5. The Inspiration of Muhammad and of Christ
Muhammad claimed to have received his inspiration through the Angel Gabriel, the faithful spirit. It is mentioned in many Traditions that whenever the inspiration came upon him, Muhammad went into a semi-coma. In the book al-Rewaya, it is mentioned that he changed from his normal state and looked like a drunkard, almost passing out. Some Muslim scholars said that he was taken out of this world. Abu Huraira said: “When inspiration came down on Muhammad, he was stricken with dread.” In the book al-Rewaya, it is written: “Depression showed on his face, and his eyes sank. Sometimes he fell into a deep sleep.” Omar ibn al-Khattab said: “When the inspiration came upon him, a noise like the humming of bees could be heard around his face.” Muhammad was asked how he received the inspiration. He answered: “Sometimes it comes upon me like the ringing of bells, which is the hardest form of inspiration for me; and when I come through, I remember what was said.”
Muslim scholars agreed that Muhammad “felt heavy every time the inspiration came upon him; his forehead dripped with cold sweat; sometimes he fell into a deep sleep, with his eyes turning red.” Zaid ibn Thabit said: “When the inspiration came down upon Muhammad, he himself became heavier. One time, his thigh fell against my thigh, and I swear to Allah, I have never found anything that was heavier than the thigh of Muhammad. Whenever the inspiration came upon him, while he was on his camel, it limped, and its leg was thought to be broken; and sometimes it squatted.” (Mastery in the Qur'anic Sciences, by al-Suyuti; 1:45-46). According to Muslim scholars and their testimonies, Allah did not speak to Muhammad directly, but dealt with him only through the Angel Gabriel. Allah remained far away from him, even at the time of the inspiration.
In contrast, God never sent the Angel Gabriel to Christ, and Christ never received inspiration through a third party. He Himself was the Truth incarnate (Sura Maryam 19:34), the eternal Word of God, and a Spirit from Him, from within God, full of knowledge of His will. If anyone wants to study the will of God in depth, he should study the life of Christ carefully, for He is the incarnate will of the Almighty. The Qur'an tells us further that Allah Himself taught Christ the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, before His incarnation:
“And He will teach Him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel.” (Sura Al Imran 3:48).
وَيُعَلِّمُه الْكِتَاب وَالْحِكْمَة وَالتَّوْرَاة وَالإِنْجِيل (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٤٨)
Christ knows all the secrets of heaven and earth, because Allah told Him all that had been written in the Heavenly Book (al-Lauh al-Mahfudh), including the whole Torah, The Wisdom of Solomon and the Gospel. So, Christ was full with the Word of God. He did not speak anything but the words of God. According to the Qur'an, He uttered words of comfort and guidance to His mother, immediately after His birth, like an adult:
“But He called to her from under her: ‘Do not be sorrowful; truly, your Lord has set below you a great person. Shake the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling around you dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if you see anyone, say: ‘I have vowed to the All-Merciful a fast. Today I will not speak to any man.’ ’ ” (Sura Maryam 19:24-26).
فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلا تَحْزَنِي قَد جَعَل رَبُّك تَحْتَك سَرِيّا وَهُزِّي إِلَيْك بِجِذْع النَّخْلَة تُسَاقِط عَلَيْك رُطَبا جَنِيّا فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنا فَإِمَّا تَرَيِن مِن الْبَشَر أَحَدا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْت لِلرَّحْمَان صَوْما فَلَن أُكَلِّم الْيَوْم إِنْسِيّا (سُورَة مَرْيَم ١٩ : ٢٤ - ٢٦)
According to the Qur'an, Christ spoke the words of God when He was still an infant. He did not need an angel or middle-man, because He is the Word of God and His Spirit. For this reason, the power of God worked in the Son of Mary, creating, healing, forgiving, comforting and regenerating.
We conclude by pointing out that the inspiration to Muhammad in the Qur'an and the Traditions was summed up in the Sharia (Islamic Law), which contains all the divine commands and prohibitions. The final form of the inspiration to Muhammad took shape as “books”: the Qur'an and the Traditions (Hadith), which are summed up in the Sharia.
The inspiration of Christ is “His own self”. His Gospel is not a law but the revelation of His life, the description of His Person. Moreover, Christ granted His followers the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they can fulfil His commandments. His disciples do not believe in a book or a religion primarily, neither do they live under a law; much more, they believe in a person. They hang on to Christ tightly, personally and follow Him. Christ is the very inspiration of God.