The Holy Quran Commentary Sura 96:Alak & The Clot
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Commentary of Quran

[Shakir 96:1] Read in the name of your Lord Who created.
[Yusufali 96:1] Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
[Pickthal 96:1] Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:1]

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:
According to Majmaul Bayan, with the particle ba the translation is "Read in the name of Your Lord," and without ba it would be: "Read the name of your Lord", which is the actual meaning of this verse.

In the light of that which is stated in the commentary of Baqarah: 2, 30 to 39, 78; Ali Imran: 7, 48; Ahzab: 21; Zumar: 23; Mumin: 55; Muhammad: 15, 19; Fat-h: 2; Jinn: 26, 27; Takwir: 19 to 21 and in several other verses of the Quran, all that which has been said in connection with the revelation of the first 5 verses of this surah, as the first revelation, are based upon conjecture; and form the root of all derogatory charges levelled against the Holy Prophet by the enemies of Islam. When such slanderous and censorious observations appear in books and magazines, the Muslim ummah makes a hue and cry in a violent frenzy, without realising the fact that it is their own historians and commentators who have supplied the material on which the conclusions are made by the anti-muslim authors. The life of the Holy Prophet, from his birth to the end, has been described by Imam Ali ibn abi Talib at several places in the Nahj al Balagha, which is the most authentic point of view expressed by any of his biographers till today. The Holy Prophet was taught and tutored by Allah Himself, as stated in Rahman and Najm. He was under the divine care all the time. Since his birth he was fully alive to the task of preaching and conveying the divine message for which he was chosen when Adam was not even created. He was a light, though he lived like a human among people, blessed with divine wisdom, mercy and guidance in order to guide the human beings in all times. See Nisa: 79, Ahzab: 45 to 47; Saba: 28 and Anbiya: 107. According to Najm 9 he was as perfect as his Lord with a fine line of demarcation between the finite and the infinite, on account of which we say in "tashahhud" of every salat that "he is the servant and the messenger of Allah."

The Holy Prophet said:

"My light was created when Adam was not even in the process of creation.. I and Ali were created from one and the same light."

Iqra (read, recite or proclaim) implies that the Holy Prophet knew all the names of Allah which carry the essence of creation and legislation. So he knew the book of Allah also. As said in verses 77 to 79 of Waqi-ah the Holy Prophet and his Ahl ul Bayt alone, in addition to Allah, are aware of the book kept well-guarded in lawh mahfuz. Here he was commanded to recite or read which he already knew. It was the beginning of the gradual revelation. See Ta Ha: 114 and Qiyamah: 16 to 19. Verse 3 repeats the command to recite, and verses 4 and 5 say that Allah has already taught everything which if read with Rahman: 1 to 4 clearly implies that the Holy Prophet who was sent as rahmatun lil alamin (mercy unto the worlds), representing the universal divine grace, was taught by Arrahman as soon as he was created. Thus bi-that does not mean the beginning of his prophethood, but it refers to the beginning of his ministry.

[Shakir 96:2] He created man from a clot.
[Yusufali 96:2] Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
[Pickthal 96:2] Createth man from a clot.
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:2]

As said in Muminun the origin of man is lowly but he is endowed with wisdom, spirit and guidance to reach the highest intellectual and spiritual heights.

[Shakir 96:3] Read and your Lord is Most Honorable,
[Yusufali 96:3] Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
[Pickthal 96:3] Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:3]

Here iqra means proclaim-proclaim the truth, the message of Allah, and invite mankind to follow the religion of Allah, Islam. The Holy Prophet has been given permission to start his ministry openly.

[Shakir 96:4] Who taught (to write) with the pen
[Yusufali 96:4] He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
[Pickthal 96:4] Who teacheth by the pen,
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:4]

Qalam (pen) is a symbol. See Qalam: 1. Pen implies reading, writing, books, study and research. Knowledge refers to the laws governing the physical phenomenon, self-realization and know-how of the spiritual world. The words read, recite, proclaim, teach and pen refer to the duty of making public, displaying, depicting or explaining the message of Allah in heraldic terms.

[Shakir 96:5] Taught man what he knew not.
[Yusufali 96:5] Taught man that which he knew not.
[Pickthal 96:5] Teacheth man that which he knew not.
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:5]

This verse refers to the growth of knowledge in man whose origin is humble but he learns more and more day by day by means of faculties granted to him by Allah. With the growth of knowledge, particularly in the spiritual realm, his consciousness and awareness also develop. See Kahf: 65; Naim: 3 to 5; Dahr: 3.

