The Quranic word Ummi is deliberately mis-translated and mis-interpreted as "Illiterate" by the Sunni (Orthodox) Muhammadans. Critical scholars (Tabari in his Tafsir) point out that this curious adjective is invariably used in the Quran in contradistinction and/or in apposition to the People of the Book/ Ahl al Kitab as in (S2:78; 3:20,75; 7:157; 62:2) and should therefore be taken to mean one IGNORANT of Holy Scriptures and/or the EARLIER REVEALED RELIGIONS; that is, unscriptured.
Ummi can also have the even more accurate meaning of Gentile (Hebrew:Goy) (any person who is not a follower of the Torah).
It is important to note that the word Ummi is the only adjective in the Quran which needed an explanation by always adding "…ignorant of previous revelations…".
Since the majority of the pagan Arabians were actually illiterate, the word Ummi was not in general use in the Arabic language until it appears in the Quran which is most probably a loan word from the Arabian 'Jews' (Yahoudyia) who labelled the pagans as such, ie Goyim/Ummiyoun; people without scriptures. It would then be based upon theHebrew word Umma meaning a people or a race. In the Hebrew Bible, the ordinary Israelites who were not knowledgeable of the Torah were called Ha'aretz, ie unlearned;not illiterate.
It is clear from the Quran that it generally means not having knowledge of Scriptures; other variations to the meaning are (Unlearned = Ummiyeen 3:20; Ignorant = Ummiyeen 3:75; Unlettered = Ummiyeen 62:2). ' People without a Revelation' as in
(2:78-Unlearned = Ummiyoun, La Ya'lamouna'l kitab/who do not know the Book). According to the Quran, Muhammad was (Unlettered = Ummi; 7:157/8).
Although the Quran and Arab historians call the Arabians before the Quran Jahilliyin, also meaning ignorant, this word was used by the Arabians to denote all types of unawareness not specifically related toRevealed Scriptures.
A child, in Arabic, is called Jahil because he is not mature enough to be informed of a lot of matters. In fact this word and its derivatives appear in nine verses meaning ignorant in general and not at all associated with the People of the Bookas in -
This particular word is not used in the Quran in apposition to the People of the Book/ Ahl al Kitab hence making it distinctly clear that the two words Ummi and Jahili have completely different connotations if not meanings. Since a child in Arabia was invariably illiterate, this word was associated, in the mind of the Arabians, with illiteracy.
No where in the Quran is there any explicit statement saying that Muhammad was an illiterate, not able to read and write.In fact in
29: 48 "And thou wast not (able) to recite [tatloo] a Book before this (Book came) nor art thou (able) totranscribe [takhuttuhu] it with thy right hand: in that case indeed would the talkers of vanities have doubt"
implies that Muhammad was ignorant of previous revelations, and hence could neither recite nor transcribe the Quran - before the 'revelations'. This obviously implies that he could have written the Quran with his right hand since if he were illiterate, this verse would not make any sense at all and would be irrelevant and redundant.
Moreover, the following verses reveal that Muhammad was accused - most probably on very pertinent grounds - by his adversaries, that he was able to read and write Arabic and that his 'revelations' were plagiarised from others:
25: 4But the Misbelievers say: "Naught is this but a lie which he has forged and others have helped him at it." In truth it is they who have put forward an iniquity and a falsehood. 5And they say: "Tales of the ancients which he has caused to be written [iktatabaha] : and they are dictated before [fa hiya tumla a'laiyhi] him morning and evening." 6Say: "The (Qur'an) was sent down by Him Who knows the Mystery (that is) in the heavens and the earth: verily He is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."
The expression "….they are dictated to him [ fa hiya tumla a'layhi]…." precludes that others were writing them for him.
It is not impossible that Muhammad did his best to make his gullible and superstitious followers believe that he was illiterate hence making the verses of the Quran appear to be of divine origin, 'divine revelations', recitedneither from any books nor from any human teachers and consequently, miraculous. He did this for obvious mind control/ theological reasons to assert his position as the 'messenger and prophet of Allah' who was always in communion with the angel Gabriel.
The reader should be made aware that, after all, all the Jewish prophets were inspired by the Divine and were not instructed from books making it irrelevant as to whether or not they were literate.
The fact is that in Ibn Ishaq's Sirat (p106) version of the first 'revelation',
the angel Gabriel confronted Muhammad while holding a cover on which there was WRITING and hence was correct in intructing him to
96.1 :" READ in the name of thy Lord….".
The word Ummi cannot have two different meanings simultaneously, illiterate (not able to read and write) as well as unlettered/unlearned (not having/knowing Scriptures). Even if Muhammad were illiterate, this does not exclude the fact that he could have been fluent in, nor that he was not fully aware of many Biblical stories since he was surrounded by multi religious influences: Jewish, Christian, Hanif, Sabaean, Zoroasterian, etc.
It isa fact that many of the most famous poets in pagan Arabia were ILLITERATEas well as UNLEARNEDbut produced some of the most memorable poems in Arabia's history called:Al Mua'allaqat. Had they not beenILLITERATE,they would have put their poems toWRITING.
Hence being illiterate does not deprive one from being a great poet or a reciter of prose.
2: 78 "And there are among them illiterates [Ummiyoun] who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires and they do nothing but conjecture".
Those 'Jews' who were taunting and questioning him are called"Ummiyoun la ya'lamouna'l kitab", "unlearned who do not know the Book" (of previous revelations) and the term is used in a derogatory manner meaning ignorant like the Goyim; the translator is wrong in using the word 'illiterates' to describe a people who are actually 'unlearned'.
Most important of all, the verse continues by saying " … la ya'lamouna'l kitab" which means "they do not know the Book" instead of they "cannot READ the Book"if literacy was being alluded to or being emphasised.
***The fact that the Quranic verse went to the trouble of elaborating upon and explaining the meaning of the word Ummi is not a tautological error but a deliberate attempt to make clear the actual and true meaning of the word 'ummiyoun' which would otherwise be misunderstood or unintelligible to his listeners.
It definitely negates the possibility that it means 'cannot read and write'; after all, there are no verses in the Quran explaining the meaning of other words as in this case ***
There are other variations as in 7:157/8 as "Al Rassool al Nabi al Ummi" meaning "the Messenger, the Prophet, the Unlettered"
In 62:2 "He who sent among the unlettered (people) a messenger from them" the term used is again "Houaa'llathi ba'atha fi'l Ummiyeena (the unlettered people) rasoola minhum".
What is most galling is that the followers of Muhammad have the audacity and mendacity to claim that they - all these Arabs who were totally ignorant of previous revelations - as well as being generally illiterate, had, at the same time, extensive 'Traditions' about the Bible, Adam, Abraham, Moses etc., when in fact and in reality, the Arabs had neither the Oral nor the Written knowledge of the Bibleexcept of course those who followed the religion of the Jews or the Chritians. This fact is confirmed and corroborated by none other than the Quran itself as in, again
29: 48 "And thou wast not (able) to recite (tatloo) a Book before this (Book came) nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: in that case indeed would the talkers of vanities have doubted"
This is a very illuminating verse which implies that Muhammad, before these revelations, could neither Recite nor Write them down since he was ignorant of them. In this verse, the Arabic word used to represent recite is Tatloo and not the incorrect Taqraa (which only means to read) because this is the true representation of what Muhammad could or could not do.
In conclusion, if Ummi does mean Illiterate/Unable to Read and Write, then this implies that ALL the pagan Arabs were so at the time of Muhammad which is impossible since according to the Ahadith, there were allegedly very many scribes who wrote down Muhammad's'revelations' as well as to the assertions that Ali, Umar, Abu Bakr, Uthman and many others - excepting Muhammad, of course -were able to read and write.
More to the point is the illogical implication that an astute businesswoman such as Khadijah was, married an illiterate Muhammad but nonetheless entrusted him to go on vital commercial trips without being able to calculate, read documents and sign contracts.
3: 20So if they dispute with thee say: "I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me." And say to the people of the Book and to those who are unlearned (ummiyeen): "Do ye (also) submit yourselves?" If they do they are in right guidance but if they turn back thy duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah's sight are (all) His servants.
*** Yet once more is the expression People of the Book juxtaposed against those who are ignorant of previous revelations/ ummiyeen, but not illiterate.
Muhammad and his followers were supposed to only CONVEY the message and not to RAM it into or FORCE it upon other peoples ***
7: 157"Those who follow the apostle the unlettered (ummi) prophet whom they [who are these they?] find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) [but the followers of Muhammad had no scripture!] ; in the law and the Gospel [neither the Torah nor the New Testament mention Muhammad unless he means that he is the promised Messiah as mentioned in the traditions]; for he [who is this he, if not Allah? If it is Allah, how did he get into the sentence?] commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil: he [is this Allah again?]allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him honor him help him and follow the light which is sent down with him it is they who will prosper." which in Aabic reads as"Al'llatheena yatb'aouna al rasoola'l nabi al ummi…"
# In this verse is a prefiguring, to Moses, of the Arabian Messenger, the last and greatest of the messengers of Allah. Prophecies about him will be found in the Taurat and the Injil. In the reflex of the Taurat as now accepted by the Jews, Moses says: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me" (Deut. xviii. 15): the only Prophet who brought a Shari'at like that of Moses was Muhammad Al- Mustafa, and he came of the house of Ismail the brother of Isaac the father of Israel. In the reflex of the Gospel as now accepted by the Christians, Christ promised another Comforter (John xiv. 16): the Greek word Paraclete which the Christians interpret as referring to the Holy Spirit is by our Doctors taken to be Periclyte, which would be the Greek form of Ahmad. See Q. lxi. 6 #
*** This is a remarkable verse because neither its content nor its sequence in the narrative make sense. It is actually a microcosm of the Quran in general; totally incoherant.
To start with, who are: Al-Latheena & Al-Lathee?
The first sentence says: "the followers of (Muhammad) the unlearned, whom they [his followers] find mentioned in their Scriptures" .
Especially sinceneither Muhammad nor his followers had any Scriptures nor were they knowledgeable of previous revelations: the Torah and the Gospels.
According to all the relevant verses mentioned in the Quran, Muhammad and his followers were unlearned and ignorant of previous revelations -even assuming that they were literate - then how could they have known about the contents of the Torah and the Gospels where in, allegedly but not truthfully Muhammad is allegedly predicted?
The garbled message continues "for he[Allah?] commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil: he[Allah?]allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He[Allah?] releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them".
These versescan only have been spoken by either Muhammad and/or Gabriel. Grammatically, structurally and linguistically, this is a totally garbled sequence of verses that no divinity could have ever stooped to be part of.
Muhammad was never predicted in the Torah and the quotation from
Deuteronomy 18: 15 " The Lord your God will raise to you aProphet from your midst, from your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen"
very clearly does not relate to Muhammad since he is not descended from Isaac's progeny.
The interpreter continues his indemonstrable allegations regarding the
'comforter' in the Gospel of John. In Greek, the word is 'parakletos' which means 'one called alongside' and has absolutely nothing to do with any Ahmad as absurdly and in desperation, concluded by the so called 'Muslim Doctors'.
Neither Muhammad nor anyone else in particular were or are predicted in the Torahor the New Testament; only true prophets in general terms are. Most of them are mentioned in the Bible but are totally and most incredibly ignored by Muhammad and his Quran.
The allegedly greatest of all the prophets received his message through a second party, second hand, the angel Gabriel, and not directly from God as happened to Abraham (Khalil'ul Allah) and to Moses (Kalim'ul Allah).
No one who receives God's inspirations and commands INDIRECTLY could ever be superior to the one who receives them directly or 'face to face'.
It was Muhammad, after all, who was allegedly easily tricked by SATANto announce verses - the SATANIC VERSES - that were not given to him by Gabriel, an event that did not befall any of the - presumably inferior - Hebrew prophets.
More over, as compared to the Biblical legislation, Muhammad in his Quran offered a lot that is new and beneficial to the pagan Arabs,but not an iota of advantage to the People of the Book ***
10:38Or do they say "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah if it be ye speak the truth!"
