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Asbab al-Nuzul

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Qur'an
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Sabab al-Nuzūl (Arabic: سبب النزول, cause of revelation) and its plural Asbab al-Nuzul (Arabic: اسباب النزول), or Sha'n al-Nuzul (Arabic: شأن النزول), in Qur'anic studies means the time, context, cause, and the situation in which Allah has revealed verses. Cause of revelation has an important role in the interpretation of Qur'an. Some exegetes have written books studying the subject.

Nevertheless most of the verses and suras of Qur'an are revealed independent of events, these verses are revealed to fulfill the general aim of wahy which is the guidance of people.

Etymology

Sabab al-Nuzul (Arabic: سبب النزول) and its plural Asbab al-Nuzul (Arabic: اسباب النزول), or Sha'n al-Nuzul (Arabic: شأن النزول), in Qur'anic studies means the time, context, cause, and the situation in which Allah has revealed verses.

The causes for which there are revealed verses are approximately 460 events.[1]

Verses and Suras without Sabab al-Nuzul

Most of the verses and suras of Qur'an are revealed for the general aim of wahy (revelation) which is the compensation of the shortcoming of the human intellect and fulfilling the need of human to the divine guidance; these verses are revealed independent of any event and are not related to any specific event, so there is not any sabab al-nuzul for them.[2]

This sura and verses which do not have sabab al-nuzul contains:

  • Verses and suras about the living and events of the past -although some of the stories have sabab al-nuzul, like the story of Dhu l-Qarnayn which is revealed after the asking of people. Generally, this stories are mentioned in Qur'an, so people know about them and learn the reasons of happiness or wretchedness of people and societies, and use this lessons in their personal and social lives.[3]
  • Verses and suras containing the description of the Paradise and the Hell, the events of the resurrection and the judgment day.[4]

Verses and Suras with Sabab al-Nuzul

There are some events in the history of the Prophet (s) for which verses or suras revealed and the verses or suras mentions the event.[5] In other words, there were:

  • An important, good or bad, event,
  • People asking questions,
  • Muslims got into a situation for which their attitude had to be specified,

So after these events, verses, and sometimes suras, were revealed, about the event, or answering the question, or specified the attitude of Muslims.[6]

Benefits of Study

Al-Suyuti counts the benefits of the study of Sabab al-Nuzul:[7]

  • Recognition of the reason of the revelation of the verses.
  • True understanding of the Qur'an verses and clarification of the ambiguities.
  • Specification of the person or the people about whom the verse is revealed.
  • Determination that the verse terms whether they are specific or general.

Al-Wahidi, considers the studying of Asbab al-Nuzul and their related discussions as necessary.[8]

Notes

  1. Danishnama-yi Qur'an wa Qur'anpazhuhi, vol.1 p.192
  2. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.19
  3. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.19
  4. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.19-20
  5. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.20
  6. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.20
  7. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.192
  8. Hujjati, Asbab al-nuzul, p.193

References

  • Baha' al-Din Khurramshahi. Danishnama-yi Qur'an wa Qur'anpazhuhi. Tehran: Dustan-Nahid, 1377Sh.
  • Hujjati, Sayyid Muhammad Baqir. Asbab al-nuzul. Tehran: Wizarat-i Irshad-i Islami, 1365Sh.

External Links