03 Nov Why was the Qur’an revealed at different intervals and not as a whole?.Part2
Most certainly We help Our Messengers, and those who believe, in the life of this world and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth (to testify concerning people’s response to the Messengers). (Mu’min 40:51)
During the time of the Prophet, the polytheists were indulging in all their misguided customs and behaviors that had existed before the advent of the Revelation and they were not inclined to abandon such bad habits easily or quickly. They had many irrational and absurd beliefs and much time was needed to divert them from such misguided practices. Thus, certain commands and prohibitions were gradually put into practice; it would not have been otherwise possible to attain positive results, in fact it would have been counter-productive to try to put an end to all the misguided customs at once. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, clearly explains the rationale behind this gradual method. She tells us that in the early days of Islam only verses that sought to change a person’s heart and mind were revealed and later the verses that laid down divine law were sent. She said:
“People would have said ‘We shall never give up alcohol’ if the command ‘Do not drink alcohol’ had been revealed at the beginning. Likewise, they would have said ‘We shall never give up adultery’ if the command ‘Do not commit adultery’ had initially been revealed.”
This method of gradual change was extremely effective in establishing a society free from evil, and we can detect the principle of gradualism in all the commands and prohibitions of Islam. By using such a method, the people gradually turned from committing bad acts and began to practice Islam with all its commands and prohibitions. In this way the spread of a new religion was made relatively easy. The Qur’an was revealed first to a people the majority of which were illiterate. During the early period of Islam the number of believers was few, and thus neither writing the Qur’an, nor memorizing it and practicing Islam would have been possible if the Revelation had been sent down all at once.
The revelation of the Qur’an in stages, thus, made the understanding, application and memorization of the Revelations easier for the believers.
c. To prove the uniqueness of the Qur’an: The Qur’an, even though it was revealed over a relatively long period of time, has never been proven to contain the least error or defect either in its wording or its meaning. On the contrary, the existence of a perfect consistency can be witnessed among its verses and chapters when a thorough observation is made. The fact that there is not the least inconsistency or defect in the Qur’an although it was revealed over such a long period of time is the best proof that it is not the word of human beings. Such a great diversity in time, place, occasion and context in any teaching would normally cause dissociation and disorder within the segments.
But, the Qur’an marvelously attained a perfect and systematic completion, although it was revealed gradually in parts.