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22-06-2024
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Biography- Prophetic Biography- Understanding the Prophet's Biography- (Lesson 13-57): The Revelation's Writers
   
 
 
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  
 

The wisdom behind Mohammad’s illiteracy:

 Dear brother, we continue with a new lesson in the series ‘The Jurisprudence of the prophetic Biography‘. Today we move on to the Revelation chapter, where we will first address two preliminary issues that will help us understand the recording phase of the Revelation: the first being the analphabetism of the Prophet PBUH, and the second, the fact that the Qur’an was revealed in clear Arabic speech.
 The first issue: what wisdom lies behind the analphabetism of the Prophet PBUH" It may occur to you: the analphabet is the person who cannot read or write, how can the Prophet, the teacher of humanity, not read and write, so how do we reconcile the fact that analphabetism is a blemish in a man’s personality, with the fact that it is one of the Prophet’s attributes PBUH"
The concise, necessary and sufficient answer is: the Prophets analphabetism is an honor to him, and our analphabetism is a disgrace to us, because Allah Almighty intended to keep him pure of earthly knowledge in order to attend in his Most High Self to his education.

"He was taught by one Mighty in Power"

(Surat Al Najm, 5-6)

 Because Allah Almighty assumed his education, and because he is a lawmaker, people were ordered to follow him, and he is infallible. Thus, his analphabetism means he holds no knowledge outside the Divine Revelation. Allah Almighty says:

"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed "

(Surat Al Najm, 3-4)

 Because Allah Almighty attended to his education, if he had also a temporal education, then the recurring question would constantly be: O Prophet of Allah, what are you telling us, is it Divine Inspiration or is it your own knowledge" Allah Almighty says:

"Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed "

 And if we do not firmly believe that Allah has preserved him from erring in his sayings, deeds and approvals, then our creed is not sound. And because Allah has preserved him, He ordered us to learn from him. Allah Almighty says:

"And whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back"

(Surat Al Hashr, 7)

 Because Allah ordered us to learn from him he made him infallible, how" He occupied all his cognitive content with Divine Inspiration. As for us, the Prophet PBUH says:

‘Truly, knowledge comes through learning, and generosity and forbearance through practice’

(Prophetic tradition)

 I will not have anybody say: I learn directly from Allah. Those who make this claim, quote the following Ayah:

"So fear Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things "

(Surat Al Baqara, 282)

 But this is not what the Ayah means. For if the Ayah meant what they imagined, it would have been phrased differently, something like: so fear Allah and Allah will teach you…But the Ayah has a different meaning: why don’t you fear Allah, knowing that Allah always teaches you, He teaches you thru the visible universe, He teaches you thru revelation, thru the prophets, the messengers, the missionaries, He teaches you thru his deeds, thru spiritual education, in other words, fear Allah because Allah teaches you. As for thinking that you only have to fear Allah, and Allah will teach you directly, this is overstepping all bounds and saying of Allah that of which you have no knowledge.
 The Prophet PBUH, said ‘truly’ (translation of the Arabic restrictive particle ‘innama’), and he is the most eloquent of the Arabs, which means that, for us, there is no other way of gaining knowledge save thru the learning process.
 So it is a shame for us to be unlettered, while his illiteracy is an honor to him, because his knowledge is pure of worldly teachings, for Allah Himself educated him.

"And thou (O Muhammad) wast not a reader of any scripture before it, nor didst thou write it with thy right hand, for then might those have doubted, who follow falsehood "

(Surat Al Ankabout, 48)

 In religion there are the fundamental principles and the consequent legal details. The principles are there in order to know Allah, and the details are there in order to know His method. Thru the signs He laid in the constitution, in the universe and in the Qur’an you know Him, and thru juristic rulings you worship him. Thru existence you recognize Him and thru the law you adore Him.

The language of Quran:

  Dear brother, let us move on to the next issue: this Qur’an was revealed in a clear Arabic tongue. Allah Almighty says:

"Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand "

(Surat Yusuf, 2)

"Thus we have revealed it as a Lecture in Arabic"

(Surat Taha, 113)

"A Lecture in Arabic, containing no crookedness "

(Surat Al Zumar, 28)

"A Scripture whereof the verses are expounded, a Lecture in Arabic "

(Surat Fussilat, 3)

"Lo! We have appointed it a Lecture, in Arabic that haply ye may understand "

(Surat Al Zukhruf, 3)

 And the last Ayah:

"A true judgment in Arabic "

(Surat Al Raad, 37)

 Allah Glorious and Most High honored this nation by sending His Revelation in the Arabic tongue. You may ask: why was Arabic honored with the Revelation" In fact, if you make a philological study of the Arabic language, it will become perfectly clear why a scholar impartial to this nation will have to admit that the Arabic language is one of the most refined human languages, but it becomes weak when its nation is weak and strong when its nation is strong.