11:49Such are some of the stories of the Unseen which We have revealed unto thee: before this neither thou nor thy People knew them. So persevere patiently: for the End is for those who are righteous.
12:3 We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this thou too wast among those who knew it not.
*** These verses make it crystal clear that BOTH Muhammad and his followers were actually totally ignorant of previous revelations prior to the Quran***
16:43 And before thee also the apostles We sent were but men to whom We granted inspiration: if ye realize this not, ask of those who possess the Message.
*** The Quran is advising those who are in doubt among the followers of Muhammad to ask the Jews or Christians, the People of the Book, to CONFIRM the veracity of the Quran.
Several similar verses in the Quran, completely DESTROY the mendacious allegations perpetrated against the People of the Book byDESPERATEMuhammadan exegetes who allege that the Jews and Christians had ALTERED or PERVERTED their Books so that they deny the futue arrival of Muhammad.
These UNSUBSTANTIATED allegations are used to serve TWO purposes simultaneously:
One, to 'prove' that the People of the Book deliberately ALTERED their Books so that they would - PRE EMPTIVELY- remove all references about Muhammad in their Scriptures.
Two, to 'explain away' the incredible differences of the Quranic stories, names and dates that are TOTALLY at variance and INCOMPATIBLE with the originals in the Bible.
Thus with ONE STROKE, the followers of Muhammad deny the later followers among the People of the Book, the Jews andChristianstheir legitimacy and allow only themselves to have a monopoly upon 'revealed books' ***
36: 6In order that thou mayest admonish a people whose fathers had received no admonition and who therefore remain heedless (of the Signs of Allah).
#3946 The Quraish had received no Prophet before, and therefore one of themselves was made the vehicle for the universal Message to the whole world#
*** They were ignorant of previous revelations ***
42:52And thus have We by Our command sent inspiration to thee: thou knowest not (before) what was Revelation and what was Faith; but We have made the (Qur'an) a Light wherewith We guide such of Our servants as We will; and verily thou dost guide (men) to the Straight Way
*** Yet once more does the QuranASSERT that the pagan Arabs and Muhammad were ignorant of previous revlations prior to itself ***
62:2It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered (Ummiyeena) an apostle from among themselves to rehearse to them His Signs to sanctify them and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom although they had been before in manifest error
Al-Tirmidhi HadithHadith 96Narrated byAbdullah ibn Amr
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) went out and he had in his hand two books. He said: Do you know what these two books are? We said: Allah's Messenger, we do not know but only that you inform us.
Thereupon he said: This one which my right hand possesses is a Book from the Lord of the worlds.
It contains the names of the inmates of Paradise and the name of their forefathers and those of their tribes. It is most exhaustive and nothing will be added to it nor anything eliminated from it up to eternity.
He then said: This one in my left hand is a Book from the Lord of the worlds. It contains the names of the denizens of Hell and the names of their forefathers and their tribes. It is also exhaustive to the end and nothing will be added to it nor anything will be eliminated from it.
The Companions said: Allah's Messenger, (if this is the case) then where lies the use of doing a deed if the affair is already decided? Thereupon he said: Stick to the right course and remain as close to it as possible for one who is to be inmate of Paradise would end his life by an act befitting the inmates of Paradise, no matter what he may have done and for one who is the denizen of Hell, his deed would end on that which is a deed of the denizens of Hell, no matter what he may have done (before). Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) then threw the books and making a gesture with his hand said: Allah has made a decision about His servants (a section will be in Paradise and a section in the blaze). Transmitted by Tirmidhi.
*** This story is extraordinarily important on two counts:
Firstly,the most important item in the story is that it compromises the assertions made by his later followers that he was ILLITERATE since the only way possible for Muhammad to have known the extensive contents of the two books so as to differentiate between them, was if he could READ them, especially since they were not 'revealed' to him by either Gabriel or Allah.
This was not a case of 'inspiration' but of definite READING and evaluating the information within.
