The real meaning of word “Ummi”
July 1, 2007
Was Prophet Mohammad (SA) illiterate?
The real meaning of word “Ummi”
Allah claims in Quran that it is reveled in “[26:195] Plain/simple Arabic language” “بلسان عربي مبين” 26:195
and it explains itself “[10:24] Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who think.”
The word UMMI in Quranic context does not mean “illiterate”. Arabic Language is based on root word system and each word can reflect multiple meanings, but the beauty of Quran is that it repeats the Ayats to make it very clear. “[6:65] See how We repeat the messages that they may understand!”
The best classical Arabic work ever published in the line of lexicons and dictionaries like “Al-Mufradat fi-Gharib al-Quran“, “Lisan al-Arab“, “Taj al-Arus min Jawahir al Qamus” and “The Arabic English lexicon by Edward W Lane”, word Ummi means “Arab who have no revealed scripture of his own“. In Quran the word refers to people who have not received a Revelation before and are not part of the Jewish people.
QXP: Among the People of the Scripture, there is he whom you can trust with a heap of gold, and He will readily return it to you. And among them is he who, if you trust him with a single gold coin, He will not repay you unless you keep after them. This is because they say and believe, “We owe no way (of honesty) to the Gentiles/Ummiyyeen.” Thus they speak lies about God, and they very well know it.
Yusuf Ali: Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless thou constantly stoodest demanding, because, they say, “there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans).” but they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it.
Pickthal: Among the People of the Scripture there is he who, if thou trust him with a weight of treasure, will return it to thee. And among them there is he who, if thou trust him with a piece of gold, will not return it to thee unless thou keep standing over him. That is because they say: We have no duty to the Gentiles. They speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly.
So the correct translation of [62:2] is the following:
[62:2] He it is Who has sent a Messenger among those who had never before received a Scripture – to convey unto them His Messages, to make them grow in humanity, to instruct them in the Scripture and wisdom, Judgment and establishment of God’s Rule on earth – whereas before that they were obviously lost in error.
[‘Ummi’ = Gentile = Non-Israelite = Unlettered = A nation (the Arabs) that had never received a Scripture before. ‘Zaku’ or ‘Tazkiah’ = Growth = Purity from
vice = Development of ‘self’ = Self-actualization. ‘Hikmah’ = wisdom = Judgment = Governance = Political Rule.]
He never read any book of scripture before and never wrote anything prior to the Qruan, see the proof [29:48] وماكنت تتلو من قبله من كتاب ولاتخطه بيمينك اذا لارتاب المبطل:
Yusuf Ali: And thou wast not (able) to recite 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.
Pickthal: And thou (O Muhammad) wast not a reader of any scripture before it, nor didst thou write it with thy right hand, for then might those have doubted, who follow falsehood.
QXP: For, (O Prophet) you were never able to read a book or Scripture before this (Qur’an), nor could you write anything with your own hand. Or else, they who try to disprove the Truth might have some cause to doubt it. ((2:23). ‘Biyameenik’ = With your right hand = With your own hand).
” من قبله” “before this” explains that he never read/write any book of “scripture” before the Qruan – means he knew how to read/write.
As Prophet Mohammed (SA) was for 30 years a successful businessman, being brought up in the elite family of the region, and married to a successful businesswoman. It is unacceptable to think he couldn’t read or write. How could he have known the scribes were writing down the Quran in the correct way? These misunderstandings were created later on through folklore and was picked up by the 3th century clergy.
The only illiterates are the “Mullahs” who are continuously spreading the false “Riwayats/Hadits” of Prophet being uneducated.