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The investigation of the ideas of Sobhi Saleh about Quran's revelation.


The revelation of Quran is one of the issues that has been made into written literature by Quranic scholars. Meanwhile, many scholars consider two revelations of Quran, i.e. gradual and prompt. But some scholars have always paid heed to gradual revelation and neglected the prompt one. Some others have been exaggerating the gradual trend and made theories so that some drawbacks permeated into them. Sobhi Saleh articulated the gradual revelation of Quranwhich suffers from some fundamental setbacks in our ideas. In this scholarly query, we have tried to elaborate on these raised setbacks to cast some insight onto the scholarly literature surrounding this issue.

Quran's revelation on the basis of the people's needs:

According to Sobhi Saleh [10] Quaran was reveled on the basis of the people,s needs. God predestined that the revelation always meet the needs of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and his followers. And in a constant flow and procedure, it should give new teachings the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) then guide and conduct him in every scenario and increase his consistency and his heart confidence. God's ordinance entailed that the revelation cherish and train the followers in a gradual trend and momentum and remove or modify their habits one after the other and identify their duty vis-a-vis different incidents. On the basis of this, the revelation of the Quran was gradual and according to the needs.

Criticism; It is not totally true that the Quran was revealed as necessity was put forth, since it is analogically resembles the situation that the entire Quran was revealed due to some causes of revelation. There is no doubt and debate about the fact that some verses were revealed gradually and all Islamic scholars agree that some verses have revelation status. Many books have been written concerning the causes of revelation such as Asbabannuzul, Vahedi Lobab-annogul, Siyouti [9]. On the basis of the weakest narratives and traditions, the number of those who wrote book on the causes of the revelation of verses amount to 500. But the greatest part of the verses were primarily (principally) revealed. How can Sobhi Saleh [10] consider these verses to be originating from the needs and necessities while for which neither the Prophet of God had asked nor the ordinary people in the society would need them. But the Almighty God revealed these verses to take some prudence into account and to open up the apertures to cognizance and consciousness about farthest aspects of Takviin (development) and Tashrii' (religious legislation) in the framework of highest theosophies for the mankind.

Commensment of the Quran's revelation:

According to "Ash-Shaa'bi", the revelation of Quran commenced from "Qadr Night (Qadr Night" and continued throughout all coming days and nights. He clustered the two noble verses:

"Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination." (Al-Qadr: 1), "And (it is) a Quran that we have divided, that thou may recite it unto mankind at intervals, and We have revealed it by (successive) revelation." (Al-Asra: 106)

This clustering is justifiable. This does not negate the fact that God revealed Quran on one auspicious night in Ramadan. It is meant that God's Excellence revealed the first verses in 'an auspicious night', i.e. 'Qadr Night' which belongs in Ramadan and henceforth according to the people's needs and on the occasion of events and incidents gradual revelation continued. It is recounted in Quran: "The month of Ramadan in which We revealed Quran, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion (of the right and wrong)." (Al-Baqara: 185)

Reviewing andcriticizing the discussion of Commensment of the Quran's revelation:

Knowing the first verses were revealed on 27th of Rajab unto the Holy Prophet, The question is whether there were Quranic verses at the Night of Be'that (Mission). If the answer is negative, and God ordered to insert them among Quranic verses later on, we ought to say this is impossible and this answer is rejected. Or if it is said that one attributes the long-lasting task to its commencement day, it is not either true totally. For instance, if someone writes a book that was started 20 years ago, he never says he wrote it 20 years ago. If it is claimed that the revelation of Quran started from the 3rd year of Be'that, what should be said about Chapter Al-Fatiha which was recited by the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) over his prayers to God.

