What are Makkan (Makki) and Madinan (Madani) verses and chapters?

The Details of the Question

What are Makkan and Madinan verses and chapters?
Are there any verses and chapters that are both Makki and Madani?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to the majority of tafsir and methodology scholars, the verses that were sent down before the Migration are called Makkan (Makki) verses and after the Migration, Madinan (Madani) verses.

There are also scholars who say the verses sent down in Makkah are Makki and in Madinah are Madani whether sent down before or after the Migration and scholars who say the verses addressing Makkans are Makki and addressing Madinans are Madani.  

The verses are also classified based on the place and time they were sent down as ardi-samawi (revealed when the Prophet was in the sky (Miraj) or on earth), hadari-safari (while a resident or a traveler), nahari-layli (day or night), sayfi-shitai (summer or winter) and firashi-nawmi (in bed or while sleeping).

It is sometimes seen that a verse is repeated several times in Makkan verses in order to encourage people to believe, to dissuade them from denial and unbelief, to attract attention, to confirm and approve meaning, etc.

- The verse “And We have indeed made the Qur´an easy to understand and remember” is repeated in four places (al-Qamar 54/17, 22, 32, 40).
- The verse “But how (terrible) was My Penalty and My Warning?” is repeated in four places (al-Qamar, 54/16, 18, 21, 30).
- The verse “Ah woe, that Day, to the Rejecters of Truth!” is repeated in ten places (al-Mursalat 77/15, 19, 24, 28, 34, 37, 40, 45, 48, 49; al-Mutaffifin 83/10).
- The verse “Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny?” is repeated in thirty-one places (ar-Rahman 55/13, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 77).

As we have stated above, the most accepted one among the views above is the one stating that the verses and chapters sent down before the Migration are Makki and after the Migration are Madani.

Accordingly, if a verse was sent down in Makkah or Arafat after the Migration, it is not regarded as Makki and if a verse was sent down outside Madinah before the Migration, it is not regarded as Madani.

According to Zarkashi (Burhan, I, 281), eighty-five of the chapters are Makki and twenty-nine of them are Madani; according to Suyuti (Itqan, I, 33), eighty-two of the chapters are Makki, twenty of them are Madani and twelve of them are debatable.

However, according to the common consideration, eighty-six of the chapters are Makki and twenty-eight of them are Madani.

It is possible for a Makkan chapter to have Madani verses and a Madani chapter to have Makkan verses.

Issues of belief, the contradictions of the polytheists, the exemplary things that happened to the ummahs that did not obey the calls of their prophets, ethical and humane values are generally mentioned in the verses that were sent down in the period of Makkah. Those verses are generally short and the sentences are prosaic; the last words and letters of the verses rhyme. 

However, it is seen that some Madani chapters have the characteristics of Makki chapters. The examples of chapters like that are ar-Ra‘d, ar-Rahman and az-Zilzal.

In Madani chapters, verses related to the construction of the community, Islamic brotherhood, social and fiqh issues are included; therefore, the verses and chapters are long.

The chapters are also classified related to the Prophet being a resident or a traveler, the verse being sent down during the day or at night, summer or winter as hadari-safari, nahari-layli, sayfi-shitai, etc. (Suyuti, I, 56-76)

As it can be seen in the explanations above, some verses and chapters are definitely Makki and Madani but some of them are not definite; there are both Makki and Madani verses in some chapters.

Therefore, it is necessary to refer to tafsir books, tafsir methodology books and the books related to the reasons of the revelation of verses about the details of every chapter and verse.

For more information, please click on the links given below;

Are there any verses and chapters that were sent down in both Makkah and Madinah?

Why are the literary arts that are present in Makkan (Makki) chapters not seen in Madinan (Madani) chapters?

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