Arabic Language’s properties:

1- Parsing:

 What do we mean when we say that Arabic is one of the most sophisticated human languages" It has many particularities, one of which is the declension of nouns.
 In Arabic, the function of the noun is marked by special suffixes (diacritics) added to it, regardless of the position it occupies in the sentence. In English you say: Zayd beats Amr, the first is always the subject and the latter is always the direct object. In Arabic either one can be subject or object depending on the diacritical sign you put at their end: the ‘Dammah’ sign for the nominative, and the ‘Fatha’ sign for the accusative, which is a kind of compacting or ‘shorthand’ of meanings. These diacritical signs are usually not shown in writing but spontaneously construed from the context and uttered when reading, which requires the reader to understand before reading, unlike other languages where you read to understand. This requires wit and spontaneity, for you actually scan the words ahead to distinguish for instance the passive from the active, the subject from the object. This is one of the reasons Arabic is considered one of the most sophisticated human languages.

2- Derivation:

 Another characteristic is derivation. The infinitive (Masdar) is like the grandfather, and the children are the various forms of the verb: past, present, imperative, first stem augmented or derived stems, each derivation expressing a subtle difference in meaning, like intensity, interaction, request, participation, passivity. Then there are other children like place names, time names, instrument names, comparatives and superlatives, the past and present participles, all various forms of the original stem.
 Example: In Arabic the stem KTB will give KiTaB (book), KaTaBa (he wrote), maKTaB (desk) or writing place, etc.

3- Expression’s diversity:

 Another characteristic of Arabic that Allah chose as the language of His Qur’an is the extensive possibilities of expression it holds.
I once illustrated some of the nuances of ‘looking’ and ‘seeing’ that can be expressed in Arabic: ‘Nathara’ to look, ‘Istashrafa’ to straighten up and look, ‘Istashaffa’ to look while examining, ‘Hadaja’ to look tenderly; the Prophet PBUH, used the word ‘hadaja’ saying:

‘Speak to the people as long as there eyes look at you with interest’

(Prophetic tradition)

 There’s also ‘Rana’ to look and enjoy, like looking at beautiful settings, there’s ‘Ra’a’ looking with the heart, to see that knowledge is useful, to see that honesty is profitable, there’s ‘Laha’ to appear then disappear like a plane in a cloudy weather seen quickly thru clearings in the sky, or like walking down a street and you see a door so you take a look and there’s that woman so you lower your gaze, you only caught a glimpse.
 There’s also ‘Haddaqa’ to look sharply at, derived from ‘Hadaqa’ the pupil of the eye, and ‘Hamlaqa’ to stare, to show of the eyelid’s red inner lining (Himlaq), (Shakhasa) to look with fear, like when you hear an explosion, and plenty there are today…
 The Arabic language is broad, and the broader a language is, the more subtle meanings it can accommodate. Allah Almighty says:

"He said, "It is my rod: on it I lean; with it I beat down fodder for my flocks; and in it I find other uses"

(Surat Taha, 18)

 ‘Beat’ here is the translation of the Arabic ‘Hasha’, a subtle meaning closer to touching than striking.

4- Indications of Arabic letters:

 Furthermore, individual letters of the alphabet contribute to the meaning of the word. Words with the letter ‘Gh’ (Ghain), for instance, indicate a general meaning of absence like in ‘Ghaiba’ backbiting, ‘Ghaba’ to be absent, ‘Gharib’ stranger, ‘Ghaibouba’ coma.
 Words with the letter ‘R’ (Ra’) indicate progression like ‘Marra’ to pass, ‘Jarra’ to pull, ‘Karra’ to attack’, ‘Kharra’ to fall. Words with an ‘S’ (Syn) suggest a mental process like ‘Hassa’ to feel, ‘Anasa’ to feel at ease, ‘Sarra’ to bring joy, ‘Sou’al’ question, ‘Souror’ happiness. While words with the letter ‘Q’ (Qaf), denote an impact. A good illustration can be found in the word ‘Gharaqa’ to sink: first the disappearance (Gh) then the continued fall (R) then the impact with the bottom is reached (Q).
 Our master Omar says: ‘Learn the Arabic language it is part of religion’.

