- Call out words! in the name of your Lord, He-Who-Created–
- He created man, from a blood-clot:
- Call out words! And your Lord is the most generous,–
- He Who taught by (the use of) the pen,–
- Taught man that which he knew not.
- I use the phrase “call out words!” for the word that can either be rendered “read!” or “recite!” This is a pre-literate (though not alliterate) society, which meant that all reading was done aloud, and this activity was not clearly distinguished from declaiming something that is memorized. A recitation of a poem or a reading of a poem is the exact same activity from the perspective of the listener.
The resources for this surah are very long, likely the longest of any, because a great deal of background work has to be done to establish the pagan environment in which Muhammad received his supernatural visitation. Future resources will generally be much shorter.