Date :Monday, December 31st, 2018 | Time : 16:04 |ID: 82146 | Print

The Process of Revelation of the Quran: Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:185, Part-II) / By Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:185, Part-II)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

The Process of Revelation of the Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ …. ﴿١٨٥

Translation:

2:185 The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs of guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)…

Commentary:  The aforementioned verse asserts that the Quran was revealed all at once in the month of Ramadan [(شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ)] on the night of “Qadr” [(إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ)] for the guidance of mankind [(هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ)].

There are also ample and undeniable historical evidences that the Quran was revealed gradually over the course of 23 years to the heart of the Prophet (SAWA). The first verse was the beginning verses of chapter al-ʻAlaq and the last verse was verse 281 of chapter al-Baqara [(2:281)]. Further evidence in support of gradual revelation of the Quran is provided in Appendix-1.

Therefore, the Quran had two types of revelation: A) A gradual revelation over the course of 23 years of the Holy Prophet’s (SAWA) mission and B) All at once during the night of Qadr. The question amongst commentators of the Quran is: What is (are) the difference(s) between these two revelations?

One view is that the Quran was revealed to Baitul-Ma’mur [(وَالْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ), At-Tur, 52:4] all at once on the night of Qadr. From Baitul-Ma’mur, it was gradually revealed to the heart of the Prophet (SAWA) over the course of 23 years [(Tasnim, Commentary of the Noble Quran by Ayatullah Javadi Amoli, vol.9, p.350, see also the Book of Al-Kafi by Shaykh al-Kulayni, vol.2 p.628]. Baitul-Ma’mur is a house located directly above the Ka’bah in the highest Heavens, i.e. the forth or seventh Heaven. Angels visit Baitul Ma’mur every day and perform tawaaf around it, just as we perform tawaaf around the Holy Kaba’ah on earth.

The critics of this view have said revealing the Quran to the Baitul-Ma’mur would not be beneficial for the guidance of mankind. The Quran asserts that it was revealed at once during the month of Ramadan for the guidance of mankind [(شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ)].

Shaykh Al-Saduq amended this view and said that an overview of the Quran was also bestowed to the Prophet (SAWA) with the revelation of the Quran to Baitul-Ma’mur [Tasnim, vol.9, p.352]. However, the Prophet (SAWA) was not permitted to recite the verses before its gradual revelation.

Saduq’s supported his opinion by quoting the verse 20:114 (chapter Ta-Ha) which asks the Prophet (SAWA) to avoid reciting a verse before its revelation was completed to him. This is evidence from the Quran that the Prophet (SAWA) had prior knowledge of what was being revealed to him.

Al-Mizan takes the view of Shaykh Al-Saduq a step further and postulates that the Quran was revealed twice to the Prophet: at once on the night of Qadr and the second time, a gradual revelation during his prophetic mission. However, there was a difference between these two revelations, which are explained in the following paragraphs.

The Quran which was gradually revealed to the Prophet (SAWA) over the course of 23 years is based on a sublime reality which exists in the Mother of All Books [(أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ)]. The Mother of All Books [(أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ)] is also called the Hidden Book [(كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ)] and the Preserved Table [(لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ)] in the Quran.

Imagine, for the sake of explanation, that Allah (SWT) has a library which is called “The Mother of All Books” [(أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ)]. The Quran is one of the books kept in that library. The Quran in the divine library neither is in the Arabic language nor is it composed of any letters, verses and chapters.  It is imperative to add that Allah (SWT) taught human beings language to articulate their thoughts and ideas to others. He himself is not in need of a language.

