By Mln. Kamran Sabir (Takmīl Graduate, 2019)
The Holy Qurʾān is the Final Revelation that God revealed to His Messenger Muḥammad (upon him be peace). Unlike other books, the Qurʾān was not revealed all at one once. Rather, it was revealed over the span of twenty-three years during the Prophet’s life, from the age of forty to sixty-three. As the Prophet (upon him be peace) was faced with different situations throughout the course of his mission, the Almighty revealed verses to him related to those circumstances. Some verses were revealed while he was at Makkah and others at Madīnah. Some were revealed while he was a resident and others while he was a traveler. Some were revealed to him during the day and others at night. And some were revealed during the summer and others during the winter. Here, I will examine the Revelation from the aspect of it being revealed during the different seasons.
Generally, the scholars categorized the verses revealed during the year into two seasons: summer (ar. ṣayfī) and winter (ar. shatwī). They explain that the summer includes spring. This is the time of the year when the six northern constellations are visible. They are: (1) Aries, (2) Taurus, (3) Gemini, (4) Cancer, (5) Leo, and (6) Virgo. And the winter verses include autumn. This is the time of the year when the six southern constellations are visible. They are: (1) Libra, (2) Scorpio, (3) Sagittarius, (4) Capricorn, (5) Aquarius, and (6) Pieces.
The categorization of a verse being summertime verses was explicitly mentioned by the Prophet (upon him be peace). Imām Muslim related on Abū Hurayrah’s authority that:
“A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Allāh’s Messenger! What is kalālah?’ To which the Prophet (upon him be peace) replied: Have you not heard the verse that was revealed in the summer?”
The Verse of Kalālah that is being referred to can be found at the end of Sūrat al-Nisāʾ:
“They request a ruling from you. Say: Allāh judged concerning one having neither descendants nor ascendants [as heirs] …”
Thus, kalālah refers to one who dies leaving neither children nor parents, and this ruling was revealed during the summer season, as clarified by the Prophet (upon him be peace) himself.
Another example of verses that are ṣayfī regards the Battle of Tabūk:
“And among them is he who says: ‘Permit me to remain at home and do not put me to trial.’ Unquestionably, into trial they have fallen. And indeed, Hell will encompass the disbelievers.”
Again, we can get an idea from a narration that Imām Bayhaqī related that these verses were revealed in “extreme heat,” which implies that they were revealed during the summer months.
Similarly, we can find the Prophet’s Companions, like ʿĀʾishah, categorizing verses revealed in the winter. An example is the verses in Sūrat al-Nisāʾ:
“Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you…” up until: “For them is forgiveness and noble provision.”
Imām Bukhārī relates a ḥadīth from ʿĀʾishah who said: “These verses were revealed during an extremely cold day.”
Another example of verses revealed in the wintertime are those relating to the Battle of the Trenches found in Sūrat al-Aḥzāb:
“O you who believed! Remember Allāh’s favor upon you when armies came to attack you and We sent upon them a wind and armies of angels that you did not see. And Allāh is watchful of what you do.”
 Fayḍ al-Khabīr, 48; al-Qawl al-Munīr, 15-16.
 Mustadrak al-Ḥākim, 4:336.
 Q 4:176.
 Q 9:49.
 Bayhaqī, Dalāʾil, 5:214.
 Q 4:11-26.
 Bukhārī, #2661
 Itqān, 58.