Waraka ibn Nawfal
Waraka (or Waraqah) ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn Abd-al-Uzza ibn Qusayy Al-Qurashi (Arabic ورقه بن نوفل بن أسد بن عبد العزّى بن قصي القرشي) was the paternal first cousin of Khadija, the first wife of the prophet Muhammad.
He was also Muhammad's paternal third cousin once removed: Waraka's grandfather Asad ibn Abd-al-Uzza (son of Abd al-Uzza ibn Qusai) was nephew of Muhammad's great-great-grandfather Abd Manaf ibn Qusai. Waraka was an Ebionite priest and is revered in Islamic tradition for being one of the first monotheists to believe in the prophecy of Muhammad.
According to the Islamic sources, Waraka was an Ebionite priest living in Mecca, and one who had made detailed studies of the Gospels and the Old Testament scriptures. Muslim tradition maintains that Waraka was one of the believers in the Age of Ignorance, meaning that he was a believer before the prophecy of Muhammad. Waraka would frequently contemplate and pray at the Kaaba and began to read the Biblical texts in their original language and even learned to read Hebrew.
Around this time, Waraka, with another member of his tribe, is said to have found Muhammad as a young infant and immediately returned him to Abdul Muttalib, which has been interpreted to be a foreshadowing to his acceptance of Muhammad's prophecy.
As Muhammad grew in age, Waraka's knowledge of the sacred scriptures increased. Several years later, when told of Muhammad's first revelation (which is understood to be Sura 96: 1-5), Waraka recognized his call to prophecy as authentic. Tradition recounts Waraka saying: "There has come to him the greatest Law that came to Moses; surely he is the prophet of this people".
Waraka, upon accepting Muhammad's prophecy, remained a Christian and, in later accounts, was counted among Muhammad's companions. Muhammad is later said to have said of Waraka: "Do not slander Waraka ibn Nawfal, for I have seen that he will have one or two gardens in Paradise."
- Encyclopedia of Islam, Online ed., Waraka b. Nawfal
- Ibn Hisham, The Life of Muhammad, 3rd ed., vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 73.
- A narration from Aisha records the instance: "Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as God wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" God's Apostle described whatever he had seen and listened. Waraqa said, "This was Namoos-e-Akbar (Jibra-eel/Gabriel) whom God had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." God's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while."
- Reading Islam.com What Really Happened Up There?
- Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 6/1534, no. 7197