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Prophet Muhammad(saww) Ummi???

Using the word "Ummi' as a base for believing that the Prophet Muhammad (saww) "could not" read and write is incorrect because it goes against the verses of the Holy Quran and the Hadees of Masoom (as).

1) Quran Sura Al-Alaq 96, Verse 1:
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

"Read in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created."

This verse clearly indicates that the Holy Prophet (saww) very well knew how to read else the words of the Quran would be meaning less.

2) Quran Sura Nisa 5, Verse 113:

وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُضِلُّوكَ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلَّا أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ وَكَانَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ عَظِيمًا

"But for the Grace of Allah to thee and his Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to thee they can do no harm in the least. For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou Knewest not (before): And great is the Grace of Allah unto thee."

This verse clearly indicates that the Holy Prophet (saww) was taught by Allah (swt) and not by any fallible individual and its unanimously accepted fact that Prophet Muhamamd (saww) did not learn anything in this world from any one but was already taught everything by Allah (swt).

3) Quran 29:48:
وَمَا كُنْتَ تَتْلُو مِنْ قَبْلِهِ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ إِذًا لَارْتَابَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ

"And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted."
This verse clearly indicates that the Holy Prophet (saww) never read/wrote any thing. The words in this verse are of a defensive nature so as to nullify the claim of the un-believers that the Holy Quran is the work of Holy Prophet (saww). The fact that a defensive approach has been used clearly indicates that Prophet Muhammad (saww) was in fact capable of reading and writing which in turn required the revelation of this verse. 

This is also confirmed by the following Hadees of Imam Jafar As Sadiq (as):

Al-Sadooq, Ilal Al-Sharaa’i`, vol. 1, ch. 105, pg. 126, hadeeth # 6
باب العلة التي من أجلها سمي النبي ص الأمي
“Chapter on the reason for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) being named Al-Ummi”

حدثنا محمد بن الحسن رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله قال حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى عن الحسين بن سعيد و محمد بن خالد البرقي عن محمد بن أبي عمير عن هشام بن سالم عن أبي عبد الله ع قال كان النبي ص يقرأ الكتاب و لا يكتب

From Hishaam bin Saalim from Abee Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) used to (or, would) read/recite the book, but not write.”

Again the wording in the above Hadees proves the fact that the Holy Prophet (saww) could read and write but choose not to.

The following is what A.Pooya Yazdi says about this verse in his commentary of the Holy Quran:

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 29:48]
This passage shows that the Holy Prophet did not acquire knowledge of reading or writing as other scholars do after taking lessons from tutors and teachers.
This view is supported by the first four verses of ar Rahman which declare that Allah Himself taught "Quran" and "Bayan" (expression) to the Holy Prophet. It is therefore incorrect to hold that he was incapable of reading or writing, otherwise he who was deprived of the capacity of reading or writing would not be commissioned by Allah as a prophet to teach the book and wisdom to the people (see Jumu-ah: 2 and Alaq: 4 and 5).

The Holy Prophet was divinely gifted with all knowledge, and so were the Ahl ul Bayt who were the heavenly depositories of knowledge of the word of Allah revealed through the Quran and previous scriptures. To ordinary men their knowledge and wisdom is a miracle.

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 29:48]

4) Al-Sadooq, Ilal Al-Sharaa’i`, vol. 1, ch. 105, Pg. 124/125 hadeeth # 1

باب العلة التي من أجلها سمي النبي ص الأمي
“Chapter on the reason for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) being named Al-Ummi”

- أبى رحمه الله قال حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله عن احمد بن محمد بن عيسى عن ابن عبد الله محمد بن خالد البرقى عن جعفر بن محمد الصوفى قال: سألت ابا جعفر محمد بن علي الرضا عليهما السلام فقلت يا بن رسول الله لم سمي النبي الامي؟ فقال: ما يقول الناس قلت يزعمون انه انما سمى الامي لانه لم يحسن ان يكتب فقال " ع " كذبوا عليهم لعنة الله انى ذلك والله يقول في محكم كتابه (وهو الذي بعث في الاميين رسولا منهم يتلو عليهم آياته ويزكيهم ويعلمهم الكتاب والحكمة) فكيف كان يعلمهم مالا يحسن والله لقد كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يقرء ويكتب باثنتين وسبعين أوقال بثلاثة وسبعين لسانا وانما سمي الامي لانه كان من اهل مكة ومكة من امهات القرى وذلك قول الله عزوجل لينذر ام القرى ومن حولها

Narrated Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sufi:

I asked Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ali al-Rida, peace be upon them both, saying: "O son of the Allah's Apostle, why was the Prophet called the Ummi?" He answered: "What do the people say?". I said: "They claim that he was called the Ummi because he was illiterate." He replied: "They lie! May the curse of Allah be upon them for this. Allah has clearly said in His Book: "He it is Who sent among the Ummi a Messenger from among themselves, to recite to them His Verses (i.e. the Qur'an), to purify them, to teach them the book (i.e. literacy) and to teach them wisdom (i.e. knowledge and ethics). [Qur'an 62:2]." How would he teach what he himself could not do? By Allah, Allah's Apostle used to read and write in 72, or he said 73, languages. He was called the Ummi because he was from Makkah. Makkah is one of the mother (umm) towns, and this is why Allah the High and Exalted said: 'So that you (Muhammad) may warn the mother (umm) town (i.e. Makkah) and whoever is round about it'."

See here: http://yasoob.com/books/htm1/m012/09/no0995.html

Following the principle of authenticating the Hadees against the quran we find that the above Hadees is directly in confirmation of the following verses of the Holy Quran which indicate that Prophet Muhamamd (saww) was send as a prophet for the whole of manking hence necessating him to know multiple languages and that the prophet Muhammad was taught by Allah (swt) only.

Quran: Al-A'raaf 7, Verse 157:
قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا
Say: "O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah

Quran: Al-Anbiya 21, Verse 107:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ
"We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures."

Quran: Saba 34, Verse 28:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ
And we have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men

Quran: Ar-Rahman 55, Verses 1-4:
الرَّحْمَٰنُ
(Allah) Most Gracious!
عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ
It is He Who has taught the Qur'an.
خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ
He has created man:
عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ
He has taught him speech (and intelligence).
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