The chapter begins with the first five verses revealed to the Prophet through the angel Jibraail in the cave of Hira on the mountain of light where he used to go to meditate. This began the journey of the revelation of the Qur’an.
The chapter starts with an exhortation of reading, learning and writing for closeness to Allah is only achieved through knowledge and understanding. It continues with the cause of rebelliousness which is arrogance and a lack of intellectual humility when approaching Divine words.
A historical example of one who perceived himself to be independent of Divinity follows with the consequences of his actions.
Finally the sura ends with the order to prostrate in total submission. This is an obligatory sajda of recitation (verse 19).