Ramadan and Revelation of the Quran

The Quran was first revealed in Ramadan which is the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar. The main aim of Ramadan is to bring us closer to Allah and the revelation of the Quran in it highlights this. The Quran says ‘…fasting is decreed upon you as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.’

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims around the world by fasting the entire month from before dawn to sunset each day.  It is an annual observance and constitutes one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith.  

This month is a very powerful symbol of unity, with Muslims around the world fasting simultaneously.  It brings together family and friends, but the most important lesson of it is to bring us closer spiritually to Allah:

Quran Verses about Ramadan

The month is widely known throughout the world both in Muslim and non-Muslim nations as the month of fasting.  Here we shall take a brief look at what it is and more importantly, how the connection with the Quran is made.

‘O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.’

Quran [2:183]

Ramadan – in which the Quran was revealed

‘The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion….’ 

Quran [2:185]

Allah praised the month of Ramadan out of the other months by choosing it to send down the Quran.  It is mentioned that the other Holy Books were also revealed in this month.

Although all practices are for worshipping Allah, for Ramadan Allah singles it out because fasting cannot be practiced for the sake of showing off, as nobody except Allah can know whether one is fasting or not.  It is not a performance that cannot be blemished by hypocrisy.

The Torah (Old Testament) and Injil (Gospels) were revealed in Ramadan too

From Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir:

‘Imam Ahmad reported Wathilah bin Al-Aqsa that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:  ‘The Suhuf (Pages) of Ibrahim were revealed during the first night of Ramadan.  The Torah was revealed during the sixth night of Ramadan.  The Injil was revealed during the thirteenth night of Ramadan.  Allah revealed the Quran on the twenty-fourth night of Ramadan.’

The Ramadan Night in which the Quran was revealed

‘Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.’ 

Quran [97:1]

The above verse is taken to mean the Quran was initially sent down on the Night of Power, which in terms of reward, is better than the worship of more than one thousand months.  This night occurs during the month of Ramadan.

Ibn Abbas (RA) and others have said:  ‘Allah sent the Quran down all at one time from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lowhal Mahfuz) to the House of Might (Bayt ul Izzah), which is in the heaven of this world.  Then it came down in parts to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) based upon the incidents that occurred over a period of twenty-three years.’

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Then Allah magnified the status of the Night of Al-Qadr, which He chose for the revelation of the mighty Quran.

Name of Ramadan mentioned in the Quran

The actual noun is mentioned once in the Quran in Surah Baqarah (2:185).  Other words in relation to Ramadan, like fasting occur in other verses of Surah Baqarah (2:183-187) and the whole of Surah Qadr (No. 97) is dedicated to the Night of Power which occurs in Ramadan according to the majority of Muslim scholars.

reading quran in ramadan

What is the link between Quran and Ramadan?

Even before fasting is mentioned, the month of Ramadan was already given special significance due to the Quran being revealed within it.  This relationship highlights the close connection between this month and the Book. 

As it is a month in which the blessings are multiplied, Muslims will want to recite more of the Quran to get their rewards multiplied too.  But it is also important to study and ponder on the Quran even more because you are in a closer relationship with Allah in this month which He has given significance to and in the correct mindset to approach the Quran with devotion and puts you way ahead at this time of year trying to derive the meaning and understand Allah’s purpose for us.

Getting closer to the Quran means getting closer to Allah, and in this month it becomes so much easier to get closer to His Book. 

Our relationship with the Quran in this month should not be limited to just the nightly Taraweeh prayers, but must devote ourselves to reciting and studying the Quran outside of the prayers as well.

How to get closer to the Quran in Ramadan

As the verse states that the Quran was revealed as a source of guidance, how do we ensure that it remains as such?  Indeed, if we just read the Quran and don’t follow its guidance we wouldn’t be doing justice to it.  We need to know what Allah is saying within His Book and incorporate this into our lives to be successful.  

One way of getting acquainted with what the Quran demands is to go to the index and find a word or a topic and with it the locations of those topics, here you will find guidance as the Quran covers a vast area of wisdom and direction.  You can quickly get acquainted with what it teaches and start applying these in your life.

In order to fully understand what the relevant teaching is, you should rely on scholarly material such as commentaries on the Quran, for example, the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir.  It is important to study the commentaries because when you read one verse in isolation, there is a danger of you taking the verse out of context and deriving a different meaning altogether. 

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The scholarly material, which takes into account all relevant verses and their contexts, provides the correct explanation and meaning of the verse.

Develop a spiritual character in Ramadan

Ramadan is known as the month of the Quran.  But it is wrong for us to open the Quran only when Ramadan comes as many people do.  We should read some every day, even a few verses.  

The Quran contains clear and unambiguous signs and proofs for those who understand them and these proofs testify to the truth of the Quran, its guidance to the straight path and the distinction it makes between truth and falsehood as well as what is permitted and forbidden.

This month is about reinvigorating and rekindling our relationship to a very high level with Allah, our Creator.  This is a month of purification and this cleansing happens through the Quran.  In Ramadan, you earn many more blessings for doing the same good deeds you do in other times of the year because you are in the state of fasting.   Allah softens the heart of the fasting person in a miraculous way. 

Hadith on Fasting

The reward is best described by a hadith of the Prophet (SAW):

Abdullah ibn Amr (RA) reports that Rasulullah (SAW) said, ‘The fast and the Quran both intercede for the obedient person.  The fast submits, ‘O Allah! I prevented him from eating and drinking during the day, so You accept my intercession on his behalf, and the Holy Quran says, ‘O Allah!  I denied him sleep at night, so You accept my intercession for him.’  Consequently, the intercession of both of them is accepted.’  (Targheeb)

ramadan and quran

Quran recitation in Ramadan

Fatima (RA), the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), says the Prophet told her in the last year of his life, ‘Jibrail used to revise the Quran with me once every year, but this year he has revised it with me twice….’  (Bukhari)

Therefore, Ramadan is a time for us to revise what we have learnt of the Quran, whether we are a hafiz of the entire Quran or part of it.  Better if it is with another person listening to you.  Practice this Sunnah with zeal in Ramadan.

It is known that many pious predecessors and those present today also, put away the other religious books in this month so they can devote their time entirely to the Quran, reciting, reflecting and contemplating more.

Completing the Quran in Ramadan

A question often asked is if we should try to complete the recitation of the full Quran in Ramadan?  There is not a requirement to read it in full although many Muslims do try to complete it at least once during the month and many more than that and there is an extra blessing in this. 

However, it is more important to try and understand the Quran rather than trying to rush through the entire Book.  It is more important to think about the meanings in the Quran as it says itself:

‘[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.’ 

Quran [38:29]

The Quran is inviting us to think and ponder over its meanings.

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Quran verses about Ramadan

There are other verses that mention fasting but the following are in relation to Ramadan.  The two main Surahs that Ramadan is mentioned in are Surah Baqarah (No.2) and Surah Al-Qadr (No. 97):

‘O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous – [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew – The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. 

Quran [2:183-185]

‘It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.’ 

Quran [2:187]

‘Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree – And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? – The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months – The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter – Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.’ 

Quran [97:1-5]