Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) - Part 1 | The names that Allah gave our Prophet (SAW) with the most profound meanings

By Halal Trip | 23, Jan, 2022
Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) | Part 1 - The names that Allah (SWT) gave

We are embarking on a new series on the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). The life and times of the greatest human being who ever lived and walked on the face of this Earth. This series is based on the lectures by Dr. Sh. Yasir Qadhi on the Seerah. 

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Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as a mercy to the worlds

Allah (SWT) blessed our Prophet (ﷺ) with unique and specific characteristics. In the Qur'an, Allah (SWT) says, 

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ 

"We have raised your mentioning and remembrance" (Qur'an 94: 4) 

Ibn Abbas (RA) and other Sahaba (RA) said Allah (SWT) has raised his remembrance such that whenever Allah is mentioned, the Prophet (ﷺ) is mentioned almost always right after that. In our Shahada (La ilaha illallah, Muhammad rasulullah), in the Azan, in the Salah, in the Quran itself, and there's hardly a khutbah that is given, except that we praise Allah and we send Salah and Salam upon the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Allah himself has called our Prophet (ﷺ):

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ 

"And We have not sent you, [O Muḥammad], except as a mercy to the worlds" (Qur'an 21:107)

Prophet (ﷺ) is Rahmah, and his sending is Rahmah, his message is Rahmah, his teachings is Rahmah, and believing and acting upon what he has come with is Rahmah. Therefore, he is everything associated with mercy, that is Rahmat-al-lil-alameen.

 

The names that Allah gave our Prophet (ﷺ)

Our Prophet (ﷺ) has many names. Many of the names were given to him by later people: the Sahaba, Tabiun, and the early scholars. One of the famous scholars of the Seerah derived over 250 names of the Prophet (ﷺ). We can benefit from the names given by the people, but the names Allah (SWT) has given our Prophet (ﷺ) are the primary names with the most profound meanings.

Jubair b. Mut'im (RA) reported on the authority of his father that he heard

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

"I have many names: I am مُحَمَّدٌ (Muhammad), I am أَحْمَدُ (Ahmad), I am  الْمَاحِي (al-Maahee) through whom Allah obliterates unbelief, and I am الْحَاشِرُ (Hashir) (the gatherer) at whose feet people will be gathered, and I am الْعَاقِبُ ('Aaqib) (after whom there would be none), and Allah has named him as compassionate and merciful."

(Sahih Muslim 2354b; Book 43, Hadith 164)

And in another narration: "And I am Nabi al-Rahma, and Nabi al-Tawba, and al-Muqaffa, and Nabi al-Malahim."

The most common names of the Prophet (ﷺ) are the two that are explicitly mentioned in the Quran. The Quran mentions many adjectives, but it only mentions two nouns. From those adjectives, we can derive names such as Nabi-ur-Rahmah. 

In terms of proper nouns, Qur'an mentions two names; مُحَمَّد (Muhammad) and أحمد (Ahmad). The name Muhammad is mentioned four times in the Quran, and the name Ahmad is mentioned once.

 

The name مُحَمَّد (Muhammad) (ﷺ)

The name مُحَمَّد (Muhammad) occurs once in each of the following verses:

  1. Surah Aal Imran (Chapter 3, Verse 144)

وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ ٱلرُّسُلُ ۚ أَفَإِي۟ن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ ٱنقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَىٰٓ أَعْقَـٰبِكُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ ٱللَّهَ شَيْـًٔا ۗ وَسَيَجْزِى ٱللَّهُ ٱلشَّـٰكِرِينَ

"Muḥammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful."

     2. Surah Al Ahzaab (Chapter 33, Verse 40)

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًا

"Muḥammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and seal [i.e., last] of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing."

     3. Surah Muhammad (Chapter 47, Verse 2). Surah (Chapter) is also called Muhammad.

وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَءَامَنُوا۟ بِمَا نُزِّلَ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَهُوَ ٱلْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۙ كَفَّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّـَٔاتِهِمْ وَأَصْلَحَ بَالَهُمْ

"And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muḥammad - and it is the truth from their Lord - He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition."

     4. Surah Al Fath (Chapter 48, Verse 29)

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ مَعَهُۥٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَىٰهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِضْوَٰنًا ۖ سِيمَاهُمْ فِى وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ ٱلسُّجُودِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِى ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ ۚ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِى ٱلْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْـَٔهُۥ فَـَٔازَرَهُۥ فَٱسْتَغْلَظَ فَٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِۦ يُعْجِبُ ٱلزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ ٱلْكُفَّارَ ۗ وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًۢا

"Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their sign is in their faces from the effect of prostration [i.e., prayer]. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that He [i.e., Allah] may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward."

 

The name أَحْمَدُ (Ahmad) (ﷺ)

The name أَحْمَدُ (Ahmad) occurs in verse 6 of Surat As-Saff, (61:6). The name Ahmad comes from the tongue of Esa (AS).

وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَـٰبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِنۢ بَعْدِى ٱسْمُهُۥٓ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ قَالُوا۟ هَـٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

"And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O Children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Aḥmad." However, when he came to them with clear evidence, they said, "This is obvious magic."

 

حمد (Hamd), the highest form of praise

Both Muhammad and Ahmad come from Hamidah - Yahmadu - Hamdan. Hamd is the first word of the Quran, الحمد لله  (Alhamdulillah). Hamd means to praise, not in return for some favor, which is Shukr. Even though Shukr is good, Hamd is higher than Shukr and is the highest form of praise.

Hamd is praise given because of the inherent characteristics in the object you are praising, not because he has done something to you and you give him back. It is because he deserves to be praised for who he is. Hamd is an object of perfection, an object worthy of being praised. Regardless of what he has done or has not done, he is worthy of being shown praise.

So the Prophet (ﷺ) has two names, and his two most common names come from the root word praise. Allah has praised him, the Angels have praised him, the people on Earth have praised him, all the prophets have praised him, and every one of humankind praises him directly or indirectly.

Muslims praise him directly. As for praising him indirectly, the characteristics and qualities that he has come with are characteristics and qualities of perfection. So even those who reject him must admit and praise the qualities that he came with; Mercy, tenderness, Rahmah, Shafaka. Even if they deny his Prophethood, they must praise the qualities in him. So he (ﷺ) is worthy of praise by all of humanity. Therefore the Prophet (ﷺ) is praised in the heavens and in the Earth. He is praised in the previous Ummam and in the present Ummam.

He (ﷺ) is praised in this Dunya and in the Ahirah. This is the ultimate praise. No human being has ever been praised or is praised at this point in time or who shall continue to be praised more than our Prophet (ﷺ).

No time passes by on this Earth except that hundreds of millions of people around the globe praise Prophet (ﷺ) by sending Durood, Salah, and Salam. 

 

Humanity's ultimate praise to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)

The ultimate praise he is given is by Allah. As for humanity, the ultimate praise will be given on Yaum-al-Qiyamah (the Day of Judgment). On that day, Muslims and non-Muslims will know the truth of Islam. You cannot deny Allah. Of course, it is too late to believe in the truth, but they will know it. 

Narrated Anas that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

"On the Day of Resurrection, the Believers will assemble and say, 'Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord.' 

So they will go to Adam (AS) and say, 'You are the father of all the people, and Allah created you with His Own Hands, and ordered the angels to prostrate to you, and taught you the names of all things; so please intercede for us with your Lord, so that He may relieve us from this place of ours.' Adam (AS) will say, 'I am not fit for this (i.e. intercession for you).' Then Adam (AS) will remember his sin and feel ashamed thereof. He will say, 'Go to Nooh (AS), for he was the first Apostle Allah sent to the earth's inhabitants.' 

They will go to him, and Nooh (AS) will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will remember his appeal to his Lord to do what he had no knowledge of, then he will feel ashamed thereof and will say, 'Go to the Khalil-ur-Rahman (i.e. Abraham (AS)).' 

They will go to him, and he will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking. Go to Moosa (AS), the slave to whom Allah spoke (directly) and gave him the Torah .' 

So they will go to him and he will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' and he will mention (his) killing a person who was not a killer, and so he will feel ashamed thereof before his Lord, and he will say, 'Go to Isa (AS), Allah's Slave, His Apostle and Allah's Word and a Spirit coming from Him. 

Isa (AS) will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad (ﷺ), the Slave of Allah, whose past and future sins were forgiven by Allah.' 

So they will come to me, and I will proceed until I ask my Lord's permission, and I will be given permission. When I see my Lord, I will fall down in prostration, and He will let me remain in that state as long as He wishes, and then I will be addressed.' (Muhammad!) Raise your head. Ask, and your request will be granted; say, and your saying will be listened to; intercede, and your intercession will be accepted.' I will raise my head and praise Allah with a saying (i.e. invocation) He will teach me, and then I will intercede. He will fix a limit for me (to intercede for) whom I will admit into Paradise. Then I will come back again to Allah, and when I see my Lord, the same thing will happen to me. And then I will intercede and Allah will fix a limit for me to intercede whom I will let into Paradise. Then I will come back for the third time; and then I will come back for the fourth time, and will say, 'None remains in Hell but those whom the Qur'an has imprisoned (in Hell) and who have been destined to an eternal stay in Hell.' "

(The compiler) Abu `Abdullah said: 'But those whom the Qur'an has imprisoned in Hell,' refers to the Statement of Allah: "They will dwell therein forever." (16.29)

(Sahih al-Bukhari 4476 - Book 65, Hadith 3)

All of mankind, Muslims and non-Muslims, will come to Prophet (ﷺ) and plead with the Prophet (ﷺ) to intercede, to be a representative, and be a messenger from them to Allah. So they choose one human being to be a representative, to go in front of Allah and plead for all of humanity. Plead to begin Yaum-al-Qiyamah. Because the Yaum-al-Qiyamah is very long, they are getting very worried because the punishment is increasing. Yaum-al-Qiyamah itself is 50,000 years.

تَعْرُجُ ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ إِلَيْهِ فِى يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُۥ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ

"The angels and the Spirit [i.e., Gabriel] will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years."

(Qur'an 70:4)

The people who have rejected Allah will be so exasperated by Qiyamah, they will say, whatever comes, let it come. Let's move on to whatever it is. 

 

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) given the praiseworthy station of Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud

So they will plead with Rasulullah (ﷺ) to go in front of Allah and ask Allah to begin the reckoning. And so the Prophet (ﷺ) will say, this is my job, this is my responsibility. And so he will then go in front of Allah. And because he will be the representative, all of humanity will praise him. And he will be given the praiseworthy station which is called Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud. 

Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud means the rank that is Mahmud. It is for the one that is praised. Allah will lift him up to the Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud. The Angels and humanity will praise him. Every single being in existence will praise the Prophet (ﷺ). Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud is for Muhammad and it is for Ahmad. Both of them mean the one who is ultimately praised. 

Muhammad means that he is being given continuously praise, time after time, praise after praise, and quantity of praise every single point in time. So from the beginning of time up until our time, till the Day of Judgment, on the Day of Judgment, after the Day of Judgment, our Prophet (SAW) will be praised. Ahmad means that he is being given the best type of praise, the highest quality of praise. Both are combined in our Prophet (ﷺ), that he is worthy of being the praise, the highest way that any human being can be praised. Of course, the praise that we give to Allah is a different type of praise: divine praise. However, the highest praise for any human being is for our Prophet (ﷺ), and the most continuous praise is for our Prophet.

 

The name الْمَاحِي (Al-Maahee)

The third name that he (ﷺ) mentions is Al-Maahee. He (ﷺ) explained it himself. Al-Maahee is the one through whom Allah effaces or wipes out Kufr. Maha means to wipe out. So through the Prophet (SAW), Allah will wipe out Kufr. We see this occurring in his lifetime, that the Arabian Peninsula was immersed in Kufr, and in his own lifetime, the entire Peninsula was immersed in Islam. Within 20-30 years, major bastions of Kufr were converted to Islam and have been in Islam ever since. 

 

The name الْحَاشِرُ (Al-Haashir)

The Prophet said I am الْحَاشِرُ (Al-Haashir). He (ﷺ) explained it as well, that mankind will be resurrected right after me. So the Prophet is the signaling of the Day of Judgment. And in fact, the coming of the Prophet (ﷺ) is the first sign of the Day of Judgment. His sending is the first sign that Day of Judgment is close. 

Another interpretation is that He (ﷺ) is the first person who will be resurrected and everybody will be resurrected after him. Even the order of resurrecting shall be a blessing from Allah. There is no question that the prophets will be resurrected first and foremost, and then the Salihoon and the Shuhada and then the rest of the Ummah.

Allah mentions in the Quran that when they are resurrected, they'll be shaking off the dust and they will say, 

قَالُوا۟ يَـٰوَيْلَنَا مَنۢ بَعَثَنَا مِن مَّرْقَدِنَا ۜ ۗ هَـٰذَا مَا وَعَدَ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَصَدَقَ ٱلْمُرْسَلُونَ

They will say, "O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?" [The reply will be], "This is what the Most Merciful had promised, and the messengers told the truth."

(Qur'an 36:52)

People will be confused about what's happening. The prophets will understand immediately what is happening.

So the first person to be resurrected and the first person to understand will be our Prophet (ﷺ). So he is saying, I am al-Hashir, the one that is signaling the Hashr. By his coming, He is signaling the coming of the day of Judgment, and by his resurrection on the Day of Judgment, he will be the one after whom everybody else will be resurrected.

 

The name الْعَاقِبُ (Al-Aaqib)

He said, I am the Aaqib. He himself explained it as well; there is no Prophet after me. So Al-Aaqib means the successor. What it means is that the one who comes at the end.

 

The names Nabi-Yu-Rahma and Nabi-Yu-Taubah

And then he said, I am the Nabi-yu-Rahma and I am the Nabi-Yu-Taubah. Allah calls him Rahmat-lil-Alamin. Nabi Yu Taubah, means the Prophet of repentance. He is the source of repentance, meaning that by believing in him and by following his teachings, people can be forgiven.

 

The name Al-Muqaffa

Al-Muqaffa means the one who comes at the end and makes the previous prophets' message complete.

 

The name Nabi-ul-Malahim

And in one Hadith, he called himself I am Nabi-ul-Malahim. I am the Prophet that will signal lots of trials. And that is because the biggest trials that the world has ever seen will occur during the times of the Ummah of the Prophet. Trials such as the Dajjal, the three major earthquakes that will signal the end of time,  the coming down of Isa Ibn Maryam (AS) and the Mahdi. All of these major trials will occur within the Ummah of this Prophet. So he called himself I am Nabi-ul-Malahim. And this is a description that is more of a warning for us and for those who oppose him, that there's going to be a lot of trials and tribulations in his time.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

 اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad (ﷺ) and upon the family of Muhammad (ﷺ) as You sent prayers upon the family of Ibraaheem (AS), and send blessings upon Muhammad (ﷺ) and upon the family of Muhammad (ﷺ), as You sent blessings upon the family of Ibraaheem (AS), You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.

Sources:

  • Seerah of Prophet Muhammad by Dr. Sh. Yasir Qadhi
  • Quran.com
  • Alim.org
  • Sunnah.com

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