The Wisdom behind Gradual Revelation of Quran
“And it (is a) Quran which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to mankind at intervals. And verily, We have revealed it by stages!”
If Allah had willed it so, the Quran could have been sent in one revelation. Why wasn’t it so? An elaboration of the wisdom behind this is necessary, especially because we are often confronted with the same question from the opponents of Islam.
The gradual revelation was considered a blessing that Allah gave to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to his ummah.
Following are some of the benefits of the gradual revelation:
1) To strengthen the resolve of the Prophet against the disbelievers
The Prophet was distressed and anguished by the attitude of his people towards his message. They ridiculed and mocked him, and claimed that he was a sorcerer, a madman, or that he was possessed by the jinn. By the continual revelation of the Quran to the Prophet, he was reaffirmed in his determination and zeal. This is what Allah alludes to when He discusses the graduality of the revelation,
“Thus (it is sent down in parts) that We may strengthen your heart thereby” [25:32]
2) To simplify its memorization and understanding by the Companions
The piece-meal revelations of the Quran made it easier for the Companions to understand, memorize and implement the portions that were revealed. If the Quran had been revealed all at once, it might have been difficult for the Companions to understand all of its verses properly. Yet, with gradual revelations, the Companions understood and implemented the Quran correctly.
3) To prove the truthfulness of the Prophet
The idolaters and the People of the Book used to ask the Prophet questions in order to outwit him, but every time Allah would reply to their queries. The Quran itself refers to this aspect of the revelation,
“And no example or similitude do they bring (to oppose or find fault in you) except that We reveal to you the truth (against this similitude), and the better explanation thereof” [25:33]
4) To prove the miraculous nature of the Quran
Indeed, one of the most outstanding miracles of the Quran was that it was revealed over a period of two decades and yet not a single of its six thousand plus verses is contradicted by another. Also, the order of the verses was not done chronologically – rather, the Prophet would instruct his Companions of the location of any new verses. So, the Quran was literally assembled out of fragmental revelations. It was as if an intricate puzzle was perfectly pieced together to form a flawless masterpiece.
5) To reveal the laws of Islam – the Shariah – in a gradual manner
The Companions during the Makkan stage were being trained spiritually so that they could form the nucleus of the future Muslim state in Madina. Once they had passed this stage, Allah then completed the revelation of the shariah in gradual steps, so that they could adapt to the lifestyle of Islam.
6) To ease the revelation process on the Prophet
The process of inspiration, or wahy, was a difficult one for the Prophet. At times, he used to sweat profusely, even on a cold night, because of the severity of the inspiration. Had the Quran been revealed all at once, it might have been too difficult for the Prophet to bear.
“An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan”