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Offline Joseph Islam

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Offline Irfan

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2011, 01:05:20 PM »
Salam brother Joseph,
Thank you for the great write-up.  Indeed the Qur'an is in which "there is no doubt-2:2". This book must be pondered and reflected upon thoroughly to solve all of our social, political, and economic problems.
I agree with you that the verb "rattala (2nd form of the verb ratala) ending in "tarteelan" should mean "arranged in the best possible way"”even though most translators have translated the verb "rattala" differently in the two verses, that is, "best arranging" in 25:32 and something like "in well measured/chanting tones" in 73:4 (I find that strange). 
Now I do have questions regarding the usually held belief that the Quran was revealed in stages over a period of a long time.
While the verse 25:32 ds seem to indicate"”at least on the surface---that the Quran was revealed in stages over a period of a long time, there are other verses, such as, the verse 2:185 that says that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan, and the verse 97:1 that says that the Quran was revealed in a blessed night (laylat-ul-qadr), as also the verse 44:3 which also points to the revelation being accomplished in a single night (in lalatul mubarakah).  That being the case, how do we reconcile these verses with the implied meaning of "stage-wise revelation of the verses 25:32 and 17:106 (which used the expression "nazzalnahu tanzeelan"”translated as "revealed in stages)?
My current thought to resolve this paradox is as follows: we may need to look at the verse sequence 53:2-10 which ends up in "And He revealed unto His slave that which He revealed". Here also, it would seem that whatever was to be revealed, was revealed in ONE GO on to the prophets heart (2:97).  To reconcile 53:10/2:185/97:1/44:3 with 25:32, I like to invoke the concept of "downloading of the full Quran on to Prophets heart (2:97) by the Rooh al-amin Jibraeel all in one go"”but then the downloaded "files"”that were hastily attempted by the Prophets for memorization (75:16) were retrieved/recalled slowly in stages over a long period of time (according to specific situations).  I think this is how the Divine assurance to the traumatized/stressed out Prophet was guaranteed in 75:16-18.  This may also explain the phrase "nazzalnau tanzeelan of 17:106 or rattalnahu tarteelan in 25:32.
Thats my current line of thought anyway.  I could be totally wrong.
Wassalam,
Irfan

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2011, 06:31:38 PM »
Salaam Irfan,

Looking at the all the verses you mention and keeping 25.32 and 17.106 at the forefront, I look at the other verses you mention in light of the these.

Those two verses talk about stages in revelation. Verse 25.32 is clearly indicating that the Quran was not revealed all at once:

"And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Quran not revealed to him all at once? (It is revealed) thus that We may strengthen thy heart there with; and We have arranged it in right order"

The other verses  you mention are providing more detail regarding the revelation, namely that it was revealed in the month of Ramadhan and further mentions a 'blessed night'
To me it cannot be talking about the whole Quran as that would be contradictory to verse 25.32 and 17.106. All the other verses need to be reconciled with these two.

Rather it tells us that the night the first ever revelation came down was 'blessed' (of course it would be as mankind is about to receive the ultimate guidance from God) and that the night falls in the month of Ramadhan (2.185) ( mentioned because we are to fast in this month to thank God for giving us the Quran - whose first revelation was received by the Prophet in this month)

With regards verse 53.10 I feel that it is referring to something else in light of the surrounding verses. It seems that something was shown here:

53.10-12
"And He revealed unto His slave that which He revealed. The heart lied not (in seeing) what it saw. Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he seeth?"


This is what I understand all these verses to mean. Joseph has an article that may be relevant which discusses Lailat ul Qadr:

http://quransmessage.com/pdfs/Night%20of%20Power.pdf

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2011, 09:44:17 PM »
Peace brother Irfan,

So nice to see you on the forum.

[And thank you Truth seeker for providing the link to the article and sharing your thoughtful views]

Brother Irfan, I think you do provide a plausible argument with a view to reconcile the piecemeal revelation with other verses where the impression is of a (as you imply) a 'one time download'.

I certainly do understand the pronoun 'hu' in anzalna(hu) of 97:1 as a reference to the Quran in 2:185. There is also support for this in my opinion in verse 44:2 where the pronoun 'hu' in 'anzalnahu' is tied to to the 'kitab' in 44:1.

