The Predisposition of
So the predisposition of Muhammad's soul gradually awoke to seek the truth, making him hungry to find the food that his soul demanded. Problems came to his mind about life, about death, about joy, about sorrow. Where could he solve them ? A passion awoke in him to praise someone who really deserved worship. Where could he find him among the idols of so many gods and goddesses with their hideous faces, standing all around, not only inferior to man who is always ready to answer the call, but even more helpless than the animals and birds - not even able to see with their eyes always so wide open during day and night ?
He saw no being among all the creatures of the earth who was not subject to birth and death. He saw no one without error nor above fault. He saw no one powerful, who did not have his like. He saw no one miraculous, who was beyond human helplessness. He looked above and saw the stars, the moon, the sun; only the moon, radiant in its beauty, and the sun, in its full resplendence, without equal, untouchable and high - but now absent, now present. How could he rely upon such presence which comes and goes from one's sight ? No one did he find around him who could tell why people were so astray, no one to release his loving heart from the pain of the sufferings of all humanity which he bore upon his heart. The questions : why should men not be harmonious, as from within our heart seeks to be ? Why should there not be a peace which our soul desires ? What is really worthwhile in life : power, position, wealth and fame ? Or is there something else besides ? Where is our origin, where lies our life's destiny ? Why is there suffering in every aspect of life, why all this unrest everywhere? He saw each individual standing for his own. He thought : who would stand for another ? What would make the world do so ? He found himself lost among these clouds of confusion. Nowhere seemed to be a stream of wisdom to quench his thirst, nowhere appeared a torch of light which could show him his path out of this darkness. The only thing he could think of was to retire from all around him, friends or foes, wise or foolish, to go into the solitude and to unravel the knots himself.
This promised master of humanity, unaware of his coming task, prostrating himself with his face in the dust, surrendered to the living God, thus attracting His mercy and compassion upon the earth. He would so deeply sink within himself for hours that no thought of time, no want of food, no inclination of sleep, nothing, would be able to distract his mind from this state of absorption. This was the right way, this was the only path. If anyone has attained the realization of Truth, it was by seeking it within his own self. Every day more and more he became fond of solitude. He sat on the rocks of Mount Hira looking all around for help, where no man, not even bird or beast, was to be seen. The barren desert with speechless rocks, even void of trees and plants, spoke unreservedly at the time which was blessed. He closed his eyes and directed his mind to listen if some answer would come from within, if not from without. Then the answer came to his earnest call. Something from within said, "Cry the name of thy God". He said, "Which God ? My people have thousands". The second time as a clearer voice said, "Cry the name of thy God", he said, "No, I will not, for I have no specified God for myself". There came a third command, "Repeat the name of thy Lord, the living God, the only God upon whom thou hast called". He then began to cry out aloud, "Allah, Allah". As he repeated this, so the clouds of confusion from around him began to clear and all became clear to his sight. To his every call "Allah" the ears of his soul heard a million times repeated through all things, - through the light of the sun, through the shining of the moon, through the twinkling of the stars, through the whispering of the breeze, through the cooing of the dark night - "I am here. I am near. I am they Lord. I am thy Cod".
The love of Muhammad, the ideal divine lover, gushed from his heart on listening to the response of the Beloved, the life giving words of the longed-for. His eyes shed tears of overjoy and his body, filled with lightness, would feel like flying, would feel like jumping from the mountains. What was it ? It was the commencement of love-making between the earthly lover and the divine Beloved. It was the first meeting of the glance of the lover and the beauty of the Beloved. The joy of this stage of wooing - if an angel would witness it from the heavens, he would drop down to become an earthly man.
When love breaks out in both the lover and the beloved, then it is natural that the beloved demands of the lover not only love admiration or attention, but sacrifice, service. The thought of God looking for a responsible mind, the word of God searching for a fiery tongue glowing constantly, the spirit of God seeking for a pure soul, the mercy of God looking for a loving heart, were delighted at the devotion of Muhammad, as a youthful beloved would be glad of an admirer, especially the one who could see and admire her beauty, while the crowd with closed eyes hunts for something else. The loving heart of Muhammad listened still more attentively in Ghare-e-Hira (a cave of the Mount Hira) to the words of his heavenly Beloved. What was it ? It was the call, it was asking for sacrifice, for service. The mind of Muhammad said, "But how could it be done ? Reason cannot comprehend it. This my God, omnipresent and omnipotent, formless and colourless, whom I have realized, would be so different from the gods of my folk". Muhammad looked at himself and imagined : I, a drop in the sea, and the divine injunction to stir up the whole ocean ! Bewilderment beyond explanation ! How to accomplish it ? Where to go ? Whom to ask ? What to do ? The body shivering with even the thought of responsibility! Imagine a general were commanded by the king to take his small army against the whole world's forces gathered to fight. What would be his mind at that time ? And the tender mind of Muhammad, which was full of love and was fed with sympathy began to see the whole world standing against him in arms. Neither could he deny the word of the Mighty One, the demand of the Beloved, the command of the Supreme Being, nor could he see his path open anywhere in the world as it appeared in his experience.
He hurriedly returned home from Ghare-e-Hira, lost in this fresh experience, and sought refuge with his heart's consoler, hitherto his only councilor on the face of the earth, his wife Khadijah. He asked her to cover him. He could not explain what he felt : that this covering might take away from his sight his small self which seemed to be loaded with the weight of earth and heavens. With all his discipline and courageous response to the Supreme Will he was still ignorant of His might which is sufficient to bear any trust however weighty, and unaware of the almighty power hidden even under the cover of his limited and helpless self.
"We sent our trust upon the mountains, who could not carry it. Then we sent out trust upon the trees; they could not bear the weight. Then we sent it upon man; it is he who carried it." (Qur'an) What was this trust ? It may be understood, in a small way, as the charge given to parents of their children, to a captain of his ship, to a governor of his government, to a king of his kingdom, as the charge given to the Wali, Ghawth, Qutb and Nabi to guide and govern the souls under their influence. But the culmination of this trust was hidden in Risalat which was bestowed upon Muhammad.
It was the charge not only of glorifying the name of God before the world at large - moreover at such a time when the god of the husband was different from the god of the wife, while for this very difference a sword was always unsheathed - but this trust was in fact to interpret aright the divine truth taught by the different messengers, and for a certain part insulted in the various religious scriptures, that a bond of brotherhood might be established among the children of Adam, among the creatures of God.
We appreciate, when we view it favourably, that Muhammad's youthful heart, fully absorbed in the love of his divine Beloved, took him again and again to Ghare-e-Hira where he, covering himself in his mantle, closing himself from all the world's surroundings and keen on directing his mind absolutely in the thought of the Beloved with hope and trust in His being, in His guidance, spent there hours in contemplation.
Then came the Voice longed-for :
O thou wrapped up !