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

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There is no doubt that there is a superhuman/extraordinary rhetoric and literary style in both Makki and Madani chapters.

However, the belief of oneness was taught in Makkah since there were polytheist Arabs in Makkah. Concise expressions were used to make those lessons settle in their minds. The principles of belief were presented repeatedly; different styles and expressions were used - so that those repetitions would not bore people.

The Quran was sent down in Arabic and with the dialect of Quraysh, where poetry and rhetoric were dominant; they were regarded as addressees more than others, probably due to a strategy. For, the acceptance of Islam by Qurayshis would make it easier for the other tribes to accept Islam.  

In the chapters that were sent down in Makkah, where those first addressees of the Quran were in power, poetic expressions, literary arts, and rhetorical devices were used.

In Madinah, the first addressees were the People of the Book; there were enough verses related to the principles of belief; Islam had a city-state system; this state needed social, cultural and economic arrangements, and universal decrees along with religious deeds of worship; therefore, the statements in the Madani chapters were longer and more detailed.

The concise expressions in Makki chapters are wonderful literary arts; similarly, the detailed explanations in Madani chapters are literary arts like that.

We refer the issue to Badiuzzaman Said Nursi and end with his words: 

“The wisdom and meaning of the Meccan and Medinan Suras in the Quran of Miraculous Exposition being different in regard to eloquence, miraculousness, and detail and brevity is as follows:

In Mecca, the first line of those it was addressing and those opposed to it were the idolaters of the Quraysh and untaught tribesmen, so a powerful and elevated rhetorical style was necessary, and a miraculous, convincing, persuasive conciseness. And in order to establish it, repetition was required. Thus, in most of the Meccan suras, repeating and expressing the pillars of belief and degrees in the affirmation of Divine unity with a most powerful, elevated, and miraculous conciseness, it proved so powerfully the first creation and the Resurrection, Allah and the hereafter, not only in a single page, verse, sentence or word, but sometimes in a letter, through grammatical devices like altering the positions of the words or sentences, making a word indefinite, and omissions and inclusions, that the geniuses and leaders of the science of rhetoric met it with wonder.

The Risale-i Nur, and the Twenty-Fifth Word and its Addenda in particular, which prove in summary forty aspects of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, and the Qur’anic commentary, Isharat al-I’jaz, from the Arabic Risale-i Nur, which in wondrous fashion proves the aspect of the Qur’an’s miraculousness in its word-order, have demonstrated in fact that in the Meccan suras and verses are the highest styles of eloquence and the most elevated, concise miraculousness.

As for the Medinan suras and verses, since the first line of those they were addressing and who opposed them were the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians who affirmed Allah’s existence, what was required by eloquence and guidance and for the discussion to correspond to the situation, was not explanation of the high principles of religion and pillars of belief in a simple, clear, and detailed style, but the explanation of particular matters in the Shari‘a and its injunctions, which were the cause of dispute, and the origins and causes of secondary matters and general laws. Thus, in the Medinan suras and verses, through explanations in a detailed, clear, simple style, in the matchless manner of exposition peculiar to the Qur’an, it mostly mentions within those particular secondary matters, a powerful and elevated summary — a conclusion and proof, a sentence related to Divine unity, belief, or the hereafter which makes the particular matter of the Shari‘a universal and ensures that it conforms to belief in Allah. It illuminates the passage, and elevates it.”(Şualar, On Birinci Şua, Onuncu Mesele).

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