The magnificent words of Allah SWT

The Book of Allah SWT…

The Qur’an is the Holy Book that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH in the month of Ramadan in 610 AD in the Cave of Hira in Makkah. It has been preserved in its original form to the present day. All the verses of the Qur’an that describe the creation of the universe and people, judgement day, exemplary stories of the people who lived before and the beliefs, worship, morals and legal bases that believers should obey were collected together into a single-volume book. Each of the verses was taught by the Archangel Jibra’eel AS and declared by Prophet Muhammad. The verse is the name given to each sentence of the Quran and the surah is the name given to each part of the holy book. There are 6,236 verses, 114 surahs and about 323,000 letters in the Quran.


Read, in the name of your Lord…

For many years it had become the practice of Prophet Muhammad PBUH to visit a small cave in mount Hira, situated around 3 miles from the city of Makkah. The Holy Prophet PBUH would retreat to this cave in solitude and meditate there for many days. He would take supplies of food and water and engage in long prayers. As the years progressed, these periods of solitude became more pronounced, extending to weeks at a time. During Ramadan, Holy Prophet PBUH kept fasts and spent the entire month alone in spiritual reflection.

It was during one of these periods, in the year 610 AD that the first revelation of the Qur’an began. In a Hadith related by Sayyidah Aisha RA, the Angel Jibra’eel AS came to the Holy Prophet PBUH and said Iqra, “Read!”. He replied: “I am not a reader”. The Angel then held him, pressed him hard and released him and again said Iqra, “Read!”. The Prophet replied: “I am not a reader”. The angel held and pressed him hard for a third time and said:

“Read, in the name of your Lord who created. It is He who created man from clots of blood. Read! Your Lord is the most bounteous, Who has taught the use of the pen. He has taught man what he did not know”.

[Qur’an - Surah Al-Alaq 96:5]

Revelations over the Years…

The period of revelation from 610 AD to the present lasted 22 years, two months, and 22 days. Surahs are traditionally divided into those revealed in Makkah (Makki surahs) and those revealed in Madinah (Madani surahs). The following table highlights the split in the revelation period between these two cities:

Out of the 114 surahs revealed, the majority of them were revealed in the city of Makkah. A ‘Makki’ Surah is classified as such if its beginning was revealed in Makkah even if parts of it were later revealed during the Madani phase. The Makki Surahs were revealed over a period approximately lasting 12-13 years, from the first call of Islam up until the Hijrah, migration to the city of Madinah. Most Makki Surahs are short in length and deal with concepts related to Tauheed, oneness of God, good moral behaviour and living in the Hereafter. In the Makki ayahs, Allah SWT also provides references to Christian and Jewish scriptures, which detail the Prophets he sent in the past.

A ‘Madani’ Surah is characterised as those Surahs which have their beginning passages revealed in Madinah. From the Hijrah (migration to Madinah) until the Prophet’s demise, the Madani Surahs were revealed over a period of nine to ten years. These Surahs are often longer than their Makki counterparts. When the Holy Prophet PBUH arrived in the city of Madinah he set up the first Islamic state in the history of Islam. As such the Qur’anic Surah’s in this period of time deal with the practical aspects of living. The majority of Shariah law’s injunctions, such as the laws regarding marriage, divorce, probate, and criminal penalties, were revealed in Madinah. Their focus was on the new burgeoning community of indigenous Ansars and newly arrived Muhajiroons, as well as mankind as a whole.

Over the 22 year period a total of 114 Surahs were revealed. These are roughly arranged according to length with the longest surahs being placed at the beginning of the Qur’an and the shorter ones at the end. The main exception to this rule is with regard to the opening chapter of the Qur’an, Surah Al-Fatiha having only 8 ayahs. The surahs are not however placed in chronological order since early Makki Surahs are placed near the end of the Holy Qur’an and the later Madani Surahs being placed in the beginning of the Qur’an. This order was divinely given by Allah SWT through Angel Jibra’eel AS to the Beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

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