By Iftikhar Husain Saiyid :
Bismilillah ir Rahmaan ir Raheem [in the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful]
Al Makkaiah (96)
The number 96 is the number of this Surah in the traditional arrangement of the Quran.
This Surah was revealed in two parts:
The first part consisted of 5 ayat which were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for the first time in his life and this was the beginning of the divine revelation which continued for the last 23 years of his life. In total 6157 ayat were revealed.
The beginning of revelation came in the form of dreams which Rasoulullah (PBUH) saw as if he was wide awake. These dreams made him meditate.
It is said that Rasoulullah (PBUH) used to go to the cave of Hira from time to time and used to meditate for long hours. His wife Khadija (RA) would prepare food for him and packed for him to last for several days, along with a supply of Zam Zam water. It is said that one day, when Rasoulullah(PBUH) was meditating in Hira, all of a sudden an angel appeared before him and presented to him, a tablet on which 5 ayat were inscribed and told him to “Read”. In Arabic it would be Iqra!
Rasoulullah (PBUH) said “I cannot read” the angel hugged him tightly, then released him and said “Read”. Rasoulullah(PBUH) still could not read. This was repeated 3 times but after the third hugging, miraculously the Prophet started to utter words “Iqra bi-ismi rabbika allathee khalaq” then the second Ayah, the third, the fourth and finally the fifth. As his tongue uttered the divine words, they were locked in Prophet’s memory. This was the first divine Revelation.
Rasoulullah (PBUH) otherwise remained illiterate as before, but as a result of this unusual occurrence he was terrified and ran to his house, shivering and shouting, and asked to be covered. He was covered and he remained quiet for some time, after recovering he told his wife Hazrat Khadija about his experience in the cave of Hira. Our Mother Khadija took him to her cousin Waraka ibn Nawfal who was a well-known scholar of Jewish and Christian religions. He congratulated his brother in law and informed him that he has been appointed by Allah (SWT) as his Rasoul and the angel was Gabriel, the Archangel, who is Allah’s messenger to his Rasouls.
Ayah (1): Read in the name of your God, the one who created!
This marks the beginning of the revelation of Quranic ayahs; it started with a miracle, a totally illiterate man started to read by the will of Allah the Almighty.
The first revelation was not a word or two; it came in the form of five complete ayat. Each ayah in itself was a statement of a philosophy, beautifully phrased and a great exhibit of prose and poetry in Arabic language. This was the beginning of a stream of knowledge and wisdom which sprung from the ocean of knowledge and wisdom of the creator of all existence.
By just one word “Read” the creator of the universe has been introduced to mankind-the entire human race from Adam to his descendants born till the Day of Judgment.
The word “Created” (khalaq) in meaningfulness surpasses the achievements all the Nobel Prize winners combined!
The word “Created” covers: creation from nothing, creation of matter, creation of energy, creation of spirit, creation of dimensions, creation of time, creation of the Universe and all those which are beyond our comprehension. All this is said in one word KHALAQ.
Ayah (2): He created a human being from Clot of blood!
In Quran we find the creation process in stages. First is the creation of Adam, which was done with a fistful of wet clay, Allah had ordained all the angels to prostrate before Adam when he blew part of his spirit into the shape he had created from clay and when it turned into Adam. In the creation of Adam Allah has applied first the technique of creation and then the technique of making, He then ordered the angels to watch that he was going to make Adam his viceroy on the earth, vide Surah Al – Baqarah ayat 30, then in Surah Al-Imran ayat 59, he says Indeed Jesus is, for Allah, like Adam whom he created from clay and ordered him to BE and he came into being; so it is apparent that Allah first creates out of nothing and then makes his creation into whatever he wishes as a being. Indeed he is the creator and the Maker!
Ayah (3): Read! (And keep reading) and your sustainer is the most bountiful.
This is the introduction of the Creator to His Creatures.
Ayah (4): The one who taught with the Pen!
Here again an example of Allah’s bountifulness is given in His Teaching by pen. Teaching means imparting knowledge. Knowledge is stored in books by writing with the pen; knowledge is also stored in the human mind by reading. Knowledge is also stored in human mind by telling.
Ayah (5): He taught the human being that he did not know.
Since the wealth of knowledge is entirely with Allah and Allah has promised Sons of Adam to provide guidance from time to time as and when he chose. The process of seeking knowledge continues throughout the human life and the teacher is no one other than the Creator Himself!
These first five Ayahs are the very first revealed to the Prophet (PBUH). There was a long gap after this first revelation and then Surah Al Muddathir’s first seven Ayahs were revealed. Now we begin on the second part of this Surah. From here till the end of Surah, All the ayat were revealed in the time when Prophet (PBUH) started praying publically in the Holy Mosque in front of the Kaaba.
Ayah: (6) No Never Verily the man transgresses all bounds!
Before the Prophet (PBUH) started preaching Islam openly by Allah’s command, he started praying in the Islamic way as taught by Allah. Abu Jahal, the worst enemy of Islam tried to stop the Prophet (PBUH) and went as far as to step up to the Prophet as he was in prostration, and stamped his foot on Prophet’s neck but everybody saw that Abu Jahal stopped suddenly and his face turned white with fear and he backed away in panic. Later when people asked Abu Jahal about it, he said that he saw in front of him a trench of fire and a terribly fearful creature and a lot of feathers. Prophet (PBUH) said that if Abu Jahal had advanced one step further, the angels would have torn him to pieces. Ayah 6) points out to men like Abu Jahal and it says that the man rebels against Allah because he considers himself to be self-sufficient.
Ayah (7): Because he sees himself as self-sufficient!
Ayah (8): Although, undoubtedly he has to return to your Lord!
Which means that a man in his short life on earth, may accumulate treasures of wealth and an army of sons, he still one day has to leave everything on earth and go back to his Creator alone, all by himself.
Ayah (9): O’ Prophet! Did you see the man who forbids (People)?
Ayah (10): Stops the servant of Allah from praying.
Ayah (11): Did you see that the man who wanted to pray was on the right path?
Ayah (12): Or he was trying to advise people to fear and revere Allah.
Ayah (13): Did you see the one who denied (the truth) and turned his face away?
Ayah (14): Does he not know that Allah is watching?
Ayah (15): No! Never! (Would the denier prevent the worshipper?) On the other hand, if this meddler does not desist. Indeed we will pull him by his front locks of his hair!
Ayah (16): A Lying, sinning, forelock!
Ayah (17): So let him call his comrades and well-wishers!
Ayah (18): Allah says, we shall also call our angels of punishment.
We will continue next month Insh’Allah with the next revealed Surah.