Tuesday 22 September 2020

Sürah Al-ʻAlaq - The Clot (of congealed blood): Exegesis 96th Chapter of Quran

Sürah Al-ʻAlaq " العلق " - The Clot (of congealed blood), is the 96th sürah with 19 ayahs, part of the 30th Juzʼ of the Holy Qur'ān. The Surah is so entitled after the word `alaq  " علق " in the second verse.

This sürah is one of the most important sürahs of the Qur'ān for its first five verses were the first ever five verses that were revealed unto Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the Cave of  Hira, outside Makkah in 810 CE, through Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel). These five verses are in fact an injunction to read, seek knowledge, and learn how to write.

We have already published the summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to an in depth Analysis & Tafseer of Sürah 96 Alaq by prominent Muslim scholar, exegete and linguist Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ 
( 1 )   Read in the name of your Lord who created -

This is the very first revelation from Allah to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which was revealed to him in the Cave of Hira outside Makkah. While the Prophet to Be was busy in his usual supplications and prayers, Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) appeared which certainly frightened Muhammad ﷺ. When the Angel asked him: Read, the latter replied: I cannot read! This indicates that the Angel had presented these words of the revelation before him in the written form and had asked him to read them. For if the Angel had meant that he should repeat what he recited, he could not have replied, saying: I cannot read!

Read in the name of your Lord: Say Bismillah and read. This shows that the Prophet ﷺ even before the coming down of this revelation regarded and acknowledged Allah alone as his Lord. That is why there was no need to ask who his Lord was, but it was said: Read in the name of your Lord.

Only the word khalaqa (created) has been used absolutely, and the object of creation has not been mentioned. This automatically gives the meaning: Read in the name of the Lord, Who is the Creator, Who created the whole universe and everything in it.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
The Beginning of the Prophethood of Muhammad and the First of the Qur'an revealed - 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 Messenger 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, «زَمِّلُونِي زَمِّلُونِي» (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.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Sc., "this divine writ". The imperative iqra' may be rendered as "read" or "recite". The former rendering is, to my mind, by far the preferable in this context inasmuch as the concept of "reciting" implies no more than the oral delivery - with or without understanding - of something already laid down in writing or committed to memory, whereas "reading" primarily signifies a conscious taking-in, with or without an audible utterance but with a view to understanding them, of words and ideas received from an outside source: in this case, the message of the Qur'an.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: اِقۡرَاۡ (read). In this verse it means: اِقۡرَاۡعَلَیۡہِمۡ (read it out to people). It is used at many places in the Qur’an in this meaning like verse 204 of Surah al-A‘raf and verse 45 of Surah Bani Isra’il. It is known that the whole of the Qur’an was read out in this manner before people to preach and warn them. Ie., read out to them as God’s directive that has to be obeyed so that people know that this is not the request of a pleader. It is the word of the Lord of the worlds Who is the Creator and Master and can give any directive to them. People should follow it without any hesitation. If they dare make fun of it or oppose it, they should think about its consequences which can be very grave.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Iqraa " اقْرَأْ " may mean "read", or "recite or rehearse", or "proclaim aloud", the object understood being Allah's Message. 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.

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 title 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".

 خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ 
( 2 )   Created man from a clinging substance.

After making mention generally of the creation of the universe, mention has been made of man in particular, saying how Allah made him a perfect man starting his creation from an insignificant and humble state. Alaq علق " is plural of alaqah, which means congealed blood. This is the primary state of the embryo which appears a few days after conception. Then it assumes the form of a lump of flesh, then afterwards it gradually takes human shape.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The past tense in which the verb khalaqa appears in these two verses is meant to indicate that the act of divine creation (khalq) has been and is being continuously repeated. It is also noteworthy that this very first Qur'anic revelation alludes to man's embryonic evolution out of a "germ-cell" - i.e., out of a fertilized female ovum - thus contrasting the primitiveness and simplicity of his biological origins with his intellectual and spiritual potential: a contrast which clearly points to the existence of a conscious design and a purpose underlying the creation of life.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a mention of the specific after the general ie. He created the whole universe and after that created man in particular from a clot of congealed blood. The purpose is to show firstly that the creator who has created people like Socrates and Plato from an insignificant clot of blood would not find it difficult to create them again for accountability? Secondly, can any sensible person after witnessing the power and wisdom which has manifested in the creation of man form an opinion that man has been made without a purpose. All this elaborate arrangement shows that a day must come where he be held accountable for his beliefs and deeds.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xxiii. 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.

 اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ 
( 3 )   Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous -

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
These Ayat inform of the beginning of man's creation from a dangling clot, and that out of Allah's generosity He taught man that which he did not know. Thus, Allah exalted him and honored him by giving him knowledge, and it is the dignity that the Father of Humanity, Adam, was distinguished with over the angels. Knowledge sometimes is in the mind, sometimes on the tongue, and sometimes in writing with the fingers. Thus, it may be intellectual, spoken and written. And while the last (written) necessitates the first two (intellectual and spoken), the reverse is not true. For this reason Allah says:
" اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الاٌّكْرَمُ - الَّذِى عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ - عَلَّمَ الإِنسَـنَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ "
(Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) There is a narration that states, "Record knowledge by writing.'' There is also a saying which states, "Whoever acts according to what he knows, Allah will make him inherit knowledge that he did not know.''

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a badal (permutative) from the first verse and has been repeated to emphasize its directive. God is benevolent and because of His benevolence has done a great favour on people that the Qur’an is being recited to them and at His behest and under the guidance of His Prophet, is being given to them in written form in such an elaborate manner. This is because this great favour is not merely for the Arabs but a treasure for the entire world. Found in this verse is also an admonition for the Quraysh that if they do not duly regard this favour, they should contemplate its consequences.

 الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ 
( 4 )   Who taught by the pen -

That is, it is a great favor of Allah that starting man’s creation from a most insignificant state, He made him possessor of knowledge which is the noblest attribute of creation, and He made him not only possessor of knowledge but also taught him the art of writing by the use of pen, which became the means of propagation, progress, dissemination and preservation of knowledge on a large scale. Had He not given man the knowledge of the art of pen and writing (by inspiration) his intellectual faculty would have stagnated, and it would have had no opportunity to develop, expand and become a means of transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next and make future progress.

Allah explains further in verse 5 of Surah Al Hajj: “We have created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm”: The first man Adam was created directly from clay and after him the process of procreation started by means of sperm-drop. This has been stated in Surah As Sajda, Ayats 7-8 as well. It may also mean that man is created from sperm-drop but his body is made of those elements which are all available in the earth.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Pen and the Record are the symbolical foundations of the Revelation to man. The adjuration by the Pen disposes of the flippant charge that Allah's Messenger was mad or possessed. For he spoke words of power, not incoherent, but full of meaning, and through the Record of the Pen, that meaning unfolds itself, in innumerable aspects to countless generations. Muhammad was the living Grace and Mercy of Allah, and his very nature exalted him above abuse and persecution.

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 the Truth by all who read and understand it. The comprehensive meaning of qaraa 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'ān - for those, who will understand.

 عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
( 5 )   Taught man that which he knew not.

That is, man originally was absolutely illiterate. Whatever of knowledge he obtained, he obtained it as a gift from Allah. Whatever doors of knowledge at any stage did Allah will to open for man, they went on opening up before him. This same thing has been expressed in the verse of the Throne (Ayat-ul-Kursi), thus: And the people cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge save what He Himself may please to reveal. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 255). Whatever man looks upon as his own scientific discovery was, in fact, unknown to him before. Allah gave him its knowledge whenever He willed without his realizing that Allah by His grace had blessed him with the knowledge of it.

These verses were the very first to be revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), as is stated in the Hadith reported by Aishah. This first experience was so intense and tremendous that the Prophet (peace be upon him) could not bear it any more. Therefore, at that time he was only made aware that the Being Whom he already knew and acknowledged as his Lord and Sustainer was in direct communion with him, had started sending down revelations to him, and had appointed him as His Prophet (peace be upon him). Then after an intermission the opening verses of Surah 74. al-Muddaththir were revealed in which he was told what mission he had to perform after his appointment to Prophethood. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
"The pen" is used here as a symbol for the art of writing or, more specifically, for all knowledge recorded by means of writing: and this explains the symbolic summons "Read!" at the beginning of verses {1} and {3}. Man's unique ability to transmit, by means of written records, his thoughts, experiences and insights from individual to individual, from generation to generation, and from one cultural environment to another endows all human knowledge with a cumulative character; and since, thanks to this God-given ability, every human being partakes, in one way or another, in mankind's continuous accumulation of knowledge, man is spoken of as being "taught by God" things which the single individual does not - and, indeed, cannot - know by himself. (This double stress on man's utter dependence on God, who creates him as a biological entity and implants in him the will and the ability to acquire knowledge, receives its final accent, as it were, in the next three verses.) Furthermore, God's "teaching" man signifies also the act of His revealing, through the prophets, spiritual truths and moral standards which cannot be unequivocally established through human experience and reasoning alone: and, thus, it circumscribes the phenomenon of divine revelation as such.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The word اِنۡسَان is general yet since the foremost addressees are the Quraysh, it is they who are primarily addressed here. Reference is to the knowledge and wisdom, shari‘ah and law mentioned with the same emphasis in verses 129 and 151 of Surah al-Baqarah, verse 164 of Surah Al-i ‘Imran and verse 2 of Surah al-Jumu‘ah. It is stated that it is a special favour of the Almighty to the unlettered Arabs that He sent forth to them a messenger from among them who purifies them and for this instructs them in law and wisdom.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
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.

