The History of the Quran’s Descent

The Quran is the holy book of Muslims. Its presence is as a guide for man and is a basic principle for all problems of life. Al-Quran also serves as a guide to life in this world and the hereafter. The journey of the Quran, first revealed until now, has a very long history, through a period of more than 1400 years ago.

Although long-lived, unlike other distorted scriptures, Allah SWT guarantees the integrity and authenticity of the Qur’an, as He said: “We have sent down the Qur’an and We are the guardians of it,” (QS Al Hijr [15]: 9).

Quran In the Days of the Prophet

In prophetic times, the Qur’an was revealed in two ways.

First, the Qur’an is revealed completely on the night of Lailatulqadar from Lauh Al-Mahfudz to Baitul Izzah or the heavens of the world during the holy month of Ramadan. This is explained by Allah swt in surah Al-Qadr first verse:

“We have sent it down [Al-Quran] on the night of glory [Lailatulqadar],” (Al-Qadr [97]: 1).

Second, after being revealed in the heavens of the world, then the revelation of the Quran was revealed gradually to the Prophet Muhammad SAW in accordance with the context and needs, for about 23 or 25 years.

The first verse that comes down to the Prophet Muhammad, as well as the sign of his appointment as Rasululullah SAW is surah Al-Alaq verses 1-5 containing the command to read (Iqra).

History of The Periodization of the Quran Along the way of revelation to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH

The scholars divided the history of the Quran in two periods, namely the period before hijrah and the period after hijrah. The verses of the Qur’an that came down before hijrah are known as Makiyah verses, while the verses of the Qur’an that came down after hijrah are known as verses of Madaniyah.

The history of the periodization of the Quran is as follows:

1. Period Before Hijrah and Makiyah Verses In the period before hijrah, verses of the Quran were revealed during the Prophet Muhammad SAW preached in Makkah.

Therefore, the verses are converted to the location of revelation, namely in Makkah. The verses are referred to as makiyah verses. In this first period, there were 86 makiyah surahs that were sent down for 12 years and five months.

As mentioned above, the first revelation was revealed on 17 Ramadan 610 AD in Hira Cave when the Prophet Muhammad SAW was alone from his people. In general, the content of makiyah verses concerning the creed and strengthening of tawhid.

Revelation of the Qur’an in the period before hijra is the point of Islamic teachings to strengthen the faith of the people who are oppressed by the infidels Quraysh.

2. Period After Hijrah and Madaniyah Verses

In this second period, verses of the Quran were revealed during the Prophet Muhammad SAW preaching in Medina. Therefore, the verses are converted to the location of the revelation that is in Medina. The verses are called as verses of madaniyah.

In this second period, there were 28 surahs that went down for 9 years and 9 months. Because the affirmation of faith has been explained through makiyah verses, then after hijrah, madaniyah verses are generally related to muamalat, sharia, and Islamic laws.

In this period, the last verse that is revealed is verse 3 in surah Al-Maidah when the Prophet Muhammad SAW performed hajj Wada’ as well as the closing of the revelation of the Quran.

“Today I have perfected for you your religion, and I have fulfilled my favor for you, and I have made Islam your religion.” Al-Maidah [5]:3).


History of The Bookkeeping of the Qur’an

In the time of the Prophet SAW, the Quran has not been collected neatly as it is now. When the revelation was revealed, Prophet Muhammad SAW read it to the companions, either to be directly written or memorized.

After the Prophet (PBUH) died, there was a need to book and standardize the Quran in order to remain intact and maintain its authenticity.

The explanation of the history of the bookkeeping of the Qur’an is explained in the following description:

1. Al-Quran in the Time of The Prophet Muhammad SAW

One of the reasons the Quran has not been recorded at the prophetic time is the process of revelation that still takes place during the life of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

When the revelation was revealed, the Prophet (PBUH) then read it to the companions, and asked some people to write down the revelation. The companions of the author of the revelation are Zaid ibn Tsabit, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, Ubay bin Kaab, and so forth.

The writing media used at that time was palm fronds, stone slabs, lontar leaves, star skins, wood, saddles, pieces of animal bones, and so on. In addition to directly written, many friends who immediately memorized it when read by the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

Therefore, the collection of the Quran in prophetic times is known in two ways, namely through writing (jam’u fi as-suthur) and through memorization (jam’u fi ash-shudur).

Pillars of Islam and Iman (Faith)

2. The Quran in the Time of the Rasyidin Caliphate

After the Prophet (PBUH) died, his successor caliphs were elected during the Caliphate of Rasyidin. At this time, the caliphs, ranging from Abu Bakr as-Shiddiq to Uthman ibn Affan felt the need to collect and book the Quran into a complete unity.

Initially, the need to book the Quran was considered very important after the Yamamah war during the caliph Abu Bakr. In that war, many of the hafiz or memorization of the Quran from the companions were martyred. Worried that the Quran will fared the same as other scriptures that are distorted because it is late to be recorded.

Umar ibn Khattab suggested to Abu Bakr that the Qur’an be gathered immediately. Although initially hesitant, but eventually caliph Abu Bakr Ash-Shiddiq ordered Zaid bin Tsabit, one of the authors of prophetic revelations to lead the project of collecting the Quran.

Principles of collecting the Quran

In the description “History of the Quran” it is mentioned that Zaid ibn Tsabit applies four principles in the project of collecting the Quran:

1) The verse received is only written before the Messenger of Allah.
2) Verses of the Quran written from the memorization of the companions.
3) The verse of the Qur’an will not be written, unless it is agreed by two witnesses that it was once written before the Messenger of Allah.
4) Memorization of the Quran the companions are not accepted, except those they have heard directly from the Prophet SAW.

After the Quran was recorded, then standardized in the caliph Uthman ibn Affan. The differences in dialects (lahjah) were then united by Uthman so as not to cause division among Muslims.

Therefore, the common mushaf is now known by the way of writing Uthman or Rasm Uthman. The long journey of the history of the writing of the Quran further reinforces the authenticity of the Quran. The proof that the Qur’an is a divine scripture is explained in surah Hud verse 13:

“In fact, they said, ‘He [Muhammad] has made up the Qur’an.’ Say, “Then bring ten surahs like it which are contrived, and invite whomever of you is able besides Allah, if you are truthful.” Hud [11]: 13).

Allah SWT challenges if anyone dares to deny the truth of the Qur’an. Then asked to make a surah like surah Al-Quran. However, although the Mushaf Al-Quran has been scattered in various places around the world. But no one can make a kind of Quran. This signifies that the Quran is truly authentic and comes from Allah SWT.

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