Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Muhammad bin Abi Muhammad said that Ikrimah, or Saeed bin Jubayr, related to Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu that he said, “Sukayn and Adi bin Zayd said, “O Muhammad! We do not know that Allah sent down anything to any human after Musa.” Allah sent down a rebuttal of their statement through this ayah,
إِنَّآ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ كَمَآ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَى نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ
“Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Nuh and the Prophets after him.”
The word awhayna is from the root letters wau-ha-ya. Wahi literally means informing someone about something by signaling or indicating. It is done quickly and secretly so that people around you are not informed. For example, we can “speak” and tell others to do dhikr or we can signal and tell them to do dhikr without uttering a word. And people would understand our signal. Technically wahi is Allah subhanahu wa taa’la’s communication with His Messengers about the Shari’ah – the deen; whether it is wahi that is to be recited i.e. the Qur’an or wahi that is not recited such as hadeeth qudsi.
Wahi is done by various means. For example, in Surah Ash-Shuraa ayah 51 Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills.”
When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala spoke to Prophet Musa aalyhi salaam, He spoke behind a partition. The other ways were sending an angel with the message such as Angel Jibreel aalyhi salaam or revealing a matter through dream.
وَأَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَى إِبْرَهِيمَ وَإِسْمَـعِيلَ وَإْسْحَـقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالاٌّسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَى وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَـرُونَ وَسُلَيْمَـنَ وَءَاتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُوراً
“We (also) sent the revelation to Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub, and Al-Asbat, (the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya`qub) Eesa, Ayyub, Yunus, Harun, and Sulayman; and to Dawud We gave the Zaboor.”
Allah states that He sent down revelation to His servant and Messenger Muhammad just as He sent down revelation to previous Prophets. The Zaboor (Psalms) is the name of the Book revealed to Prophet Dawud aalyhi salaam.
The word Zaboor literally means the Book. Zaboor was not a huge book, it was a few sheets that contained advice, praises of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and wisdom. There were no legal rulings in this Book. When Prophet Dawud aalyhi salaam used to recite this book, the birds and mountains would echo those words, as we learn in Surah Saba ayah 10: And We certainly gave Dawud from Us bounty. [We said], “O mountains, repeat [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well].”
– Wahi had been sent before the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. There was nothing unique about inspiration or wahi. The Jews defied him only because he was from the Arabs, the unlettered people. So, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is questioning them that if he is not from Bani Israel you are not going to believe in him? Even though he came with the same teachings as Prophet Musa aalyhi salaam; the Prophet that was sent to their ancestors.
– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has communicated the same teachings, message or theme through all the Prophets, therefore what the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam brought was nothing new. What was the message that the Prophet brought? Worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Who is my Lord and your Lord.
– Some Prophets were favored with special gifts. For example, each Messenger and Prophet was not given a scripture. Each Book was different from the other books in the terms of Shariah.