Vedanta Hinduism and Buddhism, even if they do not speak of special revelation, believe that their religious books and traditions have unique value for imparting a saving knowledge of the truth. The Bible and the Qur`an, conversely, proclaim that although God has specially manifested himself to the biblical peoples, he also makes himself known through the order of nature. The failure of some nations to acknowledge the one true God is attributed not to God's failure to disclose himself but rather to the debilitating effects of sin on the perceptive powers of man.

[B]Special revelation: the role of history.[/B]

The Western religions differ somewhat among themselves in the ways in which they understand how special revelation occurs. Some focus simply on the direct inspiration of the divinely chosen prophets. The Judeo-Christian tradition, however, characteristically looks upon the prophets as witnesses and interpreters of what God is doing in history. Revelation through deeds is conceived to be more fundamental than revelation through words, though the words of the prophets are regarded as necessary to clarify the meaning of the events. Since the Old Testament term for "word" (davar) signifies also "deed" or "thing," there is no clear line of demarcation between word-revelation and deed-revelation in the Bible. The biblical authors look upon the national fortunes of Israel as revelations of God's merciful love, his fidelity to his promises, his unfailing power, his exacting justice, and his readiness to forgive the penitent sinner. The full disclosure of the meaning of history, for many of the biblical writers, will occur only at the end of time, when revelation will be given to all peoples in full clarity. The Judeo-Christian notion of history as progressive revelation has given rise to a variety of theological interpretations of world history, from St. Augustine (AD 354-430) to G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) and other modern thinkers.

Amoeba Friday, October 28, 2005 02:20 AM


Muslims owe their religious faith to Muhammad, the messenger of God. One day the Prophet Muhammad himself replied to a question as to what is Faith and said:

"Thou shalt believe in the One God, in His angelic messengers, in His revealed books, in His human messengers, in the Last Day (or Resurrection and final judgement) and in the determination of Good and evil by God."

On the same occasion, he explained as to what signifies submission to God in practice, and what is the best method of obedience The highest degree of contact, the surest and the most infallible means of communication between man and his Creator, is called wahy by the Prophet Muhammad. This is not an ordinary inspiration, but a veritable revelation made to man from God - a celestial communication. Man is matter, but on the contrary, God is even above the spirit and therefore beyond all possibility of direct physical contact with man (Qur'an 6/103). God is omnipresent [ever present] and, as the Qur'an says "nearer to man than his jugular vein" [50:15]. Yet no physical contact is possible. Therefore it is a malak (lit. a messenger), that is, a celestial message-bearer (commonly translated as 'angel') who serves as an intermediary, or the channel of the transmission of the God's message to His human agent or messenger (i.e., the prophet). None except a prophet receives such a revelation through the intermediary of a celestial messenger. It ought to be remembered that, in Islam, prophet does not mean one who makes prophecies and predictions, but only an envoy of God, a bearer of Divine message intended for his people. As to the angel, it does not enter in the scope of our studies here to discuss whether it is a spiritual being, distinct from the material beings in the universe, or something else.According to the Qur'an, the celestial messenger who brought revelations to the Prophet is called Jibril (Jibrail, Gabriel), which etymologically means 'the power of God.' The Qur'an cites also Mikal (Mikail, Michael) without indicating his functions. The functionary in charge of hell is named Malik (lit. 'master' or 'owner'). It also speaks of other angels without name and without attributes, all of whom execute the orders of the Lord. The Islamic belief is that Jibril, also described in the Qur'an as "trustworthy spirit" (al-ruh al-amin), stands above all. In the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, as distinct from the Qur'an, we read that this celestial messenger, Jibril, did not always appear in the same form to the Prophet. The Prophet saw him sometimes like a being suspended in the air, sometimes in the shape of a man, sometimes like a being having wings, etc. In a narration preserved by Ibn Hanbal (1, 53 or No. 374), it is reported that one day in the presence of many people, an unknown person came and put some questions to the Prophet Muhammad, and then went away. Several days afterwards, the Prophet told his companions: "I am persuaded to believe that the person who put to me questions on that day was none other than Gabriel, who had come to teach you your religion; and never was I so tardy in recognizing him." It was so because he had come to examine the Prophet and not to communicate to him some message from God.

