The Holy Qur'aan - The Gift of Ramadaan

By Dr. Nizam Ajmir Mohammed


      The Holy Qur’aan is the revelation of Allaah granted to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be Peace). It is the original and the main source of reference for every prin­ciple and ordinance of Islam. It is the Sacred Book of Muslims, and our Supreme and final authority on all matters. This Book was first revealed by Almighty Allaah to the Prophet Muhammad (Upon Whom Be Peace) through the agency of the angel Jibra’iil on “Lailatul Qadr”, the 27th night of the month of Ramadaan. This first revelation was granted to the Holy Prophet when he was forty years old, in the cave of Hira where it was his practice to spend his time in prayer and meditation. The word “Qur’aan” is derived from the root “Qar’a” which sig­nifies “collecting together” and also “reading”. This Scared Book is “Kitab-Allaah” (The Book of Allaah) and “Kalam Allaah” (The Word of Allaah). It is “Al-Furqaan” - that which distinguishes between right and wrong, and between truth and falsehood, It is “Umm al- Kitab” -the Mother of all books. With respect and honour we refer to it by such titles as “Al - Qur’aan al - Majiid” (The Glorious Qur’aan), and “Al - Qur’aan ash - Sharif” (The Noble Qur’an) The Qur’aan is also distinguished by such titles as {“Mubin” (The Enlightener) “Al Habl” (The Rope), “Al -Bayan” (The Explanation) and Al-Mutaharah (The Purified). The Holy Qur’aan is the fountain which constantly refreshes the spiritual vision of a Muslim. This Book has laid down rules for the fundamental institutions of society such as marriage, family life, inheritance, social, political and economic activities. It is the basis of the constitution of the Muslim Community. It is the core of the social and spiritual thought in Islam, and it is with the observation and practice of the rules of al-Qur’aan that there is linked the success of the Muslims as an organised body.

      The Holy Qur’aan was not revealed in its entirety on one occasion, but piecemeal over a period of twenty-three years as circumstances demanded. This manner of revealing the Qur’aan in parts was in accordance with the plan of Almighty Allaah who states:

 “Those who reject Faith say; ‘Why is not the Qur’aan revealed to him all at once?’ Thus (is it revealed), that we may strengthen thy heart thereby, and We have rehearsed it to thee in slow, well-arranged stages, gradually”

(Holy Qur’an 25:32)


      The verses and the chapters were arranged under the personal direction of the Holy Prophet himself. He used to personally direct his writers to insert the revealed verses in their specified places. The chapters were not arranged chronologically not because of oversight, but because of the. command of the Prophet. Whenever a verse was revealed, the Prophet, under Divine guidance, specified the place where the revealed verse was to be inserted. Thus the verses in each chapter were arranged according to the instruction of the Prophet who was acting under the guidance of Almighty Allaah. Hazrat Usman, the third Caliph, who was closely associated with the Prophet from almost the comm­encement of the Revelation and who is also closely linked with the collection of the Qur’aan, has informed us that “every portion of the Holy Book was written and given its specified place at the command of the Holy Prophet”. He also said:

“It was customary with the Messenger of Allaah that when portions of different chapters were revealed to him, and when any verse was revealed, he called one of those persons who used to write the Holy Qur’aan and said to him, write this verse in the chapter where such and such verses occur…”


      The Holy Prophet himself arranged not only the verses but also the order of the chapter or suraahs of the Qur’aan, the number of chapters (suurahs) being 114. This is the same order which is still to be found today in any copy of the Qur’aan. It is in the same order whereby the Prophet and his companions recited the different chapters of the Book in their daily salaat. It was in this same order that the entire Qur’aan was preserved in the memory of the Haafiz in the very life time of the Prophet. The suurahs are of varying length; the largest of them comprises one-twelfth of the whole Book, and the smallest one consists of only three verses.

