Al-Nuzūl al-Tadrījī (Arabic: النزول التدریجي, lit: gradual revelation) or al-Nuzūl al-Tafṣīlī (Arabic: النزول التفصیلي, lit: articulated revelation) is the revelation of the Qur'an during the twenty three years of the mission of the Prophet (s) in the form of a single verse or a number of verses in different temporal and spatial circumstances.
The majority of Quranic exegetes believe that the instant revelation (daf'i) of the Qur'an took place in the Night of Qadr, and its gradual revelation began with the revelation of the first verses of Qur'an 96 on the day of the Prophet's bi'that and ended with the revelation of Qur'an 110.
The instant revelation of the Qur'an was denied by some exegetes who believe that the Qur'an was only gradually revealed, which began in the Night of Qadr. Different reasons have been cited for the gradual revelation of the Qur'an, such as bestowing peacefulness and steadfastness to hearts of the Prophet (s) and his companions, as well as gradual introduction of Muslims to religious decrees.
According to Quranic exegetes, the Qur'an was revealed piecemeal, dependently on appropriate temporal and spatial circumstances, by Gabriel to the Prophet (s). In the fterminology of Quranic sciences, this is known as "tadriji" (gradual) or "tafsili" (articulated) revelation, which is in contrast to "daf'i revelation" (instant revelation) of the Qur'an which took place at the Night of Qadr when the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet (s) all at once. The majority of exegetes take the gradual revelation to have taken twenty three years. However, on other accounts, the duration of the gradual revelation was twenty years.
Beginning of the Revelation
According to the majority of Shiite and Sunni exegetes, the revelation of the Qur'an began at the same time as the Prophet's bi'that, and the first verses of Qur'an 96 were the first verses revealed. And the last sura revealed to the Prophet (s) was Qur'an 110. There are few hadiths in which Qur'an 1 or Qur'an 93 or Qur'an 53 are cited as the first sura, and the Verse of Ikmal and Qur'an 5 are said to, respectively, be the last verse and the last sura revealed to the Prophet (s).
Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Sayyid al-Murtada, and Ibn Shahrashub have denied the instant revelation of the Qur'an, holding that the Qur'an was only gradually revealed to the Prophet (s). In their view, verses such as "Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Qadr" or "The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an," are about the beginning of the gradual revelation of the Qur'an in the Night of Qadr and the Ramadan month.
- "And [it is] a Qur'an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period."
According to Quranic verses and hadiths, the Qur'an was revealed piecemeal lest Muslims be faced with an abundance of rulings and decrees all at once. Thus, they were introduced to religious commands and beliefs on particular occasions. This made it easier for them to understand Quranic verses and act thereupon. Other reasons have also been cited for the gradual revelation, including:
- Peacefulness of the Prophet's heart
- Steadfastness of the Prophet's companions and the reinforcement of their faith
- Easier memorization and protection of Quranic verses
- Creating enthusiasm in the Islamic community
- Providing answers to questions by Muslims at right times.
- Qur'an 97:1
- Qur'an 2:185
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