Organization of the Qur'an

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Present Organization

Except for the first surah, Al-Fatiha, the Qur'an is organized by descending length of the surah. That is the longest surah is Surah 2 and the shortest is Surah 114. This organization prevents recovery of any chronology by a simple examination of the text.

Meccan and Medinan Surahs

Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed in two phases: before and after the hijrah from Mecca to Medina. Thus, the terms Meccan Surahs and Medinan Surahs arose.

Meccan Surahs

Muslims believe that the Meccan suras were revealed while the Ummah was in Mecca, before the Hijrah, when the Ummah was weak. Non-Muslim scholars, such as Christoph Luxenberg believe these to be originally Christian, used by Aramaic-speaking Christian missionaries. Luxenberg, in particular, believes that many of these surahs are, in fact, Aramaic. Other surahs show Aramaic influence. The Meccan verses are generally peaceful, though some threats against unbelievers are made here and there.

Medinan Surahs

After the Hijrah, Muslim history puts the Muslims in Medina. The Medinan Muslims were strong and willing to use force against any opponents. The Medinan Surahs reflect this in the harshness of their tone, with repeated threats of violence against unbelievers.

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