17 October 2012

Surah 96 (The Clot): Muhammad's first revelation

"The Clot" (Al-Alaq) was the first surah that Muhammad (I'll just call him "Mo") claimed to receive from Allah. Mo was about 40 years old at the time (ca. 610 CE).

Here's the story from the Hadith (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith - 6.478), as told by Aisha, who twelve years later became Mo's favorite wife. (Since Aisha was only nine years old when her marriage to the 52-year-old Mo was consummated, she wouldn't have yet been born when this story supposedly took place.)

File:Mohammed receiving revelation from the angel Gabriel.jpg
Mo receiving the first revelation from the angel Gabriel

While Mo was sleeping in the cave of Hira, an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to read. Mo replied that he didn't know how to read. Then the angel forced him hard to the ground, so hard he could hardly stand it.
The commencement (of the Divine Inspiration) to Allah's Apostle was in the form of true dreams in his sleep, for he never had a dream but it turned out to be true and clear as the bright daylight.Then he began to like seclusions, so he used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where ... one day he received the Guidance while he was in the cave of Hira.
An Angel came to him and asked him to read. Allah's Apostle replied, "I do not know how to read." The Prophet added, 'then the Angel held me (forcibly) and pressed me so hard that I felt distressed.'
The angel released him and again told him to read. And Mo again told him that he didn't know how to read.
Then he released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.' Thereupon he held me again and pressed me for the second time till I felt distressed. He then released me and asked me to read, but again I replied. 'I do not know how to read.'
So the angel knocked him down a third time, pressing him so hard he could hardly stand it.
Thereupon he held me for the third time and pressed me till I got distressed, and then he released me and said, 'Read, in the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists), has created man out of a clot, Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, has taught man that which he knew not.'
And the words in bold became the first five verses in the Quran (96:1-5).
Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
Createth man from a clot.
Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
Who teacheth by the pen,
Teacheth man that which he knew not.
When Mo woke up from his dream, he was afraid he was either a poet or possessed. (He hoped he was possessed, though, because he really hated poets.) He was so upset that he decided to commit suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. (Ibn Ishaq, p.106-7)
And I awoke from my sleep, and it was as though these words were written on my heart. Now none of God's creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed: I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me, poet or possessed ... I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. 
So he went off to do that, but while he was climbing the mountain he heard a voice from the sky saying, "O Muhammad! Thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel."
So I went forth to do so and then when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, "O Muhammad! thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel."
When he looked up he saw the angel Gabriel with one foot on each horizon. And no matter what direction Mo looked, there was Gabriel standing in front of him, with a foot on each horizon.
I raised my head towards heaven to see (who was speaking), and Lo, Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon ... then I began to turn my face away from him, but towards whatever region of the sky I looked, I saw him as before. 
After the vision, Mo returned to Mecca, but he still wasn't sure whether the horizon-straddling sky guy was Gabriel or a satan. Luckily, Khadija (Mo's first wife) knew how to find out.

She told him that the next time the sky guy comes to visit, he should sit by her left thigh. So the next time he saw him, he sat by her left thigh. Then she asked Mo if he could still see him. He said that he could.

Next Khadija told Mo to turn around and sit on her right thigh. He did that, and she asked him, "Can you see him?" He said, "Yes, I can still see him."

Then she told him to sit on her lap. When he did that, she asked if he could still see him. And, once again, Mo said, "Yes."

Finally, Khadija threw off her veil and "disclosed her form" while Mo was sitting in her lap, and said, "Can you still see him?" This time Mo said, "No."

From this test, Khadija knew for sure that Mo's imaginary friend was an angel and not a a satan.
She [Khadija] said to the apostle of God, 'O son of my uncle, are you able to tell me about your visitant, when he comes to you?' He replied that he could, and she asked him to tell her when he came. So when Gabriel came to him, as he was wont, the apostle said to Khadija, 'This is Gabriel who has just come to me.' 'Get up, O son of my uncle, she said, 'and sit by my left thigh'. The apostle did so, and she said, 'Can you see him?' 'Yes,' he said. She said, 'Then turn round and sit on my right thigh.' He did so, and she said, 'Can you see him?' When he said that he could she asked him to move and sit in her lap. When he had done this she again asked if he could see him, and when he said yes, she disclosed her form and cast aside her veil whil the apostle was sitting in her lap. Then she said, 'Can you see him?' And he replied, 'No.' She said, 'O son of my uncle, rejoice and be of good heart, by God he is an angel and not a satan.'
Now those of you who have been corrupted by Western influences may not understand this test. So let me explain it to you.

