Mohammed Meets the Angel of Light.

Karen Armstrong, a popular and highly sympathetic writer about Islam and Muhammad gives this account of the manner of Muhammad’s initial encounter with what Muslims believe was Gabriel (jibril) the “angel” in the cave of Hira:

Muhammad was torn from his sleep in his mountain cave and felt himself overwhelmed by a devastating divine presence.  Later he explained this ineffable experience by saying that an angel had enveloped him in a terrifying embrace so that it felt as though the breath was being forced from his body.  The angel gave him the curt command: ‘iqra!’ ‘Recite!’  Muhammad protested that he could not recite; he was not a kahin, one of the ecstatic prophets of Arabia.  But, he said, the angel simply embraced him again until, just as he thought he had reached the end of his endurance, he found the divinely inspired words of a new scripture pouring forth from his mouth. 2

Armstrong mistakenly however, does not mention that it was not actually until the third time that the “angel” had strangled Muhammad, demanding that he recite, that he finally did so. 3 This encounter stands in stark contrast to the general nature of angelic and divine encounters found throughout the Bible, where the angels (or the Lord Himself) almost always are found beginning their conversation with the comforting phrase, “Do not be afraid.” (Genesis 15:1, 26:24, 46:3, Daniel 8:15-19, 10:12,19, Matthew 28:5,10, Luke 1:13, Luke 1:26-31, 2:10, Revelation 1:17)  

Joseph Smith encounters the same spirits

15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 

17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!    JS –History 1.