Says the Shaykh Abu Ja’far: Our belief concerning this is that the Qur’an was sent down in one lot, in the month of Ramadan, on the Night of Power (laylatu’l-qadr) 1 (first) to al-Baytu’l-Ma’mur.2 And then it was revealed in the space of twenty3 years from the Baytu’l-Maqmur (to the Prophet).4
And verily Allah the Glorious and Mighty bestowed knowledge in its totality on His Prophet, on whom be the blessings of Allah and His peace, and then said to him: “…And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Qur’an ere its revelation hath been perfected unto thee, and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge” (Qur’an 20:114).
And He said:
“Stir not thy tongue herewith to hasten it. Lo! Upon Us (resteth) the putting together thereof and the reading thereof. So when We read it, follow thou it’s reading. Then lo! Upon Us (resteth) the explanation thereof.” (Qur’an 75:16-19).
- 1. Macdonald, 335 (al-Fudali) ; Wensinck, Handbook, s.v. Night of the Decree, 176. Fully discussed, MB, 309 and reasons given why so called.
- 2. This is the edifice in Heaven (in the third, or the fourth, or the fifth, or the seventh Heaven) which 70,000 angels visit every day. It is exactly above the Ka'ba (Lane). It is related from `Ali b. lbrahim that this edifice was erected by Allah for the purpose of repentance for the inhabitants of the heavens, just as the Ka'ba is for the inhabitants of this world, MB, 309. Cp. Baytu'l-`Izza, Macdonald, 335.
- 3. MB, 23 years.
- 4. The Urdu translator says that Shaykh Mufid does not accept this belief as correct. It is based on a single tradition, of an uncertain character. And as certain verses of the Qur'an refer to events which were recent at the time, it is clear that the whole of the Qur'an could not have been revealed at one time at the Baytu'1-Ma'mur. In reality, it was revealed piecemeal as necessity arose.
The Urdu translator, sitting in judgement between the two views, says: Everything contained in the Qur'in was known to God from the beginning (that is, He possessed detailed knowledge of coming events). And then on the happening of particular events, the appropriate verses of the Qur'an, already in existence, were revealed from time to time.