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Difference Between Meccan and Medinan Suras

Meccan vs Medinan Suras

Suras, which are collections of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, divide the holy Quran into various chapters. The suras are considered to be sayings that had been bestowed from Allah to the Prophet Mohammed.

Meccan suras form about two-thirds of the suras that the Prophet Mohammed preached while living in Mecca, and the other one-third of suras were delivered when he was in Medina.

When comparing the two suras, the Meccan suras are short, and the Medinian ones are prolonged ones. The Meccan suras are reminiscent of the pagan soothsayers which start with oaths involving celestial objects such as stars. On the contrary, the Medinan suras contain a short span of the history of the earlier prophets, laws, and criticisms against Christians and Jews.

In the Meccan suras, one can come across sayings in which the Prophet Mohammed viewed himself as one who had been sent to warn the people like that of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah. In these suras, he warns the citizens in Mecca to leave their idol worship and to follow One God. In Meccan suras, Mohammed is seen to give respect to the Bible. He had advocated these in order to get the attraction of the Christians and Jews during his stay in Mecca.

In the Medinan suras, one can see a deflection of his attitude towards Christians and Jews. Though the Prophet Mohammed believed in One God, he began to preach of the differences as seen in Christian and Jewish beliefs to that of the belief in Allah. In Medinian suras there are numerous passages that warn Muslims to avoid the Jews and Christians.

While Meccan passages generally speak to the Prophet Mohammad himself or to the people, the Medinan passages are quite often addressed to his followers.


1.Meccan suras form about two-thirds of the suras that the Prophet Mohammed preached while living in Mecca, and the other one-third of the suras were delivered when he was in Medina.
2.The Meccan suras are short and the Medinian ones are prolonged ones.
In the Meccan suras, one can come across sayings in which the Prophet Mohammed viewed himself as one who had 3.been sent to warn the people like that of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah.
4.In Meccan suras, Mohammed is seen to give respect to the Bible. He had advocated these in order to get the attraction of the Christians and Jews during his stay in Mecca.

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  1. Hi, there is a mistake in this. A surah is not the words of Muhammed peace be upon him, it is the words of God; it means chapters.
    A collection of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed is called Hadtih.
    Thank you.

  2. Thanks you so much have really gained from this writeup and i pray it serves as benefits to me and anyone reading

    • One needs to read the Quran in its entirety to fully understand the huge differences between the Mecca and Medina portions of the Quran. While in Mecca, Muhammad had wealth, a clan i.e. his own tribe and so his writings were much more passive because he was happier. After he was exiled and relocated to Medina, his prophecy was not widely accepted. He had no clan or money either so it affected his moods and his writings became much more aggressive and violent. There is a chronological order of the Surah which is so essential to understanding Islam. Muhammed made it very clear that the most recent verses (Medina) take precedence over Mecca whenever there is an argument, thus the reason why ISIS in my opinion is not radical, they are merely following PRECISELY what Muhammad instructed. Understand I was raised a Christian and I am now atheist. I think all religions have one thing in common that makes me cringe. MEN. It is the men who wrote these ridiculous books, started these ridiculous religions ALL OF THEM which is where slavery came from, why war is declared and why they have ruled over the world in government. We still cannot get a true female into the white house. Hillary is a lesbian and she runs with the big boys. She is a crook, similar to how men operate, controlling. WOMEN BE WISE DO NOT BELIEVE MEN. THEIR TESTOSTERONE HAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED SO MANY COUNTRIES< CITIES, TRIBES and they came up with all this crap. If there was any kind of God worth meeting he would not have asked us to sacrifice animals or beat women or kill other religions, Allah, God, jehovah whoever its all made up by MALES.

      • Jessica, why not keep quiet if you don’t know the difference between meccan surah and medina surah. The fact that you don’t believe in God does not mean you should mislead other people. The prophet was happier in Medina than mecca. He got the best reception in medina. Whether the concept of God is true or false, it will be clear to u when you die. The grave is waiting for you.

      • Jessica,why don’t you go get some help?

      • Atheism is also made by men. Think about that.

