What was the Name of the Last Prophet: Muhammad or Muhammed?

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Edip Yuksel

3 December 2011

The oldest available versions of the Quran do not contain diacritical marks. Knowing that centuries after Muhammad muslims deviated from the monotheistic and progressive message of the Quran and killed each other in sectarian wars, and knowing how the translations and commentaries of the Quran filled with distortions in order to justify the cleric-made religions and sects, we have all the reason to be question the reading of some words and verses.

About three centuries after the revelation of the Quran hadiths fabrications were compiled in books and after a few more centuries, they were made finally partners with the Quran and even replacing the Quran. We have now all the reasons to be suspicious of the pronunciations the pronunciation of the word mHMD as Muhammad (the one who was/is praised frequently). In fact, we have numerous reasons to suspect such a reading and argue that the name of the last prophet was most likely not Muhammad but was Muhammed (the one who praised (God) frequently).

Before questioning the popular pronunciation of the word mHMD, the last prophet, I would like to share with you a few of the many distortions made by Sunni and Shiite scholars through abusing the verses of the Quran. For more information, please look at the Quran: a Reformist Translation.

  1. ADDING A STATEMENT: The “statement of unity” (kalimat al-tawhid), Lailaha illa Allah, was transformed to the “statement of duality” (kalimat al-tasniya), Lailaha illa Allah and Muhammad al-Rasul al-Allah.
  2. DISTORTING THE MEANING OF A VERB: Those who betrayed the Quran distorted the meaning of many Quranic words. For instance they changed the meaning of Ummy (gentile) into “illiterate” did the same for the meaning of Salli in verse 33:56 where an instruction for an action is changed into an instruction of utterance of praise for Muhammad.
  3. DISTORTING THE READING OF A VERB: The repeated verb in 30:2-5 is distorted for political reasons; to promote war against Persians. Similarly, the reading of verse
  4. DISTORTING THE READING OF AN ADJECTIVE: Those who idolized the last prophet, changed the pronunciation of his name from Muhammed into Muhammad.

1. Statement of Unity (Kalimah al-Tawhid) or the Statement of Duality (Kalimah al-Tasniya)

The act of testifying to the oneness of God (shahada) is considered to be the essential requirement of being a Muslim. The expressions la ilaha illa Allah (there is no god, but the god) and la ilaha illa Hu (there is no god, but He) occur 30 times in the Quran and never in conjunction with another name. Trying a deficiency in the shahada taught by God is a sign of not valuing God as He should be valued. Requiring the addition of another name to God’s name implies that God forgot to include Muhammad’s name, thirty times (19:64; 6:115). Trying to teach God is the zenith of ignorance and audacity (49:16). Considering God alone insufficient is the symptom of idolatry (39:45).

The only shahada (testimony) about the messengership of Muhammad is mentioned in verse 63:1, and those who feel the need for such a testimony are described as hypocrites. There are different reasons for why a person might be considered a hypocrite while he or she is uttering the expression ashadu anna Muhammadan rasululullah (I testify that Muhammad is a messenger of God). Today, the most common hypocrisy is that those who utter this phrase in fact have considered Muhammad to be much more than a messenger, since they reject his message and messengership by not following the verses of the Quran and associating volumes of fabricated narration and sectarian jurisprudence with it. Their testimony regarding Muhammad’s messengership is lip service, since they consider him a god by giving him the power of intercession, the power of collaborating with God in decreeing rules for eternal salvation, the power of amending and abrogating God’s law, the power of fabricating prohibitions in the name of God, and the authority of explaining the “ambiguous” words in God’s book. Despite the words of Muhammad’s Lord, they do not consider Muhammad a human being like them (18:110; 41:6). They do not believe what they say when they say “Muhammad is God’s servant” since they consider the title “messenger/deliverer” (rasul) of God to be an insult. They can utter God’s name without phrases of praise, but they cannot utter Muhammad’s name without words of praise. Ironically, they establish their custom of praising Muhammad more than God through distorted and abused meanings of certain verses. Besides, they violate the clear Quranic instruction for not discriminating among His messengers; they put Muhammad in competition with other messengers and consider him high above other prophets and messengers. In today’s Sunni mosques, unlike the masjid of Muhammad’s and his monotheist companions’ (72:18; 20:14), you will find the names of many idols smirking beside the name of God. In addition to Muhammad’s name, one may find the names of Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman, Ali, Hasan, and Husayn. The Shiites have their own set of idols and they too adorn their mosques with their names.

The list of ways Sunnis and Shiites idolize Muhammad can fill an entire book. Nevertheless, they think that they are monotheists, as today’s Trinitarian Christians do. Religious leaders dupe their followers by restricting the meaning of ‘idols’ to pictures and statues; in fact, the idols during Muhammad’s time were abstract names and those mushriks considered themselves to be monotheists (53:19-28; 6:22-24; 6:148; 16:35). One might ask, “what about adorning the walls of masjids with any of the four verses where Muhammad’s name is mentioned?” Well, what about hanging the verses about paradise or hell? What about picking any of the 136 verses where Moses’ name is mentioned? What about Jesus? Or, how about adorning the walls of the masjids with verses about the hypocrites and idolatry? Of course, there is no problem in hanging the Quran upon the walls of masjids, but if a particular verse is picked, then the intention or context becomes important. If any verse from the Quran should be picked, I suggest 39:44/45 or 39:11-12, or any other verse that reminds us to be righteous and helpful to other people. Also, See 2:285; 3:64; 39:45; 53:23; 72:18.

Numerous archeological evidences explain how decades after the revelation of the Quran people added Muhammad’s name to the original shahada. For instance, see, the gold coin from Umayyad 90 AH, or 80 years after the prophet’s departure. Though eighty years after Muhammad, those who worked hard to transform islam to Muhammadanism were not yet able to change the shahada (testimony), by adding side notes etc., they gradually replaced the correct Shahada with today’s most common one, the one that mentions Muhammad’s name after Allah.

In the middle of one side of the coin, the expression, “There is no God; He Alone; He has no partner” is prominent. However, the falsifiers by now were able to insert Muhammad’s name in the margin by a patchy quotation from the end of verse 48:28 and the beginning of 48:29, skipping the expression “And God is sufficient as a witness.” The expression “Muhammadun Rasulullah…” (God’s messenger Muhammad…) is a fragment, not a statement, taken out of the context of verse 48:29. They have performed an interesting surgery (deletion) in order to be able to fit that fragment in the circle. The other side of the coin contains some words from chapter 112, emphasizing God’s oneness and rejecting partners. The Umayyad and Abbasid coins later moved Muhammad’s name to the center, next to God. This crucial distortion gradually took place in a period of time spanning several generations.

See, for instance, the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 5:1-11; 6:4-6; 1 Samuel 12:20-21; Psalms 115:4-8.

2. Political, social and financial support or ritualistic commemoration?

The Quran gives examples of many idolized concepts and objects. For instance, children (7:90), religious leaders and scholars (9:31), money and wealth (18:42), angels/controllers, dead saints, messengers and prophets (16:20, 21; 35:14; 46:5, 6; 53:23), and ego/wishful thinking (25:43, 45:23) all can be idolized.

In order to infect the human mind with the most dangerous disease called shirk (associating partners with God, or polytheism), Satan infects the unappreciative minds with a virus that destroys the faculty of recognition and self-criticism. As a result, the faulty and defective recognition program hands the mind over to the Satan’s control. Therefore, most of those who associate partners with God in various ways do not recognize their polytheism (6:23). Polytheists show all the symptoms of hypnosis; their master hypnotist is Satan.

We are instructed to glorify and praise God (3:41; 3:191; 33:42; 73:8; 76:25; 4:103), not His messengers, who are only human beings like us. We are instructed by the Gracious and Loving God to utter the name of messengers by their first names, without glorifying them, and Muhammad is no different from other messengers (2:136; 2:285; 3:144). Muhammad was a human being like us (18:110; 41:6), and his name is mentioned in the Quran as Muhammad, similar to how other people are mentioned in the Quran (3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29). Especially, verse 2:136 is important, since it instruct us to utter the names of prophets without any words of praise.

Uttering expressions containing salli ala after Muhammad’s name, as is commonly done by Sunni and Shiites alike, is based on a distortion of the meaning of a verb demanding action of support and encouragement of a living messenger, rather than utterance of praise for a dead messenger (compare 33:56 to 33:43; 9:103; and 2:157). Verse 33:56 is one of the most distorted and abused verses. We translated the word salli ala as “support/encourage.” The same word occurs at 33:43 and 9:99, 103. When these verses are studied comparatively, the traditional abuse and distortion becomes evident. Through this distortion, Muslim masses are led to commemorate and praise Muhammad’s name day and night, rather than his Lord’s and Master’s name (33:41-42). Also, see 2:157.

Despite these verses clarifying the meaning of the word; despite the fact that the Quran does not instruct us to say something, but to do something; despite the fact that the third person pronoun in the phrase indicates that it was an innovation after Muhammad’s departure; despite these and many other facts, Sunni and Shiite clerics try hard to find an excuse to continue this form of Muhammad worship. Contradicting the intention and practice of the masses, some clerics even claim this phrase to be a prayer for Muhammad rather than a phrase for his praise. Muhammad, especially the Muhammad of their imaginations, should be the last person who would need the constant prayers of millions. According to them, Muhammad already received the highest rank in paradise, and again according to them he did not commit any sins. Therefore, the addressee of their prayers is wrong. They should pray for themselves, and for each other, not for Muhammad. It is akin to homeless people donating their dimes, several times a day, to the richest person in the world. It is just as absurd.

