Iqrā’ – ‘Read’ or ‘Remember’? Rethinking the First Revelation of the Qur’ān

Ismaili Gnosis

“The command to recite the Name of the Lord seems to refer to a certain act of devotion… The interpretation…according to which ūrat al-‘Alaq urges the prophet to praise the Name of his Lord, was almost utterly forgotten.” (Uri Rubin)

“Al-Sijistāni holds that prophethood does not suddenly come into conjunction with just any prophet; rather, the prophet must experience significant change in his spiritual status.” (Shin Nomoto)

According to traditional interpretations, the verse (iqra bi-smi rabbika) instructs the Prophet to read the verses of the Qur’ān.  But there is another way of understanding these verses, based on early Muslim tradition and sources, which yields a different interpretation and in turn reveals the spiritual secrets of the prophetic mission.

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