      • Dear Jessica,

        Thank you for your response. I am very sorry for the pain and anguish that you may have experienced in your own life from toxic individuals who happen to be males – whether personal or witnessed it from systemic issues from the likes of Trump and other disgusting males. No one has the ability to be prejudiced against your opinions if you have experinced such trauma or difficulties.

        As a fellow human being, I strongly believe in understanding and mutual respect among human beings to empathise such feelings of difficulty and pain – in a world where the fragile temporal existence of 80-something years witnesses on a daily basis difficulties and disparities among lines of race, gender, religion, class, wealth and other socioeconomic, cultural and political factors, giving rise to violence. Such violence, whether through wars, discrimation or economic systems create vast disparities and difficulties for individuals and societies, leading to various crises: financial, environmental, ethical, mental health and others.

        Secondly, when we are faced with any questions in life, any engagement should be based on knowledge, reason and intelligence, and tools of intellectual engagement, for example language, grammar, logic, rhetoric, mathematics etc. This is for any discussion on any discipline – philosophy, art, history, feminism, religion, quantum physics, atheism and so forth. This is what I am taught as a Muslim from the Quran, and reinforced from today’s Universities, both in the developed and the developing world, where I have had the privilege to both study and teach.

        Based on the above, I hope to strive to address both the article and your response without impartiality and unfairness.

        According to Muslim, the Qur’an (lit. that which is recited) was revealed from God (in Arabic, “Allah”, in French ‘Dior’, in Spanish ‘Dios’) – the same one true Divine Being that Christians, Jews, Hindus (Brahman as the monotheistic Supreme God, while they have henotheistic aspects to their religion as well.), and others believe in.

        Thus the Quran, is the uncreated Speech of God, revelead in sounds and language for human comprehension – in the most meticulously amazing, poetically rich, classical Arabic language, through archangel Gabriel (p) to the Prophet Muhammad (s) over 23 years, in 114 chapters or “Surahs” of various lengths, beginning from Surah al Fatiha (The Opening) and ending with Surah an Nas (The Humanity or Humankind), ordered not chronologically according to relvelation but by the Prophet Muhammad (s) himself as taught to him by Gabriel (as). Arabic is an ancient semitic language, older than ancient Egyptian, even though it was written later than other newer middle semitic languages like Hebrew. We know this through comparative linguistics. The Quran is in Arabic. Any translation of the Quran is not considered the Quran, but a mere translation of it with approximations of meaning according to the translator. As a result one does NOT construct subjective interpretations and meanings to the written text, but rather, takes the knowledge with an unbroken chain of scholarship that goes back to the Prophet Muhammad (s) in order to ensure there is no hermeneutical errors of interpretation. Now obviously this chain of scholarhsip can be debated academically – but then so can everything including the methodology of academic critique without reasonable grounds.

        The Prophet Muhammad also had delivered and spoke with his own speech. The companions and families of the Prophet (s), particularly his wives and close companions memorised such words and later wrote them down. These collections of words of the Prophet were known as Hadith, the second source of Islamic knowledge after the Quran. He did not have, or leave any writings, as he was unlettered (unable to read or write).

        I would first start with history.

        According to historical facts:
        – The Prophet Muhammad (s) lived for 40 years in Makkah, meditating in mountains while raised as a humble orhpan in a society that needed families and tribes to have social and political strength as security – no police, written laws, banks, social security, ambulance, etc.

        – During this time, due to his honesty and outstanding character, the town of Makkah had nicked Muhammad (s) Al Amin – the Trustworthy One, as most of them had given him their wealth for safe keeping as a trustee in the absence of banks.

        – Also during this time, he was proposed for marriage by his loving wife Khadija r.a., 15 years his senior, who had previously been married with children. She was her manager and he worked for her business. He was 25, she was 40 according to most historical sources, in a society with a low life expectancy, and he deeply loved, cherished and respected her. Even today, this is not very common. He remains monogamous until her passing 25 years after marriage.

