This Surah, revealed at Makkah, has two parts: the first part consists of first revelation sent down to the Prophet. The second part, when he began to perform the prescribed Prayer in the precincts of the Ka'bah and Abu Jahl tried to prevent him from this with threats.
- The very first revelation 'Iqra bismi Rabbi kal-ladhi khalaq-Ma lam y'alam' (Read in the name of your Lord Who created what he did not know)."
- Read in the name of Allah, Who created man and taught him by the pen.
- Those who forbid others from the worship of Allah will be dragged to hell by their forelock.
When the Prophet (pbuh) experienced this extraordinary event of receiving the first revelation, he returned home to Sayyidah Khadijah trembling with fear, and said to her: "Cover me, cover me," and he was covered. When terror left him, he said: "O Khadijah, what has happened to me?" Then he narrated to her whatever had happened, and said: "I fear for my life." She took him to Waraqah bin Naufal, who had become a Christian in pre-Islamic days, transcribed the Gospel in Arabic and Hebrew, and had become blind through old age. Waraqah said: "This is the same Namus (the Angel assigned to bring revelations) which Allah had sent down to Moses (pbuh). Would that I were a young man during your Prophethood! Would that I were alive when your tribe would expel you!" The Holy Prophet said: "Will they expel me?" Waraqah said: "Yes, never has it so happened that a person brought what you have brought and was not treated as an enemy. If I live till then I will help you with all the power at my command." But not very long after this Waraqah died.
This narrative is explicit that when Waraqa bin Naufal, who was a Christian, heard the Prophet's experience, he did not regard it as an evil suggestion. This meant that even according to him, the Prophet was such a sublime person that there was nothing surprising in his being elevated to the office of Prophethood.
The second part of this Surah vv. 6-19 was revealed when the Prophet began to perform his prayer in the Islamic way. The other people were watching it with curiosity, but Abu Jahl in his arrogance and pride threatened the Prophet and forbade him to worship in that way in the Ka'bah.