05 Nov Revelation: Part 3
Book From The Very First Revelation
Though the Qur’an was revealed in parts, why does it refer to itself as the Book from the very first revelation, from a time before it was bound between covers?
The term al-Kitab, or the Book, is used when we speak of the Qur’an. The word al-Kitab is derived from the Arabic root word kitab, the infinitive of the verb Ka-Ta-Ba which means to write, to judge, prescribe, ordain or decree in writing. The equivalent to the word al-Kitab refers to a document that not only is written down or recorded but also one that has been judged, established and determined. In this sense, the Qur’an speaks of itself as al-Kitab (the Book), being God’s most comprehensive judgment. The phrase al-Kitab is used when referring to the recording and compilation of the Quranic text as a book, much as the word al-Qur’an is used when referring to its reading or recitation by heart. Only the Qur’an is referred to with the expression al-Kitab. Thus, the traditions of the Prophet, in this regard, are called as Sunna, not al-Kitab. So, al-Kitab, or The Book, refers not only to the whole but any part of the eloquent, inimitable Word of God which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and compiled as a single volume between covers to be soundly transmitted to the following generations.
THE WISDOM OF THE QUR’AN’S REVELATION IN STAGES
1. The Qur’an instituted a huge transformation never witnessed before throughout the world’s history, and established unprecedented order. The principles and commands of the Qur’an were sent in stages so the people could gradually adapt to these changes.
It would have been impossible for the people who lived during the period of ignorance to suddenly abandon the bad principles and habits they were accustomed to. Indeed, this would have been extremely difficult for humans by nature.
If the first command to those addicted to alcohol was to give up drinking, they would quite likely have objected or ignored the command.
The Qur’an placed an emphasis on the people reaching a certain level of maturity and ascribed its commands in a gentle, gradual manner.
2. Additionally, as the revelations were sent, the Companions memorized the scripts and contemplated their meaning. At the same time, they were personally executing each of these commands. If the entire Qur’an was sent down at one time, understanding and applying these commands would have become extremely difficult.
3. The revelation of the Divine Scripts in stages was a great source of joy both to the Prophet and to the Muslims of that period. Under the oppression and hostility of their adversaries, the revelations were a source of consolation; it raised their spirits, they became even stronger and attained new dynamism.
4. Another reason for the revelations being sent in stages was to eliminate the disbeliever’s conception that “This was previously devised and written by humans.
5. Finally; many of the verses of the Qur’an were clearly sent in connection with a specific question or event during that period. Therefore, it was quite natural for the revelations to be sent over a period of time.
HOW THE REVELATIONS WERE SENT
As the Qur’an relates, Allah the Almighty speaks to humans in three different ways. He conveys His words into the hearts of people, speaks from behind a veil or speaks through an angel. This is conveyed in the Qur’an in these words:
It is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him unless it is by Revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger (angel) to reveal, by His leave, whatever He wills. (ash-Shuara 53:51)
Generally, this is how revelations are sent. However, when we study the forms in which the revelations were sent to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, we see that this was a little more detailed
- The revelations were sent in forms of good dreams. The dreams of the noble Prophet were as clear as light.
- When he was awake, Jibril (the Archangel Gabriel) conveyed the revelations into the heart of the Prophet.
- The Divine revelations were conveyed by an angel. The Angel of Revelation, Jibril, appeared as both a human and in his own form. The Angel of revelation conveyed the Holy Scripts in the sound of a ringing bell. This was the most difficult form of receiving the revelations for the Prophet.
- Allah the Almighty addressed the Prophet directly. This occurred on the night of ascendance.
- Jibril came with the holy revelations while the Prophet was sleeping. The Angel would convey the Divine commands into the Prophet’s heart when he was asleep.
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