Allah SWHT is the Lord of lords. HE revealed HIS commandments to prophets in the form of scriptures via revelation. Out of the perfect books, Quran holds validity until the end. Quran is revealed to the last prophet of the Abrahamic religion, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), who is the “seal of Prophethood,” too. The first revelation Prophet Muhammad received was during his visit to cave Hira. The process of revelation continued for almost 23 years. But why did it take so why Quran is not revealed at once? What is the wisdom of progressive revelation of the Quran?
Indeed ALLAH is the best of planners. And there is certainly some logic behind the progressive revelation of the Quran, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. Interestingly, ALLAH himself answers this question in Quran in the following way;
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا
And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Qur’an not revealed to him all at once?” Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.
(Al Furqan verse 32)
Here ALLAH explicitly mentions that the progressive revelation of the Quran was to “strengthen the heart of holy prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h).” The Holy Prophet faced many challenges when the first revelation came to the last. He was facing hatred from the people of Makkah, his surrounding tribes, and his tribe. Also, the opposition, even from within his family, from his uncles.
The Mission of Prophethood:
To keep the mission of prophethood at the right place. It was necessary not to reveal the Quran at once, considering the delicacy of a situation and the importance of the message. Since both required attention. Moreover, That way, Jibrael used to visit Prophet Muhammad more frequently. His visits made Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) happy whenever he brought a new message.
As the Ayah mentioned above tells, dis-believers challenged about revelation to Prophet Muhammad, and ALLAH, in turn, challenged them to create one single chapter or even an Ayah to prove their selves. But they were unable to do so. One of the principal aims was to make it easier for the ordinary people of that time to memorize and understand it thoroughly. Arabs were usually illiterate, and the concept of Islam was new. But the people of that time later termed “Sahaba” “the companions of the prophet,” and the transfer of the real essence of Islam to future generations was a significant responsibility of Sahaaba.
Ease for Sahaba In Progressive Revelation of Quran:
Thus, they needed to memorize and understand it thoroughly to convey Islam in its right spirit to others. Had Quran been revealed in a single go, it would be difficult for sahaba to grasp the concepts to help future generations. The gap between revelations also heightened the interest and enthusiasm of Muslims to know more about the teachings of Islam.
It is the beauty of the Quran that some verses were revealed in association with a particular occasion. For example, verses on false accusations of Hazrat Ayesha or Hazrat Zaid bin Sabit. This would not have happened if Quran had been revealed at once. Revelations were also made in a specific sequence. Verses for important matters like faith and the basics of Islam were revealed earlier compared to verses for other issues that were less urgent.
Arabs were deeply involved in paganism for decades. Uprooting such deep cultural roots was not a task of one day. The initial need was to weaken their faith in idol worship and build up this faith in monotheism. Once their minds were prepared, they formed the space for more noble deeds. Then came ayahs about preventing individual acts like consumption of liquor, halaal haraam food, illegal relationships, etc. Hence, we can say that ALLAH Almighty perfectly planned the revelation chronology. One can not deny the wisdom of the progressive revelation of the Quran.