Prophet (saws) knew how to read & write?
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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
You as usual...danced around the question...why would the Prophet ask for a pen and paper if he did not know how to write or that they denied writing something for the Prophet. This is plainly in the hadith (leave alone the other hypothese). Either the hadith is false or some companions followed what they wanted of the Prophet.
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Prophet (saws) knew how to read & write?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Your Question: why would the Prophet ask for a pen and paper if he did not know how to write
It is unanimously accepted in Islam, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) did not know how to read and write! If you are implying that the Messenger of Allah (saws) knew how to read and write, then maybe you should read this aayah of the Holy Quran again:
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 29 Surah Ankaboot verse 48:(O Prophet), you did not read any book before this, nor did you write any with your hand. If it were so, the worshippers of falsehood could have been involved in doubt.
Allah also calls Prophet Mohamed (saws) the Ummi (gentile or illiterate) Prophet, and all the scholars of all the thoughts of school in Islam are unanimous in their opinion that the Messenger of Allah (saws), indeed did not know how to read or write!
If, as some misguided people claim, Hadrat Umars intention was to deny the Prophet the opportunity to write down his final will, then:
Why did the Prophet (saws), who did not know how to read and write himself, just declare what he wanted to be written to his official scribe, Hadrat Ali (r.a.) and command him to write it.
The Prophet (saws) lived 3-4 days after this incident and his health too got better. He could have told Hadrat Ali (r.a.) to write down what he wanted. Neither the Prophet (saws) told him, nor Hadrat Ali (r.a.) claimed that the Prophet (saws) told him some secrets to be written down.
Is it not even logical to think that just because Hadrat Umar recommended, the Messenger of Allah (saws) would have left his mission incomplete, if he indeed had anything to add to the deen.
None except Allah and His Messenger know what the Prophet (saws) wanted written down at that time. But some unscrupulous people, in their abject opposition to the noble companions, unashamedly claim today to know what was in the Prophets mind at that time!!!
The companions and family of the Prophet (saws) did not know at the time of the incident, that the Prophet (saws) was going to die in the next 3-4 days! It would only be logical to assume that they hoped the Prophet (saws) would recover from his illness, and run the matters of state as required when he was healthy again.
For arguments sake, lets assume Hadrat Umar objected! What about all the other family members and companions of the Prophet (saws). Did they just stand there and let Umar dictate what should be and should not be done? And that too when the Prophet (saws) of Allah was still alive? That would mean that people of the stature of Ali, and Abbas, and Fatema, and Abu Bakr, and Uthman, etc. would just stand and allow something like this to happen?
What I cannot understand is how this incident has a bearing on our guidance. The deen of Islam was completed, the Quran revealed, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) was established at the time of the death of the Prophet (saws). Whatever happened is in the knowledge of Allah Alone. Allah will not hold us accountable for their deeds, nor ask us about them on the Day of Judgment. We will be asked about our deeds and what did we do for the cause of Islam.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 134: They were a people who passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you shall have the reward of what you will earn. And you will not be questioned as to what they did.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,