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bartlett

Would Illiteracy Have Hindered Mohammed?

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You think litertacy is neccessary to be able to speak a language well? Of course it isn't.

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PropellerAds

:sl:

 

Without reading all the posts in depth I'm just going to drop by and say:

 

Allah Is Able To Do All Things.

Nothing Is Hard For Allah.

Allah Is The Al-Able.

When Allah Wills Something To Happen,He Simply Says 'BE!' And It Happens.

Subhanallah.

 

:sl:

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ok lets go on the the argument that Muhammad could not read or write, if this is true then how did read or write the Quran without help?? How could he structure words in excellent gramatical order if he could not read or write? Without some intellegent beings help??

 

Actually he didnt read or write the Quran. The literate companions wrote down what was revealed to him (saw) on whatever they had, leaves, bone etc. Umar (ra) and Abu Baker (ra) later collected the various peices and after Abu bakar's (ra) death. Umar (ra) compiled the Quran as we have it today.

 

Ask the average native speaking arab why you say 'yafalu' instead of 'yafala', 'yaf alani', etc and they will most probably tell you 'I dont know thats just the way it is'. Arabic grammer (nawh and sarf) were not properly understood until years after the death of Muhammad (saw). The only reason why the scholars studied the spoken language is because the language and the recitation of the quran began being corrupted by the non-arabs as they were never immersed in the language and therefore had great difficulties undertanding it.

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Aussie - right. Formal rules of grammar follow the development of a language. People spoke perfect (eg) Ancient Greek long before anyone wrote a grammar textbook.

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Actually he didnt read or write the Quran. The literate companions wrote down what was revealed to him (saw) on whatever they had, leaves, bone etc. Umar (ra) and Abu Baker (ra) later collected the various peices and after Abu bakar's (ra) death. Umar (ra) compiled the Quran as we have it today.

 

what was the first ayat to the prophet? was it not read didnt Allah also tell him that He taught man the use of the pen,why would you think that the prophet did not read or write? You really believe that the prophet did not check that what was written down was correct? And how could the Quran be compiled after the prophets death when the prophet recited the whole Quran during ramadan.

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Hang on - I've asked politely that you stick to the topic of the thread and to not argue whether or not Mohammed was in fact illiterate. Now I must insist that you do.

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Hang on - I've asked politely that you stick to the topic of the thread and to not argue whether or not Mohammed was in fact illiterate. Now I must insist that you do.

 

im not going off topic if you mention that Muhammad illiteracy is totaly irrelevant then i must try to show you how it is not, first by showing you the meaning of the arabic word for illiterate(which you ignored) and how the word is used throughout the Quran. If you make a claim as such then you have to try and understand what Muhammads illiteracy really is, like does it mean that he could not read or write or does it mean that he could not understand scripture. Also you claim that "It would have been perfectly possible for Muhammad to be knowledgeable about his society's collective wisdom while being illiterate" This is also very wrong if we look at the arabic word for illiterate then we can see that Muhammad was unlearned even in his own societys collective wisdom, and the people in his society knew this about him, yes Muhammad was smart however this collective wisdom you speak of was not exeplified in Muhammads character at all. He was a good honest man who was not plagued by the same thinking as other knowledgeable ones, in fact he could not understand why they behaved the way that they did.

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Sorry, we have already established that in this thread 'illiteracy' means the inability to read or write. In fact you agreed to argue using this definition (post #25).

 

Despite the request in the OP, you're engaging in debate (post #30) about whether or not Mohammed could in fact read and write. Start your own thread if you want to argue about that! Starting threads is easy.

 

The only question under discussion in this thread is whether being illiterate (an English word meaning unable to read or write) would in fact have meant that Mohammed needed help to compose the Koran. So far no-one has really given any argument that it would mean that.

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The only question under discussion in this thread is whether being illiterate (an English word meaning unable to read or write) would in fact have meant that Mohammed needed help to compose the Koran. So far no-one has really given any argument that it would mean that.

