Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 19
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
96: Al-Alaq - العلق

96:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Proclaim! (or Read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
[ Saheeh International ]
Recite in the name of your Lord who created -
Tafseer Commentary

6203 Iqra'may mean "read", or "recite or rehearse", or "proclaim aloud", the object understood being Allah's Message. For an account of the circumstances in which this first revelation-the divine commission to preach and proclaim Allah's Message came to the Prophet, in the cave of Hira ', see C. 27-31. In worldly letters he was unversed, but with spiritual knowledge his mind and soul were filled, and now had come the time when he must stand forth to the world and declare his mission.

6204 The declaration or proclamation was to be in the name of Allah the Creator. It was not for any personal benefit to the Prophet: to him there was to come bitter persecution, sorrow, and suffering. It was the call of Allah for the benefit of erring humanity. Allah is mentioned by his tide of "thy Lord and Cherisher", to establish a direct nexus between the source of the Message and the one addressed. The Message was not merely an abstract proposition of philosophy, but the direct concrete message of a personal Allah to the creatures whom He loves and cherishes. Thy addressed to the Prophet is appropriate in two ways: (1) he was in direct contact with the divine Messenger (Gabriel) and Him Who sent the Messenger; (2) he represented the whole of humanity, in a fuller sense than that in which Christ Jesus is the "Son of Man".


96:2
[ Original ]
خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
[ Saheeh International ]
Created man from a clinging substance.
Tafseer Commentary

6205 Cf. 23:14. The lowly origin of the animal in man is contrasted with the high destiny offered to him in his intellectual, moral, and spiritual nature by his "most bountiful" Creator. No knowledge is withheld from man. On the contrary, through the faculties freely given to him, he acquires it in such measure as outstrips his immediate understanding, and leads him ever to strive for newer and newer meaning.


96:3
[ Original ]
اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
[ Saheeh International ]
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous -

96:4
[ Original ]
الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He Who taught (the use of) the Pen,-
[ Saheeh International ]
Who taught by the pen -
Tafseer Commentary

6206 The symbol of a permanent revelation is the mystic Pen and the mystic Record. See n. 5593 to 68:1. The Arabic words for "teach" and "knowledge" are from the same root. It is impossible to produce in a Translation the complete orchestral harmony of the words for "read", "teach", "pen" (which implies reading, writing, books, study, research), "knowledge" (including science, self knowledge, spiritual understanding), and "proclaim", an alternative meaning of the word for "to read". This proclaiming or reading implies not only the duty of blazoning forth Allah's message, as going with the prophetic office, but also the duty of promulgation and wide dissemination of fhe Truth by all who read and understand it. The comprehensive meaning of qara' refers not only to a particular person and occasion but also gives a universal direction. And this kind of comprehensive meaning, as we have seen, runs throughout the Qur'an-for those who will understand.


96:5
[ Original ]
عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Taught man that which he knew not.
[ Saheeh International ]
Taught man that which he knew not.
Tafseer Commentary

6207 Allah teaches us new knowledge at every given moment. Individuals learn more and more day by day; nations and humanity at large learn fresh knowledge at every stage. This is even more noticeable and important in the spiritual world.


96:6
[ Original ]
كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Day, but man doth transgress all bounds,
[ Saheeh International ]
No! [But] indeed, man transgresses
Tafseer Commentary

6208 All our knowledge and capacities come as gifts from Allah. But man, in his inordinate vanity and insolence, mistakes Allah's gifts for his own achievements. The gifts may be strength or beauty, wealth, position, or power, or the more subtle gifts of knowledge or talents in individuals-or Science, or Art, or Government, or Organisation for mankind in general.


96:7
[ Original ]
أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient.
[ Saheeh International ]
Because he sees himself self-sufficient.

96:8
[ Original ]
إِنَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ الرُّجْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, to your Lord is the return.
Tafseer Commentary

6209 Man is not self-sufficient, either as an individual, or in his collective capacity. If he arrogates Allah's gifts to himself, he is reminded-backwards, of his lowly physical origin (from a drop of animal matter), and forwards, of his responsibility and final return to Allah.