5- Great ability of compactness and abridgment:

 Another quality of the Arabic language is its compactness. If a number of reporters of different languages were to transcribe the speech of an important personality in their own language, only in Arabic can it be done directly, in other languages you will have to resort to a special speed writing technique called stenography or shorthand. In Arabic, fewer letters are used for the same meaning. Take the word ‘Mohammadon’, a word written with ten letters in English, and only four in Arabic ‘MHMD’. And I repeat master Omar’s words: ‘Learn the Arabic language it is part of religion’.
 Women have beauty, but a man’s influence is his eloquence. Consider this anecdote. A delegation visited our master the great Caliph Omar Bin Abd Al Aziz headed by a young man. This angered the Caliph who said: ‘Young man sit and let your elders speak’. The young man answered: ‘May Allah perfect the Caliph, a man’s worth is in his two youngest, his heart and his tongue. So if Allah favors a man with an articulate tongue and a custodian heart, he has deserved to speak; and if your claim were true, sh3er in this nation would be more deserving of your position’.
 Another young man came to Abd Al Malek Ibn Marwan, a great Omayyad caliph, so the Caliph scolded his chamberlain in these words: ‘Everybody who wants to enter is allowed, even young men"! The young man smiled and said: ‘May Allah perfect the Caliph, my coming into your presence does not dishonor you, but honors me. We suffered a year that dissolved the fat, and a year that went away with the flesh, and a year that thinned the bones, and you have surplus money. If this money is ours, then why do you keep it from us" And if it is yours, then be charitable to us. And if it belongs to Allah, then we are his servants’. So the Caliph said: ‘By Allah the boy didn’t leave us any excuse’.
 Once our master Omar was walking in Medina, children who were playing saw him and ran away, all except for one. He was curious so he asked the boy: ‘Why didn’t you run when the sh3er did"’. The boy said: ‘O Emir, you are not unjust so I fear your injustice, neither am I guilty so I fear your punishment, and the street is wide enough for the both of us’.
Why can’t we teach our children to use the pure literary Arabic, teach them to like reading, writing, delivering speeches, for a man’s charm is in his eloquence.

Tongues of the Quranic language:

 The Qur’an was revealed in a clear Arabic language, but also in seven ‘letters’ or dialects. Every tribe had its own dialect, and the Prophet PBUH, used to address men in their own dialects. A man once asked him about fasting, in his own dialect where the definite article is ‘Am’ instead of ‘Al’, and the Prophet PBUH, answered him in the same dialect using ‘Am’ instead of ‘Al’. And it is to facilitate it for the Arabs who accepted this great religion that the Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects.
 For instance the tribe of Quraish pronounces the glottal stops (Hamza) while the tribe of Tamim doesn’t. So if you read in Surat Al Ikhlas the Arabic word translated here by ‘Comparable’ ‘Kufuwan’ without the glottal stop, then you have read it in the Quraish dialect. While if you read it with the glottal stop ‘Kufu’ an’, marked here by the apostrophe, then you will be reading it in the Tamim dialect.

"And there is none comparable unto him "

 The same goes for the word ‘Angels’ read ‘Malayika’ in the Quraish dialect and ‘Mala ’ ika’ in Tamim’s, and the word ‘History’ ‘Taarikh’ or ‘Ta ’ rikh’. Tamim forces and Quraish eases the pronunciation of the Hamza. As for writing, the Hamza writing rules apply to both dialects, and the Hamza is noted in both cases, whether pronounced or not.
So the Noble Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, in seven of the Arab’s dialects, to facilitate things to those who were ordered to receive it with faith and veneration. The Prophet PBUH, says:

‘Gibril taught me the Qur’an in one dialect, so I kept returning for more until he completed seven dialects’.

(Agreed upon)

 I should mention that today the language is standardized, and I do not see the need to know all the dialects. Today everybody uses ‘Ibraheem’ so why say ‘Ibraham’ in a different dialect. In one dialect the ‘Straight way’ in Surat Al Fatiha is pronounced ‘Zirat’ instead of the familiar ‘Sirat’, but why insist on using unfamiliar words though correct and legal, when the language has been unified"

Why was Arab peninsula the land for Islam’s message ?