If it is claimed that the word "Anzala" meaning 'to reveal' is used in past tense and it does not include the revelation of this verse at the Night of Predestination, this is not true either because this verse states the prompt revelation of Quran all of a sudden at the Night of Predestination not gradual one. If it is informed that Ad-Dukhan and Al-Qadr were revealed at the Night of Predestination and others at others were gradually revealed the other days and nights, this does not correspond with the pronoun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] that definitely relates to the entire Quran. It could be justifiable if the verb was [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] If it is revealed down to Bayt-il-Ma'mur promptly, what is the virtue in it? Ibn-i-Abbass said that Quran was primarily revealed down to the Fourth Heavens and then onto the heart of the Prophet. This is materialistic and locational (in other word, worldly) revelation, not a spiritual (heavenly) one. For certain, the revelation of Quran is spiritual. The spirit and truth of Quran was collectively revealed onto the sacred heart of the Holy Prophet. What is the wisdom and expediency of the revelation of Quran from the Throne down to the First or Fourth Heavens and positioning it in Bayt-il-Izzat or Bayt-il-Ma'mur? What doctrine is hidden in this stance and place? What is the benefit of this sort of revelation for the people or the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) that God magnificently mentions it? What prove readable from Quran are the same verses, chapters and instrumental concepts. Is its revelation on the Night of Predestination down to the First Heavens a virtue in itself and does this lead the people to success? (Ma'arifat M.H. 2003). If it is said that why do we need prompt revelation at all, it would be rejected as well since the prophet of God, as a leader of the Islamic society, needed to have an overview of the future of his school and of the destination of his Islamic movement. We raised these doubts with brief response to them so as to introduce SobhiSaleh's theory and respond to it regarding the clustering of prompt and gradual revelation of Quran.

General Rules about "Inzal" (prompt revelation) and "Tanzil" (gradual revelation) in "Takviin" (development) and "Tashrii" (religious legislation) Systems:

There is no way to cluster the rules and generalize them about the revelation of Quran unless one categorizes them into two types: (1) prompt revelation, (2) gradual revelation. These two types should not be intermingled or confused because they follow special expediency and wisdom of God. Principally, we reveal our mundane works accordingly. For instance, if one plans to write a book, he considers a general overview of his concepts and ideas supposed to be written (prompt revelation). After that he picks up the pen to inscribe his ideas and concepts onto the paper gradually and with meticulous reflection (gradual revelation). Many a times he looks at the issues from a higher horizon in a top-down manner in his prompt-revelation sort of practice and there is no word but all concept and content. It is in his gradual revelation that the concept and content in his mind are clad with words Gherami, [4].

As for prompt revelation of Quran there are two categories to be taken into account and either one is correct: Just as it can be adopted from Quranic verses, first the Holy Quran was disclosed to the Holy Prophet's heart and soul. Second, people urged the Prophet to require Allah the almighty to reveal the verses constantly. They did not want the Quran to come to them in the form of one comprehensive book, but in the form of consecutive verses regardless of their time intervals/ gaps. Allameh Tabatabai [12] states in this regard, "Every compound is composed of elements, and its existence has one relation to the totality of the elements and one relation with the individuality of the elements. If you consider the totality relation, that element would be with a whole, namely, an entity that does not undertake gradation or division. If you consider the individuality relation, that element would be of course one or more things (gradation) and would obtain gradation. Just as you observe in Quran Karim, raining is an event interpreted as Inzal as well as Tanzil. Holy Quran mentions: "Allah sent down water from the sky." [Inzal] and also states: "And he is who sent down the saving rain."[Tanzil]. In the former interpretation, any single raindrop is in relation with the totality of downpour, which is an entirety, but in the latter interpretation, any single raindrop is in relation with the all other individual raindrops, which is definitely an issue of gradation. So by gradual revelation, it is not meant that there was a long time interval between the revelation of one part of Quran and the other. The aforementioned verses which were stated as examples to raise doubt do not negate our statement because the verse 32, Al-Furqan recites: "And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Quran not revealed onto him all at once? (It is revealed) thus that We may strengthen thy heart therewith; and We have arranged it in right order ."Al-Mizan,Tabatabai, S.M.H. [12].

What is the purpose of the Quran's revelation at the night of "Qadr" in Ramadan?:

Now that prompt and gradual revelation was illustrated, we deal with the purpose of revealing the Quran at the Night of Predestination. Most Quranic scholars maintain that the Quran compromises both gradual and prompt revelation, but there is no sound consensus on the prompt revelation and its location.

