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The revelation of the Qur'an began on the night of Laylat ul-Qadr in the month of Ramadan (one of the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan) after the Prophet Muhammad had passed the fortieth year of his life (that is around the year 610 CE).


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Narrated by Aisha (R) the mother of the faithful believers: The commencement of the divine inspiration to Allah's apostle was in the form of good dreams which came like bright daylight (i.e. true) and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the Cave of Hira', where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again, till suddenly the truth descended upon him while he was in the Cave of Hira'.


The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied 'I do not know how to read'. The Prophet added, 'The angel caught me (forcibly) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, "I do not know how to read". Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read, but again I replied, "I do not know how to read" (or what shall I read?). Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said: "Read, in the name of Your Lord, who created, created man from a clot. Read! And Your Lord is the most bountiful" ... Sahih Al Bukhari vol 1: 3; Vol 4: 478; Sahih Muslim Vol 1:301


The narration goes on to tell us that the Prophet went back to his wife Khadija and recounted to her his dreadful experience. She comforted him and both of them consulted Waraqa, Khadlja's relative and a learned Christian, about it. Waraqa told Muhammad that he had encountered the one 'whom Allah had sent to Moses' and that he would be driven out by his people


How Revelation came

Narrated Aisha (r), the mother of the faithful believers: Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's apostle: 'O Allah's apostle. How is the divine inspiration revealed to you?' Allah's apostle replied, 'Sometimes it is "revealed" like the ringing of a bell, this form of inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state 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'. Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 1: 2


The First Revelation'

The first revelation that the Prophet Muhammad received is in the first ayah from Sura al-'alaq (96:1-5):


'Read in the name of your Lord, who created, created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is most bountiful. (He who taught) the use of the pen, taught man which he knew not.'


The Pause (fatra)

After the first message thus received, revelation ceased for a certain period (called fatra) and then resumed:


Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah Al-Ansari while talking about the period of pause in revelation reporting the speech of the Prophet, '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 Hira'' sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said "Wrap me (in blankets)" and then Allah revealed the following holy ayah (of the Qur'an): O you covered in your cloak, arise and warn (the people against Allah's punishment) ... up to "and all pollution shun".' After this revelation came strongly and regularly.Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 1, end part of hadith no. 3


The Second Revelation

The second portion of the Qur'an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad was the beginning of Surah al-Muddaththir Surah 74. It now consists of 56 aayaath, the rest revealed later, and begins as follows: ‘O you who covers himself [with a garment], Arise and warn,And your Lord glorify , And your clothing purify, And uncleanliness avoid...'


Other Early Revelations

Among other early  revelations, which the Prophet declared in Makkah, are, according to some reports, surah 1, Sura 111, Sura 81, Sura 87, Sura 92, Sura 89, etc. Then revelation continued, 'mentioning Paradise and Hell, and until mankind turned to Islam, then came revelation about halal and haram ... '  revelation came to the Prophet throughout his lifetime, both in Makkah and Madina, i.e. over a period of approximately 23 years, until shortly before his death in the year 10 after Hijra (632 CE)


The Last Revelation

The last  revelation of the Qur’an according to most of the scholars are from Qur’an.Surah Maidah 5:3 was the last to be revealed: 'This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.'


Reasons why the Qur'an was sent down in Stages

The Qur'an 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; most important are the following:

  • To strengthen the heart of the Prophet (saws) by addressing him continuously and whenever the need for guidance arose.
  • Out of consideration for the Prophet since revelation was a very difficult experience for him.
  • To gradually implement the laws of Allah.
  • To make understanding, application and memorization of the revelation easier for the believers.




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