Unveiling The Journey of Divine Revelationby Ustaz Abdul Rahman Rahuni
Bismillah, in the name of Allah, all praise is due to Allah Who sent down the Quran as a guidance for humanity. Salutations and blessings to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to whom the Quran was revealed. The Quran is the word of Allah that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ through the angel Jibril. Reading the Quran is an act of worship and for every letter that is read, a reward is given. It is a guidance to the Divine truth as Allah says:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيْٓ اُنْزِلَ فِيْهِ الْقُرْاٰنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنٰتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدٰى وَالْفُرْقَانِۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۗوَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيْضًا اَوْ عَلٰى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَ ۗيُرِيْدُ اللهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيْدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ ۖوَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللهَ عَلٰى مَا هَدٰىكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُوْنَ ١٨٥
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” [Al-Baqarah 2:185]
The Quran went through several stages of revelation until it became what we can read today. Therefore, if we read a Quranic verse that states that the Quran was revealed on a certain night, and another verse states that it was revealed in separate parts, these verses do not contradict each other because the difference is due to the different stages of revelation.
According to Sheikh Abd al-Azim Az-Zurqani, the revelation of the Quran occurred in three stages. The first stage was the revelation of the entire Quran to the lauh mahfuz all at once. However, the timing of this revelation is known only to Allah, as Allah says:
بَلْ هُوَ قُرْاٰنٌ مَّجِيْدٌۙفِيْ لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوْظٍ ٢١ – ٢٢
“Nay, this is a Glorious Qur’an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!” [Al-Buruj 85:21-22]
The second stage was the revelation of the Quran from lauh mahfuz to Baitul Izzah in the world’s heaven, all at once on the night of Al-Qadr during the month of Ramadan. This is what is referred to in the following verse of the Quran:
“The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down.” Then it is further clarified in another verse which states. Allah says:
اِنَّآ اَنْزَلْنٰهُ فِيْ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ ١
“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power.” [Al-Qadr 97:1]
The third stage was the revelation of the Quran from Baitul izzah to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which occurred gradually over the course of 23 years of his life. Allah explains this gradual revelation in the following verse of the Quran:
وَقُرْاٰنًا فَرَقْنٰهُ لِتَقْرَاَهٗ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلٰى مُكْثٍ وَّنَزَّلْنٰهُ تَنْزِيْلً ١٠٦
“(It is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals: We have revealed it by stages.” [Al-Isra 17:106]
The wisdom behind the initial revelation of the Quran all at once was to honor the Quran that was placed in the Lauh Mahfuz. In addition, it was to inform the inhabitants of the heavens that this is the last book that will be revealed to the last prophet. However, the gradual revelation of the Quran also carries many benefits, such as:
- It strengthened the heart of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who faced a lot of opposition during his preaching. Therefore, the gradual revelation of the Quran was meant to strengthen the Prophet’s heart to continue spreading the truth.
- It also addressed all the questions posed by the polytheists. There are many verses in the Quran that begin with the phrase يسألونك which means “they ask you” and Allah answers them.
- To make it easy to memorize and understand. This is because the gradual revelation of the Quran in small portions made it easier for the companions to memorize it.
- The gradual revelation also allowed for the gradual implementation of laws and judgments. There were laws revealed in response to certain events, which provided solutions to problems faced by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . There were also laws that changed gradually, which allowed the companions to accept them openly without rejection.
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Abdul Rahman Rahuni
Ustaz Abdul Rahman Rahuni. The author is a graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah studying in the field of Islamic Sharia. He is currently an instructor at Sekolah Menengah Ugama Islamiah, Tawau, Sabah.
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