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 (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) seen Him (i.e. Abû Jahl) who prevents,
10. a slave (Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) when He prays?
11. tell Me, if He (Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) is on the guidance (of Allâh)?
12. or enjoins piety?
13. tell Me if He (the disbeliever, Abû Jahl) denies (the truth, i.e. This Qur’ân), and turns away?
14. knows He not that Allâh does see (What He does)?
15. Nay! if He (Abû 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 (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam))! do not obey Him (Abû Jahl). fall prostrate and draw near to Allâh!
Imam Ahmad recorded that `A’ishah said: The first thing that began happening with the Messenger of Allah from the revelation was dreams that he would see in his sleep that would come true. He would not see any dream except that it would come true just like the (clearness of) the daybreak in the morning. Then seclusion became beloved to him. So, he used to go to the cave of Hira’ and devote himself to worship there for a number of nights, and he would bring provisions for that. Then he would return to Khadijah and replenish his provisions for a similar number of nights. This continued until the revelation suddenly came to him while he was in the cave of Hira’. The angel came to him while he was in the cave and said, “Read!” The Messen- ger of Allah said,
«فَقُلْتُ: مَا أَنَا بِقَارِىء»
(I replied: “I am not one who reads.) Then he said, “So he (the angel) seized me and pressed me until I could no longer bear it. Then he released me and said: `Read!’ So I replied: `I am not one who reads.’ So, he pressed me a second time until I could no longer bear it. Then he released me and said:
﴿اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ ﴾
(Read in the Name of your Lord who has created.) until he reached the Ayah,
﴿مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ﴾
(That which he knew not. )” So he returned with them (those Ayat) and with his heart trembling until he came (home) to Khadijah, and he said,
(Wrap me up, wrap me up!) So they wrapped him up until his fear went away. After that he told Khadijah everything that had happened (and said),
«قَدْ خَشِيتُ عَلَى نَفْسِي»
(I fear that something may happen to me.) Khadijah replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your relatives, you speak the truth, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generously, and you help the deserving, calamity afflicted people.” Khadijah then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqah bin Nawfal bin Asad bin `Abdul-`Uzza bin Qusay, who, during the period of ignorance became a Christian and used to scribe the Scriptures in Arabic. He would write from the Injil in Hebrew as much as Allah willed for him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadijah said to him, “O my cousin! Listen to the story of your nephew.” Waraqah asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen” Allah’s Messenger described what he saw. Waraqah said, “This is An-Namus whom Allah had sent to Musa. I wish I was young and could live until the time when your people would drive you out.” Allah’s Messenger asked,
«أَوَ مُخْرِجِيَّ هُمْ؟»
(Will they drive me out) Waraqah replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought, was treated with hostility and enmity; and if I should remain alive till that day then I would firmly support you.” But Waraqah did not remain. He died and the revelation paused until Allah’s Messenger became sad according to what we were told. Due to this grief he set out a number of times with the intent of throwing himself from the mountain tops. However, every time he would reach the peak of a mountain to throw himself from it, Jibril would appear to him and say, “O Muhammad! You are truly the Messenger of Allah!” Therefore, his worry would be eased, his soul would be settled and he would return (down from the mountain). Then, when the revelation did not come again for a long time, he set out as he had done before. So when he reached the peak of the mountain, Jibril appeared to him again and said to him the same as he had said before.” This Hadith has been recorded in the Two Sahihs by way of Az-Zuhri. We have already discussed this Hadith’s chain of narration, its text and its meanings at length in the beginning of our explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari. Therefore, whoever would like to read it, it is researched there, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah. So the first thing that was revealed of the Qur’an were these noble and blessed Ayat. They are the first mercy that Allah bestowed upon His servants and the first bounty that Allah favored them with.
1. Tafsir ibn Kathir