Chapter One – First Module – The Revelation of the Noble Qur’an

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Chapter One

The Revelation of the Noble Qur’an

There are five modules in this chapter:

  1. Revelation of the Qur’an.

1.1 The first stage of revelation.

1.2 The second stage of revelation.

  1. The wisdom behind revealing the Qur’an in parts.

2.1 The first wisdom.

2.2 The second wisdom.

2.3 The third wisdom.

  1. The first revelation.

3.1 The first view.

3.2 The second view.

  1. The last revelation.

2.1 Overview of the six companions whose views are related.

2.2 The eight views.

2.3 Review and favoured opinion.

  1. Benefits of knowing the order of revelation.

5.2 The first benefit.

5.2 The second benefit.

5.3 The third benefit.

First Module

Revelation of the Noble Qur’an

 

If one ponders deeply over the verses of the Qur’an, one will come to the realisation that there were two distinct stages of revelation.

The First Stage of Revelation

The First View

دفعة واحدة من اللوح المحفوظ الي يبت العزة من سماء الدنياء

The first stage in revelation was from the Sacred Tablet to the House of Honour in the worldly sky in one go.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيْدٌ

But this is an honored Qur’an

فِيْ لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوْظٍ

[Inscribed] in a Preserved Slate.[1]

The aforementioned verses indicate that the Qur’an was indeed preserved in the Sacred Tablet in a manner known only to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. We do not have knowledge of the details nor does it behove us to question the manner it nor the inception of it. We are required to believe and testify to it, thus fulfilling the prerequisite of faith in the unseen, a quality of the Allah-fearing.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (d. 68 A.H) radiya Llahu ‘anhuma says:

خلق الله اللوح المحفوظ كمسيرة مائة عام، وقال للقلم – قبل أن يخلق الخلق: اكتب علمي في خلقي، فجرى بما هو كائن إلى يوم القيامة

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala created the sacred tablet the distance of a hundred years and said to the pen, before he created the creation, write My knowledge regarding My creation. What was to be till Qiyamah was written.[2]

This revelation was in the month of Ramadan on the night of power, which has been described as a blessed night.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala indicates towards this in the following verses:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيْ أُنزِلَ فِيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.[3]

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِيْ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree[4].

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِيْ لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِيْنَ

Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind].[5]

When these three verses are looked at in conjunction with each other, they convey the meaning that the Qur’an was revealed in one go in the month of Ramadan, on the night of power which has been alluded to as a blessed night. This is the strongest and most famous view.[6]

Al Hakim and al Bayhaqi amongst others have narrated the following tradition on the authority of Sa’id ibn Jubayr (d. 59) who narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

أنزل القرآن في ليلة القدر جملة واحدة إلى سماء الدنيا، وكان بمواقع النجوم، وكان الله ينزله على رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم بعضه في أثر بعض

The Qur’an was revealed on the Night of Power in one go to the skies of this world. Thereafter Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would reveal it gradually upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in succession.[7]

Al Hakim, al Bayhaqi and al Nasa’i have narrated from ‘Ikrimah who narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

أنزل القرآن في ليلة واحدة إلى السماء الدنيا ليلة القدر ثم أنزل بعد ذالك بعشرين سنة

The Qur’an was revealed in one night to the earthly sky on the night of power, thereafter it was revealed over the period of twenty years.

He then recited:

وَلَا يَأْتُوْنَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيْرًا

And they do not come to you with an argument except that We bring you the truth and the best explanation.[8]

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيْلًا

And [it is] a Qur’an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively.[9]

Al Hakim and Ibn Abi-Shaybah have recorded from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma on the authority of Sa’id ibn Jubayr:

فصل القرآن من الذكر ، فوضع في بيت العزة من السماء الدنيا ، فجعل جبريل ينزل به على النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم

The Qur’an was taken from the remembrance and placed in the House of Honour in the earthly sky. Jibril ‘alayh al Salam would then bring it to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[10]

Al Tabarani has narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

أنزل القرآن في ليلة القدر في شهر رمضان إلى سماء الدنيا جملة واحدة ثم أنزل نجوما

The Qur’an was revealed on the night of power in the month of Ramadan to the earthly sky at once. It was then revealed gradually.[11]

Al Tabarani has also narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

أنزل القرآن جملة واحدة حتي وضع في بيت العزة في السماء الدنيا ونزله جبريل على محمد صلي الله عليه وسلم بجواب كلام العباد واعمالهم

The Qur’an was revealed at once to the House of Honour in the earthly sky. Jibril ‘alayh al Salam would then bring it down to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as answers to the speech and actions of the creation.[12]

All the above narrations are authentic as mentioned by al Suyuti (d. 911 A.H). Though the narrations are Mawquf (that narration in which the statements or actions are attributed to a Sahabi) it will be considered as Marfu’ (that narration in which the statements, actions, approvals or qualities are attributed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and thus be worthy of use for legal injunctions.

The Second View

A second view held by some scholars is that the meaning of the verse:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِيْ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree[13].

Is a reference to the beginning of revelation upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the Night of Power which has been deemed a blessed night falling in the month of Ramadan. It was then gradually sent down. This is the view of Sha’bi.[14] Ibn Hajar has stated in his commentary on Sahih al Bukhari that the first view is correct and relied upon.[15]

The Second Stage of Revelation

The revelation of the Qur’an over the period of twenty-three years during the prophethood of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam where needed according to the circumstances of the time. The proof of this is the following verses:

وَقَالَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً كَذٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيْلًا

And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Qur’an not revealed to him all at once?” Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.[16]

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيْلًا

And [it is] a Qur’an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively.[17]

The above verses clearly indicate that the Qur’an was not revealed at once to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, rather it was revealed gradually to suite the then current conditions.

NEXT⇒ Second Module – The Wisdom Behind Revealing the Qur’an in Parts


[1] Surah al Buruj: 19;20.

[2] Tafsir al Shawkani, vol. 5 pg. 417. Cairo.

[3] Surah al Baqarah: 185.

[4] Surah al Qadr: 1.

[5] Surah al Dukhan: 3.

[6] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 116.

[7] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 116.

[8] Surah al Furqan: 33.

[9] Surah al Isra: 106.

[10] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 117.

[11] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 117.

[12] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 118.

[13] Surah al Qadr: 1.

[14] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 118.

[15] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 118.

[16] Surah al Furqan: 32.

[17] Surah al Isra: 106.