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Sura IV., entitled "Women," from the large portion of it devoted to the treatment of wives, and the relations of the sexes. There are also ordinances on the law of inheritance, and general precepts, social and political. The friendship of the idolatrous Meccans is to be shunned. There are likewise animadversions against the Jews.

Sura LVIII. A short chapter on divorce and other social questions. The "disaffected" are blamed for taking the part of the Jews.

Sura LXV. A very short chapter on divorce, and connected subjects, with some religious admonitions.

Sura LXIII. A short chapter containing menaces against Abdallah ibn Obey for his treasonable language on the expedition against the Bani Mustalick.(A.H. 5).

Sura XXIV. contains the vindication of Ayesha in reference to her misadventure (A.H. 5), with the law of evidence for conjugal unfaithfulness, and miscellaneous injunctions, social and religious.

Sura XXXIII. Composed of several portions spread over the year A.H. 5. The earliest are those sanctioning the marriage of the Prophet with Zeinab, wife of his adopted son, which preceded the expedition against the Bani Mustalick by about half a year; then there are various passages on the conjugal relations of Mahomet. The remainder is devoted to the siege of Medîna, and the fall of the Bani Coreitza, events occurring some four months after the above campaign.

Sura LVII. contains strenuous injunctions to fight and contribute towards the expenses of war, and thus obtain a special merit by joining the cause before victory was finally declared. The disaffected are warned, and Christians are also mentioned in kindly terms.

Sura LXI. A short chapter, like the preceding. "Verily, the Lord loveth such as fight in His cause, drawn up in line like unto a well-compacted building." Speedy victory is promised.

The remaining Suras belong exclusively to the last five years of the Prophet's life.

Sura XLVIII. refers to the truce of Hodeibia (A.H. 6), and the prospect of victory and spoil to be obtained elsewhere (fulfilled shortly after at Kheibar).


Sura LX. A short chapter relating chiefly to the treatment of those women who, after the truce, came over from Mecca. Believers are warned against forming friendships with the idolaters of Mecca.

Sura LXVI. A short chapter on the affair of Mahomet and the Coptic maid (A.H. 7 or 8).

Sura XLIX. Another short chapter, blaming the profession of the Bedouin Arabs as insincere, chiding the deputation which called out rudely at Mahomet's door, and exhorting believers against distrust and uncharitableness among themselves.

Sura IX. The final chapter, of some considerable length. It treats of the campaign to Tebûk (A. H. 9). The Sura opens with the "Release" promulgated at the pilgrimage of the same year, and proceeds to declare the antagonism of Islâm to other religions, and all but Mahometans excluded from Mecca and the rites of pilgrimage. Slaughter and slavery are breathed against idolatrous people; and war is commanded against Jews and Christians, until they pay tribute and are humbled. It is called Sura Jehâd, or "the crusade Chapter," and in the early campaigns of the Caliphate was often read on the field before battle.

The verses in the Suras are not numbered; nor are the Suras themselves numbered, or known amongst Mahometans by their numerical sequence, but (like the books of the Bible) each by a separate name or title drawn from some leading topic or expression occurring in it, as Sura Jonas, the Cave, the Night journey. Each Sura commences with the Bismillah —that is, with the words, "In the name of the Lord most merciful."* The Corân is divided, for convenience,

* The only exception is Sura IX.; and there being no Bismillah prefixed to it, some hold that it was intended to be a continuation of Sura VIII. The Bismillah (which may have been taken from the corresponding Christian form, or an old Persian one), as well as the title, are generally held, but on no intelligible ground, to be part of the divine original. There is some variation of the titles in different editions. The aggregate number of verses contained in each Sura (which also differ slightly) is generally inserted after the title.


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