The Human Truth Foundation

Sura 96 of the Qur'an

By Vexen Crabtree 2013

Title: Al-Alaq
English: The Clot
Location: Makkah

Traditional Order:
< Sura 95 (At-Tin - The Fig)
> Sura 97 (Al-Qadr - The Power)

Chronological Order:
|| Quran Overview
> Sura 68 (Al-Qalam - The Pen)

Verses: 19

The first revelation occurred on the slope of Mount Hira outside the town of Mecca in western Arabia in the year 610. The archangel Gabriel (Jibra'il) appeared to Muhammad holding a scroll in his hand and commanded him to read it, saying iqra'! (Read!). [Muhammad] repeated the words after him, reciting the first five verses of what is now the 96th chapter of the Qur'an.

"Islam: A Brief History" by Paul Lunde (2003)1

1Recite: In the Name of thy Lord who created,
2created Man of a blood-clot.
3Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous,
4who taught by the Pen,
5taught Man that he knew not.
6No indeed; surely Man waxes insolent,
7for he thinks himself self-sufficient.
8Surely unto thy Lord is the Returning.
9What thinkest thou? He who forbids
10a servant when he prays --
11What thinkest thou? If he were upon guidance
12or bade to godfearing --
13What thinkest thou? If he cries lies, and turns away -
14Did he not know that God sees?
15No indeed; surely, if he gives not over, We shall seize him by the forelock,
16a lying, sinful forelock.
17So let him call on his concourse!
18We shall call on the guards of Hell.
19No indeed; do thou not obey him, and bow thyself, and draw nigh.

1. 96:1-5 - The First Five Verses Revealed to Muhammad 2

It's not a good start; the blood-clot statement is manifestly untrue as we now know for sure how the human species was formed - at no point was it from a blood clot. "Taught by the pen" is also untrue; the vast majority of religious instruction previous to the Archangel Gabriel giving this scroll to Muhammad has been oral, taught by the mouth, not by the pen. If it refers to the eternal copy of the Qur'an held in heaven, then, this itself wasn't what has taught mankind previously - that's still down to oral transmission.

"Taught humanity what it knew not" is an unfortunate phrase, given that scientists have had to correct the blod-clot mistake, and the vast majority of human knowledge has been attained by human effort, not by divine help.