This second part of this Sürah, including verses verses 6-19, was revealed when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to perform the Prayer in the Islamic way in the Ka'bahand 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'bahin 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 arrogant behaviour of Abu Jahl.

Because of these very incidents the portion of this Surah beginning with Kalla inn al-insana la yat gha " كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ   " 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.

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ 
( 6 )   No! [But] indeed, man transgresses

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
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 Organization for mankind in general.

اَنۡ رَّاٰهُ اسۡتَغۡنٰىؕ‏ 
( 7 )   Because he sees himself self-sufficient.

That is, when the man has attained wealth, honor and rank and whatever else he desired to attain in the world, he becomes rebellious instead of being grateful and transgresses the boundaries of servitude to Allah.

 إِنَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ الرُّجْعَ 
( 8 )   Indeed, to your Lord is the return.

That is, whatever he might have attained in the world, which makes him behave arrogantly and rebelliously, in the end he has to return to your Lord. Then he will realize what fate awaits him in consequence of his such attitude and behavior.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
it., "is the return (ar-ruj'a - الرُّجْعَ)". This noun has here a twofold implication: "everyone will inescapably be brought before God for judgment", as well as "everything that exists goes back to God as its source". In ultimate analysis, the statement expressed in verses {6-8} rejects as absurd the arrogant idea that man could ever be self-sufficient and, hence, "master of his own fate"; furthermore, it implies that all moral concepts - that is, all discrimination between good and evil, or right and wrong - are indissolubly linked with the concept of man's responsibility to a Supreme Power: in other words, without such a feeling of responsibility - whether conscious or subconscious - the concept of "morality" as such loses all its meaning.

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يَنْهَىٰ 
( 9 )   Have you seen the one who forbids

 عَبْدًا إِذَا صَلَّىٰ 
( 10 )   A servant when he prays?

A servant: the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah himself. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has been mentioned by this epithet at several places in the Quran. For example, Glory be to Him Who transported His servant one night from the Masjid al-Haram to the distant Temple. (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 1); All praise is for Allah Who has sent down this Book to His servant. (Surah Al- Kahf, Ayat 1); And that when the servant of Allah stood up to pray, the people got ready to assault him. (Surah Al- Jinn, Ayat 19). This shows that it is a special style of love by which Allah makes mention of His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) in His Book. Besides, it also shows that Allah after appointing His Messenger to Prophethood had taught him the method of performing the Prayer. There is no mention of this method anywhere in the Quran, saying: O Prophet, perform the Prayer in this and this way. Hence, this is another proof that the Revelation sent down to the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not only consist of what has been recorded in the Quran, but besides this, other things were also taught to him by revelation, which are not recorded in the Quran.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "who forbids a servant [of God] when he prays", implying an attempt at preventing. Since this seems to refer to praying in public, most of the classical commentators see in this passage (which was revealed at least a year later than the first five verses) an allusion to Abu Jahl, the Prophet's bitterest opponent in Mecca, who persistently tried to prevent Muhammad ﷺ and his followers from praying before the Ka'bah. However, there is no doubt that the purport of the above passage goes far beyond any historical incident or situation inasmuch as it applies to all attempts, at all times, to deny to religion (symbolized in the term "praying") its legitimate function in the shaping of social life - attempts made either in the conviction that religion is every individual's "private affair" and, therefore, must not be allowed to "intrude" into the realm of social considerations, or, alternatively, in the pursuit of the illusion that man is above any need of metaphysical guidance.

 أَرَأَيْتَ إِن كَانَ عَلَى الْهُدَىٰ 
( 11 )   Have you seen if he is upon guidance

 أَوْ أَمَرَ بِالتَّقْوَىٰ 
( 12 )   Or enjoins righteousness?

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "or enjoins God-consciousness (taqwa)" - i.e., whether his aim is to deepen his fellowmen's God-consciousness by insisting that religion is a purely personal matter: the obvious implication being that this is not his aim, and that he is not on the right way in thinking and acting as he does. - Throughout this work, the term taqwa - of which the present is the earliest instance in the chronology of Qur'anic revelation - has been rendered as "God-consciousness", with the same meaning attaching to the verbal forms from which this noun is derived. (See also surah {2}, note [2].).

 أَرَأَيْتَ إِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ 
( 13 )   Have you seen if he denies and turns away -

Sc., "because in his arrogance he cannot face it".

 أَلَمْ يَعْلَم بِأَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَرَىٰ 
( 14 )   Does he not know that Allah sees?

The audience here apparently is every just man, who is being asked: Have you watched the act of the person who prevents a servant from God’s worship? What do you think: if the servant be rightly guided, or warning the people to fear God and refrain from evil, and this forbidden be denying the truth and turning away from it, what will his act be like? Could this man adopt such an attitude had he known that Allah is watching the man who is exhorting others to piety as well as him who is denying the truth and turning away from it? Allah’s watching the oppressor and his wrongdoing and the oppressed and his misery by itself implies that He will punish the oppressor and redress the grievances of the wronged and downtrodden person.

كَلَّا لَئِن لَّمْ يَنتَهِ لَنَسْفَعًا بِالنَّاصِيَةِ 
( 15 )   No! If he does not desist, We will surely drag him by the forelock -

That is, the person who threatens that he would trample the neck of Muhammad (peace be upon him) down when he performed the Prayer, would never be able to do so.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Or: "by his forelock" - an ancient Arabian expression denoting a person's utter subjection and humiliation (see 11:56 and the corresponding note). However, as Razi points out, the term "forelock" (nasiyah - نَّاصِيَةِ )  is here used metonymically for the place on which the forelock grows, i.e., the forehead (cf. also Taj al-'Arus).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xi. 56,. 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 "  نَسْفَعًا "is a syncopated form of the emphatic first person plural.

 نَاصِيَةٍ كَاذِبَةٍ خَاطِئَةٍ 
( 16 )   A lying, sinning forelock.

The forelock here implies the person with the forelock.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual words are: نَاصِیَۃٍ کَاذِبَۃٍ خَاطِئَۃٍ. The word نَاصِیَۃ is a permutative (بدل) of the النَّاصِیَۃ of the previous verse. Though the former is not defined by the article alif lam and the latter is, yet such a grammatical interpretation is possible because the نَاصِیَۃ of this verse is defined by an adjective and such a noun can technically be regarded as a permutative (بدل) of a noun defined by the article alif lam.

 فَلْيَدْعُ نَادِيَهُ 
( 17 )   Then let him call his associates;

As we have explained in the Introduction, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) rebuked Abu Jahl on his foolish behavior, he had retorted: O Muhammad, on what strength do you threaten me? By God, my supporters in this valley far exceed yours in number. At this it is being said: Let him call his band of supporters.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Pagan Quraish, who formed an oppressive junta or council to manage the Ka'ba were in sympathy with Abu Jahl, though they did not go to the unbridled lengths to which Abu Jahl went. But they could not, all combined, resist the onward march of the divine mission, though they did all they could to check it.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "his council". According to the commentators who tend to interpret verses such as this in purely historical terms, this may be a reference to the traditional council of elders (dar annadwah) in pagan Mecca; but more probably, I think, it is an allusion to the arrogance which so often deludes man into regarding himself as "self-sufficient" (verses {6-7} above).

 سَنَدْعُ الزَّبَانِيَةَ 
( 18 )   We will call the angels of Hell.

According to the explanation given by Qatadah, the word zabaniyah "  زَّبَانِيَةَ  " in the original is used for the police in Arabic idiom, and zaban actually means to push away. The kings too kept armed attendants who would push out the one with whom the king was annoyed and angry. Therefore, what Allah means is: Let him call his supporters; We too shall summon Our Police, i.e. the angels of torment, to deal with him and his supporters.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
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.

۩ كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِب  
( 19 )   No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah]. ۩
۩ The translated words ‘prostrate’ in verse 19 comes from the word ‘Sujud’ which refers to the position in Muslim prayer where the head, hands, knees, and toes are on the ground. [2] Therefore anyone reading this Sūrah, should prostrate after reading the 19th verse.

Sajdah (prostration) here implies the Prayer, so as to say: O Prophet, continue to perform your Prayer fearlessly as you have been in the past, and seek your Lord’s presence through it. In the Sahih of Muslim and other books of Hadith there is a tradition from Abu Huraira to the effect: The servant is nearest to his Lord when he is in the state of prostration, and in Muslim there is also a tradition from Abu Hurairah that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited this verse, he performed a sajdah of recital.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The implication is that the Prophet (sws) should stick to his view with patience and perseverance and in the conflict between truth and falsehood, seek the nearness of God through the prayer and by prostrating himself before Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
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 (I. 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 realize his nearness to Allah.

You may now like to listen to an in depth Analysis & Tafseer of Sürah 96 Alaq by Nouman Ali Khan:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
    Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
    Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

    An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
    • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
    • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
    In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
    In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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