        – He (pbuh) receives the first revelation at the age of 40 from Gabriel, and later is told that he is a Prophet. At the time, he was absolutely terrified of such a metaphysical event, shaking with fear and was consoled by his loving wife Khadija who believed in him and supported him, even before he believed in himself. The question of revelation is an epistemological (philosophical) question and not history, so I will discuss later. At the time of the revelation, Christians, Jews, Sabians and other monotheists were awaiting for a Prophet to appear as indications were told by the previous scriptures, similar to Christians awaiting second coming, and Jews awaiting the Messiah, or how the scientists and ‘doomsday clock experts’ are awaiting a climate and biodiversity catastrophe in the next 25 years.

        – If you want to know about the impact of any event on society, look at the society before and after the event eg industrial revolution, feminists movements like suffrage in the first wave. The society in Makkah at the time of the revelation was much like today – the wealthy exploited the poor, adultery was common, cheating in business was common practice, violence was wide spread among tribes and peoples, it was mysogynist – girls were buried alive at birth for being girls and not boys, slaves were treated unjustly, etc. Yet at the same time, Arabs were extremely eloquent and precise in Classical Arabic speech and poetry. It was an oral-based society where only scribes read and wrote. The language of the people were rich due to culture and geography. Compare this to the society that the Prophet Muhammad had left behind, a complete opposite to what was described.

        – The revelations during the time when Prophet Muhammad lived in Makkah, are called Meccan revelations, even though the revelation may have come at different locations, outside Makkah for example. In general, they are much shorter, majestic and poetic verses, based primarily on theological matters of creed and ethical matters of addressing social injustice.
        The verses are asking people to believe in one God, and to the Day of Judgement where all crimes will be rectified, and encouraging Muhammad to believe in himself as a Prophet and defending him against persecution and to uphold social justice – in feeding the poor, in being kind to the orphans, in respecting women and “And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed?” and to rectify the wrongs in society – and most of all, to use your intellect to the know God who created the Universe, the worlds, the multiverse and whatever you may want to call it, and that which is beyond all of these.

        – He (s) lives in Makkah for 13 years since receiving the first revelation. The following 10 years, he lives in Medina, which at the time was called Yathrib, after being persecuted and driven out of his home. While the Muslims were under severe oppression, and the Prophet Muahmmad’s life was in constant danger, revelation did not allow them to fight the Meccans. There was an economic embargo against Muslims, and they suffered, and Prophet Muhammad (s) was extremely poverty stricken. This is why he escaped seeking refuge in Medina, alongside many of his companions in order to escape the physical torture, economic embargo and religious persecution.

        – The Medinan verses, similarly were revelead during the following 10 years of his life when the Prophet Muhammad (S), lived in Medina. There, Muslims were builders of civilisation and community – where they developed schools, instutions, legal contracts of truce, economic laws for fair trade, security and respect for women: can you imagine a society where in a space of 30 years, they go from burying women alive to having them serve in the front line alongside the Prophet, and as the ombudsman (ombudswoman) as a head regulator of the entire market? Just as a side note, prior to Islam, men in Arabia could marry as many as they had wished. Prophet Soloman for example had hundreds of wives, King Henry the 8th, still to this day many cultures, like the South Sudanese have men marrying up to 6 or 8 wives. The revelation of the Quran restricted them to 4 wives maximum, and if they are unable to be just, then in a monogamous relationship only.

        – During the Medinan revelations of establishing community, a verse was finally revealed that Muslims were allowed to defend themselves militarily, including preemptive attack if necessary from bein wiped out, under certain conditions: no killing of civilians, or any women or children, or animals, plants, or poisoning water supplies, food etc. The essence of Islam is peace, the meaning of the word Islam is derived from s-l-m, same as the Hebrew Shalom, meaning peace or tranquilty through submission. War is actually not allowed in Islam, and only under certain conditions. During the ten years that Prophet Muhammad was a head of state in Medina, he participated in more than twenty battles; the total number of casualties on the enemy side in these battles was approximately 250 with the number of casualties in the Islamic army being around 150. Some orientalist literature shows that number to be around 250 for Muslims and 850 for non Muslims, however such numbers can also be debated – yet both counts are low given the number of wars and battles – unthinkable in such a time where Roman and Persian cities would be ruined to dust and all prisoners were executed and tortured not dissimilar to Guantanmo Bay and ISIS. Today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone killed 1 million in each country. European Colonialism and American slavery alone killed more 500 million according to some estimates. So you tell me whether ISIS is following the Prophet Muhammad or are they following European traditions?

