Saturday, November 16, 2013

Respect for the Name ‘Muhammad’ in the Court of SayyidinaʿUmar (r.a)

Once, Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) was going somewhere when he heard an individual rebuke someone with the words, ‘This Muhammad is like this; he is corrupt, he has perpetrated such and such an act.’

Upon hearing these words, Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) stopped and gathered everyone together, before announcing, ‘From today, do not name anyone Muhammad! Why? Because every time a person named Muhammad does something bad, I cannot tolerate him being rebuked by anyone with words like “Muhammad stole” and “Muhammad committed a wrong”. Hence, do not keep this name!’

This was agreed as a future guideline, but what about the many individuals who had already adopted this name before that day? Concerning them, Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) said, ‘Change their names too!’

He then asked, ‘What is your name?’
The man replied, ‘Muhammad.’
Immediately, Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) changed it to Abd al-Rahmān and said, ‘If you perpetrate a wrong, I will not be able to tolerate the display of disrespect towards this name (Muhammad).’

Consequently, a man was sent to the tribe of Banū ṬTalhah where seven to nine people bore the name Muhammad. The messenger of Sayyidunā Umar (r.a) relayed the message given to him and ordered that the name Muhammad be changed. Upon hearing this announcement, the leader of Banū ṬTalhah chuckled and remarked, ‘Return and impart the message to the Leader of the Believers that I myself am named Muhammad, and that the Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم himself blessed me with this name.’

As soon as Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) came to know of this, he said, ‘From today onwards, my order is suspended. If the Messenger of Allāhصلى الله عليه وسلم himself has chosen and sanctioned the name Muhammad for people, then who am I to oppose it?’

May Allāh Most High endow us with the same level of deference and courteous regard that Sayyidunā ʿUmar (r.a) exhibited in that he could not tolerate any wrong being attributed to the name Muhammad. May Allāh Most High bestow us with true love for the Noble Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)

(Source: The Beauty of Prophet Muhammad as reflected in lectures lectures on Sahih Bukhari by Shaykh al Hadith Mawlana Yusuf Motala; page 17)

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