"Iqra" Read The Quran
"Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not" [Quran, 96: 1-5]
It is common knowledge that the first word of the Quran that was brought down upon the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by Allah in the caves of Hira and was ordered to read by Gibrael was “Iqra”. In its simplest sense the word means ‘read’. Allah chose to send down the word “read” as the first one of the Quran. The beauty of this gesture by Allah is something to think about. When Allah sent down this word, he not only meant the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to read, but also meant him to understand the vastness of the little word. The word Iqra.
The word Iqra has a special importance in Islam not only because it was the first word of the Quran brought down upon the Holy Prophet but also because it represented the entire life of the ummah of the Prophet (PBUH). Allah sent down the Quran as a blessing for us which could only become a blessing in the complete sense of the word when the followers of the Prophet read it. The Quran is a complete code of life, hence Allah asked us to read it and gain knowledge.
The importance of getting knowledge goes hand in hand with the need to get education, as advocated by this one word too. Allah ordained education for Muslims by asking them to “read” and telling that it is “He who taught from the pen”. Is it not clear that this is the way he asked us to seek education? And knowledge?
Allah says in the Quran: "And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)" [Quran, 16:78]
He , the Most Exalted, gave us the five senses. He is the ONE who gave us a heart. Why? So that we may use it to get knowledge about life, our history, our ancestors, our faith, our religion and eventually showing us the right path, the path that takes us to worship Allah and not to attach anyone with Him. And that knowledge we can only get if we learn to read and write so that our horizons are broader and we submit to Him and Him only.
Even the Holy Prophet (PBUH) ordained the seeking of knowledge for his followers. When the holy Prophet passed away he did not leave any material wealth for his followers but the power of knowledge that he himself knew was so important since the time that word “Iqra” was uttered to him in the caves of Hira. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him." (Al-Bukhaari)”
The word “Iqra” does not only mean reading of a book to gain knowledge. It also means reading everything around you, reading the nature around you and saying “SubhanAllah” and reading the intentions of Allah in the words of the Quran. It means reading the creation of Allah and learning about them.