Part One : On the Compilation of the Holy Qur'an

The Hadith of Ibn 'Abbas

In 'al-Manaqib' it is related that Ibn 'Abbas said: 'When Allah's words: {You are mortal and they are mortals.} 5 were revealed, Allah's Messenger (S)6 said: 'If only I knew when this (my death) would be.' This, when the Prophet (S) knew 'the unseen' with the permission and inspiration of Allah. Then the 110th chapter of the Qur'an named al-Nasr (Succour) was revealed, after which the Prophet (S) remained silent between the 'takbir'7 and the 'reading' then he used to say: 'Praise be to Allah, I seek the forgiveness of Allah and turn towards Him in repentance.' He was asked about this and said: 'It is that my soul has foretold me of my impending death.' Then he began to weep intensely. He was then asked: 'Oh Messenger of Allah, do you weep over death when Allah has forgiven all your sins both past and future?' The Prophet (S) said: 'But what of the terror of the questioning and what of the confines of the grave and the darkness of the tomb, and the resurrection and the other fearsome things?' (Here the Prophet means to draw attention to these fearsome things rather than say that he will be tried by them as is clear.) Then 5 The Qur'an: The Groups (39):30.

6 Sall-Allah Alayhi wa Alihi wa Sallam, meaning Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him and his infallible family. This is always stated after the mention of the name of the Prophet out of respect for the Prophet of Islam (s).

7 The takbir or takbir al-ihram (sanctification) consists of the words 'Allahu Akbar', (God is Great) which are said at the beginning of every one of the daily canonical prayers and other supererogatory prayers denoting the beginning of the prayer and the fact that the person praying has entered the sanctity of prayer. The reading mentioned here is the reading of the opening chapter of the Qur'an, which forms the basis of prayers in Islam.

Ibn 'Abbas said: 'The Prophet (S) lived for a further year after the revelation of this chapter.'8 Thenceforth, verse after verse was revealed until only seven days remained of the Prophet's life. Then the following verse was revealed:

{And fear ye a day in which you will be returned to Allah and every soul will be given what it has earned and they will not be dealt with unjustly.}9

This verse - according to certain transmissions - was the last verse of the Holy Qur'an to be revealed to the Messenger of Allah by the Archangel Gabriel who said to him:

'Place this verse at the head of the 280th verse of the second chapter.'10

The first verse revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (S) by the Archangel Gabriel was Allah's words: {In the Name of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful, Read! In the name of your Lord Who has created . . .}11

The first verse of the Qur'an to be revealed coincided with the first day of the noble prophetic mission and the last verse of the Qur'an to be revealed took place during the last days of the Messenger of Allah. The time between these two verses was when the rest of the Qur'an was revealed and this was over a period of 23 years.

8 See Seas of Lights: vol.22, p.471; and also al-Manaqib: vol.1, p.234, The section on the death of the prophet (S): Related from Ibn 'Abbas, and al-Sudayy that when Allah's words were revealed: {You are mortal and they are mortals.}, the Messenger of Allah said: 'If only I knew when this would be.', then the 110th chapter of The Qur'an named al-Nasr (Succour) was revealed and he used to remain silent during the prayer between saying 'Allahu Akbar' and the reading but he said: 'Praise be to Allah, I ask Allah for forgiveness and turn towards Him in repentance.' He was asked about this and he said:

'It is that my soul has foretold me of my impending death.' Then he began to weep intensely. They said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, do you weep over death when Allah has forgiven your sins both past and future?' He said: 'But what of the terror of the questioning, or the confines of the grave and the darkness of the tomb, and what of the resurrection and the fearsome things!' He lived after the revelation of this chapter for a further year.

9 The Qur'an: The Heifer (2):280.

10 The Tafsir of al-Shubbar: p.83, The Heifer (2).

11 The Qur'an: The Clot (96):1.