By: Haya Muhammad Ahmed Eid

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Authorization for the Book
Introducing the Prophet of Mercy
A Word Picture
Why Muhammadr?
Mercy upon Mankind
Arise and Warn!
Psychological Warfare
1. A sorcerer! A madman! A liar! Rather, he is a poet!
2. Never will we show belief until we have a share of your prophethood
3. Shall we believe in you while you are followed by the lowest of people?
4. We will make you our king
5. Prostrate before our gods to prostrate before your God!
6. Turn Mount As-Safa into gold for us to believe you!
7. After dying and becoming dust, shall we then be resurrected?
8. Allah did not reveal anything to a human being
9. You are not a Messenger!
10. Is this the one whom Allah has sent as a Messenger?
11. Has Allah sent a human Messenger?
12. It is only a human being who teaches you
13. Do not listen to this Qur'an!
14. If we wish we can say the like of this Qur'an
15. Bring us a Qur'an other than this or change it!
16. If this is the truth, rain down upon us stones from the sky!
17. Your God has forsaken you
Power of the Word "la illaha ella Allah"
I Am the Prophet, No Lying
Bestowed Mercy
Tolerance Together With Mercy
On the Road of Hijrah
A New World
To Those Who Are Being Fought
Full Moon Has Shone
Building the City of Light
First Cornerstone: Return of Mankind to Allah
Second Cornerstone: Binding Muslims to One Another
Third Cornerstone: Binding Muslims to Non-Muslims
On One Ship
Free People
Plant It
Writing to Kings
Hindering the Path
Divine Victory
Back to Homeland
Straight Path
Followers of the Path
Verdant Shade

Islambasics Library: Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy

12. It is only a human being who
teaches you

The disbelievers claimed that only a human taught the Prophet r, and that the revelations he r brought were only tales of the ancients. (And indeed We know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches him.”)1

 They forgot in their stubborn resistance to faith and vain pretexts for disbelief that the Prophet r was illiterate; he r never read or wrote a single word in his life.

The Prophet r stayed among his people for forty years, quite a long time indeed. During this time he r never said that he was divinely inspired by anything or brought up words of his own. (Say, “If Allah had so willed, I would not have recited it to you nor would He have made it known to you. Verily, I have stayed among you a lifetime before this. Have you then no sense?”)2

Words were conveyed to him from Heaven:3

(Those who disbelieve say, “This (Qur’an) is nothing but a lie that he has invented, and others have helped him in it.” In fact, they have produced an unjust wrong and a lie. And they say, “Legends of the ancients, which he got written down and they are dictated to him (read or recited to him) morning and evening.” Say, “It has been sent down by Him Who knows the secret in the heavens and the earth. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”)4

The Qur’an, the Word of God, is not only inimitable in the profundity of its contents and message, but also in the grandeur of its diction, the variety of its imagery and the splendor of its word painting. Its literary form and style surpasses the powers of man and defies imitation. The Qur’an itself testifies that its author is God Himself. Everything proves it – its style, its contents, its constant conformity with past, present, and future events – and its transcendent character that never shows a trace of a particular man, of any one society or epoch in history or any specific region of the globe. It is not a passing event in history; it is unchangeable and eternally present for the admiring contemplation of all men. It is the truth; the truth that proves itself, and while it appeals to reason it transcends reason and thus shows its Divine origin.5

It is impossible that it is the creation of a man, let alone an illiterate. The Stories of the Prophets, narrated in the Qur’an – from Adam r to ‘Isa (Jesus r) – could not have been read by Prophet Muhammad r in the Old or New Testaments, as he r could not read in the first place:

(Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (this Qur’an), nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.)6

The disbelievers insisted on describing these true stories as mere tales or legends in order to strip them of their power of advising, reforming, and instructing. They went further in their attacks by claiming that since Muhammad r was an illiterate, he had them written down and recited to him morning and evening in order to memorize them: (They say, “Legends of the ancients, which he got written down and they are dictated to him (read or recited to him) morning and evening.”)7 And they were answered: if this is so with the realities of the past, what about the future events and the secrets the revelations unfold: (Say, “It has been sent down by Him Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth.)8 Certainly, it has been dictated to him by the All-Knower Who knows everything that is on earth and in heaven.

This sign of illiteracy, in fact, testifies to the prophethood of Muhammad r. Allah kept him illiterate to eliminate any suspicion about the source of the revelations he r would receive and to be the One Who taught him all knowledge.

From Allah U man obtains all knowledge, all secrets of this existence, this life, this soul. The Prophet’s knowledge was only from there, only heavenly; from the one single source that is unrivalled by anything else.9

The Divine Education of the Prophet r started with the first divinely inspired word spoken to him, “Read.” Lady ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said10:

The first of the Divine Revelations that the Messenger of Allah r received were good dreams. Any dream he r saw came true, as clear as daylight.

Then seclusion was endeared to him. He r used to retire to Hira’ Cave and engage in Tahannuth (worship) for a certain number of nights before returning to his family to replenish his supplies for the same purpose.

He r would return to his wife Khadijah and replenish his provisions for a similar period. He r continued so until the truth came to him while in Hira’ Cave.

The Angel (Gabriel u) came to him and said, “Read!

He r said, “I am not a reader (i.e. I do not know how to read).”

He r narrated, “So the Angel took me and powerfully embraced me until I was exhausted, then released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ He took me and powerfully embraced me for a second time until I was exhausted, then released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ He took me and powerfully embraced me for the third time, then released me and said: (Read in the Name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not. )11

Right from the very first moment of blessed contact with Heaven, and before taking the first step along the way of the Message that he r was chosen to deliver, Muhammad r was instructed to read in the Name of Allah; that is, to seek to have the power to read by mentioning the Name of the Lord: (Read in the name of your Lord), starting with the Divine Attribute of creation and initiation (...your Lord Who created.)

The Revelation then speaks in particular of the creation of man and his origin: a coagulated drop of blood that sticks to the womb. That little origin of simple composition that reflects the Grace and Mercy of the Creator more than it reflects His Power. It is out of the Grace of Allah U that He has elevated this blood clot to the rank of man, who can be taught and who can learn.

There also emerges the truth of man being taught by his Creator. The pen has always been the most prevalent learning tool and has always had the most far-reaching bearing on the life of man. This fact was not as clear at the time of revelation as it is now. But Allah is the All-knower of the value of the pen. Hence this reference to the pen at the beginning of His Final Message to humanity, in the first Surah of the Noble Qur’an; even though the Messenger r charged with the conveyance of this Message could not write by the pen.

Had the Qur’an been his own composition, he r would not have stressed this truth in the very first moment. But it is certainly a Revelation and the Message is Divine.12

1 Translated meanings of An-Nahl 16: 103.

2 Translated meanings of Yunus 10: 16.

3 Sheikh Muhammad Mitwaly Ash-Sha‘rawy, The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad.

4 Translated meanings of Al-Furqan 25: 4-6.

5 Athar Husain, The Message of Qur’an.

6 Translated meanings of Al-‘Ankabut 29: 48.

7 Translated meanings of Al-Furqan 25: 5.

8 Translated meanings of Al-Furqan 25: 6.

9 Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, interpretation of Surat Al-Alaq [96: 3-4], thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.

10 Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Bid’ Al-Wahy (The Beginning of the Divine Revelation), Hadith no. 3; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (4572, 6467), Muslim (231), and Ahmad (24768).

11 Translated meanings of Al-‘Alaq 96: 1-5.

12 Adapted from Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, interpretation of Surat Al-Alaq [96: 1-5], thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.

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