The way in which the revelation used to come could be deduced from the following reports in which the Prophet himself or his onlookers have described it: "Sometimes it came to me like the beating sound of the bell - and this is the hardest experience for me - and when that ceases, I retain well engraved in my memory all that it has said; but sometimes the angel appears to me in the shape of a human being and speaks to me and I retain what he says" (Bukhari). In the transmission of Ibn Hanbal, this same report reads: "I hear the beating sounds and thereupon I keep silent; there is not an occasion of the revelation to me when I do not fear that my soul will depart." His Companions relate their observations, "whenever a revelation came to him, a sort of rest (immobility) captured him." (Ibn Hanbal) Or, "whenever the revelation came to the messenger of God, he was overwhelmed and remained in this state a while as if he was intoxicated." (Ibn Sa'd) Or, "the revelation came to him in the coldest day, and when it ceased, the front of the Prophet perspired with (sweat falling as) pearls." (Bukhari) Or, "once when the moment (of revelation) arrived, he bent his head inside (a garment?), and lo, the face of the messenger of God had become red, and he snored; later the state vanished" (Bukhari). Or, "whenever the revelation came, he suffered therefrom and his face darkened." (Ibn Sa'd) Or, "when the revelation came to him, we heard near him like the humming sound of bees." (Ibn Hanbal and Abu Hu-aim) Or, "the Prophet suffered great pain when the revelation came to him, and he used to move his lips." (Bukhari) Another series of reports say that he then felt the weight of a great load, and said, "I saw the Prophet while he was on his camel when a revelation came to him. The camel began to foam with rage and twist its legs to the point that I feared that they would break with a crack. In fact sometimes the camel sat down, but sometimes it would obstinately try to stand, with legs planted like pegs all through the time of revelation, and this lasted until the state (of revelation) vanished, and sweat would fall from him like pearls." (Ibn Sa'd) Or, "the load almost broke the leg of the camel with a crack" (Ibn Hanbal). Zaid Ibn Thabit reports his personal experience of a certain day in the following words: "His leg lay on my thigh and weighed so heavy that I feared that my femur would break with a crack" (Bukhari). In another version, there is this addition: "... had it not been for the Prophet of God, I would have pushed a cry and taken away my leg." Other reports say: "The revelation came to him once while he was standing on the pulpit of the Mosque and he remained immobile." (Ibn Hanbal) Or, "he was holding a loaf of meat (during his meal) when a revelation came to him, and when the state ceased, the loaf was still in his hand" (Ibn Hanbal). At such an occasion, the Prophet sometimes lay on his back, sometimes the inmates even covered his face in respect with a piece of cloth, as the circumstance may be. Yet he never lost his consciousness nor control of his self. In the early times of the mission, he used to repeat aloud, during the course of the revelation, what was revealed to him, but while still at Mecca, he abandoned this habit of simultaneous repeating, but remained silent until the end of the state of revelation, and then he communicated the message of God to his secretaries to note (as is mentioned in the Qur'an 75/16): "Stir not thy tongue herewith to hasten it; upon Us the putting together and the reading thereof." And again (20/114): "And hasten not with the Qur'an ere its revelation hath been perfected unto thee and say: my Lord, increase me in knowledge." And when the Prophet returned to his normal state, he used to dictate to his scribes the portion of the Qur'an which had just been received by him, in order to publish it amongst the Muslims and to multiply the copies. In his al-Mab'ath wa'l-Maghazi (MS of Fes), Ibn Ishaq reports: "Whenever part of the Qur'an was revealed to the Messenger of God, he first recited it among men, and then among women."
Objective of revelation:[/B]
The whole Book of Quran that had been revealed on Prophet Muhammad is a an Instrument of instructions which has been issued to man in his capacity as God's vicegerent on earth to enable him to conduct his life's operations in such a manner he is able to obtain success in this world and the reward of eternal bliss hereafter.

The distinctive feature of teh Quran as a religious scripture lies in the undeniable fact taht it

"affirms and completes the total process of revelation which has come from teh Divine for the guidence of the human race"

The necessity of the revelation is attested by the facts of life,the very condition of teh finitude in which we find ourselves calls for Divine help.In a short span of life taht is ours, having regard to the limited range of our capabilities and powers of perception,it would be impossible for us without assistance from the Divine to understand our role here and to plan wise and intelligent action with a view to serving teh essential needs of our being.


The Holy Quran claims to be book of Hidayah i..e, Guidence ,for man.It addresses itself by and large ,to the totality of mankind.Its message is relevant to different people living in different parts of the world.Not only this it's message is valid for all times to come .In other words it is not a book that will ever be out of date.There are numerous indications in the Divine Book itself which can enable a discerning and perceptive student to appreciate the truth of the claim of the Quran that it presents teh message of universal significance.