I would have also considered the possibility of a possible meaning of 'kitab' linked to the umm ul-kitab of 13:39 or 43:2-4 if it was not for the 'Quran' being mentioned directly in 2:185 which is clearly said to be revealed in the month of Ramadan. (I understand Umm-ul-kitab as the master source which is within God's presence. It is the original source and foundation from which all scriptures and revelations from God emanate including the Quran)

I incline to understand 'Quran' in 2:185 not always as a reference to a 'complete' book. The 'Quran' inherently means a reading or recitation, a particular collection or compilation.

Throughout the reading of the scripture, I find revelations being referred to as the 'Quran' even though it is clear that revelation is not complete. Even in verses such as 25:32, the incomplete Quran is still being referred to as a 'Quran' (a reading).

025.032
'And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Quran not revealed to him all at once? ..."

This could be better understood as 'Why is the 'reading / or the Prophet's inspiration" not revealed to him at once.

In verse 73:4 we note:

073:004
"...and arrange (Arabic: Wa-rattili) the Quran in its arrangement (Arabic: Tartilan)"

So albeit from the above verse that it is clear that the revelation is not complete, the 'reading' is still referred to as the 'Quran'.

I find further support for this understanding in other verses such as 7:204 in the context of 7:203 where the Quran is mentioned but where it is clear from 7:203 that it still may be incomplete.

Therefore in 2:185, I take the mention of the 'Quran' as any reading of the Quran and not necessarily the 'whole' Quran. So any revelation or the initiation of a revelation in the month of Ramadan would satisfy my understanding and reconcile it with verses which indicate a piecemeal revelation.

Just my opinion and as always, thank you for sharing yours.

Your brother,
Joseph.

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Irfan

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 10:52:39 AM »

Salam brothers Joseph Islam and Truthseeker,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  It is true that every ayah is the Qur'an.  This is obvious from the verse 7:204 brother Joseph quoted.  That's why sometimes the Quranic quotes are referred to as, for example, al-Quran 30:18 etc, when what is meant is just an ayah. So when I say that I am reading the Quran, it would not mean that I am reading the entire Quran. I think this would be clear to most people. It is in this light that I understand all the verses you quoted and more 7:204 being just one example-- that show the commonly understood the presumed incompleteness of the Quran.  However, when God says that He revealed the Quran in the month of Ramadan on a particular nightof power/destiny (97:1) and  also as the blessed night (44:3), to me, that is a momentous event of humongous proportions.  It, at least to me, would not mean began to be revealed (as is often quoted in Islamic history) because if it had been so, God would have specified it. As an example, if I say I lived in Hawaii for 5 years, someone might ask you mean the state of Hawaii, or the islam of Hawaii?, but when I say Hawaii became a part of the US in 1959, I would only mean the state of Hawaii and not the island of Hawaii.
In all the three verses 97:1, 44:3, and 2:185, we see the clear meaning Quran was revealed on a blessed or powerful night with no indication whatsver of began to be revealed or some verses were revealed, etc.
Now, coming back to br. Truthseekers point of apparent contradiction between 25:32 and 17:106, and 97:1, 44:3, 2:185 and 53:10-- that he thinks needs to be avoided--I do think that--- may be not in the past---but TODAY, we can understand the congruity between the verses 97:1, 44:3, 2:185 and 53:10, and 25:32 by invoking the concept of downloaded to the heart of the Prophet in computer lingo where one can download a file but the individual components of this file can be read or retrieved as needed/required.  I also think that the perhaps the prophet was aware of this download but did not know the contents of all of its components until a time when one of them was needed.  Perhaps that why we see the phrase when they ask thee, say..  so often used in the Quran, or the argumentation of the distressed lady who was divorced by dhiaar 58:1-5 .  I note here that I do understand that these same verses can, in fact, be presented to strengthen the piecemeal mode of revelation as well but I mention them here because the piecemeal mode of revelation is exactly how the rejecters (or even the believers) may have viewed the whole revelatory affair of the Prophet.
I look at the verses that invoke rooh-al-ameen 26:193 With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth, Rool-al-qudus---16:102, and Jibreel 2:97 perhaps all of these meaning Jibreel, they do seem to support a one-time event more than they support a repetitive protocol for revelation.
Heres why I believe the verse sequence 53:1-11 lays open the whole 'video' of one-time revelatory event: These verses (53:1-11) are giving us the account of crash revelation in a way that is difficult to ignore.  Let me put this event in perspective:
53:1 By the Star when it gs down,-
53:2 Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled.
53:3 Nor ds he say (aught) of (his own) Desire.
53:4 It is no less than inspiration sent down to him:
53:5 He was taught by one Mighty in Power,
53:6 Endued with Wisdom: for he appeared (in stately form);
53:7 While he was in the highest part of the horizon:
53:8 Then he approached and came closer,
53:9 And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer;
53:10 So did ((Allah)) convey the inspiration to His Servant- (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.
53:11 The (Prophet's) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw.
53:12
Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw?
Notice the ayah 53:4 talks about the revelation that the Prophet (sws) received. The next two verses (53:5-6) tell us that this revelation was taught to him by someone who is mighty in power and endued with stately wisdom (meaning perhaps Jibreel) so we should not consider that an ordinary visual artifact.  The verse 53:7-9 portrays someone (perhaps Jibreel) approaching in a dramatic way from a far-off distance, making his closest approach to the Prophet (sws) at two bows length, and then "reveals what he had to reveal".  The next verse (53:11) talks about the state of the mind/heart of the prophet that witnessed and verified with certainty this unique and gorgeous event.
Along similar lines, there is this other question of repeatedly visiting of Jibreel.  May be there is, but to be candid with you, I did not see any indication of Jibreels repeated visits to the prophet---or any other prophet for that matter-- anywhere in the Quran.  In fact, the verse 53:13 (For indeed he saw him at a second descent)  seems to make it clear that the Prophet saw him (which, to me, means Jibreel) only two timesone time described in 53:7-11 and the second time indicated in 53:13.
I am not sure if I have made a convincing case for the Quran as a "ONE TIME" revelation affair, but this is how I feel I can reconcile perhaps all the verses that seem paradoxically contradictory.
Irfan

