¡ Recite in the Name of thy Lord Who created,
1-5 For the account of the revelation of these verses, see the introduction to this sūrah. These verses begin by discussing creation; the first mention of creation in v. 1 can be taken as a reference to the fact that God creates all that exists from nothing (Aj). The passage then moves to the creation of the human being, who is honored and ennobled through knowledge, the faculty that distinguished Adam from the angels (IK). The creation of the human being and knowledge are related in the first revelation, because human beings are created for knowledge of God and His creation, and God teaches Adam and thus all humanity the names of all things (2:31) before commanding, providing laws, and judging. According to some, the mention of recitation precedes that of writing because, although both are means of conveying knowledge, there could be speech without writing, but not writing without speech (IK). Thus although recite could also be translated “read,” recite is the better option because the Prophet was not given something to read and is reported to have been “unlettered” (see 62:2c).