You see, if Mo's friend was a satan, he wouldn't mind hanging around while a woman took off her veil and started messing around with a man. In fact, he'd enjoy it. But not an angel. The sight of an unveiled woman would be so disgusting to an angel, that he'd leave -- which is what Mo's friend did. Therefore, Mo's mysterious imaginary friend must be an angel. QED.

So now we know for sure that the Quran (or at least the first five verses) was revealed by an angel and not a satan.

And yet, strangely, for all of Allah, Gabriel, and Mo's shenanigans, there's not much in this surah.

Here's a summary:

Humans were created from a clot.
Thy Lord ... createth man from a clot. 96:1-2
If you deny Allah, he'll grab you by the forelock and throw you in hell.
If he denieth (Allah's guidance) ... We will seize him by the forelock - The lying, sinful forelock - [and] We will call the guards of hell. 96:13-18
(Note: The "forelock" that Allah refers to here is not what you think it is. It is, according to Muslim scholars, the prefrontal cortex. Allah will grab you by your lying, sinful prefrontal lobe and throw your ass into hell. You can read all about it here. It's just one of the many scientific miracles of the Quran.)
That's it. That's all Allah had to say in Surah 96. Maybe he'll do better in his next revelation.


TWF said...

What a brilliant test! Mo's cousin was a genius!

By the way, the angel-Mo interaction is exactly how I train my dog. Funny, but I still haven't gotten my dog to read, not matter ho much I force his head to the ground, let alone to write a Surah.

Hausdorff said...

I don't understand the whole thing with sitting by her thigh and sitting on her lap. Seems like such a strange way to put things

Steve Wells said...

Yeah, Hausdorff, I'm not sure what Khadija meant by the "sit on my thigh" thing. Maybe it involved more than that, a euphemism for hard-core Muslim hanky-panky, perhaps. Hard to say. Or maybe it meant what it said. Angels can't stand the sight of men messing around with unveiled women. Only Allah knows for sure.

Stephen said...

Oh, come on, guys! Don't you remember "sit on my lap and we'll talk about the first thing that pops up!"?
Steve Weeks

cloistered_cluttered_confused_orccc said...

I have a roommate that is an ESL student. My immediate first impression of the first paragraph or two of your essay was that the angel Gabriel was the personal anguish of studying and learning to read as an adult. It caused me to give an empathetic sigh for “Mo”. He really was struggling to learn his…Greek?
Speaking of Greek—the rest of your essay lead me view Khadija as the ultimate Fag-Hag. Forty year old gay Mo’ liked himself—a lot ;-).He really enjoyed be in seclusion where no matter in what direction he turned he fantasized about big powerful man like beings hovering over him. No matter which way he went he was always fantasizing about being over taken by a big powerful manly being. So Khadija gets the power rush of making a gay guy straight.
(By the way, the other “Mo” prophet, Joseph Smith, had fantasies of half-naked angels hovering over himself as well. From Joe the “Mo’s” experience Mormons—excuses me—members of the LSD church learn that angels have genitals unbeknownst to the Catholic Church).
What poor Khadija didn’t realize was that at eight years of age and also being Mo’s niece she didn’t cure Mo of his gaiety but rather trumped forbidden fantasy with incest and pedophilia.
I read and that is what I read.

Mickey Bitsko said...

How does this forelock thing work if one is bald?

But seriously, isn't a forelock a horse, and not a human, thing?

Steve Wells said...

Yeah, M. Carroll, it wouldn't work for me. Allah will have a hard time grabbing me by my forelock (my lying, sinful forelock).

But I guess that's not what "forelock" means in these verses. Allah was referring to the prefrontal cortex. He will grab you by your lying, sinful prefrontal lobe and throw your ass into hell. You can read all about it here.

Anonymous said...

If you dont beleive in the Quran, Bible, Torah etc..why spend such a great amount of time reading them?.. i dont like rock music..soooo i dont listen to it!..i dont creat a whole wewbsite about why exactly i hate rock music and make in depth evaluations of the lyrics of the songs that i dont like. what the point of that, why wudnt i jst foucs my life on the things that make me happy rather then the things that dont? i am a muslim and i am really not having a dig, this is a genuine question, im not insulting (well i dont think i am) ur beleifs, and i dont care if u dont beleive in the quran thats your business it doenst affect my life..but i really want to know..WHY PUT SO MUCH EFFORT INTO SOMETHING THAT MEANS NOTHING TO YOU?

if you dont beleive in islam, WHY read the quran? its like saying you hate mikey mouse but ur guna pay lots of money and spend lots of time in disney land?

i dont get it.... unless ur agenda is to offend?

Samin said...

Thanks Mohalabah! They are hopelessly brainwashed into one way of looking at life Anglo-Saxon LSD trip. I usually dont socialize in such places only stumbled on the website for once in my life.

