By Maulana Khalid Dhorat
It is recorded in the “Hilyatul Awliya” that there was an extremely sinful and immoral man during the time of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). When he died, his people dragged his body to a dump and left him there to rot like the scoundrel he was. Upon this, the Almighty instructed His Prophet to go to the dump, retrieve the body, wash it with care, perform prayers over it and bury him with dignity and respect. When Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) reached the dump and recognized the body, he cried: “O my Lord, but the Israelites claim that he passed his entire life in sin.”
“Yes indeed, but one day he was reciting the Taurat (the original Old Testament) and came across the name of Muhammad. He kissed this name, placed it on his eyes and sent salutations upon him. I loved this act so much that I have forgiven him and married him to 70 heavenly damsels,” replied the Almighty.
If the mere respecting of the NAME of the Best of Creation, the Seal of Prophets, and Master of Intercession by a non-ummati is such a blessed act, how much more blessed wouldn’t we ummatis be if we were to religiously follow in his footsteps? But today I intend elaborating only on the uniqueness and blessedness associated with the name MUHAMMAD, and not his noble character.
We start by looking at the official birth records of the UK. Although a vastly non-Muslim country, it was found in 2006 that the name Muhammad had become popular amongst the masses – Muslims as well as non-Muslims. In 2006 alone, 4 255 babies were registered as Muhammad, as compared to Joseph – the most popular English name until then – which clocked in second at 3 755. France is a country notorious for its anti-Islam rhetoric, but from 1940 to 2005, 53 377 babies were officially named Muhammad. This is besides the thousands of others whose names are appended by Muhammad, like Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ameen etc. Like France, Denmark is also notorious for its anti-Islamic policies. It’s the country which published the defamatory cartoons against our Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him), but to honour their Prophet, a record number of parents named their children Muhammad during the same year. By 2004, it was found that 8 928 people were officially named Muhammad in this country, and in the same year, 167 children were officially named Muhammad. However, 3 923 were named Ahmed, another Qur’anic name of our noble Prophet.
Besides always honouring the name of their Prophet, Muslims have fiercely promoted this name when Islam was under attack. During the dark days of Communism when Russia sought to, once and for all, wipe Islam out from the face of this earth, the mother of Qadhi Ra’uf of Chechnya, announced a $1000- prize to all parents who named their child Muhammad who were fortunate enough to be born in the month of Rabi al-Awwal.
Indeed, in days gone by, parents named their sons Muhammad in the hope that they become lions of Islam. A few of the greatest Muhaditheen (narrators of hadith) were named after their august Prophet: Imam Muhammad ibn Ismail Bukhari, Imam Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari, Imam Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaima and Imam Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Mirzawi. The foremost student of the great Imam Abu Hanifah was Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Shaibani. When a Jewish scholar read his “Kitab al-Asl,” he remarked: “If this is the magnificent book of Muhammad junior, I can only imagine the greatness of the book of Muhammad senior.” Fast forwarding a bit, the greatest warrior soon to make his appearance in the world, who will surely cause the disbelieving west and the hypocrites to perspire pounds blood, will be a person whose name is Muhammad, commonly known to Muslims as Imam al-Mahdi.
More astounding than the fact that the living normally keep the name Muhammad, the dead have also been honored for playing their part in having upkept this name during their lifetime. In the area of Tirmidh, Samarqand and Bukhara where Islamic scholarship flourished, a cemetery was built especially for those who held the sacred name Muhammad, called “Turbatul Muhammadeen.” Many thousands of Muslims were buried therein, including 400 famous scholars. The Muslims of the time were so strict in upholding the reputation of this cemetery that when a leading Hanafi jurist, the author of “Al-Hedaya” – Imam Burhanud Deen Marghinani, passed away in 593 AH, he was not allowed to be buried in this cemetery. Not wanting to lose out on such a privilege, his heirs decided to rather bury him just outside the cemetery, instead of in the one generally used by the Muslims.
