Decorative arabic calligraphy...
(Iqra), arabic for read...
Sūrat al-‘Alaq (العلق”The Clot”), is the 96th sura or chapter of the Qur’an. The first five verses of this sura are believed to be the first verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to prophet Muhammad.
It is composed of 19 Ayat (verses or “signs”), and is traditionally believed to have been revealed at Mecca. It is sometimes also known as Sūrat al-Iqrā (إقرا, “Recite”) or Sūrat al-Qalam (القلم, “The Pen”).
In this sura, God presents a concise but compelling argument: Man is a creature of wonder, beginning with its development from a biomass (or Alaq), who has been granted the gift of sentience by God. Then as a being Man divides into two distinct groups: those who recognize their cosmic condition, seek divine guidance (by ‘reading’ God’s word), and bow to God’s will (symbolized by ‘prostration’); and those who even in the face of these apparent wonders of Man’s condition, consider the Human to be an ‘independent’ entity, answerable to no transcendent authority, and even more contentiously, take it upon themselves to prevent the first class of Man from following God’s Word and submitting to him.
God then states that the first type of Man, the believer, is the righteous one, and that the second class is both in error and is in fact a “lying and sinful” creature. The sura concludes with God’s warning to the denier that the “guards of Hell” await, and that such men should cease from denying the believer the right to worship unmolested by them. The sura’s last verse are words of encouragement to the believer to “not yield” to the threats of unbelievers but to continue in persistence in obeying God, and a promise of nearness to God for such a believer.
QUR’AN, SURA THE CLOT, “READ!”
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
[96.1] Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
[96.2] Createth man from a clot.
[96.3] Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
[96.4] Who teacheth by the pen,
[96.5] Teacheth man that which he knew not.
[96.6] Nay, but verily man is rebellious
[96.7] That he thinketh himself independent!
[96.8] Lo! unto thy Lord is the return.
[96.9] Hast thou seen him who dissuadeth
[96.10] A slave when he prayeth?
[96.11] Hast thou seen if he relieth on the guidance (of Allah)
[96.12] Or enjoineth piety?
[96.13] Hast thou seen if he denieth (Allah’s guidance) and is froward?
[96.14] Is he then unaware that Allah seeth?
[96.15] Nay, but if he cease not We will seize him by the forelock –
[96.16] The lying, sinful forelock –
[96.17] Then let him call upon his henchmen!
[96.18] We will call the guards of hell.
[96.19] Nay, Obey not thou him. But prostrate thyself, and draw near (unto Allah).