Controversial and paradoxical theological approaches to the issue of 'Descent of the Qur'an'


HTS TEOLOGIESE STUDIES-THEOLOGICAL STUDIES, vol.76, no.1, 2020 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 76 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.4102/hts.v76i1.5387
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, ATLA Religion Database, Old Testament Abstracts Online, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


In Islam, there is a belief that Allah has a 'throne' [al-'Arsh, the highest level of the heavens] in the sky and that Allah sent the Qur'an directly from that throne or through an angel. According to this belief, the Qur'an descended from the seventh level of the heavens to the first level and then completed its descent to the earth in pieces over 23 years. Accordingly, the Qur'an descended from a certain place with determined borders, namely from the throne [al-'Arsh] of Allah. However, theological books [the literature and sources of 'ilm al-Kalan] contend that Allah is free from space and time and that a specific space cannot be attributed to Allah. The verses of the Qur'an even suggest that Allah is not only above in the heavens but everywhere. Therefore, the main question of our article is why Allah wanted to send the Qur'an specifically from the heavens if Allah is free from space. We show that the descent of the Qur'an from the heavens to the earth is not realistic but is a symbolic and metaphorical narrative.