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All You Want to Know About Quran Revelation

How Revelation Came

`A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, narrated that Al-Harith ibn Hisham asked the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him): “O Allah’s apostle. How is the divine inspiration revealed to you?” The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) replied,

“Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this is the hardest of all, and then it passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says.” (Al-Bukhari)

The First Received Revelation

The first revelation that Prophet Muhammad received is the first verses from Surat Al-`Alaq:

{Read, in the name of Your Lord, who created, created man from a clot (`alaq). Read! And Your Lord is the most bountiful, Who taught (to write) with the pen. Taught man what he knew not. } (Al-`Alaq 96:1–5)

The Pause of Revelation

After the first message was received, revelation ceased for a certain period, known as fatrahin Arabic, and then it was resumed. While talking about the period of pause in revelation, Jabir ibn `Abdullah Al-Ansari reported that the Prophet said,

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“While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the heaven. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the Cave of Hiraa’ sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said ‘Wrap me’. “

Then Allah revealed the following verses:

{O you who have wrapped up [in your garments]! Rise to pray in the night except a little, half of it, or lessen it a little.}

After this, revelation came strongly and regularly.” (Al-Bukhari).

The Second Revelation

The second portion of the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was the beginning of Surat Al-Muddaththir:

{O you wrapped up [in the mantle]! Arise and warn, and your Lord do you magnify, and your garments do purify, and uncleanness do shun. } (Al-Muddaththir 74:1–5)

Revelation Sent Down in Stages

The Quran was revealed in stages over a period of 23 years, and not as a complete book in one single act of revelation. There are a number of reasons for this, of which the most important are the following:

  • Strengthening the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by addressing him continuously and whenever the need for guidance arose
  • Considering the Prophet’s well-being, since revelation was a very difficult experience for him.
  • Gradually implementing Allah’s ordainments.
  • Making understanding, application, and memorization of the revelation easier for Muslims.
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About Ahmad Von Denffer
Ahmad Von Denffer was born in Germany in 1949. He is working for the Islamic Center, Munich, Germany. He has various publications in different languages.