 

 

 

to this question the answer is yes, if he could not READ OR WRITE then yes he would have needed help to write the Quran. like you said in your post literacy is not neccessary to speak a langauge I agree but to speak a language properly and formulate words and verbs in perfect gramatical order you need to be literate. And if you are illiterate there is no way you could structure any book of grammatical perfection without some type divine help.

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As I said before, 'prefect grammar' is something that is determined AFTER the language has been perfected by pre-literate people. Grammar rules are a description, not a prescription.

 

Many (probably all) cultures have great works of literature (using 'perfect grammar') composed in their pre-literate times. The Illiad, the Odyssey and Beowulf spring to mind. Literacy is a relatively recent phenomenon for humans.

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As I said before, 'prefect grammar' is something that is determined AFTER the language has been perfected by pre-literate people. Grammar rules are a description, not a prescription.

 

Many (probably all) cultures have great works of literature (using 'perfect grammar') composed in their pre-literate times. The Illiad, the Odyssey and Beowulf spring to mind. Literacy is a relatively recent phenomenon for humans.

 

 

even in antiqity man wrote, in acient egypt the brightest minds wrote to preserve their knowledge. Language is perfected only by writting it, grammer rules is a prescription for it determines knowledgeable ones from the unknowledgeable ones. Grammer is is very important it is not only a prescription it is a neccessary tool, what good is metal if you dont have the knowledge to shape and form it and take it from its original nature and munipulate it to make things.

 

What good is language if you have nothing to define the language. Man has always expressed himself in written language as well as verbaly but written language is always used. It comes in different forms, in these times it is in the structure of these letters abcdef......, and in ancient times it was in the structure of buildings and inventions and letters and pictures as well.(which is not to far off from us today) Even in greek mythology they developed their language by studying the stars the earth the moons,which they used as adjetives to describe their gods. Grammer cannot come after language is perfected it comes as language is being perfected.

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Got any facts to show that "langauge is only perfected by writing it"? The Illiad is 'perfect' Ancient Greek but it is an oral poem, only written long after its composition.

 

Man has always expressed himself in written language as well as verbaly but written language is always used.

 

That is simply not true. Literacy is relatively recent. Humans have been around for at least 100,000 years (to put a very conservative figure on it) but the earliest known writing dates from less than 6000 years ago. Literate authors of great literature is a relatively recent phenomenon.

 

Aside - it would be interesting to read linguistic research (not dubious self-serving stories about what people at the time supposedly said) on whether the Koran codified what constituted 'perfect' classical Arabic, rather than classical Arabic being used to judge the 'perfection' of the Koran's classical Arabic.

 

 

edit - typo

Edited by bartlett

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Got any facts to show that "langauge is only perfected by writing it"? The Illiad is 'perfect' Ancient Greek but it is an oral poem, only written long after its composition.

 

 

Well the fact that you edited your post shows how language is perfected by writing it, Its very weird to believe that the ancient Greeks who had money and words on their money failed to write down poems I find that hard to believe, and the way in which this particular poem got into written form is still disputed.

 

 

 

That is simply not true. Literacy is relatively recent. Humans have been around for at least 100,000 years (to put a very conservative figure on it) but the earliest known writing dates from less than 6000 years ago. Literate authors of great literature is a relatively recent phenomenon.

 

For atleast 100,000 years??? Egypt dates back further than that, and they have writings older than 6000 years ago .The old testement is older than 6000 years. The last statment i would have to disagree, when you look at ruins of ancient places you automaticaly know that it took some great minds to build these buildings. And not only that , they also have a language whats to say that their language is not greater literature than what we have now?

 

Aside - it would be interesting to read linguistic research (not dubious self-serving stories about what people at the time supposedly said) on whether the Koran codified what constituted 'perfect' classical Arabic, rather than classical Arabic being used to judge the 'perfection' of the Koran's classical Arabic.

edit - typo

 

 

Fusah is classical arabic and the Quran was reveled in this language, also the Quran brought new words and new understanding to the arabic language, Being that the language of the Quran was sent from God to Muhammad this puts the language of the Quran as perfect classical arabic and it is not judged by classical arabic.

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LOL! Egypt does NOT date back anywhere near 100,000 years (if you're talking about the literate Phaoronic civilisation). Off the top of my head it's somewhere in the region of 5000 years. You seriously need to study some history.

 

The first known writing, according to the BBC, is on a recently discovered stone from the Harappa civilisation (in modern Pakistan), and it is dated at less than 6000 years.

 

Its very weird to believe that the ancient Greeks who had money and words on their money failed to write down poems I find that hard to believe, and the way in which this particular poem got into written form is still disputed.

 

They didn't write them down because they couldn't write! when they were composed. The Illiad and the Odyssey were first written much later than they were composed. As I keep saying, literacy is relatively recent to all cultures, and extremely recent to some. There are cultures that only became literate in the 20th century, and I bet the newly-contacted Amazon tribe isn't literate. I also bet that they have poetry, songs and stories that are in the perfect form of their language.

 

edit - typos

Edited by bartlett

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when you look at ruins of ancient places you automaticaly know that it took some great minds to build these buildings. And not only that , they also have a language whats to say that their language is not greater literature than what we have now?

 

I don't understand your argument here. Yes, it took 'great minds' to build great things. And yes, all cultures that we know have great 'literature' (in an oral or written form - although if the culture vanished before becoming literate we can't know much about their oral 'literature').

 

I'm not saying that illiteracy means that a 'great mind' is absent - I'm saying that illiteracy is irrelevant to whether a mind is great or not. That's the whole point of this thread!

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Peace

 

I'm not saying that illiteracy means that a 'great mind' is absent - I'm saying that illiteracy is irrelevant to whether a mind is great or not. That's the whole point of this thread!

 

Hmmmm...this is the first time someone has started a thread just to raise a point to say something is irrelevant. It begs the question - what is the point of the thread really?

 

If I'm not wrong, you have chosen to have an argument that is based on the logic developed from the early Greek philosophers - which is the investigation and classification of the structure of statements and arguments (you're not the first in gawaher to use a logic-based argument). Your statement from the first post of this thread is, "Mohammed's illiteracy is totally irrelevant to discussions about the authorship of the Koran".

 

You then go on to pick and choose your arguments, saying it is not possible to be a literary genius while one is illiterate, and this is especially so in societies which depend heavily on oral traditions. This is the backbone of your argument.

If you choose points based solely on literature, and the premise of your argument is logic, then of course noone can argue with you, and your statement stands corrected. However I have to say that this is a very close-minded argument.

 

Sis Redeem has answered you in the post #9 of this thread, but you have yet to address her points. She has given a very broad argument which looks into many points, not just factors revolving around literature. When one looks into the authors of great literary works and try to understand here they come from, one needs to look into the total biography of the author. In the case of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), one needs to look at his background, the circumstances in which the Quran were revealed, and for Arabic speakers, the great prose of Arabic found in the Quran. And this is only amongst many other things that our scholars have studied about this subject. Only then can one truly appreciate the nature and the origin of its words.

 

You can continue this logic-based argument, but my guess is it will bear little or no fruit. Your statement could probably be inconclusive or correct, if you only consider a narrow argument based solely on logic (you need to understand that such arguments have limitations), and Muslims will still hold firmly to their beliefs.

It would be better if you try and understand the biography of Prophet Muhammad and the historical background in the early days of Islam. This will give you a broader base of knowledge when approaching this subject.

 

Just telling it as it is, I hope that I have not offended you...

 

Peace.

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Nonsense. I have at no time said or implied that it is not possible to be a literary genius if one is illiterate. My point is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE - that literacy is NOT NECESSARY to be a literary genius.

 

Sheesh you have to wonder about the literacy of some people reading the thread ...

 

I didn't bring up literature, it was argued that it was not possible to use a language perfectly if one was illiterate, and I responded with examples disproving this. I'm happy to discuss any other supposed handicaps of illiteracy if anyone raises them but no-one has. In fact from the paucity of arguments presented, I think that my point is proven - that the argument "Mohammed was illiterate, therefore he must have had help composing the Koran" is worthless. Do you agree? If not, argue it.

