[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
One of the qualities of the Prophet ﷺ is that he was unlettered (illiterate), yet he was a teacher for the entire mankind.
The title is Hirzan lil Ummiyeen.
Hirzan lil Ummiyeen - Ummi means a person who cannot read or write but can only memorize and converse. The majority of the Arabs were Ummi. Thus, the Prophet ﷺ is the protector of ummiyeen. This title is also found in the Qur’an:
“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error.”Surah Jumuah verse 2
The Unlettered Teacher’s Ways of teaching
The Prophet ﷺ taught four things to the uneducated Arabs to remove their ignorance.
Reciting the verses of Allah: The Arabic term is Tilawat. There are two types of ayat.
Ayat e Kauniya and Ayat e Sharia. Each verse of the Qur’an belongs to either of the two categories.
Ayat e Kauniya means those verses which do not mention any law or describe Jannah or Hellfire but only mention about Allah:
“Indeed in the creations of the heavens and the earth are signs for those who have intelligence.”
Ayat e Sharia are those verses in which Allah mentions any religious laws, commands about worship, human rights and even animal rights. For example:
“Establish prayers and give zakat.”
Pondering upon the creation demonstrates how Mighty is the Creator
People are commanded to ponder upon such verses to establish a connection with Allah and to improve their Imaan. The majority of the Makkan verses are Ayat e Kauniya. Whenever the Prophet ﷺ woke up at the time of Tahajjud, he used to recite the last few verses of Surah Al e Imran which speaks about pondering upon the creation of the heavens and the earth. The last few verses from surah al Ghashiya were also regularly recited by him.
“Then do they not look at the camels - how they are created? - And at the sky - how it is raised? And at the mountains - how they are erected? And at the earth - how it is spread out?”
These verses express the Oneness of Allah and show the uniqueness of His creativity. The Arabs were told to ponder upon the creation of a camel. A camel drinks only once a week. Travelers used to carry water for themselves but not for the camel because the camel is created in such a way that its stomach can preserve water for a week. Their feet are padded in such a way that they do not feel the heat of sand, even during the scorching summer. Animals feed carefully on leaves only, but the camel can eat at an amazing speed. Its mouth has been designed differently in such a way that it can easily eat the thorny cactus of the desert without injuring itself.
Such is the miraculous creation of Camel.
Similarly, the creation of heaven and earth have also been mentioned. There is no pillar that holds up the sky. The mountains are firmly fixed on the earth like pegs. When Allah had created the earth, it kept on shaking and moving. The mountains were fixed on it as pegs to stabilize the earth and to stop it from moving and shaking.. In verse 66 of Surah Nahl, Allah speaks about the wonders inside the animals.
“We give you drink from what is in their bellies - between excretion and blood - pure milk, palatable to drinkers.”
Milk is produced from hay and grass. The milk never gets mixed up with excreta or blood. This is a sign of Allah’s power of creativity. These are the verses that reflect Touhid. Providing knowledge through the Quran, made the Arab community intellectually strong. There are about a thousand verses consisting of Ayat e Kauniya and Ayat e Shariah; the knowledge of which instilled a deep sense of civic responsibility in the Arabs.
The unlettered Prophet ﷺ got his ummah connected with Allah through his way of teaching.