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Prophet Was Unlearned

Prophet Was Unlearned

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Published by The Holy Islam
Prophet Was Unlearned
Prophet Was Unlearned

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Published by: The Holy Islam on Apr 14, 2010
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Tell them: 'Had Allah so willed, I would not have recited the Qur'an to you, nor would Allahhave informed you of it. I have spent a lifetime among you before this. Do you, then, not use your reason? (10:16) 
This is indeed a very weighty argument in refutation of the unbelievers' allegation that theProphet (peace be on him) had himself authored the Qur'an and subsequently ascribed it to God.So far as other arguments are concerned, they might be considered as somewhat remote. But theargument based on the life and character of the Prophet (peace be on him) was particularlyweighty since the Makkans were thoroughly familiar with the whole of his life.Before his designation as a Prophet, he had spent a full forty years in their midst. He was born intheir city. They had observed his childhood, and then his youth, and it was in their city that hehad reached his middle age. He had also had a variety of dealings with them. He had socialinteraction, business transactions, matrimonial ties, and relationships of every conceivable naturewith his people so that no aspect of his life was hidden from their view. Could there be a more powerful testimony to the truth of his claim to prophet hood than his blameless life andcharacter?Two things about the life of the Prophet (peace be on him) were especially clear and were quitewell known to all Makkans. First, that during the forty years of his life before his designation asa Prophet, he had received no instruction from, or even enjoyed the company of learned peoplewhich could have served as the source of the ideas which began to flow, as would a stream, fromhis lips as soon as he claimed, at the age of forty, that he had been designated as a Prophet.Before that he was never seen to have been concerned with the problems, or to have discussedthe subjects, or to have expressed the ideas which frequently recur in the Qur'an. In fact none of his closest friends and relatives had foreseen in his pre-Prophetic life any signs indicative of thegreat message which he suddenly started to preach at the age of forty. These pieces of evidence,taken together, provide incontrovertible evidence that the Qur'an is not a product of the Prophet'smind; that it had come to the Prophet (peace be on him) from without. For no human being can produce something for which traces of growth and evolution are not found in the earlier period of his life.This explains the fact that when some of the more crafty Makkan unbelievers realized the sheer absurdity of their allegation that the Prophet (peace be on him) was the author of the Qur'an, theychose to propagate that there must be some other person who had taught the Prophet (peace beon him) the Qur'an. Such a statement, however, was even more preposterous since they failed toconvincingly point out who that other person was who was the true source of the Qur'an. Evenleaving aside Makka, the fact is that there was not a single person throughout the length and breadth of Arabia who possessed the competence needed for the authorship of the Qur'an. Hadsuch an extraordinary person existed, how could he have remained hidden from the sight of others?Second, the pre-Prophetic life of Muhammad (peace be on him) clearly shows him to be a manof exceptionally high moral character for there was not the least trace of any evil - whether lies,deceit, vile cunning or trickery. On the contrary, all those who came into contact with theProphet (peace be on him) were impressed by him as a person of flawless character, as oneutterly truthful and trustworthy. An illustration in point is the incident related in connection withthe re-building of the Ka'bah five years before his designation as a Prophet. There was a seriousdispute between the various families of the Quraysh on the question as to who should have the privilege of placing the Black Stone in its place in the edifice of the Ka'bah, In order to reach anamicable accord, they resolved that they would abide by the ruling given by the first person whoentered the Ka'bah the following day. The next day people saw it was the Prophet (peace be onhim) who was the first to enter. They exclaimed:'Here is a trustworthy man (amin). We agree [to follow his ruling]. He is Muhammad.' (Ibn Sa'd,al-Tabaqat, vol. 1, p. 146 - Ed.)
 
Thus, before designating Muhammad (peace be on him) as a Prophet, God had the whole body of the Quraysh testify to his trustworthiness. No room was left, therefore, for suspecting that hewho had never resorted to lying or deceit throughout his life would suddenly resort to fabricatinga gigantic lie; that he would first compose something, then deny that it was his work, and wouldthen ascribe it to God.In view of the above, God directs the Prophet (peace be on him) to ask the unbelievers to usetheir brains before leveling such a stupid allegation against him. For the Prophet (peace be onhim) was after all no stranger to them; he had spent virtually a whole lifetime in their midst. Inview of the well-known and uniformly high level of his conduct and character, how could it even be conceived that he would falsely ascribe the Qur'an to God if God had not actually revealed itto him. (For further elaboration see al-Qasas 28, n. 109.)(O Prophet,) you did not read any book before this, nor did you write any with your hand. If itwere so, the worshippers of falsehood could have been involved in doubt.
 