It’s not only men who have honoured the name Muhammad, but also the trees, the clouds, the fruit and the earth. Numerous eye-witness incidents have been reported of people seeing the clouds form the name Muhammad, or have found this blessed name inscribed upon fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the greatest standing testimony to this is the Mount ‘Uhud, which gave refuge to Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) and upon whose lap are buried 70 martyrs from the illustrious Companions. Once, Prophet Muhammmad (may peace and blessings be upon him) climbed upon this mountain accompanied by Sayyadina Abubakr, Umar and ‘Uthman and out of excitement, it started shaking. The Prophet affectionately addressed it saying: “O ‘Uhud, be still, for upon you is a Prophet, a Truthful one, and two martyrs.” On another occasion, Prophet Muhammmad (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: “This mountain loves us and we love it.” ‘Uhud loved the Prophet in many ways, and one of the ways it expresses it’s love till today is that its seven kilometer peaks and ranges is in the shape of Muhammmad. Satellite images have confirmed this and you could do well to double check it.
Linguistically too, Muhammad is no ordinary name. In Arabic, certain alphabets are regarded as strong, and some as weak. Those alphabets which are strong have no dots above or below them – like Alif, Meem, Raa – whilst those which are weak have dots, which indicate that they need some assistance in their recognition and pronunciation – like baa, jeem, sheen. The name “Muhammad” is comprised of four alphabets, all of which are strong, denoting the perfect personality, who was perfectly named by the Most Perfect, to be free of all spiritual imperfections.
Besides all the above uniqueness connected to the name Muhammad, those who held this name were honoured in many ways. Once Caliph ‘Umar received some pairs of clothing as a gift. Not wanting to increase the size of his wardrobe, he decided to rather distribute it amongst some people, but to whom? If he gave it to one, someone else would surely feel hurt. After much deliberation, he said that all the Companions who are named after their Prophet should come forward. Hence Muhammad ibn Abubakr, Muhammad ibn Talha, Muhammad ibn ’Amr ibn Hazm, Muhammad ibn Hatib, and Muhammad ibn Hitab came forward to collect their gifts.
Another astonishing story is that of Sultan Mahmud, the pious Ghaznavi king of India, as narrated in the Tarikh Farishta. This Sultan had a servant by the name of Muhammad, but whenever he would be angry with him, he would call him Tajud Deen instead, out of deep respect of his Prophet. Once he called his servant by the name Tajudud Deen. He came and fulfilled what he was asked to do, but was not seen for a few days thereafter. The King became aware of his absence, and called for him. Out came Muhammad, trembling, out of fear and stammered: “Ever since you called me Tajud Deen, I’ve been very troubled. I can’t understand the wrong I did so that I may rectify it.” The King consoled him and said: “O Muhammad, please don’t worry. I called you by this name not because of any fault in you, but because at that time, I was not in a state of ablution (wudhu), and so I disliked taking the name of my Prophet whilst in this state.” May the Almighty be glorified !!
Muhammad is also the name which cemented itself in the heart of a beautiful and talented lady – a Sahabiyyah by the name of Umm Habeeb bint Qais. After her marriage ended with her cousin, Sayyadina Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, many people made haste to win her hand in marriage, but she had one queer condition: “I will only marry a person named Muhammad.” So, she married Muhammad ibn Abu Huzaifah, who was soon martyred, and then she accepted Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddique in her marriage. When he was also martyred, she married Muhammad ibn Abu Ja’far ibn Abu Talib, and after his death she married another cousin of his, Muhammad ibn Ayas ibn ‘Amr. She shifted to Damascus thereafter and passed away there, after marrying five Muhammads. The people were amazed at her, and would joke: “Whoever wants to die very soon, should marry Umm Habeeb!”
My plea to all is that let’s make the name Muhammad as popular as possible. Let’s name at least one child or one grandchild per couple after our noble Prophet. Those who wish to change their present names to Muhammad or suffix their name wth Muhammad can also do so. Prophet Muhammmad (may peace and blessings be upon him) set this example for us by naming many of his Companions after him in his lifetime, There is no doubt that Muhammad is the most beloved of names to the Almighty because the Almighty had surely chose the best of names for the best of people. A further incentive for this appears in the Mu’jam at-Tabrani wherein Prophet Muhammmad (may peace and blessings be upon him) promised to intercede for the one named after him in the hereafter. Qadi Iyad has also transcribed the following tradition in his ash-Shifa: “Verily, there are special angels of the Almighty who visit the homes (to protect it and assist their inhabitants) wherein a Muhammad or a Ahmed is found, out of respect for Muhammad.”
Lastly, read the heading of this article again. I don’t think anyone is sitting at the moment. If you are not named Muhammad or don’t know of a Muhammad, past or present, then you are either deaf, blind, or dumb. Prove me wrong.