96.1 Ibn Mardawih and Abu Naeem (رحمهم الله) in Al-Hilya narrated from Hazrat Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (رضي الله عنه) that
“Iqra Bi-Ismi Rabbika” is the first Surah that was revealed to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم).
(Majma az-Zawaid 7/293, Dur Al-Manthur)
96.2 A’isha (رضي الله عنها), the wife of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم), reported
The first (form) with which was started the revelation to the Messenger of Allah was the true vision in sleep. And he did not see any vision but it came like the bright gleam of dawn. Thenceforth solitude became dear to him and he used to seclude himself in the cave of Hira‘, where he would engage in tahannuth (and that is a worship for a number of nights) before returning to his family and getting provisions again for this purpose. He would then return to Khadija (رضي الله عنها) and take provisions for a like period, till Truth came upon him while he was in the cave of Hira‘. There came to him the angel and said: Recite, to which he replied: I am not lettered. He took hold of me [the Apostle said] and pressed me, till I was hard pressed; thereafter he let me off and said: Recite. I said: I am not lettered. He then again took hold of me and pressed me for the second time till I was hard pressed and then let me off and said: Recite, to which I replied: I am not lettered. He took hold of me and pressed me for the third time, till I was hard pressed and then let me go and said:
﴾ اقرأ باسم ربك الذي خلق ﴿
Recite in the name of your Lord who created –
﴾ خلق الإنسان من علق ﴿
Created man from a clinging substance.
﴾ اقرأ وربك الأكرم ﴿
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –
﴾ الذي علم بالقلم ﴿
Who taught by the Pen –
﴾ علم الإنسان ما لم يعلم ﴿
Taught man that which he knew not. (96:1-5).
Then the Prophet returned therewith, his heart was trembling, and he went to Khadija and said: Wrap me up, wrap me up! So they wrapped him till the fear had left him. He then said to Khadija: O Khadija! what has happened to me? and he informed her of the happening, saying: I fear for myself. She replied: It can’t be. Be happy. I swear by Allah that He shall never humiliate you. By Allah, you join ties of relationship, you speak the truth, you bear people’s burden, you help the destitute, you entertain guests, and you help against the vicissitudes which affect people.
Khadija then took him to Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. ‘Abd al-‘Uzza, and he was the son of Khadija’s uncle, i. e., the brother of her father. And he was the man who had embraced Christianity in the Days of Ignorance (i. e. before Islam) and he used to write books in Arabic and, therefore, wrote Injil in Arabic as God willed that he should write. He was very old and had become blind Khadija said to him: O uncle! listen to the son of your brother. Waraqa b. Naufal said: O my nephew! what did you see? The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم), then, informed him what he had seen, and Waraqa said to him: It is namus that God sent down to Musa. Would that I were then (during your prophetic career) a young man. Would that I might be alive when your people would expel you! The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) said: Will they drive me out? Waraqa said: Yes. Never came a man with a like of what you have brought but met hostilities. If I see your day I shall help you wholeheartedly.
96.3 Narrated `Aisha (رضي الله عنها)
The commencement of (the Divine Inspirations to) Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) was in the form of true dreams. The Angel came to him and said,
“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists),
Has created man from a clot.
Read! And your Lord is Most Generous,
Who has taught (the writing) by the Pen. (96:1-4)”
96.4 Narrated Yahya bin Abi Kathir (رحمه الله)
I asked Aba Salama bin `Abdur-Rahman about the first Sura revealed of the Qur’an. He replied “O you, wrapped-up [i.e. Al Muddaththir].” I said, “They say it was, ‘Read, in the Name of your Lord Who created,’ [i.e. Surat Al-`Alaq (the Clot)].” On that, Abu Salama said, “I asked Jabir bin `Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) about that, saying the same as you have said, whereupon he said, ‘I will not tell you except what Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) had told us.
Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) said, “I was in seclusion in the cave of Hira‘, and after I completed the limited period of my seclusion. I came down (from the cave) and heard a voice calling me. I looked to my right, but saw nothing. Then I looked up and saw something. So I went to Khadija (رضي الله عنها) (the Prophet’s wife) and told her to wrap me up and pour cold water on me. So they wrapped me up and poured cold water on me.” Then, ‘O you, (Muhammad) wrapped up! Arise and warn,’ (Surat Al Muddaththir) was revealed.” (74:1)
96.5 It was narrated that Jabir (رضي الله عنه) said
Mu’adh bin Jabal Al-Ansari (رضي الله عنه) led his companions in the ‘Isha’ prayer and he made it long. A man among us went away and prayed by himself. Mu’adh was told about that and he said: ‘He is a hypocrite.’ When the man heard about that, he went to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) and told him what Mu’adh had said to him. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) said: ‘Do you want to be a cause of Fitnah (trial, tribulation), O Mu’adh? When you lead the people in prayer, recite “By the sun and its brightness”[Ash-Shams 91] and “Glorify the Name of your Lord the Most High” [Al-A’la 87] and “By the night as it envelopes” [Al-Lail 92] and “Recite in the Name of your Lord.” [Al-‘Alaq 96]
96.6 Al-Wahidi (رحمه الله) related about
﴾ فليدع ناديه ﴿
Then let him call his associates
﴾ سندع الزبانية ﴿
We will call the angels of Hell (96:17-18)
This was revealed about Abu Jahl. Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) was praying when Abu Jahl came to him and said: ‘Did we not warn you against this?’ The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) went to him and spoke to him harshly. Abu Jahl retaliated by saying: ‘Indeed, you know very well that there is no one in Mecca who has more guards than me’, and as a response Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Then let him call upon his henchmen! We will call the guards of hell)” Ibn ‘Abbas commented: “By Allah, if he had called his people, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) would have sent on him the guards of hell”.
96.7 Imam Suyuti (رحمه الله) related about
﴾ سندع الزبانية ﴿
We too would summon the braves of the army (96:18)
Imam Ibn Jarir (رحمه الله) narrated from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) that Zabaniyah are those angels whose feet are on the Earth and heads in the Sky.
Ibn Munzir and Ibn Abi Hatim (رحمهم الله) also narrated the above tradition from Hazrat Abdullah bin Harith (رضي الله عنه)
(Tafsir al-Tabari 30/311, Dur Al-Manthur)
96.8 Imam Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله) related about
﴾ واسجد واقترب ﴿
Fall prostrate and draw near [to Allah]! (96:19)
It has been confirmed in the Sahih of Muslim on the authority of Abu Salih (رضي الله عنه) who reported from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) said, “The closest that a servant can be to his Lord is when he is in prostration. Therefore, make abundant supplications (i.e., while prostrating).”
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
96.9 It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) said
We prostrated with the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) in “When the heaven is split asunder” [Al-‘Inshiqaq 84:1] and “Read! In the Name of your Lord.” [Al-‘Alaq 96:1]
96.10 It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) said
Abu Bakr and Umar (رضي الله عنهم) and the one who was better than them prostrated during ‘When the heaven is split asunder [Al-‘Inshiqaq 84:1]’ and ‘Read! In the name of your Lord [Al-‘Alaq 96:1].’
96.11 Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (عليه السلام) said that
Whoever recites Surah Al-Alaq in the daytime or at night, and then passes away, he will be counted amongst the martyrs who died while fighting on the side of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم).
96.12 Sayyid Mustafa Musawi (رحمه الله) writes
It is highly recommended to recite Surah Al-Alaq while travelling and it acts as a safety from accidents. If recited on a treasure, it remains safe.