been formed into one united whole. His reverence for his master would naturally prevent Zaid from either adding to or omitting anything from the Surahs which were recited to him by many persons from memory, and in some cases found in writing upon the various writing materials which were then in use. The fact that certain circumstances most derogatory to Muhammad's claim to be a Divinely commissioned prophet are still to be found in the Qur'an is a conclusive proof of the scrupulous accuracy with which Zaid discharged the task entrusted to him. Nor would it have been possible at that time to have in any way tampered with the text. Within a year or two he had completed the work and had written down all the Surahs, each apparently on a separate sheet. It seems that there is some reason to believe that the present arrangement of the Surahs dates from that time. On what system it rests it is hard to say, except that the Suratu'l Fatihah was placed first as a sort of introduction to the book, partly no doubt because it was even then universally used as a prayer, and so was better known than any other. The other Surahs were arranged on the principle of putting the longest first. Thus the shortest come at the end of the book. This is almost the direct converse of their chronological order. Tradition enables us to know in what order and on what occasion most of the Surahs, and in certain cases some of their verses, were "revealed,"


but in our present inquiry it is not necessary to deal with this matter 1 at all fully, important as it doubtless is for the study of the steady development of the Faith, as it gradually took shape in Muhammad's own mind.

Zaid on the conclusion of his work handed over the manuscript, written doubtless in the so-called Cufic character, to Abu Bakr. The latter preserved it carefully until his death, when it was committed to the custody of 'Umar, after whose decease it passed into the charge of Hafsah, his daughter, one of Muhammad's widows. Copies of separate Surahs were afterwards made either from this or from the original authorities which Zaid had used.

Errors, or at least variations, gradually crept into the text of the Qur'an as it was recited, and possibly also into these fragmentary copies. Abu Bakr does not seem to have caused authoritative transcripts of the single manuscript which Zaid had written to be made, and hence it could not counteract the very natural tendency to alteration, mostly or wholly unintentional, to which the Qur'an, like every other work handed down orally, was liable. There were different dialects of Arabic then in use, and there must have been a tendency in the first

1 The Surahs are arranged as nearly as possible in chronological order in Rodwell's translation of the Qur'an, though doubtless certain early Surahs had verses of later date inserted into them long after they were written. See Canon Sell's "Historical Development of the Qur'an."