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:: Volume 16, Issue 34 (8-2017) ::
3 2017, 16(34): 5-22 Back to browse issues page
A Critical Analysis of Mohammed Abed al-Jaberi's Viewpoint on the Meaning of the of the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) Being Ommi (Unlettered)
Abdulhadi Feqhizadeh 1, Ali-Reza Del Afkar, Mohammad Taqi Qaderi Rahqi
Abstract:   (20461 Views)
Muslims have commonly accepted the inability of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to read and write. Based on the literal meaning of the Arabic word ommi and according to the verse 48 in Sura al-Ankabut, most scholars have historically believed and still believe that the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was unable to read and write during his prophetic mission. Of course, they support their theory citing some narrations too. Relying on his own method which focuses on the context and historical-cultural conditions of the revelation of the verses, Muhammad Abed al-Jaberi, the Moroccan reformist, proves that the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was able to read and write during the prophetic mission. The context-based interpretation of the verse 48 in Sura al-Ankabut and the fact that it is the last sura revealed in Mecca and, therefore, it should be interpreted and understood in the light of the conditions for the Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) preparation to migrate to Yathrib (Medina), where the atmosphere and conditions were completely different from Mecca, as well as the interpretation of Sura al-Ankabut based on the historical conditions of its revelation will lead to al-Jaberi’s theory. Citing two major narrations from ibn-Eshaq and Bukhari on how Gabriel began to reveal the Quran to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and referring to the Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) saying “What should I read?”, al-Jaberi concludes that since the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) had said “What should I read?” and not “I don’t read” or “I cannot read”, the dominant theory of the illiteracy of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is unfounded. al-Jaberi's another approach in proving his theory is the terminological analysis of the term ommi. The authors believe that the reasoning of most interpreters does not convince one to accept illiteracy of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his inability to read and write before the beginning of the revelation. This claim is strengthened when it is seen that, in their interpretations of the various verses in which the words ommi and ommiyun have been used, they have referred to the people to whom no Book has been sent from God and mentioned nothing to reject it. On the other hand, Jaberi's argument falsifies the dominant theory on the meaning of the term ommi, but it does not definitively demonstrate the ability of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to read and write before the prophetic mission.
Keywords: ommi (unlettered), ommiyun (the unlettered), People of the Book, Abed al-Jaberi, Madkhal ilal-Quran al-Karim
Full-Text [PDF 345 kb]   (997 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2017/04/25 | Accepted: 2017/08/14 | Published: 2017/10/7
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Feqhizadeh A, Del Afkar A, Qaderi Rahqi M T. A Critical Analysis of Mohammed Abed al-Jaberi's Viewpoint on the Meaning of the of the Holy Prophet’s (p.b.u.h.) Being Ommi (Unlettered). 3. 2017; 16 (34) :5-22
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