SURAH 96
Al-'Alaq  (The Clining Clot, Read, The Embryo)


This Surah consists of 19 verses, 92 sentences, 280 letters and 1 Ruku'.


The Sura is so entitled after the word alaq in the second verse.

Period of Revelation

This Surah has two parts: the first part consists of vv. 1-5, and the second of vv. 6-19. About the first part a great majority of the Islamic scholars are agreed that it forms the very first Revelation to be sent down to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings). In this regard, the Hadith from Hadrat Aishah, which Imam Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, and other traditionists have related with several chains of authorities, is one of the most authentic Ahadith on the subject. In it Hadrat Aishah has narrated the full story of the beginning of revelation as she herself heard it from the Holy Messenger of Allah. Besides, Ibn Abbas, Abu Musa al-Ashari and a group of the Companions also are reported to have stated that these were the very first verses of the Quran to be revealed to the Holy Prophet. The second part was sent down afterwards when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) began to perform the prescribed Prayer in the precincts of the Kabah and Abu Jahl tried to prevent him from this with threats.

Beginning of Revelation

The traditionists have related on the strength of their respective authorities the story of the beginning of revelation from Iman Az-Zuhri, who had it from Hadrat Urwah bin Zubair, who had it from Hadrat Aishah, his aunt. She states that revelations to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) began in the form of true (according to other traditions, good) visions. Whichever vision he saw it seemed as though he saw it in broad daylight. Afterwards solitude became dear to him and he would go to the Cave of Hira to engage in worship there for several days and nights (Hadrat Aishah has used the word tahannuth, which Imam Zuhri has explained as ta'abbud: devotional exercises. This was some kind of worship which he performed, for until then he had not been taught the method of performing the Prayer by Allah). He would take provisions with him and stay there for several days, then would return to Hadrat Khadijah who would again provide for him for a few more days. One day when he was in the Cave of Hira, Revelation came down to him unexpectedly and the Angel said, to him: "Read". After this Hadrat Aishah reports the words of the Holy Prophet himself, to the effect, "I said: I cannot read! Thereupon the Angel took me and pressed me until I could bear it no more. Then he left me and said: Read. I said: I cannot read! He pressed me a second time until I could bear it no more. Then he left me and said: Read. I again said: I cannot read! He pressed me for the third time until I could bear it no more. Then he left me and said: Iqra bismi Rabbi kal- ladhi khalaqa: (Read in the name of your Lord Who created) till he reached ma lam ya lam (what he did not know)." Hadrat Aishah says: "Then the Holy Messenger (upon whom be peace) returned home to Hadrat Khadijah trembling with fear, and said to her: `Cover me, cover me', and he was covered. When terror left him, he said: `O Khadijah, what has happened to me?' Then he narrated to her whatever had happened, and said: `I fear for my life'. She said; `No never! Be of good cheer. By God, never will God debase you: you treat the kindred well, you speak the truth, (one tradition adds: you restore what is entrusted to you), you bear the burden of the helpless, you help the poor, you entertain the guests, and you cooperate in good works.' Then she took him to Waraqah bin Naufal, who was her cousin. He had become a Christian in pre-Islamic days, wrote the Gospel in Arabic and Hebrew, and had become very old and blind. Hadrat Khadijah said: `Brother, listen to the son of your brother.' Waraqah said to the Holy Prophet: `What have you seen, nephew?' The Holy Prophet described what he had seen. Waraqah said; `This is the same Namus (the Angel of Revelation) which Allah had sent down to Moses. Would that I were a young man during your Prophethood! Would that I were alive when your tribe would expel you!' The Holy Prophet said: `Will they expel me?' Waraqah said; `Yes, never has it so happened that a person brought what you have brought and was not treated as an enemy. If I live till then I would help you with all the power at my command.' But not very long after this Waraqah died."


This narrative is explicit that even until a moment before the coming Angel the Holy Messenger of Allah intimately aware of his life, his affairs and dealings. When he also heard of his experience, she did not regard it as an evil suggestion, but immediately said that it was the Namus who had descended on Moses (peace be upon him). This meant that even according to him the Holy Prophet was such a sublime person that there was nothing surprising in his being elevated to the office of Prophethood.

Occasion of Revelation of vv. 6-19

This second part of thee Surah was revealed when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to perform the Prayer in the Islamic way in the Ka'bah and Abu Jahl threatened and tried to prevent him from this. It so happened that after his appointment to Prophethood even before he could start preaching Islam openly, he began to perform the Prayer in the precincts of the Ka'bah in the way Allah taught him; and from this the Quraish felt for the first time that he had adopted a new religion. The other people were watching it with curiosity, but Abu Jahl in his arrogance and pride threatened the Holy Prophet and forbade him to worship in that way in the Ka'bah. In this connection, quite a number of the Ahadith have been related from Hadarat Abdullah ibn Abbas and Hadrat Abu Huraira, which mention the foolish behaviour of Abu Jahl.


Hadrat Abu Huraira says that Abu Jahl asked the people of Quraish: "Does Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) set his face on the ground before you?" When they replied in the affirmative, he said: "By Lat and Uzza, if I ever catch him in that act of worship, I would set my foot on his neck and rub his face in the dust." Then it so happened that he saw the Holy Messenger in that posture and came forward to set his foot on his neck, but suddenly turned back as if in a fright and being asked what was the matter, he said there was a ditch of fire and a terrible apparition between himself and Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) and some wings. On hearing this the Holy Prophet remarked: "Had he come near me, the angels would have smitten and torn him to pieces." (Ahmad, Muslim, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, Ibn AbI Hatim, Ibn al-Mundhir,

lbn Marduyah, Abu Nu'aim Isfahani, Baihaqi).


According to lbn Abbas, Abu Jahl said:"If I caught Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) performing his Prayer by the Ka'bah, I would trample his neck down." When the Holy Prophet heard of it, he said: "If he acted so, the angels would seize him there and then." (Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, Abdur Razzaq, Abd bin Humaid, Ibn al- Mundhir, Ibn Marduyah).


According to another tradition from Ibn Abbas, the Holy Prophet was performing his Prayer at the Maqam Ibrahim. Abu Jahl passed that way and said: "O Muhammad, did I not forbid you this," and then he started to threaten him. In reply the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) rebuked him severely. There upon he said: "O Muhammad, on what strength do you rebuke me? By God, my followers in this valley far exceed yours in number." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Jarir, lbn Abi Shaibah, Ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani, Ibn Marduyah).


Because of these very incidents the portion of this Surah beginning with Kalla inn al-insana la yat gha was sent down. Naturally the place of this part should be the same as assigned to it in this Surah of the Quran, for after the coming down of the first Revelation the Holy Prophet had given expression to Islam first of all by the act of Prayer, and his conflict with the pagans.




    SURAH 96

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

96 : 1

1. Iqra/ bi-ismi rabbika allathee khalaqa


Read! : In the name of your Lord who created, -


96 : 2

2. Khalaqa al-insana min AAalaqin

Created man from a clinging clot.

96 : 3

3. Iqra/ warabbuka al-akramu

Read : Your Lord is the most Compassionate of all -

96 : 4

4. Allathee AAallama bialqalami

Who taught by the pen!

96 : 5

5. AAallama al-insana ma lam yaAAlam

Taught man that which he knew not!

* * *

Context of Revelation : The following verses were revealed when a staunch opponent of the Prophet and of the new religion which he preached came into unexpected money and imposed severe restrictions on the Muslims from offering worship in public places, threatening to sever the heads of those who defied him.

96 : 6

6. Kalla inna al-insana layatgha

Nay, but man does resort to insubordination -

96 : 7

7. An raahu istaghna

As soon as he becomes prosperous!

96 : 8

8. Inna ila rabbika alrrujAAa

Though verily to your Lord is the returning!

96 : 9

9. Araayta allathee yanha

Have you seen him how he obstructs -

96 : 10

10. AAabdan itha salla

Our bondsman from offering worship?

96 : 11

11. Araayta in kana AAala alhuda

Have you seen that if he heeds guidance -

96 : 12

12. Aw amara bialttaqwa

And enjoins righteousness, (it will do him good)?

96 : 13

13. Araayta in kaththaba watawalla

Have you seen that, if he vituperates and turns away, (it will do him harm)?

96 : 14

14. Alam yaAAlam bi-anna Allaha yara

Knows he not that Allah is watching him?