The Quran as a book of guidence must be regarded as an embodiment of the code of life which God,the Creator and Lord of the Universe has revealed for the "hidaya" of mankind.This revealed truth relating to the various aspects of human life has been shown to man through the process of revelation.This procedure has been consumated in the message that has been brought by the Prophet of Islam to mankind.It may be said that Islam itself provides for the education of the human race.In Islam religion has been perfected .That is another way of saying that with islam the age of new revelation has come to an end,and that the age of realization of the principles of revealed religions has been inagurated.That is why in all the earliest scripture refrences have been found to the advent of the Prophet of Islam.The Bible,for instance provides us with the reference of this revelation as Jesus had said,

"I have yet many things to say unto you,but ye cannot bear them now....He will guide you until all truth:for he shall not speak himself;but of whatsoever he shall hear,that he shall speak"

Further the New Testament bears testimony to this very truth:

"Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy Prophets since the world began"

The Holy Quran itself affirms this reference in chapter 61,verse 6,when it says,

"And that Jesus,son of Mary ,said,"O children of Israel ,surely i am the messanger of Allah to you verifying that which is before me of Torah and giving the good news of the messenger ,who will come after me ,his name being Ahmad."

This is the meaning of the fundamental tenet of islam which enjoins that the Prophet of Islam is the last Prophet.The HOly Quran thus embodies the final most communication from the Divine.After the Prophet of Islam came to mankind teh need for continuing the process of Divine communication itself has come to an end.This revelation or the Divine coomunication is supreme in the fact that it enables the human beings and the follower of Islam to understand the grand strategy for bringing about the moral and mental regeneration of mankind on earth.


The very fact that the Quran claims itself to be a book of Guidence asssumes that it is not a book of Ten Commandments as is,for instance the Old Testament.The Prophet was called upon to purify the people,to teach them the book ,that is there destiny and to make them wise.He was to warn and to guide.The Quran unmistakably places the burden of making a choice between good and evil fully and squarely on the shoulders of man.It says,

" Have we not shown to you the two ways,the easy way and the difficult way".

The Quran further declares that nothing belongs to man except his effort.He is going to be judged by what he does here and now.This suggests that the Quran assumes the man to have reach the level where he is regarded as being capapble of choosing between right and wrong.The Quran is also called "al Furqan" which means it is the book which helps one to discrimminate between the scale of values,pointing out which acts are good,better,and best and which ones are bad,worse and worst.All this shows that God has revealed to the people the Divine Truth of the choice of right and wrong and it addresses to the people who can choose.


The message which Allah has revealed through His Prophet Muhammad demonstrates his followers the indispensibility of the teachings contained in the Quran.This message to the modern world is to take up one by one the present day standards of excellence.This excellence is associated with the values and ideals which are accepted and upheld by the enlightened sections of contemporay humanity.These present day set of values and ideals which is considered worthy by a civilized man to adopt and accept was revealed for the first time by Islam.Quran is surely a supreme source of knowledge as it teaches the equality,dignity and brotherhood of man.It advises to practice religious tolerence and provides dignity to the human beings without any exploitation and inequality among the individuals.It definately guides and teaches those principles which are necessary for the survival of mankind both physically and spiritually.

The revelations and teachings of Quran are accepted in principle by the whole world.The world swears its ideals and cherishes the values sponsered by it.No book in the world down the ages has been adored than the Holy Quran has been by the Muslims.The Quran is the best evidence that there is for all of us to believe that God exists,that Muhammad is His Prophet (PBUH).It is a Book of Hope in the sense that it presents to us the Image of our Maker who forgives us and protects us against our follies.Man needed to discover the word of God.Allah revealed,informed and guided the man about his Creator,his purpose of Creation,informs him of his place as the "best of Creation",provides him guidence to lead a fullfilling and rewarding life,tells him of the hereafter,teaches him the value of his fellow beings,makes everything else subservient to the criterion of Truth.In short it enabels him to be peace with himself,with the whole of the creation and with the Creator

KhanMomin Wednesday, May 19, 2021 01:08 AM

What dimension should be covered of this topic ?

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aiman muneer Sunday, May 08, 2022 11:31 PM

Can we quote verses without Arabic punctuations

Syeda Irum Monday, May 09, 2022 01:26 AM

[QUOTE=aiman muneer;1129372]Can we quote verses without Arabic punctuations[/QUOTE]

Yes, you can..

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