Cousin of Khadija, Muhammad's first wife. He was also one of the four hanifs mentioned by Ibn Ishaq in his biography of Muhammad. The others being `Uthman b. al-Huwayrith, Ubaydullah b. Jash and Zaid b. Amr. Interestingly, we have no Muslim tradtion concerning when and how Waraqa died.

Ibn Ishaq relates (as it appears in ibn Hisham's recension):

Waraqa attached himself to Christianity and studied its scriptures until he had thoroughly mastered them."
(Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, 1967, p. 99)
This means that the scriptures were uncorrupted during his time. It is said that when Muhammad received his first visions, Khadija came to consult him.

... Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father's brother, who during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. ... (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111)

Although Waraqa said that Muhammad was to be a prophet to "his own people," [i.e., Arabs], he did not become a Muslim. After his death, Muhammad dreamed of him in white robes -- signifying that Waraqa was in heaven.
(Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 631)

Muslims have claimed that Waraqa represents the pure, uncorrupted form of Christianity, and who deny the Christian Trinity. However, there is no evidence that Waraqa was a Unitarian Christian. In fact, historical evidence appears to contradict this. The churches in the Arabian peninsula were either in communion with the Monophysitic Church in Egypt or the Nestorian Church in Constatinople (and these two had long been in antagonistic relationships). Both branches believe that Jesus was divinely God; they differed in how the human and divine natures of Jesus interacted when He was man on this earth. The Qur'anic teaching are more in line with the Nestorian teaching.

Further discussions:

  • More on Waraqa b. Nawfal and how did he come to his conclusions?
  • Did Waraqa Ibn Nawfal Teach The Prophet?
  • Others have tried to show that the above text were corrupted by later traditionalists, i.e. that Waraqa was actually an enemy of Muhammad, and not a supporter:

  • Waraqa ibn Nawfal Was No Supporter of Muhammad's Prophethood
  • A newsgroup discussion on this view: One, Two, Three, Four.

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