Qur’an in view of Qur’an
Welcome to the program. This episode will be dedicated to the manner of sending down of the surahs (chapters) and ayahs of the Qur’an.
The researchers and exegetes of the holy Qur’an have differences of opinion on the month of revelation of this Book. Some believe that it was descended in the middle of Sha’aban while others maintain that it was descended in the blessed month of Ramazan. The holy Qur’an asserts the latter opinion as it is evident in surah Baqra. Another argument is on the night in which the Qur’an was sent down to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). God answers this question in ayahs 2 and 3 of surah Dukhan, “By the Manifest Book! Indeed We sent it down on a blessed night.”
This blessed night is the Night of Qadr or Ordinance. There are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars on the exact time of this night. A few scholars have said that it is the 17th of Ramazan. The acclaimed researcher Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī writes that the beginning of revelation of the Qur’an was on the 19th night of Ramazan. But most of the Shia researchers are of the opinion that the holy Qur’an was most probably sent down on the 23rd night of Ramazan. Another point to ponder is that the holy Qur’an was sent down to the Prophet in two manners. Firstly, the entire Qur’an was sent down to the heart of the Prophet. God has made this point clear in ayahs 192-195 of surah Shura, “This is indeed sent down by the Lord of all the worlds, brought down by the Trustworthy Spirit upon your heart so that you may be one of the warners, in a clear Arabic language.”
Secondly, the holy Qur’an was sent down to the Prophet in a gradual manner. Ayah 106 of surah Isra’ stresses this point, “We have sent down the Qur’an in parts so that you may read it to the people a little at a time and We have sent it down piecemeal.”
Sheikh Tabarsi, quoting from Ibn Abbas, writes, “Almighty God sent down the Qur’an in its entirety on the Night of Qadr from the Lawh al-Mahfouz; then Gabriel revealed it to the Prophet during 23 years in the form of various numbers of ayahs or even one ayah.”
There are various arguments on the gradual sending down of the holy Qur’an. Firstly, the history of Islam had innumerable developments. Migration, peace and war, struggle and silence. Thus, in proportion with these vicissitudes the policies of the Prophet and the Islamic community were decreed by the divine commandment. Secondly, the Messenger of Mercy, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was very worried about writing down the ayahs of the Qur’an by the scribes of revelation. In view of this the ayahs of the Qur’an were sent down piecemeal to give the scribes and memorizers of the Qur’an the chance to register and memorize these radiant ayahs.
Furthermore, the laws and injunctions had to be communicated gradually to enable them to be implemented. In addition to what was said, the gradual sending down of the holy Qur’an gives Muslims the opportunity to contemplate on the messages of this life-inspiring Book.
Another important issue pertaining to the holy Qur’an is the issue of the ayahs that were revealed to the Prophet in Mecca vs. the ones which were revealed in Medina. The main difference between the former ayahs is that they are mainly about ideology, morality, the story of Adam and Satan, the accounts of the previous messengers and nations and so on. But the ayahs revealed in Medina mostly pertain to the social rules, politics, governance, confrontation with hypocrites, dispute with the People of the Book, jihad with the infidels, polytheists and their internal and external allies.