evidently uttered in a state of complete ecstasy; but the later portions of the Qurʼân, in which more consecutive stories are told, and in which ordinances are propounded for the general guidance of the believers, or for individual cases, are of course couched in more sober language, and show traces of being composed in a calmer frame of mind.
The thought that he might be, after all, mad or possessed (magnun) was terrible to Mohammed.
He struggled for a long time against the idea, and endeavoured to support himself by belief in the reality of the divine mission which he had received upon Mount ʿHirâ; but no more revelations came, nothing occurred to give him further confidence and hope, and Mohammed began to feel that such a life could be endured no longer. The Fatrah or ‘ intermission,’ as this period without revelation was called, lasted for two and a half or three years.
Dark thoughts of suicide presented themselves to his mind, and on more than one occasion he climbed the steep sides of Mount ʿHirâ, or Mount Thabîr, with the desperate intention of putting an end to his unquiet life by hurling himself from one of the precipitous cliffs. But a mysterious power appeared to hold him back, and at length the long looked-for vision came, which was to confirm him in his prophetic mission.
At last the angel again appeared in all his glory, and Mohammed in terror ran to his wife ʿHadîgah and cried daththirûnî, ‘ wrap me up!’ and lay down entirely enwrapped in his cloak as was his custom when attacked by the hysterical fits (which were always accompanied, as we learn from the traditions, with violent hectic fever), partly for medical reasons and partly to screen himself from the gaze of evil spirits.
As he lay there the angel again spake to him: ‘ O thou covered! Rise up and warn! and thy Lord magnify! and thy garments purify; and abomination shun! and grant not favours to gain increase; and for thy Lord await!’
- Sûrah ⅬⅩⅩⅣ, 1-7.