Unknown said...

the forelock said here was the fontanela.

Unknown said...

Allow me to first disabuse the ill-informed and/or misguided: The marriage to Aisha was not consummated while she was still a girl. Women had no social status in pre Islamic, Arab culture. Marriage assured her protection and that she'd be provided for. A man would marry a woman for this reason, as well as romantic reasons. And was NOT the western arrangement ! ...the highly promising marriage statistics bear testimony that YOU are the people to talk on the subject ! The Catholic Church is rife with child sexual abuse, TODAY !!! And these freak pedophile rapists are shifted to other parishes, to prey upon and satisfy his pathological lust for little boys ! Why ? Why has this been accepted and hidden for so long ? Because they're ALL FREAKS ! The decision makers are freaks in this Christian pedophilia club ! Ohhh! Did I strike a nerve ?? What'd u say ? ... that this isn't an indictment of Catholicism as a whole?
Aisha was a very dear friend's child. It's deep to me that, in any discussion about Aisha and the Prophet Muhammad, Y'ALL are ALWAYS the ones whose focus on her virginity - YOUR OWN sick fantasies are centered in the image of a grown grey man raping a little girl ! I mean, TIME and AGAIN, THAT is what you decide is true and important.
You spend SO MUCH PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY on what you say is BS because it is a mirror being held to your face ! It causes you to cringe at yourselves and know that you stand on NOTHING, Your foundation is doomed to crumble, by its very nature !

Unknown said...

You are a profane, ill mannered, disrespectful bunch, who MUST lead very sad and empty lives - You CLAIM that you think on and study the Holy Books, yet you cite no quotations, give no reference for what you state as FACT. And most of you are agreeing with each other, because NONE OF YOU HAVE READ THE BIBLE, THE TORAH (same thing-Old Testament) OR THE QUR'AN !! You've never heard of THE INJIL or Bawa Muhayuddin or Yusef Ali or Sahih Muslim or al-Bukhari. You get your "FACTS"89 from Wikipedia and YouTube !!!!!!!! And from others such as yourself, whose lives and views on this world are equally pathetic.

I've a psychology paper due today. While Googling qs which is what lead me to glancing at this, uhhm, website. I've gotta give credit where credit is due, though ! When YOU MFers hate, you H A T E !! 😂😂😂😂😂😂 Y'ALL PUTS YA BACKS INTO IT, BABY !
I'm sayin', AN E N T I R E WEBSITE !
Sheesh ! 🤕
Make my damn head hurt. LMAO I can't hang with you "heavyweights" 😆😂
Ohh THANK YOU !! I needed that laugh ...

Unknown said...


The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
Palestinian geographer; born at Flosz, Bavaria, Oct. 22, 1804; died at Jerusalem
Feb. 5, 1865. When he was seventeen years old he graduated as teacher from the Königliches Schullehrerseminar of Colberg, after which he joined his brother Israel at the University of Würzburg, where for five years he devoted himself to the history and geography of the Holy Land, and published a map of Palestine (1829; republished at Vienna, 1831, and Triest, 1832). It was his ardent desire, however, to study in Palestine itself the physical history and geography of the Holy Land, where his knowledge of Talmudic sources and early Jewish writers would be of more service. Accordingly he decided to settle in Jerusalem, whither he went in 1833. Schwarz then began a series of journeys and explorations in various parts of Palestine, to which he devoted about fifteen years.

The results of his investigations and researches into the history, geography, geology, fauna, and flora of that country have placed him in the front rank of Palestinian explorers and geographers. HE IS THE GREATEST JEWISH AUTHORITY ON PALESTINIAN MATTERS SINCE ESTORI FARHI (1282-1357), the author of “Kaftor wa-Feraḥ.”

(Be sure to Google this article:
614-1096 C.E.
From the Accession of the Mahomedans to that of the Europeans.
By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850

Rabbi Shallum, son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, aka Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik. Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph, and was in fact son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, who perceiving a dreadful predicament, sent Rabbi Shallum to Mahomed, and told him to offer his submission, friendship, and services, and endeavour to enter with him into a friendly compact. Mahomed accepted Rabbi Shallum’s proposition with pleasure, conceived a great affection for him, and took his daughter, Aisha, a handsome young child, for wife; he made him also a general in his army, and gave him the name of Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik, literally:

The father of the maiden, the descendant of the righteous; this means, that of all his wives, who were either widows or divorced women, this one was the only one who had never been married before, and then she was the granddaughter of the celebrated chief of the captivity; therefore, the descendant of the righteous. This occurrence induced Mahomed to give up his terrible intention to destroy the Jews in his country, and thus did Rabbi Shallum save his people.