The Qur'an's surahs and their dates
October 31, 2006 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me locate a list of the 114 surahs that indicates from which period each dates?

Hi, all, I have been really stumped by this question, and I'm almost convinced that such a list does not exist! I've already looked in four encyclopedias (EB, Routledge's 2006 _The Qur'an: an encyclopedia_, Mir's 1987 _Dictionary of Qur'anic terms and concepts_, and Macmillan's 2004 _Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World_) and several books about the Qur'an, as well, including Neal Robinson's helpful _Discovering the Qur'an_ (2003). However, none of these sources has such a list.
posted by AlexanderBanning to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total)
Wikipedia is your friend. (At least, it lists the names; I'm not sure what the "Ayat" means.)
posted by fogster at 8:45 AM on October 31, 2006

The names of the surahs is not the problem. I am specifically looking for their respective dates.
posted by AlexanderBanning at 8:55 AM on October 31, 2006

Try -- I don't have any personal knowledge about it, I just found it through Google, but it might help you. It's not one nice neat list, but I think you could maybe construct one from the info you find there.
posted by KAS at 9:21 AM on October 31, 2006

posted by textilephile at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2006

I've had the same question you've had. It's relatively easy, if you have a Koran in front of you, to know this, as most indicate before each Surah where it was written: Mecca or Medinah. However, it seems important to know just when each was written.

This was relatively easy to find, and pretty much satisfies what you ask for: chronological list, saying which period each is from. However, textilephile's link, while it doesn't have a chronological list, has more info, and seems more comprehensive.
posted by koeselitz at 2:27 PM on October 31, 2006

As far as specific dates, and what circumstances correlate with each Surah (which, if I'm not mistaken, is what you're after): well, that's a tough one. So far as I can tell, a detailed list like that can only be reconstructed if you know a lot about Muhammad's life; the biographies (of which there are several) sometimes mention that specific Surahs were revealed at specific times, but they are by no means comprehensive. Therefore, the only people who are able to even discuss this question are those with intimate familiarity both with the Koran and with the biographies. Since the order in which the Surahs appear was part of the revelation, those people don't tend to want to push their own ordering system.

If you're serious about discovering that order, I believe you'll have to turn to the biographies. I highly recommend Martin Lings' Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, a coallation of the biographies into a very readable and interesting narrative. It mentions at many points the revelations of certain Surahs and the circumstances which attended those revelations. Moreover, though the book was written in English by an Englishman, it has been honored throughout the Muslim world, and has been used iin many classrooms in Arabic translation.
posted by koeselitz at 2:42 PM on October 31, 2006

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