God revealed the Quran to the Holy Prophet's soul at the Promised Night of Predestination which is magnificently reminded in Quran. This is openly stated owing to the style of the verses. Here we present Allameh Tabatabai's [12] comprehensive interpretation in its full form. The intention of prohibition by "Although he tender his excuses, Stir not thy tongue herewith to hasten it" and the purpose of "Lo! Upon Us (resteth) the putting together thereof and the reading thereof, And when We read it, follow thou the reading". (Al-Qiyama: 15-18) in these four verses that describe the Doomsday (the Day of Judgment) is that these four verses with reference to appositive phrases in preceding and succeeding verses assign the Messenger of God with divine dignity and politeness of God to observe decorum while the verses are still being revealed to him and not to stir his tongue as long as the revelation is not yet completed. According to these sentences, it is an advice to us, the mankind, to observe politesse, listen carefully and never interrupt them while our addressee is still uttering their sentences lest we might not comprehend what they have said imperfectly. After this admonition, the addressee continues with his/ her statements. In the verse [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) is addressed. The third singular pronoun on the phrase [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] refers to the Quran revealed or the revelation itself. This verse means, "Stir not thy tongue herewith to hasten it [so as not to acquire the revelation in a hurry, nor to surpass Us in what We have not recited yet." This is the content of the verse:"And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Quran ere its revelation hath been perfected onto thee". In the verse, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] the word Quran is not the same as the Holy book Quran, but, just as Forqan or Rojhan, it is an Arabic gerund that means recitation and reading. The third singular pronoun at the end of Quran, here, refers to the revelation. This verse means that Upon Us (resteth) the putting together thereof and the reading thereof, i.e., the responsibility of compiling and reading the Holy Quran is upon Us. And we do not lay it down unless you hasten it and read it before be present it completely. In the interpretation of the statement [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] we said that this prohibition confirms the fact that the prompt revelation onto the Holy Prophet's heart is other than gradual revelation. (Al-Mizan, Tabatabai, S.M.H. [12]. There is an anecdote from Imam Sadiq (AS) that unveil the secret of this verse from another angle. In an answer to Mofazzal's question, Imam (AS) states, "Yes, Mofazzal, God revealed Quran to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) in Ramadan. But he had to impart the verses in the ripe time and when necessary and not to notify people unless there is the case of ordinance and prohibition. Thus Gabriel with the order of revelation came to his sacred presence and disclosed what he had the mission for and said, "Stir not thy tongue herewith to hasten it.". In the verse stating "And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Quran ere its revelation hath been perfected onto thee," there is a great message that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.). And the verse that states, "And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Quran ere its revelation hath been perfected onto thee," has a great message in it. We can draw on this verse that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) had been thoroughly aware of the Quran before his Be'that and revelation. In the hierarchies of revelation, we stated that the first stance was to the creation of the Holy Prophet's glorious light from the Light of Allah about which it is said that, "God first created my (Muhammad's) light". Then God created 12 veils one of which is prophecy and He permitted this light travel through these veils. Prophecy means to be aware and knowledgeable. The Holy Prophet said, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [13].

Quran specifies to its own gradual revelation and prompt revelation of Torah:

SobhiSaleh (1995) says; In Quran, only gradual revelation is asserted and it was protested by pagans. They were accustomed to compose and read their odes and ballades all at once and entirety. They were told by the Jews that the Torah was revealed all at once and entirety. For this reason they protested why should Quran be revealed gradually and not abruptly? In the Chapter Al-Furqan, God negates their protest and says, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] meaning: And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Quran not revealed onto him all at once? (It is revealed) thus that We may strengthen thy heart therewith; and We have arranged it in right order. And they bring thee no similitude but We bring thee the Truth (as against it), and better (than their similitude) as argument." (Al -Furqan, verses: 31-32). Siyouti says in Al-itqan that God would have revealed Quran down to the Earth just as it was done previously for other heavenly books, if it had not been for God's expediency and wisdom for the people to receive Quran as occasion proves right. But God discriminatively revealed Quran in two revelations: the prompt and gradual revelations. And this was to endear the person to whom Quran was disclosed [9].

Siyouti [9] also states that the holy Quran was firstly revealed to the sky where it is called "Bayt-il-Izzat", and then it was gradually revealed to the holy Prophet. By"Bayt-il-Izzat" he meant "Bayt-il-Ma'mur". As we said the holy Quran has a spiritual dimension. In this case, our interpretation of "Bayt-il-Ma'mur" is the heart of the Prophet. With these proved words; there are two clear revelation of the Quran on the view of the holy Quran.

