Why Did the Quran Come Down to the Prophet (Allah Bless Him and Grant Him Peace) in Parts and Not All at Once?

Answered by Shaykh Anas al-Musa


Why did the Quran come down to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in parts and not all at once?


In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

The Noble Quran came down in parts to the heart of the Finality of all prophets and messengers (Allah bless him and grant him peace) over a period of time that lasted more than 20 years. There are several reasons and wisdom for it, having come down in parts.

We must also note that the descent of the Quran onto the heart of the Chosen Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not like the revelation of the other divine scriptures. The Quran came down in parts, while the other scriptures came down all at once.

Allah mentions the revelation of the Quran in parts of the Quran itself: “It is a Quran We have revealed in stages so that you may recite it to people at a deliberate pace. And We have sent it down in successive revelations.” [Quran, 17:106]

He also says, “The disbelievers say, ‘If only the Quran had been sent down to him all at once!’ ˹We have sent it˺ as such ˹in stages˺ so We may reassure your heart with it. And We have revealed it at a deliberate pace. Whenever they bring you an argument, We come to you with the right refutation and the best explanation.” [Quran, 25:32-33]

It is narrated that some of the kuffar, who were polytheists and Jews, criticized the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) for the Quran being revealed in parts. They suggested to him that it should be revealed all at once, and so Allah sent down these two ayas in response to them. [Zarqani, Manahil al-Irfan]

There are many secrets and wisdom behind the Quran coming down in parts [taken from Manahil al-Irfan]:

Giving Strength to the Heart of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Joy fills the heart of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) due to the frequent renewal of the revelation and the visiting of the angels from Allah. His heart finds ease in the divine providence that comes with each instance of the revelation’s descent.

The sparsing of the revelation to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) facilitates its memorization, understanding, and knowing of the rulings and wisdom therein.

There usually comes a new miracle each time the Quran comes down, with which the Quran challenges the disbelievers to bring its match. Thus, their incapacity to bring forth any objection became clear, and the earth grew tight for them despite its expanse. There is no doubt that each instance of incapacitation was a means of strengthening the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), as it was a support for him and his followers.

The conflict between the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his enemies was growing more severe, and the difficulties came at specific times. The Prophet’s heart (Allah bless him and grant him peace) needed consolation in these moments, and so every time his enemies bothered him, his Lord consoled him.

This consolation would sometimes come in the form of stories about the prophets, which Allah included in the Quran for an extensive purpose. Allah says, “And We relate to you ˹O Prophet˺ the stories of the messengers to reassure your heart.” [Quran, 11:120]

The consolation may have also come in the form of a promise from Allah to His Messenger of victory, assistance, and protection. Allah says, “So be patient with your Lord’s decree, for you are truly under Our ˹watchful˺ Eyes.” [Quran, 52:48]

The consolation may have also come to the Prophet’s heart (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the form of intimidating and threatening his enemies, such as when Allah says, “˹Soon˺ their united front will be defeated and ˹forced to˺ flee.” [Quran, 54:45] Allah also says, “If they turn away, then say, ˹O Prophet,˺ ‘I warn you of a ˹mighty˺ blast, like the one that befell ’Ad and Thamud.’” [Quran, 41:13]

It may also come in the form of a clear command to stay patient, as when Allah says, “So endure patiently, as did the Messengers of Firm Resolve.” [Quran, 46:35]

The Gradual Teaching and Refinement of This Umma

This gradual upbringing of this umma facilitated the memorization of the Quran. Writing materials were not readily available, and those who could write were few. Had the Quran descended all at once, they would not have been able to memorize it. Allah’s wisdom determined that it should be revealed in parts in order to facilitate its memorization.

Part of this progressive teaching of the Umma was also to facilitate the understanding of the Quran in the same way that it helped them to memorize it.

This approach also allowed for them to gradually leave off their false beliefs and corrupt practices and traditions. It made it tractable for them to abandon these things step-by-step, in line with the step-by-step revelation of the Quran. Whenever Islam succeeded in eradicating one falsehood, it would move on to another one for them, beginning with the most important matters and until it completely drew them out of all deplorable practices.

The gradual approach also brought comfort to the hearts of the Muslims and equipped them with the high resolve of patience and certainty from the periodical accounts of stories in the Quran about the prophets and messengers. These stories recounted what they and their followers encountered with their adversaries and told of the victory, reward, assistance, and triumph that they ultimately attained. Allah says, “Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will certainly make them successors in the land, as He did with those before them; and will surely establish for them their faith which He has chosen for them; and will indeed change their fear into security—˹provided that˺ they worship Me, associating nothing with Me. But whoever disbelieves after this ˹promise˺, it is they who will be the rebellious.” [Quran, 24:55]

Maintaining Concurrence with Events as they Occur

Every time a new event occurred, something appropriate would come down about it. Allah detailed for the Muslims His rulings to match the events, as when He would respond to their inquiries to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), regardless of whether the question was to determine the veracity of his message or to know more and be enlightened by Allah’s rulings.

Allah’s rulings maintained concurrence with issues and events in their respective times as they occurred. These events and issues did not occur all at once, but rather in steps, and so there is no escape from the Quran to come down gradually to match them.

One example of this is the event of the Ifk. The attention of the Muslims was called to correct the mistakes they had made therein. They were directed to the right way at that very time. since such mistakes occur at different times, it is only wise that the Quran comes down to correct them in concurrence therewith.

Proof that the Quran is from Allah

It is not possible that the Quran be the words of our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), nor the words of any other creation. We read the Quran from start to finish and find it to be a single unit, with no inconsistencies throughout its entire corpus. When we ponder upon the secret behind this incredible harmony, knowing that it had not been revealed all at one time, but rather piecemeal over the course of over 20 years, the answer is clear to us: “Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would have certainly found in it many inconsistencies.” [Quran, 4:82]


This is the book of our Lord, the Exalted. It is filled with secrets and wisdoms. It is like a rain cloud: whenever it pours forth, it gives life to the dead soil, which then sprouts and blooms. For it to come in small amounts at a time is more beneficial than it coming down all at once.

Allah send peace and blessings upon our master Muhammad, and upon his family and companions.

[Shaykh] Anas al-Musa

Shaykh Anas al-Musa, born in Hama, Syria, in 1974, is an erudite scholar of notable repute. He graduated from the Engineering Institute in Damascus, where he specialized in General Construction, and Al-Azhar University, Faculty of Usul al-Din, where he specialized in Hadith.

He studied under prominent scholars in Damascus, including Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri and Shaykh Adib al-Kallas, among others. Shaykh Anas has memorized the Quran and is proficient in the ten Mutawatir recitations, having studied under Shaykh Bakri al-Tarabishi and Shaykh Mowfaq ‘Ayun. He also graduated from the Iraqi Hadith School.

He has taught numerous Islamic subjects at Shari‘a institutes in Syria and Turkey. Shaykh Anas has served as an Imam and preacher for over 15 years and is a teacher of the Quran in its various readings and narrations.

Currently, he works as a teacher at SeekersGuidance and is responsible for academic guidance there. He has completed his Master’s degree in Hadith and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in the same field. Shaykh Anas al-Musa is married and resides in Istanbul.