according to others, twelve of the Koreisch, in order to secure the purity of that Meccan idiom in which Muhammad had spoken, should any occasions arise in which the collators might have to decide upon various readings. Copies of the text formed were thus forwarded to several of the chief military stations in the new empire, and all previously existing copies were committed to the flames.
Zaid and his coadjutors, however, do not appear, to have arranged the materials which came into their hands upon any system more definite than that of placing the longest and best known Suras first, immediately after the Fatthah, or opening chapter (the eighth in this edition); although even this rule, artless and unscientific as it is, has not been adhered to with strictness. Anything approaching to a chronological arrangement was entirely lost sight of. Late Medina Suras are often placed before early Meecan Suras; the short Suras at the end of the Koran are its earliest portions; while, as will be seen from the notes, verses of Meecan origin are to be found embedded in Medina Suras, and verses promulged at Medina scattered up and down in the Meccan Suras. It would seem as if Zaid had to a great extent put his materials together just as they came to his hand, and often with entire disregard to continuity of subject and uniformity of style. The text, therefore, as hitherto arranged, necessarily assumes the form of a most unreadable and incongruous patchwork; “une assemblage,” says M. Kasimirski in his Preface, “informe et incohérent de préceptes moraux, religieux, civils et politiques, mêlés d'exhortations, de promesses, et de menaces”—and conveys no idea whatever the development and growth of any plan in the mind of the founder of Islam, or of the circumstances by which he was surrounded and influenced. It is true that the manner in which Zaid contented himself with simply bringing together his materials and transcribing them, without any attempt to mould them into shape or sequence, and without any effort to supply connecting links between adjacent verses, to fill up obvious chasms, or to suppress details of a nature discreditable to the founder of Islam, proves his scrupulous honesty as a compiler, as well as his reverence for the sacred text, and to a certain extent guarantees the genuineness and authenticity of the entire volume. But it is deeply to be regretted that he did not combine some measure of historical criticism with that simplicity and honesty of purpose which forbade him, as it certainly did, in any way to tamper with the
- Kitâb al Waquidi, p. 278.