The Third Stage: The final stage of revelation was alluded to by Ibn Abbaas (RA) when he said: "The whole Quraan was sent down to the lower heavens on the Night of Decree. Then, whenever Allaah wished to inspire something (from the Quraan), He would inspire it," (Tahawee, Haakim) and in another narration, "It was then revealed piece-meal over a period of twenty years." (Haakim, Nasaai, Bayhaqi) In this stage, Jibreel brought those portions of the Quraan which Allaah commanded him to bring. The Quraan refers to this revelation in many verses. In one verse, Allaah says, And truly this (Quraan) is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds; Which the trustworthy Spirit (Angel Jibreel) has brought down; Upon Your heart (O Muhammad), so that you may be one of the warners" (Q26[Shuaraa]:192-4)
The procedure by which the Quraan was inspired to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) has already been discussed in the previous editions. This gradual revelation occurred over a period of twenty-three years, according to the strongest opinion. Some scholars hold this period to be twenty years and yet another group says it is twenty five. The reason for this difference is the fact that the age of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) is itself a subject of dispute; the narrations state it variously to be sixty, sixty three, or sixty five years. All scholars, however, agree that he spent ten years in Madeenah, and that his prophethood began when he (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) was forty. The difference, therefore, revolves around how many years he stayed in Makkah before the hijrah. However, the strongest opinion, and the opinion that is widespread among the Muslims, is that he passed away at the age of sixty-three, which would then imply that the period in which the Quraan was sent down was twenty-three years.
It should be remembered that the Quraan is the Speech of Allaah. Therefore, it is incorrect to use the narrations of Ibn Abbaas (RA) which allude to the Lauh al-Mahfoodh to negate the fact that Jibreel heard the Quraan from Allaah. These narrations do not mention that Jibreel took the Quraan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh, in fact, the narration is explicit in that Allaah would...inspire the portion ofthe Quraan that He wished to reveal.
In other words, what Jibreel recited to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) were the words that Allaah Spoke to him. Some scholars, however, have inferred from these narrations that Jibreel took the Quraan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh. As for the Asharees, most of them claimed that this was the only method by which Jibreel received the Quraan. This opinion is rejected immediately, as this denies the whole concept of the Quraan being the actual kalaam of Allaah. However, other scholars stated that Jibreel heard the Quraan from Allaah and took the Quraan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh.Whether Jibreel also took the Quraan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh or not, is, as az-Zarqaanee stated, "...not of great importance, as long as we are sure the source of revelation is Allaah alone."
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited