“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Read in the name of thy Lord Who creates — Creates man from a clot, Read and thy Lord is most Generous, Who taught by the pen, Taught man what he knew not” (Holy Qur’an 96:1-5).
The Holy Qur’an was not arranged in chronological order, the order in which the revelations came to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Centuries have passed and its divine compilation remains a conundrum. However, we do know that in this Book of 114 surahs (chapters), we find the first revelation given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) near the end of the Qur’an in the 96th surah, The Clot. This surah opens with the first direct instruction ever given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the Most High through the angel, Jabril. His instructions were: Read – or “Iqra” in Arabic. Interestingly, Allah (God) was well aware that his Prophet was illiterate; nevertheless, He commands the Prophet to, read. Why is reading so important? And why does this divine command come to us in a chapter titled, The Clot?
A blood clot is coagulating or congealed blood that forms a semi-solid lump or mass in the body. This is the physical make-up of every new life in the womb of a woman during its initial stage of development – just after conception. As the cells and tissues of this new life begin to multiply and take shape, the first and most essential organ of the body also begins to form – the brain.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches – just as the brain is the first part of the new life to develop, we should synchronize this development with the first instruction given by Allah (God) – read. While the baby is a clot – read. While the brain is developing – read. During each trimester of pregnancy – read. READ to our baby every day.
In his lecture, How to Give Birth to a God, the Minister said, “Talk to the child while it is in the womb. Teach it, read to it; not silly fairy tales. Read to it and read to it the most beautiful narratives, the most beautiful stories, the most beautiful attributes; read it into the child. Write on the paper of the child’s mind. Stamp his mind with your heart-felt desires for God and bring forth a child in the image and likeness of God.”
As a student of literacy, I was taught that there are five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Once a student achieves basic comprehension, they are considered a good reader because reading is not just the recitation of words, but the ability to comprehend the meaning behind those words. In short, reading is understanding. An advanced reader is always involved in comprehensive reading – the ability to understand and connect to the material by purposely absorbing the meaning of each word, phrase, sentence and paragraph throughout the entirety of the text.
If a pregnant mother is truly reading, she is also thinking because thinking is required if our objective is to comprehend or understand what we are reading. Thinking is the result of stimulated thoughts, which are not abstract formless things. Thought is substance; it’s tangible; it’s real. Thought permeates from the mind and travels throughout the body, affecting every cell in the body – from the brain to the heel. How can this be easily proven? When one gets nervous or frightened; anxious or stressed…These are feelings from thoughts that in-turn cause a physical reaction in the body: The heartbeat increases, palms get sweaty, the stomach is nauseated – the mouth is dry. These are all physical reactions in different parts of the body from thoughts. If these symptoms of thought are not quelled, it could lead to a more serious condition; perhaps even nerve, tissue or organ damage. Well, what if these same thoughts or similar ones persisted and increased in intensity from the mind of a pregnant mother? How would the baby, who is completely reliant on the mother, be affected? What if, instead, those thoughts were positive?
Consider the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s words to Brother Jabril Muhammad: “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told me once that, ‘It takes 500 seconds—eight minutes and 20 seconds for the light, traveling at 186,000 miles per second, to travel from the sun to the Earth.’ Likewise, he said, ‘It takes 500 seconds—eight minutes and 20 seconds for the blood to make a complete circuit between the heel and the brain and back.’ He said, ‘When you go to visit a person that is sick, if you put the right word in their ear, within eight minutes and 20 seconds you will see a change in the spirit of such person.’ What that told me was that the level of energy, light, spiritual power that is contained in right words communicated from the right motivation energizes the brain of the recipient of such word. That energy is delivered to every part of the body, thereby increasing the energy level of that person.”
Regardless to circumstances, no expectant mother is so busy that she cannot devote a minimum of 500 seconds – eight minutes and 20 seconds – every day to communicating the right words to her baby; energizing the brain of her baby. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated, “There is no other book more valuable to read, than that which God reveals for the destiny of human beings. The Word of God, whether you find it in the Bible or Qur’an is valuable if understood.” The Holy Qur’an, in particular, covers every aspect of life. It informs us of how best to live the life that Allah (God) gifted to us. These divine instructions should be passed on to our baby – imprinting them on the developing brain so that Allah’s (God’s) words become a part of the nature and character of the child. It may sound incredible, but the woman is in-fact blessed with this magnificent ability when she actively co-operates and co-creates with God.
Not only should the word of God be read to our baby; but we can also give our baby his/her purpose right from the womb. Ask yourself: What does our Nation need? EVERYTHING. How would you like your child to contribute to the upliftment of our people and Nation – through what field of endeavor: Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Education, Defense, Art & Culture, Trade & Commerce, Justice, Information or Science & Technology? We should choose a field and find books about that particular field and immerse ourselves in reading those books to our baby. With the help of Allah (God), we will produce a child with an inclination – a natural leaning – towards its purpose in science or health or agriculture or any of the aforementioned ministries.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us that the brain of the child is fashioned by the thoughts, desires and blood of the mother. According to scientists, by the time the baby is born, it already has almost all of the neurons it will ever have; given to it by the mother. The brain of the child grows at an astounding rate the first years of life. From birth to age three, the brain develops 700 new neural connections every second. The brain doubles in size in the first year and by the age of three, it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Our babies are capable of learning almost anything during this critical period of brain development.
If we read to our baby consistently while in the womb, we will find that as we continue to teach our baby from infancy and beyond; he/she will learn with ease. Not only have we laid a foundation of divine and purposeful knowledge as a base for our child; but in addition, a desire and a natural inclination in him/her to read and to continue to learn.
All praise is due to Allah (God)!
Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.