Recognition of the Theory of the Prophet of Islam as an »Ummī« Person and Its Historical Analysis, with a Critical Approach to Orientalists’ Views

Alireza Kavand

Abstract


One of the important points in the field of prophecy of the Prophet (PBUH) is his "being Ummī. The word “Ummī” used in the Qur’an as an attribute of the Prophet (PBUH) is one of the miraculous signs of the heavenly Book descended upon him and the rightfulness of his mission. "Ummī" usually means "illiterate", which is accepted by almost all Muslim scholars. But Western scholars studying Islam, or the same Orientalists, have offered different views on the meaning of "Ummī" and the ability of the Prophet (PBUH) to read and write. In this research written with a descriptive-analytical approach, we have found the following results: 1- Literally and due to the interpretative and narrative sources, "Ummī" means "illiterate". 2- According to the historical and hadith sources, it can be said that the Prophet was not capable of reading and writing before Biʿtha, but after Biʿtha he was able to read, but he did not write anything. 3. Orientalists have also offered different views on this subject, which, given the available evidences, the view of individuals (such as Montet, Amari, Kazimirski, and Henri de Castri) who believe that "Ummī" means "illiterate" seems correct. Also, the view of those Orientalists (such as Durant, Carlyle, Armstrong, Henri de Castri, and Davenport) who believe that the Prophet (PBUH) was incapable of reading and writing before Biʿtha is correct.


Keywords


Ummī; Illiterate; Reading; Writing; People of the Book; Orientalist

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v6i5.1080

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