But there is a debate that the Torah was revealed once; whether the purpose of the Torah was the same Ten Commandments that Moses received from the Lord or not. If this is right, then why so many subjects have been quoted in different occasions other than Ten Commandments of Moses in the Quran. Are the verses (revealed to Moses since he has received the God's message for the first time) included in the verses of the Torah? Or issues such as the story of the Cow of the children of Israel... . Perhaps the most complete answer to say is that the general rule of the prompt and gradual revelation is also true about Torah. Both of the words "Inzal and Tanzil" have been used in Quran as the following verses; "All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed"(Al-Imran, V 93). "And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur'an"(Al-Imran, verses 3&4).

The human characteristic of Islamic prophet (PBUH):

Although the Qur'an would stimulate the imagination of the Arab nations by telling the stories of the Prophets and they were eager to hear these stories, the main intention of these occurrences would stabilize and strengthen the heart of the Prophet and the believers in many cases. As the Quran stated the purpose like this: "And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart" (Hud, v120). Expressing prophets' stories, emphasizing on each part of their adventures and showing various aspects of them made the prophet' s heart strong and would console him against his followers' bothering. It was evident that the major philosophy of these stories in the Qur'an was that these verses were sent down to make the prophet feel better when he was sad or disappointed. Verses revealed to the Prophet invited to be a good patient and follow-up to previous prophets. If the polytheists' harassments continued and such verses weren't revealed to the Prophet to comfort his heart and soul, the same thing would have happened to him as it usually occurs for every human being in such a situation, i.e. sadness and despair would dominate his heart and soul and then it would stop his move. The prophet was a human being like the others and he was disposed to attributes such as sadness, regret, failure modes and feeling of distress and therefore Almighty God had instructed him not to allow these states to be manifested.

Criticism; the biggest problem of some scholars of the holy Quran is that, they pick up a word and comment on it superficiality and without deep understanding of the holy verses while it isn't meant by the holy Quran. The human being aspect of the holy prophet in receiving God's message is one of those characteristics that they willingly or unwillingly bring down the greatness of the Prophet that his high position, then they set his position at the same level of human beings. But referring to the Quran and the traditions we discover that this perception is absolutely wrong and illogical. The Holy Quran says: "Their messengers said to them, "We are only men like you, but Allah confers favor upon whom He wills of His servants. ..."(Ibrahim,v 11). The prophet answers the objection that the infidels say; "You are not but men like us and you are not like the angels who have relation with the heaven, if you claim so, you should bring us a clear authority to prove your unseen power". The prophets answered them;" it is true that we are like you but it isn't necessarily mean that the human beings cannot have attributes such as receiving God's message, because likeness of human beings doesn't necessarily mean all the perfect attributes (external &spiritual) of the people are the same.

As we see all the people aren't the same in terms of size, weight, wisdom, understanding, and right judgment. Some of the people possess these spiritual attributes and the others may not have these characteristics. Therefore God has chosen some people as His messengers then He preferred them over the others and Allah confers favor upon whom He wills of His servants [12]. Verifying that the prophets of the Lord are mankind however the idolaters shouldn't not compare them with themselves since having the characteristic of mankind doesn't mean all the human beings are equal in attributes such as physical perfection and spiritual virtues. Our Lord has set spirit on the human nature which develops beyond of our imagination and it differentiates them from each other. The most important advantage of the people is due to their spirit and God confers favor upon whom, He wills of His servants and makes them familiar with unseen teachings and gives them mission of worshiping God and invites them to accept the responsibility of educating people in the society [5]. He knows who deserves this position, and He chooses him. The Holy Quran says; "Allah chooses of His messengers whom He wills ..."(Al'-Imran, v179),. Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error(Al-Imran, v 164). By respect to tradition perspective, the issue becomes clearer. Shoaib AQarqufi, Abu Basir, HasanibnAbi al-Ala and Abdullah ibn Vezah all narrated that Imam Sadiq (AS) said she intended meaning of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is that I am really God's creature like you (TafsireJame, Brujerdi S.M.E. (1959).v 4, p.236). And in another narration, Imam Baqir (AS) says: O Jaber, no one can be compared with us as the family of Muhammad (PBUTH) , and whoever does this comparison, he will certainly be disbeliever. The prophet has been described since the early mission as "And indeed, you are of a great moral character" (Al-qalam, v4). He was in the way of "you are upon the clear truth" (An-naml ,v79). "Indeed, you are upon straight guidance"(Al-Hajj, v67).