96 : 15

15. Kalla la-in lam yantahi lanasfaAAan bialnnasiyati

Let him beware! If he does not desist, then verily We shall grab him by the forelock -

96 : 16

16. Nasiyatin kathibatin khati-atin

The forelock of a mendacious reprobate?

96 : 17

17. FalyadAAu nadiyahu

Then let him summon his sycophants to his aid!

96 : 18

18. SanadAAu alzzabaniyata

We too will summon the guards of hell!

96 : 19

19. Kalla la tutiAAhu waosjud waiqtarib

Nay! Pay him no attention but prostate before Us and get closer to Us! (R)

1. Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),

2. Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).

3. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,

4. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch) <><>],

5. Has taught man that which he knew not.

6. Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.).

7. Because he considers himself self-sufficient.

8. Surely! Unto your Lord is the return.

9. Have you (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) seen him (i.e. Ab Jahl) who prevents,

10. A slave (Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) when he prays?

11. Tell me, if he (Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) is on the guidance (of Allh)?

12. Or enjoins piety?

13. Tell me if he (the disbeliever, Ab Jahl) denies (the truth, i.e. this Qur'n), and turns away?

14. Knows he not that Allh does see (what he does)?

15. Nay! If he (Ab Jahl) ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock,

16. A lying, sinful forelock!

17. Then, let him call upon his council (of helpers),

18. We will call the guards of Hell (to deal with him)!

19. Nay! (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him))! Do not obey him (Ab Jahl). Fall prostrate and draw near to Allh!

YUSUFALI: Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
PICKTHAL: Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
SHAKIR: Read in the name of your Lord Who created.

YUSUFALI: Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
PICKTHAL: Createth man from a clot.
SHAKIR: He created man from a clot.

YUSUFALI: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
PICKTHAL: Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
SHAKIR: Read and your Lord is Most Honorable,

YUSUFALI: He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
PICKTHAL: Who teacheth by the pen,
SHAKIR: Who taught (to write) with the pen

YUSUFALI: Taught man that which he knew not.
PICKTHAL: Teacheth man that which he knew not.
SHAKIR: Taught man what he knew not.

YUSUFALI: Day, but man doth transgress all bounds,
PICKTHAL: Nay, but verily man is rebellious
SHAKIR: Nay! man is most surely inordinate,

YUSUFALI: In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient.
PICKTHAL: That he thinketh himself independent!
SHAKIR: Because he sees himself free from want.

YUSUFALI: Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).
PICKTHAL: Lo! unto thy Lord is the return.
SHAKIR: Surely to your Lord is the return.

YUSUFALI: Seest thou one who forbids-
PICKTHAL: Hast thou seen him who dissuadeth
SHAKIR: Have you seen him who forbids

YUSUFALI: A votary when he (turns) to pray?
PICKTHAL: A slave when he prayeth?
SHAKIR: A servant when he prays?

YUSUFALI: Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-
PICKTHAL: Hast thou seen if he relieth on the guidance (of Allah)
SHAKIR: Have you considered if he were on the right way,

YUSUFALI: Or enjoins Righteousness?
PICKTHAL: Or enjoineth piety?
SHAKIR: Or enjoined guarding (against evil)?

YUSUFALI: Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away?
PICKTHAL: Hast thou seen if he denieth (Allah's guidance) and is froward?
SHAKIR: Have you considered if he gives the lie to the truth and turns (his) back?

YUSUFALI: Knoweth he not that Allah doth see?
PICKTHAL: Is he then unaware that Allah seeth?
SHAKIR: Does he not know that Allah does see?

YUSUFALI: Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-
PICKTHAL: Nay, but if he cease not We will seize him by the forelock -
SHAKIR: Nay! if he desist not, We would certainly smite his forehead,

YUSUFALI: A lying, sinful forelock!
PICKTHAL: The lying, sinful forelock -
SHAKIR: A lying, sinful forehead.

YUSUFALI: Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades):
PICKTHAL: Then let him call upon his henchmen!
SHAKIR: Then let him summon his council,

YUSUFALI: We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!
PICKTHAL: We will call the guards of hell.
SHAKIR: We too would summon the braves of the army.

YUSUFALI: Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!
PICKTHAL: Nay, Obey not thou him. But prostrate thyself, and draw near (unto Allah).
SHAKIR: Nay! obey him not, and make obeisance and draw nigh (to Allah).