Chapter 26 (Al-Shu’ara)

The theme of this chapter is to comfort the Prophet in response to his people’s denial of him and the Scripture that was revealed to him—which is referred to at the beginning of the chapter: These are the verses of the clear Book (26:2). They sometimes accused him of being insane and sometimes of being a poet. This chapter warns them by presenting the stories of a group of prophets: Moses, Abraham, Noah, Hūd, Ṣāliḥ, Lot and Shuʿayb (Jethro). It talks about the consequences of their denial in order to comfort the Prophet so that he would not be grieved by their defiance, and so that the people denying him would learn a lesson.

This is one of the early chapters that was revealed in Mecca since it includes the verse, And warn your nearest relations (26:214). Comparing this verse in this chapter with verse 15:94 in Sūrah al-Ḥijr—Therefore declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists—it can be deduced that this chapter was revealed prior to Chapter 15. The flow of the verses suggests that this chapter was revealed entirely in Mecca. Some exegetes say the last five verses were revealed in Medina. Some say the verse “Is it not a sign to them that the learned men of the Israelites know it?” (26:197) was revealed in Medina.

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