How is it possible for the prophet, whose virtues have been described amazingly in many ethical, books, to be influenced by sensual desires like other people? All of the problems stems from where we are weak in terms of believing to the Prophet's infallibility and his high status. How can we compare the prophet, who has been innocent since childhood in all aspects of life, with the other people? So what is acceptable for the prophecy of the prophet are not the common and physical aspects of all the humans, rather it is his great and unique aptitude that makes him ready for the acceptance of this responsibility and he has never been like other human beings.

The facility of memorizing the Holy Quran verses for the Holy prophet:

The second form of interchangeable issue between Muhammad (PBUH) and revelation was that, gradual revelation of the holy Qur'an facilitated the possibility of its memorizing for him. Some scholars believe that the purpose of stabilizing the heart of the Prophet in the mentioned verse of "SurahFurqan" is to protect the Qur'an in the heart the prophet because he was illiterate and he neither read nor wrote. The Quran was revealed to him in pieces to memorize it easily unlike other prophets who could read and write when the book of God came upon them at once, they were able to preserve it. Ibn Fork gives more details about this subject and says: "It is said the Torah was revealed to Moses at once because he could read and write and the Quran was revealed in pieces as it wasn't written and it was revealed to the Prophet who didn't read and write" [10].

Criticism; Here the question arises whether the holy Prophet couldn't protect the Quran if it was revealed to Mohammed (PBUH)at once. And if so, how has he been chosen as Medina al-Elam (city of science)? As he said; [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (I am the city of the science and Imam Ali is its door). This idea cannot be true because accepting this idea intends that we are going to compare him with the ordinary people memorizing the Qur'an by repeating it many times to stabilize in the mind and this opinion lowers high position and high rank of the Islamic Prophet while this believing questions the infallibility of the Prophet who was immune from any error, forgetting and oblivion. But the matter that the holy Prophet did not read rejected by referring to the holy Quran verses because the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed in the field of reading and writing as it is said in the holy Verses; "Recite in the name of your Lord who created " , "Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous" , "Who taught by the pen" (Al-Qalam, Vs 1,3,4). The prophet's writing matter is also reviewable in terms of the holy Quran as it says: "And you did not recite before it any scripture, nor did you inscribe one with your right hand. Otherwise the falsifiers would have had [cause for] doubt"(Al-Ankaboot, V48).This verse is a reason that the Prophet did not read and write, but it does not indicate he could not write ... [6].


It is concluded from the matters told about the revelation that there are two types of revelation of the holy Quran; prompt and gradual. The Qur'an was reveled in the Night of Nights of Ramadan generally and briefly to the heart of the holy Islamic Prophet at once so that he could be informed about the future direction of the Islamic school and he would know how Islam will be universal and then will remove all the falsehood, and then God's purposes will be realized on the earth. If we consider all the verses in the gradual revelation of the Qur'an revealed by God have been accomplished in the time intervals, the revelation will be gradual. If we assume all the Quran verses revealed by God, the revelation will be at once. It is necessary to pay attention to the status of the first revelation of the verses sent down by God without any "Asbal-Nozool"(revelation means).


Article history:

Received 25 October 2014

Received in revised form 26 November 2014

Accepted 12 December 2014

Available online 15 January 2015


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(1) Narjes Khatoon Eftekhari, (2) Reza Ghasemzadeh, (3) Mohammad Reza Honarvar

(1) Faculty member of Department of Islamic Studies, Gachsaran branch, Islamic Azad University, Gachsaran, Iran

(2) PHD Student of Persian literature and Language, Tabriz branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

(3) Department of Theology, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Corresponding Author: Naijes Khatoon Eftekhari, Faculty member of Department of Islamic Studies, Gachsaran branch, Islamic Azad University, Gachsaran, Iran.
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Author:Eftekhari, Narjes Khatoon; Ghasemzadeh, Reza; Honarvar, Mohammad Reza
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Date:Dec 15, 2014
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