else would help them, for in the same Sura (xv) it is written :—

Even were we to open a gate in Heaven, yet all the while they were mounting up to it,
They would say: it is only our eyes are drunken, we are a people enchanted. 14-15.

The strongest passage of all on this subject is one at the close of the middle Meccan period, where the reason assigned is that it was quite useless to give Muhammad the power of working miracles, 1 for such a gift had practically produced no result in the case of former prophets :—

Nothing hindered us from sending thee with miracles, except that the people of old treated them as lies. Sura Al-Isra (xvii) 61.

They pressed their point, and, as we shall see later on, he had to maintain that the Qur'an was the one special miracle which attested his mission.

The Meccans looked upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the body as pure imagination, and when revelations concerning it were announced, treated them as made up by Muhammad from information gathered from the foreigners at Mecca. They spoke of them as 'Fables of the Ancients,' or as the effusion of a poetical imagination. In the Sura Al-Mutaffifn (lxxxiii)2 delivered in the earlier part of the Meccan period of the Prophet's career, we read:

1 I need scarcely say that the fact that he worked no miracles, though recorded so clearly in the Qur'an, is not accepted by Muslim theologians.
2 Some commentators consider this to be a Madina Sura, some that it is a late Meccan one; but Muir and Nöldeke place it about the fourth year of the ministry at Mecca.

Woe, on that day, to those who treated our signs as lies,
Who treated the day of judgment as a lie!
None treat it as a lie, save the transgressor, the criminal,
Who, when our signs are rehearsed to him, saith, Tale of the Ancients'
Yes; but their own works have got the mastery over their hearts,
Yes; they shall be shut out as by a veil from their Lord on that day ;
Then shall they be burned in hell-fire;
Then it shall be said to them, ‘This is what ye deemed a lie.' 10-17.

A little later on at Mecca, Muhammad discouraged poetry in the words :—

It is the poets whom the erring follow. Ash-Shu’ara’(xxvi) 224.1

He also at this time rebutted the charge of being a mere poet, thus:—

We have not taught him (Muhammad) poetry, nor would it beseem him. This (book) is no other than a warning (and a clear Qur'an. Sura Ya-Sin (xxxvi) 69.

If he were a poet or composed poetry it might appear as if the Qur'an were his own composition and not the direct words of God. These emphatic assertions are intended, it is said, to confound the infidels who made such a false charge. Apparently his opponents were not satisfied, for somewhat later

1'Muhammad at one time employed poets to defend himself and his religion from the satires of other poets. These productions were recited at the fair at Okatz. Subsequently he suppressed them as they led to inconvenient discussions.' Rodwell's Qur'an, p. 120.