God: all these are distinguishing marks of the Prophet's consciousness of growing power at Madina, leading him on to the bold assumption of a position he would not have ventured to take, or at all events did not take, in the earlier days when he dwelt at Mecca.

There is a very marked difference in the style of the Madina Suras. The language is prosaic and the poetic fire so prominent in the early Meccan Suras has died out, still there are occasional passages of great beauty, which no translation can do justice to, such as:—

God! There is no god but He;
The Living, the Eternal.
Slumber takes Him not, nor sleep.
His, whatsoever is in the heavens, and
Whatsoever is in the earth.
Who is it that intercedes with Him save by His permission?
He knoweth what is before and what is behind them, Yet nought of His knowledge shall they grasp, save what He pleases.
His throne reacheth over the heavens and the earth,
And it tires Him not to guard them both,
He is the High, the Great. Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 256.1
He maketh alive and killeth, He hath power over all things,
He is the First and the Last;
The Seen and the Hidden He all things doth know. Sura Al-Hadid (lvii) 2-3.

The Arabic arrangement of the contents of the Qur'an is so confused that it conveys no idea whatever of the growth of any plan in the mind of the Prophet, and it is extremely difficult for the reader

1 This is the famous Ayatu'l-Kursi, or 'verse of the throne.'

to get much intelligible historical information from it; but when the chapters are placed together, with some regard to chronological order, it is possible, as we have tried to show, to trace a gradual development of the purpose Muhammad had in view in establishing the theocratic system of Islam. The Qur'an when thus read possesses an attractive interest, as we see in it the workings of the mind of one who, whatever view we may take of his claims and position, was undoubtedly a great man. It is only by reading it in this way that the gradual change of style also is noticed. Critics of the Qur'an, who look at it from the chronological standpoint, note the tediousness of the later Suras. It has been well said that 'if it were not for the exquisite flexibility of the Arabic language itself, which, however, is to be attributed more to the age in which the author lived than to his individuality, it would be scarcely bearable to read the latter portions of the Qur'an a second time.' Stanley Lane-Poole says that 'but for the rich eloquence of the old Arabic tongue, which gives some charm even to inextricable sentences and dull stories, the Qur'an at this period would be unreadable. As it is we feel we have fallen from poetry to prose, and the matter of the prose is not so superlative as to give us amends for the loss of the poetic thought of the earlier time and the musical fall of the sentences.' 1

1 Lane, Selections from the Kur-an, pp. cv, cvi.