      The large suurahs are divided into sections or paragraphs called Ruku (p1: Ruku’at). These sections (ruku’at) are further subdivided into a number of verses called “ayats

      Another way in which the Qur’aan is divided is into thirty equal parts (ajza’), each part being called a “Juz”, or in Persian and Urdu, “Siparah”. This division into thirty siparahs enables a Muslim to recite the Qur’aan in one month, as is done for example in the month of Ramadaan. A quarter of a siparah is called Ar-Rub. One half of a siparah is called An-Nisf. Three-quarters of a siparah is called As-Salasa (suls).

      The Qur’aan is also divided into seven manazil or portions, enabling a Muslim to recite the entire Book in one week, reading one manzil per night.

      These divisions of the Qur’aan (eg. into suurahs, siparahs, and manazil) serve a practical purpose. They facilitate the public or private recitations of this Book on solemn ritual occasions, funeral commemorations and other Muslim events. These divisions do not affect the subject matter of the Book. All the suurahs of Qur’aan can be divided into two groups viz. (1) the Makkan suurahs revealed while the Prophet was at Makkah and (2) the Madinite suurahs revealed after the Hijrah and while the Prophet was at Medina. In the actual arrangement of the Book the Makkn revelation is intermixed with the Mdinite revelation. For example, the Qur’aan opens with a Makkan revelation, al-Fatihah, and this is then followed by four chapters revealed at Madinah and which take up over one-fifth of the whole Book. Then follow alternately Makkan and Madinite revelations.Thus a catalogue of the first ten suraabs is as follows:


1. Al Faatihah – Makkan

2. Al Baqarah (The Heifer) – Madinite

3. Al Imran (The Family of Imran) Madinite

4. An Nisa (The Women) – Madinite

5. Al Ma-idah (The Table Spread) - Madinite

6. Al ‘An’am  (The Cattle) – Makkan

7. Al A’raf (The Elevated Places) –Makkan

8. Al Anfal (Voluntary Gifts) -  Madinite

9. Al Bara’at (The Immunity) – Madinite

10. Yunus (Jonah) - Makkan


      In actual fact it is not really possible to separate into watertight compartments the contents of each group of suurahs aw they frequently overlap. However, as a guide it can he said that the Makkan suraahs are generally short However, some are long e.g. chapter 6 and deal with the Unity of God; His attributes, the Messengership of Muhammad (U.W.B P.) and the Divine Nature of the Qur’aari. They also deal with the ethical duties of man, the basic articles of faith such as belief in life after death, Resurrection, the Day of Judgement, heaven and hell. These Makkan revelations therefore lay the foundation: of a Muslim’s faith. They condemn idolatorv, and glorify God and demonstrate His works and power in Nature and History. Some of these verses are also of a Prophetical nature. These suurahs also describe the phenomena of nature, and make numerous references to the lives of the earlier prophets. They remind us that the life of this world is but play and amusement whereas the life in the Hereafter is the best Home for those who are righteous. To Allaah is due the primal origin of the heavens arid the earth.. These verses further point out that by spiritual development in the path of God, an individual can find true peace arid happiness.

      The Medinite suurahs are those revealed to the Prophet when he was in Madinah. These are longer than the Makkan suurahs. For example, the Madinite Suurah, al-Baqarah, (suurah 11). is the longest of the Qur’aari, containing 286 verses. In the suurah is also to be found the longest verse (verse 282) of the Our’aan. While the verses of Makkah are of a prophetical nature those of Mad,ina show the fulfilment of the prophesy. Furthermore, while the Makkan suurahs show how true happiness of mind can be attained by communion with God, the Madinah suurahs follow on by showing that peace and happiness must also be obtained by establishing a good relationship with one’s fellow being. The Madinah suurahs are rich in social, political, economic and legal materials. Religious ordinances such as salaat (prayer), zakaat (alms), fasting and pilgrimage are promulgated and the laws of marriage and inheritance are expounded.

