against idolatry and by the deepening of his faith in the contemplation of the Unity of the Godhead.

The first Sura of a continued series, after the Fatra was over, is the Suratu'l-Mudaththir (lxxiv)1 after which there was no more cessation of the revelations. This Sura came at a time when the Prophet was mocked and jeered at, charged with being a mere poet, or a soothsayer, misleading others with his rhapsodies. It is a clear indication to him to go straight on with his mission, and a command to preach:

0 thou, enwrapped in thy mantle !
Arise and warn !
Thy Lord-magnify Him!
Thy raiment-purify it !
The abomination-flee it ! 1-5.

The people of Mecca were obdurate and the leader of the opposition was, according to the commentators Ibn 'Abbas and Baidawi, Walid bin Mughaira, the chief of Mecca. He is referred to in these vindictive verses :

Leave me alone to deal with him whom I have created,
And on whom I have bestowed vast riches,
And sons dwelling before him,

1 The general consensus of Muslim commentators is that this Sura was the first one revealed after the Fatra, and the verses 1-7 clearly support that view, as the Arabic in verse 8 for a ' trump on the trumpet' (نفر في الناقور ) is peculiar to early Suras. At the same time, the Sura is a composite one, for the eleventh verse, 'Leave me alone to deal with him whom I have created,' points to an unbelieving opponent. This is said to be Walid bin Mughaira. The verses 31-4 seem to refer to opponents at Madina, Jews, unbelievers, hypocrites and idolaters, classes often grouped together there, and so these verses must have been inserted in the Sura at that later date.

And for whom I smoothed all things smoothly down;
Yet desireth he that I should add more!
But no ! because to our signs he is a foe,
I will lay grievous woes upon him
For he plotted and he planned !
May he be cursed ! 11-19.

He had said that the words of the Prophet were those of a mere man and were spoken under the influence of magic. Then follows the condemnation :—

We will surely cast him into hell-fire,
And who shall teach him what hell-fire is ?
It leaveth nought, it spareth nought,
Blackening the skin. 26-9.1

This same person is referred to in Suratu'lQalam (lxviii) as,

The man of oaths, a despicable person,
Defamer going about with slander. 10-11.

Who, when our wondrous verses are recited to him, saith,
'Fables of the Ancients,'
We will brand him in the nostrils. 15-16.

Another bitter opponent of Muhammad was his uncle 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, known as Abu Lahab, who was instigated by his wife to reject Muhammad's claim. Both uncle and aunt are fiercely condemned in an early Meccan chapter, Suratu'l-Lahab (cxi) :—

Let the hands of Abu Lahab perish and let himself perish!
His wealth and his gain shall avail him not,
Burned shall he be at the fiery flame,

1 In the Meccan Suras the punishment of hell is directed against those who did not believe in the claims of Muhammad; it is not decreed against sin in general.