The Best Selling Author of the 7th Century
08 Aug, 2005
"The leader of our country does not know how to read and write - he is completely illiterate."
How does it sound? Should someone be proud of this statement? Well, Islam has its own standard where ignorance is bliss. Many Muslim apologists and followers gleefully proclaim that Mohammad, the 7th century godfather of IslaMAFIA was illiterate. By claiming so, they try to prove that Mohammad was "logically" unable to write a book like Quran, hence this pathetic book could only have been sent by God. It's interesting how Islam selectively (illogically) exploits the sanity of logic.
Dear readers, hang tight! Fasten your seat belts! I am about to burst one of Islam's most colorful balloons and prove that Mohammad was indeed a literate person.
The idea of Mohammad being uneducated stems from a Hadith in which Aisha, 'the grand daughter' I mean the wife of Mohammad, stated: "...The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read".
The Prophet added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read (Ikra) and I replied, 'I do not know how to read---" (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3.)
Did Gabriel, Allah's delivery person bring the Quran with him? Was he holding the Quran in front of Mohammad? Not really! Quranic revelation, the babbling of Mohammad, was made at different times depending on Mohammad's situation and his levels of desire, lust and greed. According to Mohammad's daydream, Gabriel said 'Ikra.' Mohammad was confused for a moment; he thought Gabriel was talking about the delicious Russian Caviar Ikra. When he realized that the meaning of the Arabic word "Ikra" is "read," he could not find any book to read.
Actually, a more accurate picture can be found at the end of the same Hadith mentioned above (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3) where Aisha states: "...He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, "I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?)." This statement makes sense. Mohammad was not sure what to read so he asked 'What shall I read?'
It is an established fact that baby Mohammad was sent to a Bedouin foster-mother. Apparently, Mohammad's family must have had enough money to pay this lady, otherwise why would an Arab Bedouin take care of another's child? We must understand that there were no public and private schools at that time, not even "mad rat houses," I mean Madrassas. So it's safe to assume that Mohammad was sent to a babysitter who also happened to be a baby feeder and that along with food and toilet training, he also received an education. As a matter of fact, Arab Bedouin mothers were famous for educating their children. They were considered among the best teachers of young ones.
It's true Mohammad lost his father before he was born and his mother at the age of six. There is no historical evidence of Mohammad's stepbrothers and sisters, but we do know Mohammad's father Abdullah, had more than one wife. It's unknown if there was a fight over Mohammad's parent's wealth or whether his uncle Abu-Talib gained all properties as recompense for looking after Mohammad. Although Mohammad had to work as a shepherd boy for a while, his uncle took him along to Syria when he was leading a caravan. Abu-Talib also opened a shop in Mecca (Ibn Qutaibah, Ma'arif) where Mohammad may have helped run the store.
At the age of twenty-five, Khadijah appointed Mohammad to take a consignment of goods to Syria. Is it possible for an illiterate person to keep accounts and understand the intricacies of international trade? Mohammad also had a trading partner in Mecca. This fellow, named Sa'ib, reported: "We relied on each other; if Muhammad led the caravan, he did not enter his house upon returning to Mecca without first clearing accounts with me;---" So obviously, Mohammad had good working knowledge of trade and accounting. Of course, a prerequisite to such knowledge is literacy.
In ancient times, perhaps even more so than today, travel meant knowledge. Mohammad undoubtedly benefited from his many journeys. He met many different people in many different places and quietly took note of what he saw. When Mohammad went to the cave of Hira to mediate, all he really did was organize the information he had gathered and make a strategy to launch the Quran. His initial verses were not a success, but he continued to borrow heavily from the Torah and Bible. Ultimately, after repeating the same lie over and over again, he succeeded. God or god's mailman talking to a human being is an absurd idea! As it is impossible in today's world, so too was 1400 years ago.
Now let's find more proof. In another Hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4401), al-Bara' b. 'Azib, one of Mohammad's gang members testified: "Abu Talib penned the treaty between the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and the polytheists, on the Day of Hudaibiya. -----..They (the polytheists) said: Do not write the words: "Messenger of Allah." If we knew that you were the Messenger of Allah, we would not fight against you". Smart people indeed! The narrator continues-.. "The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to Ali: "Strike out these words!" He, (Ali) said: "I am not going to strike them out." So the Prophet (may peace be upon him) struck them out with his own hand----.". If Mohammad did not know how to read, how could he know which words to scratch off?
Despite Mohammad's many flaws, we have to admit that he was the best selling author of all times. Forget about being number one on the New York Time's best seller list; forget about the success of Harry Potter, Quran is the best selling book of all times. If Mohammad had been born in today's world, he wouldn't have had to make a living robbing and raiding, he'd be living a princely life on publishing royalties. He surely knew how to write. Look at the following Hadith: "Narrated Amir ibn Shahr: --..Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) wrote the document for Umayr Dhu Marran--" (Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 19, Number 3021)
We have another witness is Yazid ibn Abdullah who narrated, "We were at Mirbad. A man with disheveled hair and holding a piece of red skin in his hand came. - ------We then asked: Who wrote this document for you? He replied: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him)"(Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 19, Number 2993)
Do we need more testimony to debunk the claim of Mohammad being illiterate? Well here is one more:
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.' (Bukhari 1.3.114)
Last time I tried to explain this theory to a Muslim brother, he ran after me with a blood-spattered knife that he had just used to slaughter a cow. Actually, I should get an honorary degree from Saudi Arabia 's Islamic University for making Mohammad an educated person. Alas! It won't happen. Islam thrives on ignorance and the Slaves of Allah will remain happy believing that Mohammad was illiterate.