      They prescribe good and just treatment for orphans and women; mothers must give suck to their young one and a father must provide the food arid clothing for the family.  Strict regulations are stipulated so as to act as a check to divorce The lddat or (waiting period) ‘at widowhood is stated as four months and  ten days and is longer than the  lddat of divorce (three monthly courses). These Madinte verses call Muslims to jihaad, that is, to fight in the cause of Allaah. They deal with the various battles in which the Prophet was forced to fight and also with his noble treaties. In these verses the Ka’aba was made the new qiblah or the new direction to which Muslims turn to prayer and was established as the centre of universal worship and the symbol of Islamic unity.

The Holy Qor’aan says that

“The month or Pamadaan is that in which the Our ‘aan was revealed, a guidance to mankind and also clear (signs) for guidance and the Criterion (between right and wrong)” (2: 185)


      The first revelation was granted to the Holy Prophet on Lailat-ul-Qadr, (The Night of Grandeur) which is one of the last ten nights of Ramadaan, but which is generally observed on the 27th night of Ramadaan. Qf this night’s revelation, Allaah says,

“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power. And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The niqht of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allaah’s permission - for every affair. Peace it is until the rise of the morn.” (Chapter 97).


      On this night, in the year 610 CE., the Holy Prophet was in the case of Hira (now known as Jabal ar Nur – (the Mountain of Light) situated three miles to the .north-east of Makkah.. The angel Jibra’iil came to the Prophet and commanded him to read. “lqra. ~Read’ ~“ commanded the angel. The Holy Prophet replied: “Ma-ana-biqari’in” (I do not know row to read”) On three occasions this command was given and each time the Prophet replied that he could not read. Then the first revelation was granted to the Holy Prophet.

“Read it the name of thy Lord end Cherisher. Who created man out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. Read. And thy Lord is most Bountiful; He taught man by the pen. He taught him what he knew not.’” (Holy Our’aan 96 :1-5).


      Such was the dynamism of the revelation that the body  of the Holy Prophet     vibrated with its transmission. The energy from this transmission caused the Holy Prophet’s body to shiver and produce beads of perspiration. Allaah himself says of the power of this Books “Had We sent this Qur’aan upon a mountain, verily thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allaah .” (Holy Qur’aan 59:21).

      It was no wonder that the Holy Prophet was so overcome by this first and powerful transmission. He ran to his wife Khadiijah and said,

“Wrap me up, wrap me up.”

      She wrapped him up until his fear was over. He then related the episode to Khadiiah who comforted him and immediately believed in his call to prophethood. Khadiijah, afterwards, took him to her cousin, Waraqah bin Naufal, who was well acquainted with the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and who immediately recognised him as the Prophet whom the world was expecting.

Significance of the Holy Qur-aan

      The Holy Qur’aan is the Book of which Allaah says,

We have revealed to you this Book that you may bring forward men by their Lord’s permission, from darkness into light, to the way of The Mighty, The .Praised One” (Holy Qur’aan 14 :1)


      It is this Book that revolutionized the thoughts and activities of the early Muslims and guided them to the path of unparallel success. It is this Message of God that provided the foundation for real progress and refinement. It is this Divine Message that provided the pillars on which modern intellectualism rests.      In the very first reve­lation, the Holy Prophet was commanded to read in the name of the Lord, the Cherisher and the Most Bountiful who taught man the use of the pen and gave him the knowledge of things. It is this Book that advised Muhammad (Upon Whom Be Peace) and all Muslims to pray:

“0 my Lord, increase me in knowledge (Rabbi Zidni IIma)!”


