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Medinan surah

The Medinan suras or Medinan chapters of the Qur'an are the latest 24 suras that, according to Islamic tradition, were revealed at Medina after Muhammad's hijra from Mecca. These suras were revealed by Allah when the Muslim community was larger and more developed, as opposed to their minority position in Mecca.[1]

The Medinan suras occur mostly at the beginning and in the middle of the Qur'an (but are said to be the last revealed suras chronologically), and typically have more and longer ayat (verses). Due to the new circumstances of the early Muslim community in Medina, these suras more often deal with details of moral principles, legislation, warfare (as in sura 2, al-Baqara), and principles for constituting and ordering the community. They also refer more often to the community with "O people!" and at times directly address Muhammad or speak of him as "an agent acting in combination with the divine persona: 'God and his messenger' (Q 33:22)."[2]

The division of surahs into 'Meccan surahs' and 'Medinan surahs' is primarily a consequence of stylistic and thematic considerations, which Theodor Noldeke used to develop his famous chronology of the Qur'anic suras. Classification of the suras into these periods is based upon factors such as the length of the verse and the presence or absence of certain key concepts or word (e.g. al-Rahman as name of God).[3] The Medinan suras, for example, lose the tripartite structure that classifies many of the suras up to this point. Instead, the longer suras of this period seem to lack much structure at all and some of them seem to be compilations of separate groups of ayat, a post-revelation construction that historians have thus far been unable to reconstruct. Other suras seem to include a hymn-like introduction that resembles Biblical Psalms.[4]

The 30 suras of the Medinan period, according to Noldeke (chronologically 91-114):

2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, 22, 24, 33, 47, 48, 49, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 76, 98, 110

Characteristics of Medinan surahs

Following are some of the stylistic and subject characteristics of Medinan suras:

  • Mention of 'Jihad' and detailing on its rulings.
  • Details of Islamic jurisprudence[5] and legal system[6] as well as laws governing family, money transaction, international law and acts of worship
  • Mention of 'hypocrisy' and dealing with hypocrites.
  • Any verse that starts with يا أيها للذين آمنوا O you who believe
  • Long verses
  • Easy vocabulary
  • Arguments with the 'people of the Book' i.e., Jews and Christians.

See also


  1. Voices of Islam: Voices of tradition (2007) Vincent J. Cornell Page 77
  2. McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. "The Cambridge Companion to the Quran". Cambridge: 2006. p. 111.
  3. (in Reviews) Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren by Angelika Neuwirth, Review author[s]: A. Rippin, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 45, No. 1. (1982), pp. 149-150.
  4. McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. 111.
  5. Fiqh
  6. Sharia

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