What does Revelation ( wahy) mean?

What does Revelation ( wahy) mean?

The Arabic word wahy literally means to communicate secretly, to decree, to reveal, indicate, to inspire, speak through inspiration or revelation, to suggest, to make signs, to call, to whisper, to write, to hasten.

As a term, wahy means God’s communication of His Messages to His Prophets in a special way, the exact nature of which we cannot know. 

The term wahy is used in the Qur’an in both its specific and general senses. In its specific sense, wahy is God’s Revelation to the Prophets and, in its general sense, it is God’s assigning all existing things with their forms and functions, as the sole Creator, and guiding them to the fulfillment of the aim and purpose of their existence.

We may describe revelation, or wahy, in its specific sense as God’s conveyance of His guidance and commandments to His Prophets, who were chosen from among all human beings.

As for the means of the Revelation, the word passes from God to the human being in one of the following three ways:

  • By way of revelation through inspiration of the heart or dreams during sleep. God Almighty sent His message to the mother of Prophet Moses by inspiration and Prophet Abraham was inspired with the sacrifice of his son through a dream.
  • Another kind of revelation is when God spoke to a Prophet from behind a veil without the mediation of an angel. Prophet Moses was addressed in this way for instance.
  • God’s third way of communicating with human beings is that He sends an angel to convey His Revelation to a Prophet.

Revelation is evidence for the prophethood of not only Prophet Muhammad, but for all the Prophets.

To each and every Prophet the Almighty Creator revealed:

We have revealed to you (O Messenger) as We revealed to Noah and the Prophets after him; and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets who were raised in the tribes, and Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and We gave David the Psalms. And Messengers We have already told you of (with respect to their mission) before, and Messengers We have not told you of; and God spoke to Moses in a particular way. (Nisa 4:163–164)

The clearest difference between the Prophets and other human beings lies in the divine reality of Revelation.

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