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Lesson 19

Reasons and Timing

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Main Points

·      The Surahs of the Qur'an were either sent down in Mecca before Hijrah) or in Medina (after Hijrah), with the exception of a few cases of verses sent down in Medina as a part of Meccan Surahs, or vice versa.

·      The Meccan Surahs are characterized, concerning content, by the following: matters of faith and the Hereafter, the stories of prophets, and arguing the polytheists to disclose their error and misguidance. Concerning expressions, they are characterized by the following: short clauses and strong brief words, statements such as ‘O you mankind’, ‘Nay’ (not at all), and verses of prostration.

·      The Surahs of Medina are characterized, concerning content, by the following: laws of worship and dealings, arguing with the people of the Book, and disclosing the behavior of the hypocrites. Concerning expressions, they are characterized by: long clauses, and statements: ‘O you who believe’.

·      The importance of knowing whether the Surahs were sent down in Mecca or Medina is to: differentiate between what is repealing and what has been repealed, know the Prophet’s biography, study the history and gradual coding of legislations, and understand the meanings of the Qur’an and appreciate its various styles.

·      Some verses have been sent down either: on a certain event or in response to a question raised by the Prophet ( peace be upon him) or the believers.

·      Benefits derived from knowing the reasons behind revelation are: understanding and interpreting the verses and knowing the wisdom behind revelation.


The reasons behind revealing the verses:

Allah says:

]بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالزُّبُرِ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُون[ (النحل: 44)

This means: “With clear signs and Books (We sent the Messengers). And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad SAW) the reminder and the advice (the Qur'an), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.” (16, An-Nahl: 44)