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In the Name of God بسم الله

Was Prophet Muhammad (saw) Illiterate?

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Salaams

The hadith narrate that when the prophet revealed the first revelation, he was told 'Read' by the archangel Gabriel three times to which he replied 'i am not learned' after which the third time, the archangel hugged him very violently and he was then able to repeat the verses of Quran after they were revealed to him.

The shias reject this hadith because we believe that the prophet was a prophet from the time he was born and receives his knowledge directly from Allah which is why he never had to learn literacy skills from fellow human beings.

The reason he didnt read or write was so that nobody could accuse him of concocting the quran rather than it being due to the incapability on his part of being able to.

In todays world, nobody says that Amir ul Mo'mineen Ali ibn Abu Talib AS. was an illiterate man - yet which university or school did he go to? The Mohammadi University - that is where he went! If the student is one of the greatest scholars of the arabic language, imagine the literacy skills of his teacher!

In shia hadith from the prophet, we hear many hadith constantly emphasizing the importance of knowledge for example:

- the ink of a scholar is greater than the blood of a martyr

- it is encumbent upon every male and female to acquire knowledge from the cradle to the grave

- seek knowledge even if you have to go as far as china (china was an impossibly far journey back in those days)

in addition to this - the prophet said 'i am the city of knowledge and ali is its gate'. Have you ever heard of an illiterate city of knowledge? i

People assume that the prophet did not read or write due to the inability. The actual fact is that it was Allah's way of showing the people that the book was genuinely from Allah and that Muhammad pbuh. was genuinely a prophet because it would not be befitting for a prophet of God to be seen to be trying to gain knowledge from books written by human beings.

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in addition to this - the prophet said 'i am the city of knowledge and ali is its gate'. Have you ever heard of an illiterate city of knowledge? i

People assume that the prophet did not read or write due to the inability. The actual fact is that it was Allah's way of showing the people that the book was genuinely from Allah and that Muhammad pbuh. was genuinely a prophet because it would not be befitting for a prophet of God to be seen to be trying to gain knowledge from books written by human beings.

Good point here :)

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Salams

I'm confused as to what the shia belief is on this matter of whether or not the Prophet could read and/or write.

Is the shia belief that the prophet knew how to read and write but never read and wrote in order to preserve the authenticity of the quran? If so then I don't understand why Allah would teach Muhammed (pbuh) how to read and write if he was never going to use or have the need to use these skills. Also if he never read and wrote, how does one assume that he knew how?

In Murtadha Mutahhari's (ra) writing of The Unschooled Prophet he seems to have the opposite belief i.e. that the prophet could neither read nor write.

http://www.al-islam.org/unschooled/

I also don't understand why it would be degrading to the prophet for one to believe that he could not read or write. He didn't need to know how to read or write because he acquired his knowledge from Allah and had no need to gain knowledge from the people around him. For us, it is degrading to be illeterate because we have the need to learn from the people around us.

And for those who believe he could not read or write, who would verify that the scribes had written the Quran accurately when the prophet dictated it to them?

I'm so confused lol :)

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I also don't understand why it would be degrading to the prophet for one to believe that he could not read or write. He didn't need to know how to read or write because he acquired his knowledge from Allah and had no need to gain knowledge from the people around him. For us, it is degrading to be illeterate because we have the need to learn from the people around us.

Salaams Sis

It would be very degrading ofcourse since if the Prophet was allegedly illiterate and sunnis claim that the first 3 caliphs were instrumental in the compilation of the Quran. does it mean that the first 3 caliphs were superior?

No our Prophet was very literate and the evidence should come from the Quran. I was just wondering if anyone knew.

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Salaams Sis

It would be very degrading ofcourse since if the Prophet was allegedly illiterate and sunnis claim that the first 3 caliphs were instrumental in the compilation of the Quran. does it mean that the first 3 caliphs were superior?

No our Prophet was very literate and the evidence should come from the Quran. I was just wondering if anyone knew.

Our prophet got his knowledge from Allah (swt). Is there any ref that he was literate?

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Our prophet got his knowledge from Allah (swt). Is there any ref that he was literate?

I am not good at Arabic, but would Kalam not mean the pen? And if Iqra means "read", what would one read? Would it not be something written? And if so, would these not be references to literacy?

Yes I agree that the Prophet got his knowledge from Allah, but so did every other Prophet. Are the aspects of obtaining knowledge from Allah and literacy, mutually exclusive?

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well we all know that on His (pbuh) death bed he asked for a pen and paper to write with and umar refused him, saying the quran was sufficient for the ummah and he did not need to write anything else..... so by the time He (pbuh) passed he was literate.......

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^ Shaheed Murtadha Mutahhari argues in his The Unschooled Prophet that this is not proof enough:

It is however inappropriate to rely on this tradition, for it does not openly indicate that the Holy Prophet (SA) intended to write with his own hand. Even if we assume that he intended to have someone write, in the presence of the people, and thus have them as witnesses, using the statement: "I want to write something for you lest you should go astray" is quite acceptable. In literature, this is called `metaphorical attribution'. It is one of the signs of eloquence and is used widely in Arabic as well as other languages

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In 2005 :!!!: the following was given in an answer to a similar question:

Please search for it in the Prophet/AhlulBayt forum. This topic was discussed, in detail, some time back.

THREAD LOCKED

Wa'Salam

Ali

And here are some of the threads relating to this issue:

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;hl=illiterate

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