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 12:52:06 PM »
Dear Brother Irfan,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for your thoughts. Albeit I prefer to incline to a particular understanding which I will elaborate God willing, I do feel there is definite merit in a few possible explanations including your own quite plausible one.

Keeping in view all relevant verses:

  • The Quran was revealed to Gabriel all at once so that he may part with the revelations piecemeal to a human messenger at appropriate periods.
  • The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in a spiritual capacity (or to his heart) and then explained piecemeal. This I could also support with 75:16-18.
  • The Quran was revealed to Gabriel from the 'Luh-e-Mahfuz' and an exalted assembly such as the 'mala-i-l-ala' of 37:8 which included those that were tasked with certain decrees (97:4). The duality of the 'Malaikatu' (plural) and the 'ruh' entasked with 'kulli amr' (every affair / decrees etc) is noted with respect to this auspicious night.
  • The Quran as a 'revelation' (any ayat and as a 'reading') was revealed on this blessed night which would indicate that 2:185 is a reference to the first revelation to the Prophet in the month of Ramadan as discussed in my post.

I personally tend to incline to (4) also because I feel there is context to the revelation by virtue of the phrase "hudal-inasi" (a guidance to mankind).

I feel the momentous occasion (which you quite rightly observe) and the reason why it receives the appellation 'blessed' (mubarakatin) in 44:3 is linked to the 'guidance' (huda) bestowed to mankind as opposed to the revelation being received as a whole to either scenarios (1), (2) or (3) noted above.

Such a law bearing revelation of similar ilk was seen after the Book of Moses (46:12 - wamin qablihi kitabu musa - and before it was the book of Moses, 11:17 and 46:30). In this context, I understand the 'Injeel' being wisdom imparted by Prophet Jesus with the Torah's central teachings for the Children of Israel later captured as the Gospels.

Such guidance (i.e. the Quran) also came after a cessation of messengers (5:19). One of the reasons we keep fasts in the month of Ramadan as you know is also to thank God for such a guidance (hadakum wala-allakum tashkurun - He guided you so that you may be thankful - 2:185).

So for me the auspicious nature of the occasion is linked to the 'guidance' that was to be revealed through the Prophet for mankind as opposed to the whole Quran being revealed to either (1), (2) or (3) above. However admittedly, I also cannot rule out that there could be a combination of the 3 possible scenarios I have highlighted including your own quite plausible one.

I also incline somewhat to scenario (3). 

(3) The Quran was revealed to Gabriel from the 'Luh-e-Mahfuz' and an exalted assembly such as the 'mala-i-l-ala' of 37:8 which included those that were tasked with certain decrees (97:4). The duality of the 'Malaikatu' (plural) and the 'ruh' entasked with 'kulli amr' (every affair / decrees etc) is noted with respect to this auspicious night.