During the night of Qadr, the Quran that existed in the divine library was revealed at once to the heart of the Prophet (SAWA). Later, the Quran in its linguistic form, which is in the Arabic language, was revealed within the course of 23 years of the Prophet’s mission. Al-Mizan uses the following verses of the Quran to support its hypothesis:

The verses 1-4 in Surah Az-Zukhruf (chapter 43) implies that the textbook of the Quran in our hands previously existed with Allah (SWT) in the “Mother of all Books” [(أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ)], which I call it the divine library for the sake of description:

حم ﴿١﴾ وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ ﴿٢﴾ …..﴿٣﴾ وَإِنَّهُ فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ لَدَيْنَا … ﴿٤

43:1 Ha, Meem. 2- By this luminous & manifest Book (that makes things clear, i.e. this Quran), …..4- And surely it is in the Original Book with

As mentioned earlier, the Quran in the divine library is not in a textual form in a specific language, and hence cannot be grasped or understood by common human beings. But, Allah (SWT) enabled the Prophet to receive and understand that sublime reality on the night of Qadr. The textual form of the Quran in Arabic language was sent down to the heart of the Prophet later on.

… إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٣

43:1 …Surely, We made it an Arabic Quran that you may understand.

Similarly, Allah (SWT) in Surah Al-Waqi’ia 56:75-81 confirms that the Quran has a place in the Hidden Book [(فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ)], that no one can grasp and comprehend it except the purified servants of Allah (SWT) [(لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ)]:

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ ﴿٧٧﴾ فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ ﴿٧٨﴾ لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ ﴿٧٩﴾ تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٨٠

56:75-81 It is a noble Quran. In a well-protected Book. None can grasp it except the purified. A revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.

Allah (SWT) also affirms in chapter Al-Buruj (85:21-23) that the Quran is well-kept and guarded in a Preserved Table [(لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ)]:

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ ﴿٢١﴾ فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ ﴿٢٢

85:21-22 But this is an honored Qur’an. [Inscribed] in a Preserved Slate.

Al-Mizan concludes that the non-textual form of the Quran is a sublime reality with Allah (SWT), well-protected in the Preserved Tablets [(لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ)] and guarded against changes. Time and space can neither could change nor outdate the non-textual form of the Quran. The textual form of the Quran in our hand has verses which abrogate other verses [Al-Mizan, Vol.2, P. 42]

In summary, this Quran which was gradually revealed to the Prophet is based on a sublime reality which the minds of common people cannot comprehend and tainted hands cannot reach. The sublime Reality was revealed to the Prophet all at once in the month of Ramadan; in this way, Allah (SWT) taught him the most thoughtful meanings and the most profound interpretation of the Quran. The Quran in its linguistic form was revealed during the 23 years of the Prophet’s mission.

The meaning of the Original Book [(أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ)]: The word [(أُمِّ)] means the base and foundation of everything, and in the Arabic language a mother is called [(أُمِّ)] since she is the base and foundation of a family. The word [(أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ)] literally translated to “the Mother of the Book” and means the basis of all the scriptures. This is also called the Preserved Table [(لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ)] in chapter Al-Buruj 85:21-23, which is well protected from any changes, transformation and distortion.

The  “Mother of the Book” [(أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ)] and the Preserved Table [(لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ)] is the book of the “knowledge of the Lord” that is with Him, and all the facts of the world and all the events of the future and the past, and all divine scriptures are inscribed therein. No one has access to it and no one can reveal any content of that except Allah (SWT) [TafseereNamoona, vol. 21, P.9].

Appendix-1:

The gradual revelation of the Quran: The Quran itself confirms that it was divided into chapter and verses [(وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ) 17:106] so that the Prophet (SAWA) could recite to people at intervals as relevant occasions arose [(لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ),17:106]:

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيلًا ﴿١٠٦

17: 106 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.

Ironically, the disbelievers questioned as to why the Quran had not been revealed to the Prophet entirely at once like the Torah was revealed to Prophet Musa (AS) [Al-Furqan 25:33]:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً …..﴿٣٢

25:32 And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Qur’an not revealed to him all at once?”

Allah (SWT) replies that He had revealed it gradually to strengthen the heart of the Prophet (SAWA):

…. كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا ﴿٣٢

25:32 Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart and We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages.

The first verses revealed to the Prophet (SAWA):

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ ﴿١﴾ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ ﴿٢﴾ اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ ﴿٣﴾ الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ ﴿٤﴾ عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ ﴿٥

96:1-5 Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful. He Who taught (the use of) the pen. Taught man that which he knew not.

