Unlettered

“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger of their own, to recite to them His signs, to purify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error.” (Al-Jumuah (The Congregation) – Chapter 62: Verse 2)

Some of these words are very interesting. God is mentioned in the third person, because the ignorant, Arabs did not know Him. As there was no “He” in their minds, God first emphasizes the darkness of their nature, their great distance from Him, and indicates that they cannot be addressed directly by Him.
Then God calls them unlettered. They were not all illiterate, but they had no knowledge of God and the Messenger. The word among shows that the Messenger was one of them, but only in the sense of being unlettered. Being chosen by God, he could not possibly belong to the Age of Ignorance. However, he had to be unlettered so that God would teach him what he needed to know. God would remove him from his people, educate him, and make him a teacher for all unlettered people.
The phrases to recite to them His signs and to purify them point out that he teaches them about the meanings of the Quran and of creation in a gradual manner, and informs them how to strive for spiritual perfection. He guides them to higher ranks by explaining the Quran and the universe to them, and showing them in minute detail how to lead a balanced and exemplary life in every sphere of activity.
The sentence although they had been, before, in manifest error indicates that God would purify and educate them even though they had gone astray. He did all of this through an unlettered Messenger and by teaching them the Quran. Throughout history and even today, this Book has met the needs of countless brilliant scientists, scholars, and saints.
(Compiled From: “The Messenger of God: Muhammad” – Fethullah Gulen, pp. 183, 184)

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