 Those who could write were just a few in Mecca and Medina. The people Allah chose for this great message lived in the desert, and barely had any culture. There are reasons behind this choice, and maybe some day we will get to understand all of them, as in these vast stretches life is simple and straightforward, no sophistication, no hypocrisy, no lying, and some aspects of their way of living were admirable and approved by the Prophet PBUH, not to mention the sense of honor, magnanimity, bravery, eloquence, perceptiveness and sophistication free.
Imagine that a prophet is sent nowadays, what would the news read" Imagine the coverage he would get on the news in this age, they will call a certain psychiatrist who will say he has a certain complex, they will call a sociologist who will say he likes to control large groups, and he relates abnormally to the society.
 Would you believe, dear brother that a prominent psychiatrist accused prophets of queerness because they liked to sit with men" There’s a profound wisdom behind sending the Prophet PBUH in a time and place of no sophistication and to a simple society. If he were sent today, you would see the strangest forms of refutation, derision and mockery.

Revelation's writers:

 Dear brother, one of the prominent scribes of the Revelation was Zaid Ibn Thabet, though he became a Muslim after the Hegira, and consequently only transcribed the Surats revealed in Medina, but none of those revealed in Mecca. And the first in Mecca to write down the Noble Ayahs (verses) for the Prophet PBUH was a man from Quraish called Abd Allah Ibn Saad Ibn Abu Sarah. And among the scribes who generally wrote are the four Caliphs, Al Zubair Ibn Al Awam, Khaled and Aban sons of Said Ibn Al Aas Ibn Oumayya, Hanzala Ibn Al Rabi’ Al Asadi, mou’aiqel Ibn Fatima, Abd Allah Ibn Arqam Al Zuhri, Sharhabile Ibn Hasana, Abd Allah Ibn Ruahah, and sh3er. And Ubai Ibn Kaab was the first to write for him in Medina. Those are the scribes of the Revelation, a precious few, but who got the job done.

The exclusivity of our Prophet PBUH’s miracle:

 There’s a third point that needs to be mentioned. In the previously revealed books, Allah Almighty gave an obligating order to preserve those books. And we should distinguish between the obligating order and the constitutional order. In an obligating order, you have a choice: obey or disobey, like a sign forbidding passage, but access is possible, so you can disobey and pass and pay the price, or you can obey. But the constitutional order is Allah’s doing. The prophets were ordered to preserve the previous books as an obligation, and they did, the proof is:

"For to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's book"

(Surat Al Maeda, 44)

 They protected it as an obligation, but their followers did not. This is why additions were made to the revealed books which are not integral parts of it, alterations, distortions, and falsifications. This is because the miracles were separate and independent from the book. Our master the Messiah raised the dead, and the Gospel is Allah’s book. Our master Moses split the sea and his book was the Torah. But the Qur’an is special in that it is the Book of all humanity.

"And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds"

(Surat Al Anbia’, 107)

 A Book for all humanity, the last Book until judgment day, even the Messiah will reauthor from it when he comes back to life:

"A messenger from Allah, reading purified pages, Containing correct scriptures"

(Al Bayyinah, 2-3)

 Because the Qur’an is for all humans until the end of times, its miracle must not be separate from it but intrinsic to it, and it is: the Qur’an is the Prophet’s miracle. And if the Book loses its miracle it will lose its value, this is why Allah Himself assumed the protection of His Book, He says:

"Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian"

(Al Hijr, 9)

 So the first truth, a truth anchored in faith, is that when you believe that this universe speaks of the existence, the uniqueness and perfection of Allah, when you believe that thru its miraculous nature this Qur’an is His word, when this Qur’an that He sent with His Prophet PBUH tells you that Allah has assumed its protection, and I do not wish to detail the evidence of its preservation, then you must believe that it is protected and preserved, and that what you read today is the same book that was revealed to our Prophet PBUH. This is a matter of faith established by the Noble Ayahs of the Qur’an, Allah says:

" Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian"

The topics included in Quran:

 Dear brother, this Noble Qur’an that was revealed in clear Arabic tongue, unto the heart of the best of messengers, the last Book inspired to the last of prophets and messengers, the first issue it addressed was the Unicity of Allah. In fact all revealed books professed this unicity, Allah says:

"And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no Allah save Me (Allah), so worship Me "

(Surat Al Anbia’, 25)

 To believe in the Unicity of Allah is to see no equal to Allah, that no one gives save Allah, no one holds back save Allah, no one promotes, no one demotes, no one honors, and no one humiliates save Allah, and that Allah never placed you in the hands of another and never will.

"And unto Him the whole matter will be returned. So worship Him and put thy trust in Him"

(Surat Hud, 123)

 The first issue was the Unicity of Allah (Tawheed), then came the law. Most of the Qur’an revealed in Mecca establishes and confirms the meaning of Unicity, Divinity and Judgment Day. Then came the Medina legislating Ayahs detailing the dealings between people, which if done according to law will make worship acceptable.
We will continue this subject, God willing, in a forthcoming lesson.

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