96:9
[ Original ]
أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يَنْهَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Seest thou one who forbids-
[ Saheeh International ]
Have you seen the one who forbids
Tafseer Commentary

6210 The words, may be applied generally to perverse humanity, which seeks not only to rebel against Allah's Law, but also to prevent others from following it. There may however be a reference here to Abu Jahl, an inveterate enemy of Islam, who used, in its early days, to insult and persecute the Prophet and those who followed his teaching. He used, in particular, to use shameful methods to prevent the Prophet from going to the Ka'bah for devotions, and forbid any who came under his influence, from offering prayers or performing devotions. He was arrogant and purse-proud and met his end in the battle of Badr.


96:10
[ Original ]
عَبْدًا إِذَا صَلَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
A votary when he (turns) to pray?
[ Saheeh International ]
A servant when he prays?

96:11
[ Original ]
أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ كَانَ عَلَى الْهُدَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-
[ Saheeh International ]
Have you seen if he is upon guidance
Tafseer Commentary

6211 Man's insolence leads to two results: (1) self-destruction through selfmisleading; (2) a false example or false guidance to others. The righteous man must therefore test human example or human guidance by the question, "Is there Allah's guidance behind it?" And risible light would be thrown on it by the question, "Does it lead to righteousness?" A flouting of Allah and Allah's truth answers the first question in the negative, and conduct which turns back from the eternal principles of Right answers the second.


96:12
[ Original ]
أَوْ أَمَرَ بِالتَّقْوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Or enjoins Righteousness?
[ Saheeh International ]
Or enjoins righteousness?

96:13
[ Original ]
أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away?
[ Saheeh International ]
Have you seen if he denies and turns away -
Tafseer Commentary

6212 The usual trick of the ungodly is to refuse to face Truth. If they are placed in a corner, they deny what is obvious to reasonable men, and turn their backs.


96:14
[ Original ]
أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Knoweth he not that Allah doth see?
[ Saheeh International ]
Does he not know that Allah sees?

96:15
[ Original ]
كَلَّا لَئِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهِ لَنَسْفَعًا بِالنَّاصِيَةِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-
[ Saheeh International ]
No! If he does not desist, We will surely drag him by the forelock -
Tafseer Commentary

6213 Cf. 11:56, and n. 1551. The forelock is on the forehead, and is thus symbolical of the summit and crown of the man's power or dignity. To be dragged by it is to suffer the lowest dregs of humiliation. Nasfa'an is a syncopated form of the emphatic first person plural.


96:16
[ Original ]
نَاصِيَةٍ كَاذِبَةٍ خَاطِئَةٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
A lying, sinful forelock!
[ Saheeh International ]
A lying, sinning forelock.

96:17
[ Original ]
فَلْيَدْعُ نَادِيَهُ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades):
[ Saheeh International ]
Then let him call his associates;
Tafseer Commentary

6214 The Pagan Quraysh, who formed an oppressive junta or council to manage the Ka'bah were in sympathy with Abu J ahl, though they did not go to the unbridled lengths to which Abu J ahl went. But they could not, all combined, resist the onward march of the divine mission, though they did all they could to check it.


96:18
[ Original ]
سَنَدْعُ الزَّبَانِيَةَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!
[ Saheeh International ]
We will call the angels of Hell.
Tafseer Commentary

6215 All the combined forces of evil, though they may have worldly appearances in their favour, and though they may seem to be successful for a time, cannot stand against Allah. He has but to command His forces of punishment to exert themselves, and they will subdue evil, protect Allah's votaries and justify the faith for which the votaries suffer.


96:19
[ Original ]
كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ ۩
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!
[ Saheeh International ]
No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah].
Tafseer Commentary

6216 The righteous man has no fear. He can disregard all the forces of evil that are brought against him. But he must learn humility: that is his defence. He will bow down in adoration to Allah. He must have the will to bring himself closer to Allah. For Allah is always close to him,-closer to him than his life blood in the jugular vein, (50:16). Man's humility and adoration remove him from being an insolent rebel on the one hand and, on the other, prepare his will to realise his nearness to Allah.


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