Last night I was taught that Surah 96, from the Koran, is actually Surah 1, if taken chronologically. Somebody – probably one of the first scribes – rearranged the Koran for ease of reading (could somebody verify this for me?).
In any case, the Surah begins with an aleph, which is also the first letter of Allah, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and the first letter of this first Surah. It also makes up the first letter for the word “read,” which is the first letter of the first Surah. According to the narrative, the angel Gabriel was asked to “read” and his reply was: “I can not read!” But then, nonetheless, the first word written – by the pen – ends up being “read.” It has a curious fate similar, I think, to the word “Yod” in Hebrew scripture.
The name of the first Surah – I think it was named by Mohammed himself – is “the clot.” I asked for the best translation of this word “Al-Alaq” into English and I was told that it was a little piece of excess, a little piece of extra something, like a blood clot or a single sperm, or ‘attached and hanging off of something more congealed or with more mass.’ The bahaus, I guess, have an even more interesting reading of this, but I’ll leave that.
Little stories like that demonstrate that theology is not yet dead, and that, moreover, psychoanalysis has something interesting to say about theology. The aleph, like yod, is a dot that tapers off…
In the beginning was the objet petit a.