INSPIRATION Arabic wahy وحي
According to the Nuru ‘l-Anwar; by Shaikh Jiwan Ahmad (A.H. 1130), inspiration is of two kinds. Wahy zahir, external inspiration, or Wahy batin, internal inspiration.
I. – External Inspiration is of three kinds: –
(1) Wahyu Qur’an, or that which was received from the mouth of the angel Gabriel, and reached the ear of the Prophet, after he knew beyond doubt that it was the angel who spoke to him. This is the only kind of inspiration admitted to be in the Qur’an. It is sometimes called the Wahy mattu.
(2) Ishratu ‘l-Malak, or that which was received from the angel but not, by word of mouth, as when the Prophet said, “the Holy Ghost has breather into my heart.”
(3) Ilham or Wahyo qalb; or that which was made known to the Prophet by the “light of prophecy.” This kind of inspiration is said to be possessed by Walis or saints, in which case it may be either true or false.
II. – Internal Inspiration is that which the Prophet obtained by thought and analogical reasoning, just as the Mujtahidun, or enlightened doctors of the law obtain it. It is the belief of all orthodox Muslims that their Prophet always spoke on matters of religion by the lower forms of inspiration (i.e. Isharatu l-Malak, Ilham, or Wahyu qalb); and consequently a Hadis is held to be inspired in as great a degree, although not in the same manner as the Qur’an itself. The inspiration of the Hadis is called the Wahy ghair matlu. (See Nuru ‘l-Anwar, p. 181; Mishkat, book i. ch. vi. pt. 2.)
Suratu ‘n-Najm, liii. 2. “You lord (sahib) erreth not, nor is he led astray, neither speaketh he from impulse.”
According to the strict Muslim doctrine, every syllable of the Qur’an is of a directly divine origin, although wild rhapsodical Surahs first composed by Muhammad (as xci, c, ciii) do not at all bear marks of such an assumption, and were not probably intended to be clothed in the dress of a message from the Most High, which characterizes the rest of the Qur’an. But when Muhammad’s die was cast (the turning point in his career) of assuming that Great Name as the speaker of His revelations, then these earlier Surahs also came to be regarded as emanating directly from the Deity. Hence it arises that Muslims rigidly include every word of the Qur’an, at whatever stage delivered, in the category of Qala ‘llahu, or “This saith the Lord,” and it is one of their arguments against our Christian scriptures that they are not entirely cast in the same mould – not exclusived oracles from the mouth, and spoken in the person of God. (Muir’s Life of Mahomet.)
The following is a description of inspiration as given by Ibn Khaldun, “The sign that a man is inspired,” he says, “is, that he is at times completely absent, though in the society of others. His respiration is stentorious and he seems to be in a cataleptic fit, or in a swoon. This, however, is merely apparent; for in reality such an ecstasis is an absorption into the invisible world; and he has within his grasp what he alone is able to conceive, which is above the conception of others. Subsequently these spiritual visions descend and become perceptible to the faculties of man. They are either whispered to him in a low tone, or an angel appears to him in human shape and tells him what he brings from God. Then the ecstasies ceases, and the prophet remembers what he has heard.”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam