"Allah says, prohibiting the use of equivocal expressions in respect of the Prophet, "O you believe, do not say 'Observe us' but 'regard us' and listen." (2:104) This is because the Jews used to say, "Observe us, Muhammad," i.e. listen to us and hear us. They were using an equivocal expression, intending to make fun, so Allah forbade the believers to be like them and cut off the means to doing so by prohibiting the believers from using that expression so that theunbelievers and hypocrites would not be given an opportunity to insult and mock the Prophet."
Allah says, "Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Next World. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them," (33:57) and "Those who harm the Messenger of Allah have a painful punishment," (9:61) and "It is not for you to hurt the Messenger of Allah and you should not ever marry his wives after him. That is something terrible with Allah." (33:53)
Allah says, prohibiting the use of equivocal expressions in respect of the Prophet, "O you believe, do not say 'Observe us' but 'regard us' and listen." (2:104) This is because the Jews used to say, "Observe us, Muhammad," i.e. listen to us and hear us. They were using an equivocal expression, intending to make fun, so Allah forbade the believers to be like them and cut off the means to doing so by prohibiting the believers from using that expression so that theunbelievers and hypocrites would not be given an opportunity to insult and mock the Prophet.
It is said that it was censured because it was a common expression among Jews which had the meaning, "Listen, you did not hear." It is also said that was censured because, for the Ansar, it contained lack of manners and lack respect and esteem because in the Ansari dialect it meant, "Look at us, and will look at you." They were forbidden to say it since it meant that they could only look at him when he looked at them. The Prophet, may Allah bless and grant him peace, must be observed whatever the case.
Similarly he forbade the use of his kunya saying, "Name yourselves with my but do not use my kunya." This was to protect himself and guard himself harm since he had once answered a man who called out, "Abu'l- Qasim!" the man said, "I did not mean you. I was calling him."
After this it was forbidden to use his kunya as a name so he would not be annoyed by answering a call addressed not to him but to someone else. The hypocrites and mockers made this a means of annoying and belittling him. They would call him, and then when he turned, they would say, "We meant this one," pointing to someone else. Their intention was to inconvenience him and belittle him as is the custom of mockers and the insolent. The Prophet was protected from their harm in every way. The meticulous `ulama’ restrict this prohibition to the time he was alive and allow the Prophet’s kunya to be used after his death since the cause of harm is no longer there.
People have taken different positions regarding this hadith. This is not the place to discuss it, and what we have mentioned below is the position most people adhere to and the correct one, Allah willing. It is based on esteem and respect for him, and is a recommendation, not a prohibition.
This is why he forbade the use of his name since Allah had forbidden that he be called by his name when He said, "Do not make your calling the Messenger among you like your calling each other." (24:63) Therefore the Muslims called him "Messenger of Allah", "Prophet of Allah" and some of them called him by his kunya, "Abu'l-Qasim", in certain instances.
Anas related from the Prophet something that indicates that it is disliked to call people by his name since it could cause disrespect, "You call your sons Muhammad and then you curse them."
Abu Ja'far at-Tabari related that 'Umar wrote to the people of Kufa, "Do not call anyone by the name of the Prophet." Muhammad ibn Sa'd related that he observed a man called Muhammad while another man was cursing him and saying to him, "May Allah do such a thing to you, Muhammad!" 'Umar said to his nephew, Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn al-Khattab, "I do not think that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, should be cursed on account of you. By Allah, you will not be called Muhammad as long as I am alive." He called him 'Abdur-Rahman. By doing this, he wanted to forbid people being called with the names of Prophets out of the desire to honour them, so he changed their names and said, "Do not name yourselves with the names of the Prophets," and he did not say anything further on it.
The correct position is that using the Prophet's name and kunya is permitted after the death of the Prophet by the proof of the agreement of the Companions about it. Some of them named their sons Muhammad and gave them the kunya, Abu'l-Qasim.
It is related that the Prophet gave 'Ali permission to do so and the Prophet also said that his name would be the name of the Mahdi and his kunya.
The Prophet used his name for Muhammad ibn Talha, Muhammad ibn 'Amr ibn Hazm, Muhammad ibn Thabit and others. He said, "It will not harm any of you to have one, two or three Muhammads in the house."
Goto Previous | Next Section