03 Nov Why was the Qur’an revealed at different intervals and not as a whole?.Part1
The Qur’an certainly could have been revealed as a complete book in one single revelation.
But it was revealed in sections over a period of twenty-three years. There are a number of divine reasons for this, including but not limited to the following benefits for God’s servants and the Prophet:
a. To strengthen the Prophet’s heart:
The people whom the Prophet addressed were living in ignorance of the Unity and Oneness of God. With their tribal polytheistic belief, they indulged in many bad habits which they had inherited from their forefathers. The Prophet came to them at a time when they were practicing misguided customs and invited them to accept the Oneness of God and not to associate partners with God. However, at first the polytheists showed strong resistance to his invitation. They even tortured the believers as well as making things very difficult for the Prophet, labeling him as a “poet,” “madman,” “soothsayer” or “magician.” Their anger against the Prophet and the believers was such that they spent their life immersed in feelings of hatred, cruel plots, and carrying out persecution against others. The tensions grew worse from year to year; after the death of Abu Talib, his most important protector, and his wife Khadija God’s Messenger was very alone.
At such a time of increasing difficulties, God did not abandon His Messenger, but rather reassured his heart, giving him support against the mischief of others and fortifying him with extra strength and power against all such unfavorable circumstances.
This fortification was provided with the gradual revelation of the Qur’an. The Prophet’s heart was also strengthened by meetings with Archangel Gabriel and he then felt that he was strong enough to endure all the hardships and tortures he had encountered during his Prophetic mission. The occasional slanders by the unbelievers against the Prophet and their allegations were rejected via the Revelation and in this way the Prophet was not abandoned.
God’s Messenger was so concerned about the guidance of the people and so physically pained by their unbelief that God Almighty consoled him with the Qur’an; He informed Prophet Muhammad that the Prophet’s role was merely that of a Warner and a Messenger, that embracing spiritual guidance can only be done according to God’s will and that the reason of unbelief was (and is) due to their inability to see the truth, therefore this was not a fault of the Prophet. Despite the heavy weight of the mission of Prophethood on his shoulders and the extreme difficulty he found himself in because of the aggression of the unbelievers, the Prophet was asked to be calm and patient; God reminded him that the Prophets who had previously shouldered the same heavy mission had also faced the same difficulties. The Prophet was further comforted by the good news that he would be under permanent divine supervision and protection, that his enemies would be defeated, and he would certainly be victorious one day.
God’s Messenger received the Revelation whenever the need for guidance arouse.
Sometimes the Prophet was asked questions to which he could answer only via the Revelations. Basing his decisions on the Revelation, he was also prevented from making any errors. In addition, if the entire Qur’an were to have been revealed all at once, the Prophet, not knowing how to read and write, might have suffered hardships in committing the entire text to memory. We know that he would be impatient until each newly revealed Qur’anic text was memorized. However, this gradual process insured that there was a better understanding and memorization of the Revelation.
The Qur’an was revealed in stages out of consideration for the Prophet; receiving the Revelation was a difficult experience for him. It is not difficult to realize what a strain it would have been for the Prophet if the Qur’an had descended all at once. Among the narrations we learn that the Prophet sweated a great deal, that the color of his skin changed, and that he became physically heavier during the Revelation of certain Qur’anic verses.
b. To provide ease and comfort for people:
The believers and the Prophet were exposed to many hardships and troubles. They came face to face with the enemy during battles and were always anxious. The Qur’an rushed to their aid at such difficult times, calming and encouraging them by reminding them of the narratives of bygone communities and the hardships they had gone through:
God has promised those of you who believe and do good, righteous deeds that He will most certainly empower them as vicegerents on the earth (in the place of those who are in power at present), even as He empowered those (of the same qualities) that preceded them, and that, assuredly, He will firmly establish for them their Religion, which He has (chosen and) approved of for them, and He will replace their present state of fear with security…. (Nur 24:55)