Long ago, in the early years of the seventh century of the Christian era, there lived a middle-aged businessman who started to behave rather oddly. He took to wandering about by himself in the deserted countryside outside his native city. He heard voices talking to him when no one was present. He saw an angel standing in the sky. The same angel visited him in a dream and almost suffocated him with a brocaded textile until the sleeper spoke the words:
|Recite:||in the name of thy Lord who|
created, created Man of a
|Recite:||And thy Lord is the most|
generous, who taught by
the Pen, taught Man that
he knew not.
When he woke, he later recalled, it was "as though these words were written on my heart."
The city was Mecca and the man's name was Muhammad. As a result of these mysterious goings-on, the course of the world's history was changed.
— Richard Fletcher, The Quest for El Cid, p. 10