      It is this Book that says that those who have no knowledge are not on the -same plane as those who have knowledge; that those who do not utilise their faculties of reason and perception, and who do not exercise their powers of observation and understanding are worse than cattle; that the signs of God are given to those people who have knowledge; that it is by virtue of knowledge that man is superior to the angels and is the vicegerent of Allaah on earth. It directs man to reflect on the various aspects of nature, the creation of the heavens and earth, the alternation of night and day, the seasons, the sea, the atmosphere, the sun and the moon, the vast expanse of space, the stars and the innumerable Laws of nature. It draws man’s attention to the mysteries of birth and death, growth and decay, of people and communities; it considers the beauties of the soul to be greater than those of the physical body. It says that in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of understanding; that the men of understanding are those who celebrate the praises of God, standing, sitting, and lying on their sides and who, in addition, contemplate on the wonders of creation .in the heavens and the earth.

      It provided Muslims with a new ethic, a new.phiIosophy,.and a new approach to life. It chanelled the thoughts of Muslims but never chained or fettered the human intellect. It is this Book of which Deutsch says:

“The Qur’an is a book by the aid of which the Arabs ame to Europe as kings to hold up the light of humanity while darkness lay around, to raise up the wisdom and knowledge of HeIlas from the dead, to teach philosophy. medicine, astronomy and the golden art of song to the West as to East, to stand at the cradle of modern science and to make us latecomers for ever to weep over the day when Granada fell.”


The Holy Qur’aan raised the social position of women, and gave them not only a new status in life, but also the dignity of being able to enter paradise.

Enter into paradise, you and your wives” (Holy Qur’aan 43:70).

Whoever has done the things that are right - whether male or female - shall enter paradise.” (Holy Qur’aan 4:123).


      It eliminated the barriers of race, class and colour, and placed mankind on the common platform of love, peace, toleration and human brotherhood.

“Mankind is a single nation”  (Qur-an - 2:213)


      Is its teaching. It crushed the forces of disunity and disorder. It unified Muslims into a single body and warned the mischief-makers who opposed or discouraged this unity, of the great calamity to befall them. It encourages Muslims to remember not only themselves but also their fellow beings. It reminds us of the Unity of our Creator; at all times. Allaah is our Light.

Allaah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp; The Lamp enclosed in Glass. The glass as it were a brilliant star- lit from a blessed Tree; an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil is well -nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light” (Holy Qur’aan 24:35)


The Holy Qur’an and Fasting:


The Holy Qur’aan encourages Muslims to develop self-discipline through such basic principles as fasting. Allaah has established a meaningful relationship between fasting in Ramadaan, piety and the guidance He has given through the Holy Qur’aan. He says :

“0 ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was.prescribed for those before you that ye may guard against evil” (Holy Qur’aan 2:183)”

“The month of Ramadaan is that in which the Qur’aan was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong)..Allaah (wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him for having guided you ….(Holy Qur-aan 2:185)


      Through fasting a Muslim learns to control himself; he develops himself physically and spiritually, thereby bringing himself to a state of nearness to God. He over­comes his pride, anger and hatred. The physical and spiritual conquest of the self is promoted and harmoniously achieved. Through fasting we regulate or moderate our emotional desires, and domesticate them so that they can serve the ends of human life. Failure to discipline or failure to control man’s animal appetites, leads to disorder in the life of the individual as well as of the society. Fasting helps us to restrain our desires so that we do not allow ourselves to be overpowered by the emotion of the senses or of the appetites. Man’s impotence to control his passions places him in bondage, for a man who is ruled by his passions or is under the control of his passions is not his own master. Uncontrolled passions are the natural enemies of faith, goodness, duty, law and authority

      Through fasting, an individual attains spiritual liberation, and overcomes the limitation of matter. He is able to est­ablish an ethical and spjritual relationship with his fellow beings, The moral fibre of himself and of his community is strengthened, and dependence upon the Creator is acknowIedged. A Muslim cannot find greater fulfilment than when he succeeds in submitting himself to Allaah, obeying the commands which his Creator has enjoined upon him  and guiding himself by the Divine Message, the Holy Quraan, Allaah’s gift to mankind, first presented in the month of Ramadaan. God has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful message in the form of aBook consistent with itself.” 

 (Holy Qur’aan : 39:23)






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