Laminated Bookmarker which reads Iqra and has a Black Tassel attached tot he Bookmarker.
The meaning of the word Iqra can be understood by learning the context of the first revelation. Ibn Kathir wrote in his tafsir of the said revelation:
Imam Ahmad recorded that A'ishah said: The first thing that began happening with the Messenger of Allah from the revelation was dreams that he would see in his sleep that would come true. He would not see any dream except that it would come true just like the (clearness of) the daybreak in the morning.
Then seclusion became beloved to him. So, he used to go to the cave of Hira' and devote himself to worship there for a number of nights, and he would bring provisions for that. Then he would return to Khadijah and replenish his provisions for a similar number of nights.
This continued until the revelation suddenly came to him while he was in the cave of Hira'. The angel came to him while he was in the cave and said, "Read!'' The Messenger of Allah said, (I replied: "I am not one who reads.) Then he said, "So he (the angel) seized me and pressed me until I could no longer bear it. Then he released me and said: `Read!' So I replied: I am not one who reads.' So, he pressed me a second time until I could no longer bear it. Then he released me and said:
(Read in the Name of your Lord who has created.) until he reached the Ayah, (That which he knew not.)
So he returned with them (those Ayat) and with his heart trembling until he came (home) to Khadijah, and he said, (Wrap me up, wrap me up!) So they wrapped him up until his fear went away. After that he told Khadijah everything that had happened and said, I fear that something may happen to me.
Khadijah replied, "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your relatives, you speak the truth, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generously, and you help the deserving, calamity-afflicted people.' .
The context indicates that the word Iqra in verse 96.1 is a command to the prophet (saw) to recite or read or proclaim. Its meaning may be to read and understand the meaning and then proclaiming/reciting it aloud to others. The following verse has a different form of the same word used to command the Muslims (of that time) to listen to the Quran attentively (which indicates that it is asking the Muslims to pay attention and understand the meaning since Muslims of that time were Arabic speakers):
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