"The Night Journey" (Surah XVII.), we read in the first verse the words, "Praise be unto Him who caused His servant to journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the More Distant Mosque," we must naturally refer to Tradition to understand the meaning of the verse. We thus learn all that the 'Ulama of Islam know for certain regarding the journey in question, generally styled the "Ascent" (al Mi'raj) of Muhammad.

In dealing with the tenets and religious rites of Muslims, we shall make it our rule not to concern ourselves with any doctrine or practice which is not implicitly or explicitly taught or enjoined in the Qur'an itself, or in those Traditions which are universally accepted by all Muhammadan sects, with the partial exceptions of the Neo-Muhammadans of India, who are not recognized as Muslims by the rest of the Muhammadan world.

It may be well to point out the fact that, though a measure of inspiration is supposed to belong to the genuine and authoritative Traditions, yet their authority is very different from that of the Qur'an, to which, however, they stand in the second place. This is indicated by the difference in the manner of speaking of these different forms of revelation. The Qur'an is styled "Recited Revelation," and the Traditions "Unrecited Revelation", because the Qur'an and it alone is considered to constitute the very utterance of God Himself. Hence the rule has been laid down that any Tradition how-


ever well authenticated it may be, that is clearly contrary to a single verse of the Qur'an must be rejected. This rule is an important one for us to observe in dealing with matters of Muhammadan belief. It renders it unnecessary for us to involve ourselves in the mazes of the labyrinth of the controversy as to which traditions are genuine, which doubtful, and which unreliable. It is sufficient for our present purpose to note that in their written form Traditions are considerably later in date than the text of the Qur'an.

Regarding the history of the latter, accepted as it is by all Muslims everywhere, we have fairly full and satisfactory information. Some of the Surahs may have been written down on any materials that came to hand by some of Muhammad's amanuenses, of which we are told he had a considerable number, as soon as they were first recited by him. The knowledge of writing was not uncommon in his time among the Meccans, for we are informed that some of the latter, when taken captive, obtained their liberty by instructing certain of the people of Medina in the art. Whether written down at once or not, they were instantly committed to memory, and were recited at the time of public worship and on other occasions. During Muhammad's lifetime frequent reference was made to him when any doubt arose with regard to the proper wording of a passage. Tradition mentions certain Surahs or verses which were