A selection of books in the Kings Library Tower within the British Library, London.
The story of Prophet Muhammad's first encounter with Angel Gabriel reads as follows: One day while meditating in the cave of hira in the hills overlooking the city of Medina, he heard a voice call out Iqra (read). Shocked, surprised, unaware of where the voice came from he responed, "I cannot read". He then felt a tight hug, then the voice again said Iqra. Again, he replied, "I cannot read" - after all, in that period of time very few could read and write, with knowledge be passed in the verbal tradition. The same happened again, after which Angel Gabriel said:
"Read, in the name of the God who created. Created man, out of a mere clot of congealed blood. Read and your Lord is Most Honorable. Who taught man to write with the pen. Taught man that which he knew not. "
This important message, of education, of learning was pushed throughout the Muslim world, so much so that S.P. Scott, speaking of the Muslims (Moors) of Islamic Spain wrote:
"At a time when even (Christian) kings could not read or write, a Moorish king had a private library of six hundred thousand books. At a time when ninety-nine percent of the Christian people were wholly illiterate, the Moorish city of Cordova had eight hundred public schools, and there was not a village within the limits of the empire where the blessings of education could not be enjoyed by the children of the most indigent peasant, ...and it was difficult to encounter even a Moorish peasant who could not read and write."
We must all read, learn, educate ourselves and understand. Any by that, I'm not referring to the TV Guide :)