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['Aalim Network QR] Unlettered Prophet

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
Salaam Alaykum

The following was kindly provided by Shaykh Rasheed.

wa salaam,

Mustafa F
Acting Moderator, 'Aalim Network


Salaam alaikum,

The Quran tells us that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was unlettered,
meaning he could not read or write.  I believe that the Shia Scholars agree that he was unlettered before his mission started.  Is there any evidence 
that he later learned to read and write or is it the opinion of the scholars that he never learned?

Thank you, Salaam alaikum



Wa Alaikum Salaam,

Firstly, there are different opinions about the meaning of the term Ummi
or unlettered. Some say that it means illiterate while others say that it
means that someone is not formally educated but also not necessary
totally illiterate. Which meaning is the actual case, it can't be said with

Secondly, we do not have any evidence that the Holy Prophet (S) was
"taught" to read, however, that does not exclude the possibility that
the Holy Prophet (S) was the recipient of divine knowledge. For example, we
have no record of the Holy Prophet (S) being taught about the previous
faiths of Christianity and Judaism, however, he gave detailed
information about these faiths and the histories of their prophets. 

This issue has produced strong arguments on both sides, but we should
not lose sight of the fact that as a Prophet of Allah, he is guided by One
Who knows all things. It is not an unreasonable assertion to assume that
Allah gives His Prophet knowledge which he needs to accomplish his mission.
Therefore, I think the most reasonable position is that although the
Holy Prophet (S) was not formally educated, he did have extensive knowledge
of many things as would be expected of any divine personality. 


Ali A. Rasheed

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