“Read in the name of your Lord Who created, created man from a clot of congealed blood. Recite: and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know.”
(The Qur’ān – 96:1-5)
Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi, in his exegesis Tafheem al-Qur’ān, says: when the Angel said to the Prophet ﷺ: 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 should not have replied, saying: I cannot read!
“Read in the name of your Lord” 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.
The word khalaqa (created) means to say: Read in the name of the Lord, Who is the Creator, Who created the whole universe and everything in it. Alaq is plural of alaqah, which means congealed blood. This is the primary state of the embryo which appears a few days after conception.
It is a great favour of Allah that starting man’s creation from a most insignificant state, He made him possessor of knowledge. He made him not only possessor of knowledge but also taught him the art of writing by the use of pen.