Surahs and 'ayat are called Makki or Madani according to the period of revelation; that is, the surahs and 'ayat revealed before hijrah are called Makki (revealed at Mecca) and after the hijrah are called Madani (revealed in Medina).

The following 20 surahs are accepted as Madani: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 24, 32, 47, 48, 49, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 65, 66, 76 and 110. There is a difference about the following 21 surahs as whether they were revealed at Mecca or Medina: 10, 13, 22, 25, 36, 57, 61, 64, 83, 89, 90, 92, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 107, 112, 113 and 114. The remaining 73 surahs are Makki.

There is a marked difference between the Makki and Madani surahs. For example:

  1. The Makki surahs, mostly, describe the matters of basic faith: refutation of paganistic beliefs, evidence of the oneness of Allah, His Attributes, proof of the resurrection on the Day of Judgment, prophethood of the Holy Prophet and of previous prophets, building good character, removal of the rust of evil from the hearts of people etc.

    Madani surahs deal, mostly, with the code of life, rules of shari'ah like prayers, fast, zakat, khums, jihad, hajj, family affairs, social behaviour, etc.

  2. Makki 'ayat and surahs are, mostly, short; Madani 'ayat and surahs are, mostly, long. For example, 28th part (juz') is mostly Madani and it has 137 'ayat, while 29th and 30th parts (mostly Makki) have 43 1 and 570 'ayat respectively.
  3. In Makki surahs, whenever the audience has been addressed, mostly the words "O People" or "O Children of Adam" have been used; whereas in Madani surahs, mostly, the words "O you who believe" have been used.
  4. All the surahs in which one is ordered to (or recommended to) do sajdah were revealed at Makka - thus emphasizing the worship of One and Only Allah.