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 Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Waraka and Khadija were also the first cousins twice removed of Muhammad: their paternal grandfather Asad ibn Abd-al-Uzza was Muhammad’s matrilineal great-great-grandfather. By another reckoning, Waraka was Muhammad's third cousin once removed: Asad ibn Abd-al-Uzza was a grandson of Muhammad's patrilineal great-great-great-grandfather Qusai ibn Kilab.
According to the Islamic sources, Waraka was living in Mecca and 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 scriptures increased. Several years later, when told of Muhammad's first revelation (which is understood to be Sura 96:1-5), Waraka acknowledged 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". A narration from Aisha gives these details:
- 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. Waraqa said, "This was the same one who keeps the secrets whom Allah had sent to Moses (angel Gabriel). 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.
According to an alternative tradition, Waraka was still alive in 614, when he protested against the abuse of the Muslim slave Bilal. 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."
- Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1. Translated by Haq, S. M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, p. 54. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
- Encyclopedia of Islam, Online ed., Waraka b. Nawfal
- Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad, p. 107. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bukhari 1:1:3. See also Bukhari 4:55:605; Bukhari 9:87:111; Muslim 1:301.
- Reading Islam.com What Really Happened Up There?
- Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad pp. 143-144. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 6/1534, no. 7197