        Now to address some of your sentences:

        – Yes – the Quran needs to be read fully in Arabic with scholars who have studied the text in an unbroken chain to understand the law and practices. You wouldn’t read a medical text and make judgements on health, nor would you read statutory law and decide to derive your own legal verdict – so why would it be any different with the Quran, Bible, the Gita or any other sacred text?

        – As mentioned Prophet Muhammad was not wealthy in Makkah, in fact he became a statesman in Medina and became more wealthy and powerful in Medina.

        – In Makkah, his prophecy was not widely accepted and was persecuted. In Medina his prophecy was accepted, and the Jewish, Christian and others tribes accepted him as a benevolent and just statesman.

        – He had no writings, he could not read or write. He had revelations of the Quran, which were inimitable. Why? Because they were of the highest literary and poetic order. The poets of the time said it was impossible for an unlettered man to recite words such as the Quran – he must have been a madman, an eccentric poet or a sorcerer! To which the Quran replied, “You are not, [O Muhammad], by the favor of your Lord, a madman!” and again “And you did not recite before it any scripture, nor did you inscribe one with your right hand. Otherwise the falsifiers would have had [cause for] doubt.”

        In regards to Religion and Atheism – it may be worth while to check out philosophy of science and philosophy of religion before making a reason-based intellectual decision. Please ensure there is a difference between science (the study of phenomena in the sensory realm based on empirical research) vs scientisim (the belief that science can answer all questions including metaphysical ones where emperical experiments cannot be done, rather using reason like logic). Theology is also based on logic and reason, so it may be worthwhile to check out the differences and the various arguments – cosmological, ontological, teleological, etc.

        Finally, the main problem of religion being men – I don’t know if the problem is men or women – rather I think the problem is whether a personal is moral or immoral – let that be men, women, or anyone else. I am not entirely sure I understand this. The problems of religions have been human being’s inability to follow them, just like the problem of law, or ethics, or modesty in consumption. In terms of being a problem of men creating religious issues, I am not entirely certain about that. Last time I checked Catholic nuns were also abusing girls and it wasn’t just a men problem?

        • Wow Mashallah you really put in a sincere effort and explained a lot of things in a sensible way, I think I learned more from your answer than the one who left the comment.
          Are you teaching any classes online or through zoom I think you mentioned something about that in your reply and would love to learn more from you.
          Thank you

      • Please I will edge you to go back and read the Quran and the Bible very well in other to see the difference even though it was all sent by Allah. Not just say anything silly about the Quran and left be mindful with your words Jazaka Allahu khaira ☺️

      • It looks you have no power of observation and analysis. God is in nature study nature thoroughly and analyse , you can see God .

        You are true religions are made by selfish men.

        God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient.

        God sustains the whole universe by His own laws(physics laws).

        Definitely He dies not need any human to fight for Him for His existence (Jihadi). If He can not defend Himself He is not a God.l

  3. This article is incorrect in so many ways. Firstly, sura is the Arabic for chapter- they make up the Quran much as chapters would a book. The narrator of these chapters is not the Prophet Muhammad at all. It is God only. The Prophet’s sayings are compiled in a seperate collection called Hadith or sayings. Please do not mislead.
    Secondly, the suras are broadly divided into 2 categories- Meccan and Medinian, depending on where the Prophet was at the time they were revealed by God to him ie: whether he was in Mecca or Medina at the time. Broadly speaking the differences deal with the following and not at all what the article says: Meccan suras deal with faith, belief in God and the fate of the believers and disbelievers, whereas Medinian suras deal with the day to day lives and establishment of the new Muslim community and as such focus more on laws and the details of how to practice the religion.

  4. Infact alot of mistakes,misrepresentation,harsh wordings…quranic words are words of GOD ! Not for to impressed or to get atraction from anyone but a plain truth…

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