Meccas new materialism and its traditional idolatry disturbed Muhammad. He began making long retreats to a particular mountain he favoured; the Cave of Hira on Jabal Nur (the mountain of light) which overlooked Makkah. Often like how hes grandfather would withdraw to the solitude of the mountains around Makkah, Prophet Muhammad also did the same. It was during the Ramadan month of the year 610ce, when he was around 40 years old something happened that changed Muhammads life completely. A call to prophethood.
Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. Angel Gabriel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read." (The Prophet added), "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, "I do not know how to read," whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, "I do not know how to read" Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said,
"Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not. Holy Quran (Al Alaq 96: 1-5).." (96:15)
The angel disappeared,leaving behind Muhammad pbuh who was very overwhelmed and went back home heavy-hearted and profoundly perplexed. He was deeply impressed by the sight of arch-angel Gabriel and by the depth of meaning implied in these beautiful quranic verses.
He felt feverish, so he asked to be wrapped when he went home to Khadija and, once he felt better, he narrated what he had seen and heard to his faithful and supportive wife. 'By Allah,’ Khadija said, “Allah shall never subject you to any indignity…for you always maintain your ties with those of your kin, and you are always generous in giving; you are diligent, and you seek what others regard as unattainable; you cool the eyes of your guest, and you lend your support to those who seek justice and redess'.
The visitation of the angel was an unusual occurrence was a novel experience which upset Muhammad (s.a.w.) and made him highly nervous.
The night this happened was towards the end of the month of Ramadan, which later became the islamic month of fasting. The night is known as Laylat ul-Qadr and is usually celebrated on the 27th night of Ramadan, although the exact date is unknown. The month of Ramadhan has been singled out for special worship (`Ibadat) and exclusive favours. It is a month unlike other months. One reason for this, as defined by the Qur'an, is because the Holy Qur'an was revealed in this month to Prophet Muhammad. 'The month of Ramadhan, that in which the Qur'an was sent down; a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of guidance and distinction' (2:185). Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans (Prophet Muahammad). It is a tribute to the commencement of the message revealed to mankind by their Creator, a message which shows them the way to achieve