The last verse revealed to the Prophet (SAWA):

وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۖ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ ﴿٢٨١

2:281 And beware of a day in which you will be brought back to Allah. Then every soul shall be recompensed fully for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.

Verses of the Quran mentioned in the text;

…. وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ ….﴿١١٤

20:114 …Do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you…

لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ ﴿١٦﴾ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ ﴿١٧﴾ فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ ﴿١٨

75:16-19 O! Prophet, Do not move your tongue because of the rush to read it [Quran]. Indeed, upon Us is its collection and its recitation. So, when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation.

حم ﴿١﴾ وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ ﴿٢﴾ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٣﴾ وَإِنَّهُ فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٤

43:1 Ha, Meem. 2- By this luminous & manifest Book (that makes things clear, i.e. this Quran), 3-Surely, We made it an Arabic Quran that you may understand. 4- And surely it is in the Original Book with Us truly elevated, full of Wisdom.

إعتقادات الإمامية (للصدوق) ؛ ص82

[31] باب الاعتقاد في نزول القرآن في ليلة القدر[1]

قال الشيخ- رضي اللّه عنه-: اعتقادنا في ذلك أنّ القرآن نزل‏ في‏ شهر رمضان في ليلة القدر جملة واحدة إلى البيت المعمور[2] ثمّ نزل من البيت المعمور في مدّة عشرين سنة[3] و أنّ اللّه عزّ و جلّ أعطى نبيّه صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم العلم جملة[4].

و قال له: وَ لا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يُقْضى‏ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ وَ قُلْ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً[5].

و قال تعالى: لا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ إِنَّ عَلَيْنا جَمْعَهُ وَ قُرْآنَهُ فَإِذا قَرَأْناهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنا بَيانَهُ‏[6].[7]

[1] ( 1) الباب بأكمله ليس في ق، س، اذ عنون الفصل بهذا العنوان، و لكنّه تضمّن ما يأتي في باب الاعتقاد في القرآن.

[2] ( 2) العبارة في م: في ليلة واحدة إلى البيت المعمور.

[3] ( 3) عبارة: ثم انزل من البيت المعمور في مدّة عشرين سنة، أثبتناها من ج و تصحيح الاعتقاد للشيخ المفيد: 102، و بحار الأنوار 18: 250. و راجع اصول الكافي 2: 460 باب النوادر ح 6. و بدلها في م: ثم فرق في مدة أربعة و عشرين سنة، و كذا في متن ر، و لكن كتب في هامشها- بشكل يصعب قراءته- ما أثبتناه في المتن.

[4] ( 4) في بحار الأنوار زيادة: واحدة.

[5] ( 5) طه 20: 114.

[6] ( 6) القيامة 75: 16- 19.

[7] ابن بابويه، محمد بن على، إعتقادات الإمامية (للصدوق) – ايران ؛ قم، چاپ: دوم، 1414ق.

 

6- عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ وَ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْقَاسِمِ‏[7] عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سُلَيْمَانَ عَنْ دَاوُدَ عَنْ حَفْصِ بْنِ غِيَاثٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ: سَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ قَوْلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ- شَهْرُ رَمَضانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ‏ وَ إِنَّمَا أُنْزِلَ فِي عِشْرِينَ سَنَةً بَيْنَ أَوَّلِهِ وَ آخِرِهِ فَقَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع نَزَلَ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ إِلَى الْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ ثُمَّ نَزَلَ فِي طُولِ عِشْرِينَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ ص نَزَلَتْ صُحُفُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي أَوَّلِ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ وَ أُنْزِلَتِ التَّوْرَاةُ لِسِتٍّ مَضَيْنَ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ وَ أُنْزِلَ الْإِنْجِيلُ لِثَلَاثَ عَشْرَةَ لَيْلَةً خَلَتْ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ وَ أُنْزِلَ الزَّبُورُ لِثَمَانِيَةَ عَشَرَ خَلَوْنَ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ وَ أُنْزِلَ الْقُرْآنُ فِي ثَلَاثٍ وَ عِشْرِينَ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ.[7]

الكافي (ط – الإسلامية) ؛ ج‏2 ؛ ص628

 

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