 

Regarding Redeem's post, much of it was off-topic (and I reassured her that I did consider Mohammed a genius - and not just a literary genius). In my OP I specifically asked people to stay on topic. That's because this topic began in the Human Evolution thread, but Dot asked that it be discussed in a new thread. Dot said:

 

Please keep on topic. Feel free to start a new, separate topic to discuss whatever you feel like discussing, but not here please. Going off-topic is a violation of IF rules, and is not fair to the topic starter.

Thank you for helping us better organize IF.

Edited by bartlett

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Nonsense. I have at no time said or implied that it is not possible to be a literary genius if one is illiterate. My point is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE - that literacy is NOT NECESSARY to be a literary genius.

 

Ok, an honest mistake on my part...

 

I didn't bring up literature, it was argued that it was not possible to use a language perfectly if one was illiterate, and I responded with examples disproving this. I'm happy to discuss any other supposed handicaps of illiteracy if anyone raises them but no-one has. In fact from the paucity of arguments presented, I think that my point is proven - that the argument "Mohammed was illiterate, therefore he must have had help composing the Koran" is worthless. Do you agree? If not, argue it.

 

Can you explain then, how could Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could come up with the Quran when he came into very little or no contact with the poets in the society at that time? Yes - as you said, the society depended heavily on oral tradition, but only the elite and the educated few had the priveledge to be masters in that field. Prophet Muhammad was from a poor family, and entered the business of trading later on in his life. He could not have developed a penchant or liking for poetry or storytelling, as this was not part of his behaviour (he was more of a devout person), nor was this needed in his work in trading.

 

As to your statement, "literacy is not needed to be a literary genius", and your arguments supporting them, they are inconclusive. Psychologists are still studying the human mind, and are trying to piece together how the human mind works. Many would argue that reading, writing and oral skills are tied with one another. It would be exceptional for a person to be a genius in literature if he/she can't read or write. For the Prophet's case, considering all other factors in his life, it is not possible for him alone, (nor any other human being for that matter) to compose the Quran, as there's nothing to suggest that he had the skills of a literary genius.

 

Some food for thought - actually, many non-Muslims have said that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a smart man. Because they could not accept the divinity of the Quran, they had to accept other alternatives to answer their questions about the uniqueness of the Quran.

 

I would also like to remind you, that you can't, and will never, disprove our beliefs regarding Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), using human-made tools of knowledge, whether it be logic, science or any other fields. If you're just looking for discourse, (whether in your OP or in the other thread), then like I said, this will not bear much fruit.

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Can you explain then, how could Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could come up with the Quran when he came into very little or no contact with the poets in the society at that time?

 

Did anyone actully listen to the lecture I posted at the start of this thread?

 

Anyway, Redeem answered the question when she said:

 

In any case, illiteracy was not what made prophet Muhammad's case unique nor was it what made it impossible for him to be the author of the book that he had revealed to the Arabs. It was other factors, but being unlettered was simply the icing on the cake. So no, illiteracy alone probably would not have hindered prophet Muhammad. Then again, even being deaf would not have hindered him if Allah had willed it.

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freedslave, I could accept that it was a typo but if it was merely a mistake you cannot have read the thread.

 

I think the argument about how much or how little contact Mohammed could have had with poetry is not relevant to this topic. It's a very interesting topic and I'd like to talk about it, but not here. The reason I think it's off topic is that your argument would apply whether he was literate or not. According to you, it was his position in society that stopped him accessing the high culture, not his illiteracy.

 

.It would be exceptional for a person to be a genius in literature if he/she can't read or write.

 

You really haven't read the thread, have you? Firstly, of course Mohammed was exceptional! Secondly, it may be "exceptional" for a non-literate 'literary' genius to come along, but it's an exception thing that has occured from time to time in human history. As I have said several times, just about all pre-literate cultures that we know about have produced great literature. I mentioned the Illiad, the Odyssey and Beowulf, but there are many others.

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