The Qur'an began to be revealed on the Night of Power during the month of Ramadan. Revelation to the Prophet Muhammad continued in parts according to need during various periods of time, and this process lasted approximately 23 years.
Due to its being the month in which the Holy Quran was first revealed, the month of Ramadan has a special place in the lives of Muslims.
The month of Ramadan is the anniversary of the Qur'an's first revelation or, in other words, the anniversary of the beginning of the call to Islam. Besides this blessed month and night, no other month or other night is distinctly mentioned in the Qur'an with a different name, especially with praise. (1)
The month of Ramadan is the season when Muslims intensify their religious life. The Night of Power is the night this intensity peaks:
- As a symbol of the Quran's gauging everything, this night was called the "Night of Power."
- Due to its being the night the Quran was first revealed, that night was called the "Night of Power" in order to convey to people the value and honor of that night, that month and the Prophet.
- Because the life of believers was made more bounteous and valuable with the Quran, the night it was first revealed is called the "Night of Power."
Due to the Qur'anic revelation continuing for years and its commandments being permanent until Judgment Day, it was preordained to be revealed in the month of Ramadan.
The month the Qur'an was first revealed was crowned with the act of worship, fasting: "...whoever reaches that month should fast." (2) According to one report, the Prophet said, "fasting and the Quran will intercede for a servant on Doomsday. Fasting will say ‘My Lord! I prevented his eating and pleasure. Make me intercede for him.' The Quran will say, ‘I prevented his sleep at night; make me intercede for him.' Allah says ‘your intercession has been accepted.'" (3)
The month of Ramadan is known as the month when the Prophet increased his recitation of the Qur'an. While in one of the narrations related to this topic it is stated that Gabriel met with the Prophet during Ramadan nights and the Prophet recited the Quran to him, (4) in another one it is recorded that Gabriel recited the Qur'an to the Prophet once a year, (5) but that year he recited it twice. In relation to this the Prophet said, "Gabriel (as) recited the Qur'an to me once every year, but he recited it twice this year. I think my appointed time of death is near." (6) It is reported that he felt his death was drawing near and that he told this to his daughter Fatima as a secret. (7)
Today the tradition of muqabala (recitation of the Quran) during the month of Ramadan in Islamic countries is a result of the "arza sunnah."
The Prophet recited the Quran slowly word-by-word both during prayer and outside of prayer. (8) He united with the word of Allah while reciting it. He made an effort to address it, and he contemplated for long periods on its meaning.
Description of the Prophet's style of Qur'anic recitation is as follows: "When the Prophet recited the verse on mercy, he would ask for it from Allah; when he recited the verse on torment, he would take refuge in Him; when he recited the verses on God's being free from defect, he would praise Allah." (9)
The last holy book revealed to the last prophet, the Holy Quran, is the final divine address to mankind during the final days of time. Making necessary good deeds is possible by reading and understanding it. Allah, may His name be exalted, speaks with praise of those who read His book and states, "Those who rehearse the Book of God, establish regular Prayer, and spend (in Charity) out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a Commerce that will never fail: For He will pay them their meed, nay, He will give them even more out of His Bounty: for He is Oft-Forgiving, most ready to appreciate (service)." (10)
This verse praises not only those who read the Quran, but who at the same time make good deeds as necessary, and it informs that they will be rewarded by Allah. Reading the word of Allah, but not living its commands has no value in God's eyes.
Our Prophet called those who read the Qur'an and act accordingly the "people who are friends of Allah." (11)
In another hadith where the Prophet encourages people to both read the Quran and to act according to its precepts, it is stated: "The believer who reads the Quran is like an orange whose taste and aroma is good; a believer who does not read the Quran resembles a date whose taste is good, but has no aroma; a sinner who reads the Quran is similar to basil weed which has a good aroma but a bitter taste; the sinner who does not read the Quran is like an unripe watermelon with both a bitter aroma and taste."." (12)
In yet another hadith, the Prophet expresses that it is necessary to admire someone who reads Allah's book night and day and applies its precepts; (13) that those who are skilled in reading the Quran are together with the angels called "Safara;" and that a double reward is given to someone who continues reading in spite of difficulty. (14)
Indicating that those who learn and teach the Quran are the most superior and best people, (15) the Prophet encouraged learning and teaching the Quran. He stated: "Learn the Quran; ten merits will be given to you for every letter read." (16)
Pointing out that those who continue to read the Qur'an become friends with it and that it will intercede for them on Doomsday, (17) the Prophet recommends that we illuminate our worldly homes and the home of our hearts with its light and decorate them with its beauty. He states, "I know of no greater ruin than a house that has nothing from Allah's book in it. Someone who has nothing in him from the Qur'an is like an empty and ruined house that has never been lived in." (18) With this hadith and similar hadiths, the Prophet encourages the Qur'an to be memorized and held in the memory. (19)
Indicating in many hadiths and in his life that listening to the Qur'an had great merit in addition to the importance and virtue of reading the Qur'an, the Prophet said, "I like to listen to the Quran from others." (20)
The Qur'an is the word of Allah. One who reads the Qur'an is not reading just an ordinary text. He is pronouncing divine speech with its words and meanings. Consequently, when a servant is reading it, he is conversing with his Lord. What a believer must do for Him is to realize that he is confronted with his Creator's words and to perform whatever duties this requires.
It is particularly meaningful to pay attention to the month and night the Qur'an was first revealed. Giving importance to the Qur'an by benefiting the month of Ramadan in this respect - by reading, listening, and following its commands - and thus attaining righteousness is a matter every believer should be careful about and it is the most virtuous act of worship.
1. Qur'an, 2:185; 44:3.
2. Qur'an, 2:185.
3. Fethurrabbani, v.18, p.14.
4. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 7; Muslim Fazailu´s Sahaba, 98-99.
5. Muslim, Fazailu´s Sahaba, 98.
6. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 7; Muslim Fazailu´s Sahaba, 98-99.
7. Abdulbaki Turan, Arza, DIA, Istanbul 1999, III, 446/447.
8. Qur'an, 25:32.
9. Ibn-i Mace , Iqamati´s-salawat, 179.
10. Qur'an, 35:29-30
11. Darimi, Fazailu´l-Qur´an,1.
12. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 17.
13. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 20.
14. Muslim, Salatu´l-musafirin,,244; Bukhari,Tawhid, 52.
15. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 20.
16. Tirmidhi, Thawabu´l-Qur´an, 16,2912.
17. Tirmidhi, Fazailu´l-Qur´an,18.
18. Darimi, Fazailu´l-Qur´an,1.
19. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 23.
20. Bukhari, Fazailu´l-Qur´an, 32.