Secondly, it shows that even his gullible, unlearned and mostly illiterate followers found the concept of PRE DESTINATION ILLOGICAL, IMMORAL, UNACCEPTABLE and UNJUST to the extent that they questioned Muhammad who non the less prevailed upon them not through LOGIC but because he was allegedly the intercessor with Allah as his messenger ***
Al-Tirmidhi HadithHadith 2215Narrated byUbayy ibn Ka'b
Ubayy told of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) meeting Gabriel and saying, "I have been sent, Gabriel, to a people who are unlettered, among whom are old women and old men, boys and girls, and men who have never read a book." He replied, "The Qur'an, Muhammad, has been sent down in seven modes."
Tirmidhi transmitted it.
*** If UNLETTEREDmeant ILLITERATE, then there would have been no reason for Muhammad to elaborate upon the subject and explain its meaning. This is not a tautological error but an effort to show that unlettered meant one or ones who had no knowledge of previous revelations by reiterating " ...who have never READ a book..." instead of "...who COULD NOT read a book..."***
Sunan of Abu-DawoodHadith 2755Narrated byNu'aym ibn Mas'ud
I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say when he READ the letter of Musaylimah: What do you believe yourselves? They said: We believe as he believes. He said: I swear by Allah that were it not that messengers are not killed, I would cut off your heads.
*** The hadith asserts that MuhammadREAD the Letter. It was not READ for him. It was not RECITED to him; he READ it himself ***
Sunan of Abu-DawoodHadith 2993Narrated byYazid ibn Abdullah
We were at Mirbad. A man with dishevelled hair and holding a piece of red skin in his hand came. We said: You appear to be a bedouin. He said: Yes. We said: Give us this piece of skin in your hand. He then gave it to us and we read it. It contained the text: "From Muhammad, Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), to Banu Zuhayr ibn Uqaysh. If you bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, offer prayer, pay zakat, pay the fifth from the booty, and the portion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his special portion (safi), you will be under by the protection of Allah and His Apostle."
We then asked: Who WROTE this document for you?
He replied: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him).
Sunan of Abu-DawoodHadith 4311Narrated byFatimah, daughter of Qays
The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) once delayed the congregational night prayer. He came out and said: The talk of Tamim ad-Dari detained me. He transmitted it to me from a man who was one of the islands of the sea. All of a sudden he found a woman who was trailing her hair. He asked: Who are you? She said: I am the Jassasah. Go to that castle. So I came to it and found a man who was trailing his hair, chained in iron collars, and leaping between Heaven and Earth. I asked: Who are you? He replied: I am the Dajjal (Antichrist). Has the Prophet of the unlettered people come forth now? I replied: Yes. He said: Have they obeyed him or disobeyed him? I said: No, they have obeyed him. He said: That is better for them.
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 1.114Narrated byUbaidullah bin Abdullah
Ibn 'Abbas said, "When the ailment of the Prophet became worse, he said,
'Bring for me (writing) paper and I will WRITE for you a statement after which you will not go astray.'
But 'Umar said, 'The Prophet is seriously ill, and we have got Allah's Book with us and that is sufficient for us.' But the companions of the Prophet differed about this and there was a hue and cry. On that the Prophet said to them, 'Go away (and leave me alone). It is not right that you should quarrel in front of me." Ibn 'Abbas came out saying, "It was most unfortunate (a great disaster) that Allah's Apostle was prevented from writing that statement for them because of their disagreement and noise.
(Note: It is apparent from this Hadith that Ibn 'Abbas had witnessed the event and came out saying this statement. The truth is not so, for Ibn 'Abbas used to say this statement on narrating the Hadith and he had not witnessed the event personally. See Fateh Al-Bari Vol. 1, p.220 footnote.) (See Hadith No. 228, Vol. 4).
*** When a person is not totally in control of one's thinking processes, such as in the case above wherein Muhammad was in fever, his subconscious would reveal truths that are otherwise disallowed.
Muhammad INADVERTENLY revealed that he could WRITE and that is exactly why he demanded pen and paper. His followers, who for two decades or more, believed that he was illiterate, thought he was being delirious and not knowing what he was saying, refused to provide him with one.
This ommission has caused a 1400 years hatred, wars and slaughter between those who believed ( Shia') that Muhammad was going to designate Ali as his successor (Caliph) and the Sunnis who disagree***