Initial Revelations of the Qur’an
Salam, this is a two part series and the last topic of discussion during the month of Ramadan. The first part will talk about the first revelations the Prophet (SAW) received and the importance of the order they came in. We all know The Qur’an was not revealed in one go, rather different verses were revealed at different times with the first revelation on the Night of Laylatul Qadr. Allah (SWT) could have revealed whole Qur’an at one time, if He wished to, but it was not the case. There are several reasons, explained in Qur’an about this. However, I will not go into those reasons, as I believe Allah knows best, hence our concentration is on the sequence of initial revelations. In actual fact, there is a big significance associated with chronology / sequence of revelations of different verses of Qur’an. Today, we shall try to discuss the significance associated with the verses which were revealed first.
First we will read the verses of these revelations, and in the end, Insha Allah, I will try to explain the significance associated with this chronology. So, all of you are requested to read till end, in order to get proper understanding of this post.
A. Phases of revelations
1. First Phase
First phase of revelations comprises of 3 different revelations. We will go through each revelation and each phase separately in brief.
1.1. First revelation: Ahadith confirm this and it is also a consensus among almost all the scholars (there is one difference of opinion also which we shall discuss later on), that the first revelation sent down to The Prophet (PBUH) were first five ayahs of Surah Al-Alaq
“Read! In the name of your Lord Who has created.”
“He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).”
“Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.”
“Who has taught (the writing) by pen.”
“He has taught man that which he knew not.” - Q96 V1-5
It is common knowledge that the Prophet (SAW) used to go to Cave of Hira’ and sit there meditating for prolonged hours. It was one such situation when these verses were revealed to him. He was lost deep in his thoughts, when the angel (Jibraeel, alaissalam) came with these verses. I would advice us to read on what happened during and after the first revelation, a very interesting story I may touch in subsequent posts after Ramadan.
1.2. Second revelation: The first seven ayahs of Surah Al-Qalam (also called Surah Nûn):
“Nûn. By the pen and by what they (the angels) write (in Records of men/women).”
“You (O Muhammad, PBUH), by the Grace of your Lord, are not mad.”
“And Verily, for you (O Muhammad, PBUH) will be an endless reward.”
“And Verily, you (O Muhammad, PBUH) are on an exalted (standard of) character.”
“You will see, and they will see,”
“Which of you is afflicted with madness.”
“Verily, your Lord is the Best Knower of him who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Knower of those who are guided.” - Q68 V1-7
1.3. Third revelation: The first nine ayahs of Surah Al-Muzzammil
“O you wrapped in garments (Muhammad, PBUH).”
“Stand (to pray) all night, except a little” –
“Half of it or a little less than that,”
“Or a little more. And recite the Qur’an in a slow measured style.”
“Verily, We shall send down to you a weighty Word ( i.e. obligations, laws etc.).”
“Verily, the rising by night (for Tahajjud) is very hard and most potent & good for governing oneself and most suitable for (understanding) the Word of Allah.”
“Verily, there is for you by day prolonged occupation with ordinary duties.”
“And remember the Name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with a complete devotion.”
“(He Alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; La Ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). So take Him Alone as ‘Wakil’ (Disposer of your affairs).” - Q73 V1-9
These verses (3 revelations in all) constituted the first phase of revelation. Now we shall move on to next phase.
2. Second phase
After the revelations mentioned above, there was a pause (a prolonged gap) in revelations. Rasulullah (SAW) was very uneasy about why there were no further revelations. As usual, one day he was walking down from the Cave of Hira towards his home. Suddenly he heard a call: “Ya Muhammad!” He stopped, turned to each side, but found no one. Then again he heard someone say: “Ya Muhammad!” He still didn’t see anyone. When he heard his name being called third time, he looked up towards the sky and saw Jibraeel (alaissalam) in the sky, in his original look-up, whole sky being covered by him. The Prophet (SAW) got a feeling that he is the same angel who came in the Cave of Hira with those first words / revelations from Allah (SWT). He was scared by the sight and rushed back to his home. He was shivering with cold (due to scare of what he saw just now) and asked himself to be covered in blanket. At this point of time following verses, the first seven ayahs of Surah Al-Muddaththir were revealed:
“O you enveloped in garments (Muhammad, SAW)!”
“Arise and warn!”
“And magnify your Lord!”
“And purify your garments!”
“And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)!”
“And give not a thing in order to have more.”
“And be patient for the sake of your Lord!” - Q74 V1-7
After this revelation, other revelations followed-on, one after another.
In this way, the revelation of Surah Al-Muddaththir are unanimously accepted as second revelation by all scholars. The difference of opinion on this, as I mentioned at start, occurred because of the pause which took place after the first phase of revelations. So, some consider first seven verses of Surah Al-Muddaththir to be the first revelation in continuity, after that gap.
Insha Allah, tomorrow we shall discuss the significances of these revelation.
Ma Salam. Please read my other posts and share the blog. Also subscribe for email alerts of new posts as i post daily. May Allah bless and reward you as you do so. And its my birthday, Alhamdulilah.