This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The Night of Power

Prophets become what they are by commission, and this always looks the same in the Old Testament: a voice descends from on high and they are told precisely what they must do: preach. The case of Muhammad is no exception, and follows closely with this tradition. This is why it is said that although he may have already formulated his seminal proclamation on the oneness of God through his vigils at Mount Hira, he had not yet received his commission.

This brings us approximately to the year 610 A.D. and to what would become known as Laylat al-Qadr, ‘The Night of Power’. Muhammad, after years of preparing for this moment, lay on the cave floor in a state of contemplation not unlike other hanifs, when an angel came to him in the form of a man. The angel delivered a simple command: Iqra’—Recite! Or to interpret it in a similar direction: Preach!

Muhammad, again following the tradition of many prophets before him, responded with hesitation and doubt: “I am not a preacher.” At this, the angel, to be identified later as Gabriel, “whelmed me in his embrace until he had reached the limit of my endurance. Then he released me and said again, ‘Preach!’ Again I said: ‘I am not a preacher,’ and again he whelmed me in his embrace. When again he had reached the limit of my endurance he said ‘Preach!’, and when I again protested, he whelmed me for a third time, this time saying:

Proclaim in the name of your Lord who created! Created man from a clot of blood. Proclaim: Your Lord is the Most Generous, Who teaches by the pen; Teaches man what he knew not.”[1]

When it was over, the frightened Muhammad went home and fell into unconsciousness. He shared what had happened with his wife who, after hearing the story, believed, and became his first follower, demonstrating the hope and strength she always provided to him with her affirmation: “Rejoice, O dear husband, and be of good cheer. You will be the Prophet of this people.”

Although this was the first commission, the voice did not cease on that night, but returned again and again, saying: “…arise and warn, and glorify thy Lord.”

In the twenty-three years that remained of the life of Muhammad, now the Prophet, Messenger of God, he would labor to obey this voice and transmit to his people the words he was given, and this would become the Revelation that established the religion of Islam throughout all of Arabia.

[1] Koran 96:1-3.

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