[Shakir 96:6] Nay! man is most surely inordinate,
[Yusufali 96:6] Day, but man doth transgress all bounds,
[Pickthal 96:6] Nay, but verily man is rebellious
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:6]

The ability to acquire knowledge and other human faculties are the gifts of Allah, but man, in his inordinate vanity and insolence, mistakes the performance of these gifts for his own achievements. Man is reminded of his lowly origin and his responsibility when he finally returns to his Lord. These verses are applicable generally to perverse disbelievers who not only rebel against Allah's law, but also prevent others from following it. In particular these verses refer to Abu Jahl, an inveterate enemy of Islam, who used to insult and persecute the Holy Prophet and those who followed his teaching. In verse 10 "he (who) prays" refers to the Holy Prophet.

Man's insolence leads to self-destruction through self-misleading and false directions to others. Abu Jahls, in every age, destroy themselves by belying the truth and by not following the right guidance. Often Shaytan appears in the form of Abu Jahls, so not to be misled by the disguised beguiler, the true believer must examine the claim of the leadership of every candidate before accepting him as his guide or Imam.

The forelock is on the forehead, and is thus symbolical of the summit of the man's power and dignity. To be dragged by it is to surer the lowest degree of disgrace. Allah is watching Abu Jahls in all times. They will be dragged by their forelocks and will be thrown in the fire of hell on the day of judgement.

"A lying, sinful forelock" is the description of Abu Jahl who had the full support of the pagan Quraysh, but they could not, all combined, prevent the onward march of the divine mission led by the Holy Prophet, though they did all they could to check it.

All the combined forces of evil, though they had worldly possessions at their disposal, and though they seemed to be successful for a time, could not stand against the party of Allah. The forces at His command subdue evil and protect His party.

The righteous believer has no fear. He disregards all the forces of evil, bows down in adoration to Allah only and seeks His nearness and pleasure at all events. His humility and surrender to Allah keep him safe from insolent rebellion and bring him near to Him.

Sajdah is compulsory after reciting or listening to verse 19.
[Shakir 96:7] Because he sees himself free from want.
[Yusufali 96:7] In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient.
[Pickthal 96:7] That he thinketh himself independent!
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:7] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:8] Surely to your Lord is the return.
[Yusufali 96:8] Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).
[Pickthal 96:8] Lo! unto thy Lord is the return.
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:8] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:9] Have you seen him who forbids
[Yusufali 96:9] Seest thou one who forbids-
[Pickthal 96:9] Hast thou seen him who dissuadeth
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:9] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:10] A servant when he prays?
[Yusufali 96:10] A votary when he (turns) to pray?
[Pickthal 96:10] A slave when he prayeth?
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:10] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:11] Have you considered if he were on the right way,
[Yusufali 96:11] Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-
[Pickthal 96:11] Hast thou seen if he relieth on the guidance (of Allah)
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:11] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:12] Or enjoined guarding (against evil)?
[Yusufali 96:12] Or enjoins Righteousness?
[Pickthal 96:12] Or enjoineth piety?
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:12] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:13] Have you considered if he gives the lie to the truth and turns (his) back?
[Yusufali 96:13] Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away?
[Pickthal 96:13] Hast thou seen if he denieth (Allah's guidance) and is froward?
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:13] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:14] Does he not know that Allah does see?
[Yusufali 96:14] Knoweth he not that Allah doth see?
[Pickthal 96:14] Is he then unaware that Allah seeth?
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:14] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:15] Nay! if he desist not, We would certainly smite his forehead,
[Yusufali 96:15] Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-
[Pickthal 96:15] Nay, but if he cease not We will seize him by the forelock -
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:15] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:16] A lying, sinful forehead.
[Yusufali 96:16] A lying, sinful forelock!
[Pickthal 96:16] The lying, sinful forelock -
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:16] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:17] Then let him summon his council,
[Yusufali 96:17] Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades):
[Pickthal 96:17] Then let him call upon his henchmen!
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:17] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:18] We too would summon the braves of the army.
[Yusufali 96:18] We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!
[Pickthal 96:18] We will call the guards of hell.
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:18] (see commentary for verse 6)
[Shakir 96:19] Nay! obey him not, and make obeisance and draw nigh (to Allah).
[Yusufali 96:19] Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!
[Pickthal 96:19] Nay, Obey not thou him. But prostrate thyself, and draw near (unto Allah).
[Pooya/Ali Commentary 96:19] (see commentary for verse 6)

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