দি  ইন্সটিটিউট ফর কুরআনিক রিসার্চ এন্ড এ্যাপ্লিকেশন (ইক্বরা)

লক্ষ্য

ইক্বরার লক্ষ্য হলো বর্তমান ও ভবিষ্যত প্রজন্মের জন্য স্রষ্টার ঐশী বাণীর সমন্বিত অধ্যয়ন ও সার্বজনীন প্রয়োগের জন্য জ্ঞানদীপ্ত অনুশীলন।

উদ্দেশ্য

ইক্বরার উদ্দেশ্য হলো কুরআনের বাণীর উত্তরোত্তর সমৃদ্ধ অনুধাবনের জন্য টেকসই ভিত্তি প্রস্তুত করা এবং জীবন ও সমাজের প্রায়োগিকতার জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় জ্ঞানভিত্তিক ফ্রেমওয়ার্ক বা কাঠামো নির্মাণ।

প্রকাশিত বইসমূহ

Literacy Rate during times of Ibrahim, Musa, Isa and Muhammad

In the context of Divine Scripture and whether those scriptures were orally transmitted or written down, we want to look at history to ask this question: what percentage of the population in the society of Abraham, Moses, Jesus or Muhammad, peace be upon them all, were able to read?

Because a Book will be successful in transmitting message if enough population were literate or able to at least read, if not write. We know ancient society didn't have much need for reading or writing except only in later part of the history when commerce became more popular. Agriculture based society and the idea of books were not very popular in the past.

So here we would like to briefly explore the times of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and try to find the percentage of literacy among common people.

During the time and place of Ibrahim

Determining the literacy rate during the time of Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham is challenging due to the lack of concrete historical records and the uncertainty surrounding the exact time and location of his life. Abraham is a significant figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is believed to have lived around 2000 BCE.

According to tradition, Abraham was born in the ancient city of Ur, in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), and later migrated to Canaan (modern-day Israel and Palestine). During this period, Mesopotamia and Canaan were part of the broader Near Eastern cultural sphere, which included the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Egyptian civilizations, among others.

In these ancient societies, literacy was generally restricted to a small elite group, such as priests, scribes, and government officials. Writing systems, like cuneiform in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphs in Egypt, were complex and required extensive training to master. It is estimated that only a small percentage of the population, perhaps around 1% to 10%, would have been literate.

However, it is important to note that these figures are speculative due to the lack of comprehensive records and the challenges of interpreting ancient texts. Additionally, the concept of literacy itself has evolved over time, making it difficult to compare literacy rates across different historical periods directly.

During the time and place of Musa

During the time of Musa or Moses, the literacy percentage of the total population in the society he lived in was very low. Writing was mainly taught for the purposes of animal husbandry and record keeping. Additionally, writing during that time required the use of a special kind of stylus, which made it difficult to learn. However, Moses introduced a system of education that was used to teach students, which was a significant step forward. It was not a complete system, and some parts of it were conducted orally alongside writing. As a result, the literacy rate was very low, but the little literacy that did exist was typically among responsible individuals in the society.

It is difficult to provide a precise literacy percentage for the society Moses lived in, as there are several factors to consider. Moses is a biblical figure from the Old Testament, believed to have lived around the 13th or 14th century BCE. He was a member of the ancient Israelite society, which was part of the broader Near Eastern cultural milieu, including Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Canaanite civilizations.

During that time, literacy was generally restricted to a small elite group of people, such as priests, scribes, and government officials. Writing systems, such as hieroglyphs in Egypt and cuneiform in Mesopotamia, were complex and required extensive training to master. It is estimated that only a small percentage of the population, perhaps around 1% to 10%, would have been literate.

However, it is important to note that these figures are speculative due to the lack of comprehensive records and the challenges of interpreting ancient texts. Additionally, the concept of literacy itself has evolved over time, making it difficult to compare literacy rates across different historical periods directly.

During the time and place of Isa

During the time of Isa or Jesus, which is estimated to be around the 1st century CE, the literacy rate in the region he lived in would have been relatively low. Jesus lived in Roman-controlled Judea, which was part of the broader Eastern Mediterranean region.

Literacy in the Roman Empire varied greatly by location, social class, and gender. It is estimated that, on average, about 10% to 20% of the population in the Roman Empire was literate. However, in rural areas and among the lower classes, the literacy rate would have been much lower, likely in the single-digit percentages. In contrast, urban centers and among the upper classes, the literacy rate would have been higher.

In the specific region where Jesus lived, the Jewish population was known for its emphasis on religious education. However, even within this context, it is unlikely that the literacy rate would have been significantly higher than the overall average for the Roman Empire. Most people in this period, including Jesus' followers, were likely to have been poor, rural laborers with limited access to education.

As with the time of Moses, it is important to note that these figures are speculative due to the lack of comprehensive records and the challenges of interpreting ancient texts. Additionally, the concept of literacy itself has evolved over time, making it difficult to compare literacy rates across different historical periods directly.

During the time and place of Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad lived in the Arabian Peninsula during the 6th and 7th centuries CE, with Mecca and Medina being the central locations of his life and teachings. The literacy rate in this region during that time was likely quite low.

At the time of Prophet Muhammad, the Arabian Peninsula was a tribal society with a predominantly oral culture. Formal education was limited, and writing was not widespread. Most of the population were engaged in trade, agriculture, or herding, with little need for literacy in their daily lives.

It is difficult to provide an exact percentage for the literacy rate during this time, but it is likely that only a small percentage of the population, possibly in the single digits, would have been literate. Literacy was mainly confined to a small group of people, such as traders, religious leaders, and members of the ruling classes, who used writing for record-keeping, administration, or religious purposes.

The advent of Islam and the Quran played a significant role in the promotion of literacy in the region. The Quran, believed by Muslims to be the word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad, was initially transmitted orally but was later compiled into a written text. The importance of the Quran in Islamic religious practice encouraged the learning of reading and writing, which contributed to the spread of literacy in the following centuries.

Again, it is important to note that these figures are speculative due to the lack of comprehensive records and the challenges of interpreting ancient texts. Additionally, the concept of literacy itself has evolved over time, making it difficult to compare literacy rates across different historical periods directly.

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