The Revelation, as a specific term, most commonly refers to revelation of a knowledge or a message to humanity from Allah through prophets. However, in its general meaning, it can also indicate the innate knowledge of creations or inspirations to some people other than the prophets. The Revelation does not come directly from Allah as it is not possible to hear or see Him because of His supreme constitution. In Quran, Allah says “It is not ˹possible˺ for a human being to have Allah communicate with them, except through inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger-angel to reveal whatever He wills by His permission. He is surely Most High, All-Wise.” [Quran 42:51]

The Revelation is mostly a crucial part of a religion and was the way that people learnt about specifics of it. Allah sent revelation to prophets, hence communities, let them know the only God and the correct way of the life (religion), instruct them and form a connection between Himself and His creation. The existence of Allah was known to people since the very beginning, however, the idea of God shifted and variated time to time throughout eras, leading people to forgetfulness, idolatry and decadency. Therefore, they needed to be reminded of oneness of Allah, His attributes and moral requirements through revelation. 

Allah sent revelation to all prophets from Adam to Muhammad and prophet Muhammad is the last prophet who received revelation from Allah. Allah says “Indeed, We have sent revelation to you ˹O Prophet˺ as We sent revelation to Noah and the prophets after him. We also sent revelation to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants, ˹as well as˺ Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And to David We gave the Psalms.” [Quran 4:163] Even though rulings concerning the practices differ depending on the era, the needs of people, the culture and the place, the core message of revelation was the same: trueness of believing in one creator and sustainer. 

Apart from prophets, it is indicated in the Quran that some people also received messages from Allah. While the mother of Moses was inspired from Allah (1), the mother of Jesus, Mary, was sent Gabriel, the angel of revelation, to her (2). Other recipients of inspiration were the apostles of Jesus (3).  Other than humans, angels, some animals, the earth and the sky is mentioned to receive inspiration. 

Prophets received revelations in a few different ways. The first one is inspiration. This can happen either in a dream or as a thought or feeling that comes to the mind or heart. For example, Prophet Abraham was inspired in his dream that he was sacrificing his son Ishmael. The other revelation is received behind a curtain. This type of revelation is perceived by hearing rather than feeling in the heart. The sound is kind of in the form of buzzing or high-pitched sounds. Calling of Moses by Allah was this kind of revelation. The most common way to send revelation was through an angel. While this kind of message was delivered verbally, sometimes it was also written as in the case of Torah.

  1. We inspired the mother of Mūsā saying, “Suckle him (Mūsā). Then once you fear about him, cast him in the river, and do not fear, and do not grieve. Surely We are going to bring him back to you and appoint him one of (Our) messengers.” [Quran 28:7]
  2. Then We sent to her Our angel, ˹Gabriel,˺ appearing before her as a man, perfectly formed. [Quran 19:17]
  3. And how I inspired the disciples, “Believe in Me and My messenger!” They declared, “We believe and bear witness that we fully submit ˹to Allah˺.” [Quran 5:111]