28) If the Qur’an is a book that has been revealed by God Almighty forthe guidance of mankind, could it not have been revealed in the
form of a complete book?
This was a question which the disbelievers had asked right from
the time of Muhammad (pbuh) itself. Look at what the Qur’an has to
say: “Those who reject Faith say: ‘Why is not the Qur’an revealed
to him all at once? Thus (is it revealed), that We may strengthen
thy heart thereby, and We have rehearsed it to thee in slow, wellarranged
stages, gradually.” (25:32)
“(It is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts from
time to time), in order that thou mightiest recite it to men at
intervals : We have revealed it by stages.” (17:106)
It becomes clear to us from these verses as to why the Qur’an
was not revealed in a completed book form. The Qur’an remains a
religious scripture that is to provide guidance for all mankind which
is to come right up to the Last Day. It is never a mere collection of
legal decrees like the Torah. It is a book that particularly demonstrated
the method by which a society may be cleansed of its decadence solely
through transformation in thought and belief; in morality and values.
Indeed, confronting us, today, is the picture of a society that had
actually transformed itself according to the stages in which the Qur’an
came to be revealed. It is, in fact, with the aid of this picture that we
can seek to understand the complete meaning of each one of its verses.
If the Qur’an was revealed as a complete whole, such an important
method of appreciation of its contents would have been impossible.
Furthermore, it would not have been possible to verify the statement
that the Qur’an is a wholly practicable book. As a book that was
revealed in stages to a growing community – a community that evolved
in step with the said stages – we can say with certainty that it is
The benefits that have accrued from the Qur’an being revealed
in stages can be summarized thus:
1.It is difficult to eradicate, in one stroke, the vices and
immorality which had prevailed in society since a very long time. It is
only in stages that they can be stopped. To alienate the people from
their wanton ways gradually, before establishing a permanent set of
rules and regulations, will be seen to be more practical. Towards this
end, revelation that comes in stages remains the ideal facility indeed.
2.The reception of divine commands in a fashion in which the
doubts that arose in the minds of the people as also their immediate
problems were addressed and solved, proved a favourable factor in
the effective transformation of those who were addressed.
3.In the event that the revelation was made all at once, it would
have become imperative to implement all the laws and decrees that
were prescribed in it in a single day. It is not necessary here, to reassert
the difficulty of such a procedure. Through revelation in stages, this
difficulty is put to rest and it becomes possible to gradually raise a
community that has been cleansed of all immorality.
4.That the revelation came to him at various intervals was a
matter of great consolation and strengthening of faith for the Prophet.
5.For the illiterate Muhammad (), the revelation which came
in stages afforded a facility for the study, and memorization, of the
Qur’an. It, thus, set the stage for the complete freedom from
forgetfulness and mistakes.
6.Through the process of gradual revelation it becomes possible
for the followers of the Prophet to memorize and study deeply the
issues contained in the Qur’an and to regulate their lives according to