Prophet's own superintendence.1 If this is so, it is difficult to say why recensions were necessary under Abu Bakr and 'Uthman and what Zaid's work really was; nor is it easy to conceive that so capable a person as Muhammad would have left his book in so unintelligible a form. It seems more correct to say that the Qur'an in its present form is a genuine reproduction of Abu Bakr's recension. 'Uthman, after issuing his revised edition, 'caused all the remaining editions to be destroyed.' 2 This was unnecessary, if Muhammad compiled and left a correct copy. The Arab and Persian commentators have arranged the Suras in some definite order, and Muir and Nöldeke have also attempted to place them in chronological sequence. There are differences of opinion as to the exact date of some Suras, and of portions of others which are certainly composite; but for all practical purposes we can now arrange them in some sort of consecutive order.

In the following pages, I try to show how the Suras when thus placed in their true chronological order cast much light on the policy, the teaching, and the actions of the great Arabian Prophet.

The first words revealed are those which the Prophet heard in the cave of Mt. Hira, situated about three miles from Mecca, and now recorded in the Suratu'l-'Alaq (xcvi) 1-2 3 :—

1 Holy Qur'an pp. xxx-xlii.
2 Sir 'Abdu'r-Rahim, Muhammadan Jurisprudence, p. 20.
3 Throughout the roman numerals in brackets refer to the number of the Sura in the Qur'an, and the figures to the verses.

Recite thou in the name of thy Lord who created,
Created man from clots of blood.1

Zamakhshari says that Ibn 'Abbas and Mujahid also agreed with this view; but that many commentators hold the Suratu'l-Fatiha (I) was the first portion revealed; others again say it was Suratu'l-Qalm (lxviii).

It is said by some that the words in the Suratu'sh-Shu'ara' (xxvi) 214,

Warn thy relatives of nearer kin,

contain the first call to preach; but the objections to this view are, that the context 'kindly lower thy wing over the faithful who follow thee' (215), and the words 'who seeth thee when thou standest in prayer and thy demeanour among those who worship' (218-9), both presuppose the existence of a small Muslim community. The style of the Sura, too, is not that of the earliest period, and such combinations as اَلْعَزيزُ اَلْرحِيِمُ the Mighty, the Merciful اَلسَميعُ الِعَلِيمُ and the Hearer, the Knower belong to the later Suras.

1 اِقْرَا بِاسم رَبّكَ الَّذي خَلقَ     خَلقَ الاِنْسَانَ مِن عَلَقٍ
   From the use of اِقرا here it is sometimes said that Muhammad must have been able to read, but قرا means more generally to recite, and in the cognate dialects to call out, to proclaim. Thus קרא to cry out as a prophet. In Isaiah xl. 6 we have
קול אמר קרא ואמר מה אקרא
'The voice said "Cry," and he said "what shall I cry?".' See Nöldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, pp. 9-10.

This Sura is a good illustration of a composite one for from verse six onwards the revelation belongs to the later Meccan period and refers to the opposition of Abu Jahl, v. 6. and those associated with him, v. 16.