Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/66

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ⅼⅹ
the qurʼân

critical or masterly a manner as Nöldeke, and his arrangement may be taken as the best which Arabic tradition, combined with European criticism, can furnish.

To arrive at a decision on this point we must consider first the historical event, if any, to which each text refers; next, the style generally; and lastly, the individual expressions used. Thus, in addressing the Meccans the words yâ aiyuha ′nnâs, ‘O ye folk!’ occur, while the expression yâ aiyuha ′llaDHîn âmanû is used in speaking to the people of Medînah; though sometimes the former phrase occurs in a verse of a Medînah Surah.

The Sûrahs resolve themselves into two great classes, those revealed at Mecca and those revealed at Medînah after the flight; and these are easily distinguished both by their style and subject-matter. The earlier ones especially are grander in style, and testify in every verse to the mental exaltation of the prophet and the earnest belief which he certainly had at this time in the reality and truth of his divine mission.

The Qur′ân falls naturally into these two classes, which represent, in fact, the first development of Mohammed′s prophetic office at Mecca, and the later career as a leader and lawgiver after the flight at Medinah.

Sûrahs belonging to the first period of his career are therefore ascribed to Mecca, and those of the latter period to Medinah, although the actual place at which they were delivered may be in certain cases doubtful.

One of the next earliest Sûrahs is that entitled Abu Laheb. Mohammed had at length called together his clansmen, the Banû Hâshim, and bade them accept the new doctrine of Allah′s unity. Hereupon ‘Abd el ′Huzzah, surnamed Abu Laheb, ‘he of the flame,’ indignantly exclaimed, ‘ Perdition to you! is that what thou hast called us for?’ Mohammed then proclaimed the Sûrah bearing Abu Laheb′s name, in which he enunciates a terrible curse against him and his wife Umm Gemîl, and made of him an irreconcilable foe.

The ⅭⅥth Sûrah also belongs undoubtedly to an early