(29:48)This is the same argument that has already been given in Surahs Yunus and Qasas as a proof of the Holy Prophet's Prophethood. The basis of the argument in this verse is that the Holy Prophetwas unlettered. His compatriots and his kinsmen among whom he had spent his whole life, from birth to old age, knew fully well that he had never read a book nor ever handled a pen. Presentingthis actual fact Allah says: "This is a proof of the fact that the vast and deep knowledge of theteachings of the Divine Books, of the stories of the former Prophets, of the beliefs of the variousreligions and creeds, of the histories of the ancient nations, and the questions of social and moraland economic life, which is being presented through this ulettered, illiterate man could not have been attained by him through any means but Revelation. If he had been able to read and writeand the people had seen him reading books and undertaking serious studies, the worshippers of falsehood could have had some basis for their doubts, that he had acquired the knowledge notthrough Revelation but through study and reading. But the fact of his being absolutely illiteratehas left no basis whatever for any such doubt. Therefore, there can be no ground, except sheer stubbornness, which can be regarded as rational in any degree for denying his Prophet hood."
These are, in fact, clear Signs in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge; and nonedeny Our Revelations except the wicked. (29:49)
That is, "The presentation of a Book like the Qur'an by an unlettered person, and themanifestation by him, all of a sudden, of extraordinary qualities of character while nobody ever noticed him making any preparation for these previously, are in fact the clearest Signs whichserve as pointers to his Prophet hood for those who are possessed of knowledge and wisdom. " If one reviews the life-story of any great historical personage, one can always discover the factorsin his environment, which moulded his personality and prepared him for the excellences andqualities that emanated from him in life. There always exists a clear relationship between hisenvironment and the component aspects of his personality. But no source whatever can bediscovered in his environment of the wonderful qualities and excellences that the Holy ProphetMuhammad (may Allah's peace be upon him) displayed. In his case, neither in the contemporaryArab society nor in the society of the neighboring countries with which Arabia had any relationscan one discover those factors which could have any remote relationship with the componentaspects of the Holy Prophet's personality. This is the reality on whose basis it has been assertedhere that the Holy Prophet Muhammad's personality is not one Sign but a collection of manyclear Signs. An ignorant person may not see any of these Signs but those who are possessed of knowledge have become convinced in their hearts by seeing these Signs that he is most certainlya true Prophet of Allah.
 Is this (Sign) not enough for these people that We have sent down to you the Book, which isrecited to them? Indeed, there is mercy in it and admonition for those who believe.(29:51)
That is, "A Book like the Qur'an has been sent down to you in spite of your being unlettered. Is itnot by itself a great miracle which should convince the people of your Prophet hood? Do they yet
 
need another miracle after this? The other miracles were the miracles for those who witnessedthem. But this miracle is ever present in front of them. It is being recited before them almostdaily; they can witness it as and when they like. Even after such an assertion and argument bythe Qur'an the audacity of those who try to prove that the Holy Prophet was literate isastonishing. The fact, however, is that the Qur'an here has presented in clear terms the HolyProphet's being illiterate as a strong proof of his Prophet hood.The traditions which lend support to the claim that the Holy Prophet could read and write, or hadlearnt reading and writing later in life, stand rejected at first glance, for no tradition opposed tothe Qur'an can be acceptable. Then these traditions in themselves are too weak to become the basis for an argument. One of these is a tradition from Bukhari that when the peace treaty of Hudaibiya was being written down, the representative of the disbelievers of Makkah objected tothe word Rasul Allah being added to the name of the Holy Prophet. At this the Holy Prophetordered the writer (Hadrat `Ali) to cross out the word Rasul-Allah and write Muhammad bin'Abdullah instead. Hadrat `Ali refused to cross out Rasul-Allah. Then the Holy Prophet took it inhis own hand, struck out the word himself and wrote Muhammad bin `Abdullah. But thistradition from Bara' bin `Azib appears at four places in Bukhari and at two places in Muslim andeverywhere in different words:(1)At one place in Bukhari (Kitab-us-S, ulh) the words of this tradition are to the effect: "TheHoly Prophet told Hadrat `Ali to strike out the words. He submitted that he could not do that. Atlast, the Holy Prophet crossed them out with his own hand."(2) In the same book the second tradition is to the effect: "Then he (the Holy Prophet) said to`Ali: Cross out Rasul-Allah. He said: By God, I shall never cross out your name. At last, theHoly Prophet took the document and wrote: This is the treaty concluded by Muhammad bin`Abdullah."(3) The third tradition, again from Bara' bin `Azib is found in Kitab-ul-Jizia in Bukhari to theeffect: "The Holy Prophet himself could not write. He said to `Ali: Cross out Rasul-Allah. Hesubmitted: By God, I shall never cross out these words. At this, the Holy Prophet said: Show methe place where these words arc written. He showed him the place, and the Holy Prophet crossedout the words with his own hand."(4) The fourth tradition is in Bukhari's Kitab-ul-Maghazi to the effect: "So the Holy Prophet took the document although he did not know writing, and he wrote: This is the treaty concluded byMuhammad bin `Abdullah."(5) Again from Bara' bin `Azib there is a tradition in Muslim (Kitab-ul-Jihad) saying that onHadrat `Ali's refusal the Holy Prophet himself wiped off the words Rasul-Allah. "(6) The second tradition from him in the same book says, "The Holy Prophet said to `Ali: Showme where the word Rasul Allah is written. Hadrat `Ali showed him the place, and he wiped it off and wrote Ibn `Abdullah.The disparity in the traditions clearly indicates that the intermediary reporters have not reportedthe words of Hadrat Bara' bin `Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) accurately. Therefore, noneof these reports can be held as perfectly reliable so that it could be said with certainty that theHoly Prophet had written the words "Muhammad bin `Abdullah with his own hand. Probablywhen Hadrat 'Ali, refused to wipe off the word Rasul-Allah, the Holy Prophet might havehimself wiped it off after finding, out the place where it was written, and then might have got theword Ibn `Abdullah substituted by him or by some other writer. Other traditions show that therewere two writers who were writing down the peace treaty; Hadrat `Ali and Muhammad binMaslamah (Fath al-Bari, Vol. 5, p. 217).Therefore, it is not impossible that what one writer did not do was got done by the other writer.However, if the Holy Prophet actually wrote his name with his own hand, there are plenty

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