I also concur with your sentiment that "I did not see any indication of Jibreel's 'repeated visits' to the prophet---or any other prophet for that matter-- anywhere in the Qur'an.  In fact, the verse 53:13 ('For indeed he saw him at a second descent')  seems to make it clear that the Prophet saw 'him' (which, to me, means Jibreel) only two times'”one time described in 53:7-11 and the second time indicated in 53:13".

I don't think there were repeated visits in the 'visual / see / perceptive sense' (raahu) bar twice, but I do feel that there were some kind of 'ahlams' (dreams) 21:5, which were possibly inspired in some capacity by Gabriel at God's command at certain intervals.  I find in the Islamic secondary sources a more informal, fluid, two-way, personable relationship between the Prophet and Gabriel discussing all manner of issues which I find absolutely no support for in the Quran. I am sure you will concur.


Thank you as always for your insights. You already know very well how much I respect and value them.

PS: Truthseeker is a 'sister'  :)

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Irfan

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 01:04:06 PM »

Salamun alaikum,
First off, my apologies to sister Truthseeker. Somehow, I confused this name with a brother on some other forums who uses the same screen name--with similar pattern of thought (as far as I recall).  A strange coincidence.
Thank you again for positing the four scenarios.  Vast majority of serious thinkers of the Quran-- do share your view of periodical/piecemeal revelation mode---as understood from 25:32 and 17:106 as well as the two Arabic expressions naazanahu tanzeelan or rattalnahu tarteelan.  Those in the orthodox camp, when faced with 97:1 and 44:3, prefer to lean on some speculative hadith, saying that the Quran was 'at once' brought down to the First Heaven, then slowly released in portions from there by Jibreel. Then there is also the story of the cave where the Prophet is commanded by Jibreel to recite/read (recite/read what?'”the hadith does not make that clear) and when he cant, he is squeezed hard" this happens three times before the five famous verses 96:1-5 are revealed to him!
I agree that the reported historical accounts do not explain anything written in the Quran but it seems who cares is the prevailing attitude.
Your idea of actually 'seeing' Jibreel twice but then later having some other way of communicating with him is intriguing.  I will try to see if theres any indication of, or support for that in the Quran.  I also find some evidence that the word 'Ayah' may actually refer to the whole scripture'”as may be understood from 2:106 and 16:101 where one ayah is being replaced with an equal or better ayah" a fact that was being objected to by the rejecters of faith.  I think in these two verses, the scripture is a better fit.  The word ayah is a bit tricky because of its various shades of meaning'”sign/portent, verse, miracle, and also, as I understand, scripture.
Irfan

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 10:53:51 PM »
Salaam Irfan,

That's no problem.

Offline Rizny

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 02:37:12 PM »
Salaam Brother Joseph,

       Even for the basic Business transaction Quran says right it down.  You have put forward the argument someplace but i forget it but it's apply here too.

I think 52:2-3 talk about written book. Please Correct me if  wrong.

Thanks
Rizny


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Compilation of the Quran
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 11:55:52 PM »
Dear Rizny,

Salamun Alaikum.

I do concur that the theological argument that if basic transactions required them to be taken down with witnesses emphasized in one of the longest verses of the Quran (2:282), it would be inconceivable to accept that the Holy words of God were not reduced to writing.

It is clear from the Quran that they clearly were:

080.013-16
"(It is) in sheets / pages held (greatly) in honour (Arabic: fi suhufin mukarrama), Exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy (Arabic: marfu'atin mutahhara), (Written) by the hands of scribes. (Arabic: bi'aydi safara), honourable and pious and just (Arabic: kiramin barara)"

The initial oral revelation and transmission was supported with a parallel written tradition at the time of the Prophet which is clear from the Quran

With regards 52:2-3, I am inclined to read this with the oath in the first verse (52:1). The oath in 52:1 is against 'Tur'. Therefore, my reading of 'wakitabin mastur' is with respect to what was given to Prophet Moses (i.e. the inscribed Torah) and not a reference to the Quran.

As a point to note with regards the word 'Raqq' in 52:3, from its root it has the inherent meaning of something thin or of little thickness as compared to its breadth and length. Something thin, fine, flimsy, delicate. This most definitely refers to a well refined parchment or animal skin especially prepared for writing! For example the Arabic phrase, "raqqu kalamuhu" (His speech was or became tender, soft, sweet, graceful or elegant) carries that element of refinement in the word 'raqqu' from the same root.

I hope this helps, God willing.
Joseph.

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell