Approximate Chronological Order of the Suras.
FIRST PERIOD.Eighteen Suras: CIII. C., XCIX., XCI., CVI., I., CI., XCV.,
CII., CIV., LXXXII., XCII., CV., LXXXIX., XC., XCIII., XCIV., CVIII. These are
all short rhapsodies, some of only one or two lines. They may have been composed
before Mahomet had conceived the idea of a Divine mission, or of a Revelation
communicated to him direct from heaven. None of them are in the form of a
message from the Deity.
SECOND PERIOD.The Opening of Mahomet's Ministry.
Sura XCVI. contains the command to "recite in the name of the
Lord." According to tradition, it was the first revelation received by him,
after which an interval (the Fatrah) elapsed during which inspiration was
Sura CXIII. Five short verses on the unity and eternity of the Deity. There
is nothing to mark its exact period; but it opens with the word "Say,"
and must therefore be subsequent to the time when Mahomet assumed that he was
directly inspired of God. He is said to have been in the habit of repeating this
Sura before retiring to rest.
Sura LXXIV. opens with the command to preach, and proceeds with a scathing
denunciation of one of the chiefs of Mecca who scoffed at the Resurrection.
Unbelievers are threatened with hell.
Sura CXI. A short Sura, in which the uncle of the Prophet, Abu Lahab, and his
wife are cursed in wild and bitter terms.
THIRD PERIOD.From the Commencement of Mahomet's public Ministry, to the
Suras LXXXVII., XCVII., LXXXVIII., LXXX., LXXXI., LXXXIV., LXXXVI., CX.,
LXXXV., LXXXIII., LXXVIII., LXXVII., LXXVI., LXXV., LXX., CIX., CVII., LV., LVI.
These are, chiefly composed of descriptions of the Resurrection, Paradise, and
Hell, with references to the growing opposition of the Coreish.
FOURTH PERIOD.From the Sixth to the Tenth year of Mahomet's ministry.
Suras LXVII., LIII., XXXII., XXXIX., LXXIII.,