The symbolism of pen (qalam) and book - or quill and tablet - plays an extremely important part in Islamic tradition. The Sufis teach that the Supreme Pen is Universal Intelligence.
In his Chronicles, Tabari wrote that God created the qalam a thousand years before he created anything else. He also wrote that the qalam was created from light.
The first thing which God created was the Hidden or Guarded Tablet. On it he wrote all that would be until the Day of Resurrection. God is the only being who knows what is written on it. It is made from white pearl and its length is the distance which separates Earth from Heaven and its breadth the distance between East and West. It is bound to the Throne and ever ready to strike the forehead of Israfil, the angel closest to the Throne. Whenever God wishes to bring into being something in his creation, the Tablet strikes Israfil on the forehead. He looks in it and reads the will of God. Allah, it is said, blots out or confirms whatever he wishes and in him is the archetype of the Written Word. God glances at this Tablet three hundred and sixty times a day. Whenever He looks at it, He gives life or brings death. He raises or abases. He confers honour or inflicts humiliation. He creates what He will and determines what seems good to Him.