does illiterate mean Jaahil?

Discussion in 'Aqidah/Kalam' started by Unbeknown, Oct 9, 2013.

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  1. Shadman

    Shadman Active Member

    Asides from Islamic point of view how is Ummi used in Arabic?
  2. Juwayni

    Juwayni Veteran

  3. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator


    Calling the Prophet ('alayhi-afdalus-salaatu-wat-tasleem) 'jaahil' (al-'iyadubillah!) is kufr by consensus for it is tantamount to belittling his (peace be upon him) exalted status. The English equivalent of this derogatory and offensive term would be 'ignorant'.

    Indeed the Qur'an uses the term 'Ummi' and not the other one though it is present in Arabic. Moreover, to demean and mock the enemy of Allah and His Rasul he was nicknamed 'Abu-Jahal' and likewise the dark, unenlightened era prevailing before the declaration of Prophet-hood by RasulAllah (peace be upon him) is called 'Jahiliyyah'. This proves that even in the Arabic language this term is used to humiliate, shame and scorn.

    But what if someone translates the term 'Ummi' as, God forbid, 'illiterate'? Is it mere Gumrahi or is it also Kufr? Can this term ever have a non-derogatory meaning? :

    1. unable to read and write: an illiterate group.
    2. having or demonstrating very little or no education.
    3. showing lack of culture, especially in language and literature.
    4. displaying a marked lack of knowledge in a particular field

    World English Dictionary
    1. unable to read and write
    2. violating accepted standards in reading and writing: an illiterate scrawl
    3. uneducated, ignorant, or uncultured: scientifically illiterate


    early 15c., "uneducated, unable to read (originally of Latin)," from Latin illiteratus "unlearned, unlettered, ignorant; without culture, inelegant," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + literatus, literally "furnished with letters" (see literate). As a noun meaning "illiterate person" from 1620s. Hence, illiterati (1788).

    Why I ask.


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