A great majority of Sunni and Shiite mushriks declare their peaceful surrender to God alone while standing in their prayers, but immediately nullify that declaration twice while sitting down. They first tell God, “You alone we worship; you alone we ask for help” and then forget what they just promised God by greeting “the prophet” in the SECOND person, “Peace be on YOU o prophet!” (as salamu alayKA ayyuhan nabiyyu), as if he was another omnipotent and omniscient god. They give lip service to monotheism while standing and they revert to confessing their idolatry when sitting. Those who betray the meaning of “the ruler of the day of judgment” which they utter numerous times in their prayers (1:4; 82:17-19), those who contradict the purpose of the prayer (20:15), are obviously those who are oblivious to their own prayers (107:4-7; 8:35). In defiance of the Quran, many sects and mystic orders competed with each other to put Muhammad in a position that Muhammad unequivocally rejected (39:30 and 16:20, 21). Also see, 2:123,254; 3:80; 5:109; 6:51; 6:70,82,94; 7:53; 9:80; 10:3,18; 13:14-16; 19:87; 21:28; 33:64-68; 34:23,41; 39:3,44; 43:86; 53:19-23; 74:48; 83:11.

After the departure of Jesus, the Pharisee Paul turned Jesus into a divine sacrifice and a middle man between his flock and God: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). The Catholic Church went even further and added Mary and numerous saints to the ranks of the holy power brokers.

The followers of Sunni and Shiite sects follow a similar doctrine. They replace one idol with another, and consider Muhammad to be “the mediator” between God and men; they assert that without accepting Muhammad, none can attain salvation! Following the tradition of Paul, and then the tradition of Catholic Church, they too produced their own saints, thereby creating a Pyramid scheme of mediators. Interestingly, some later idols have surpassed the main idol in popularity. For instance, in Iran, people worship the second-generation idol, Ali, more than they worship Muhammad. They invoke Ali’s name on almost every occasion. In Syria, a third-generation idol, Husain, is more popular than both Ali and Muhammad. The long list of idols varies from country to country, from town to town, from order to order, and even includes the names of living local idols as well.

3. Which was the enemy: Romans or Persians?

30:0   In the name of God, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
30:1   A1L30M40*
30:2   The Romans have won,*
30:3   At the lowest point on the earth. But after their victory, they will be defeated.
30:4   In a few more years. The decision before and after is for God, and on that day those who acknowledge will rejoice.
30:5   With God‘s victory. He gives victory to whom He wishes; He is the Noble, the Compassionate.
30:6   Such is God‘s pledge, and God does not break His pledge, but most people do not know.

You might have noticed that we translated the reference of the verb “GHaLaBa” differently than the traditional translations. Instead of reading the verb in 30:2 as “ghulibat” (were defeated) we read as “ghalabat” which means just the opposite, “defeated.” Similarly, we also read its continuous/future tense in the following verse differently. The prophecy of the verse was realized in 636, four years after the death of Muhammad, when Muslims confronted the army of Byzantine Empire around Yarmuk River, in one of the most significant battles in history. Under the command of Khalid bin Walid, the Muslim army beat the Christian imperial army of four or more times their numbers. The six-day war, Yarmuk, occurred in area near the Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea, which are located in the lowest land depression on earth, 200-400 meters below sea level.

The orthodox reading and translation of the verse, reflects an interesting historical conflict and it is a prime example of how a divine book is abused to justify nationalistic wars and imperialistic ambitions. By changing the original reading to the opposite, the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties were able to depict Persians as the major enemy. Thus, they justified aggression against Persian Empire.

One of the well-known examples of variances in reading is related to the verses 4:43 and 5:6. The Arabic word, which is translated “your feet,” can be read in two different ways, arjulakum or arjulekum, changing its reference verb and thus changing the meaning from “wash your feet” to “wipe your feet.” One may prefer one of these readings, or follow both depending on occasion. But, the primary reading of the word should be arjulekum, thereby requiring the wiping of the feed, rather than washing them.

Since the reading of the text is an important issue, I would like quote an excerpt from the Endonote of the Quran: a Reformist Translation for verse 2:54:

We should be open to read the text of the scripture without being restricted to the traditionally codified readings. We should be able to read the oldest texts that do not contain dots or vowels, in all possible readings, with the condition that they fit the context well and do not create internal or external contradictions within the ayat (signs) of the scripture or the ayat of nature. There is a divine blessing and purpose in such flexibility. For instance, we might read the following verses differently. If the alternative readings change the meaning dramatically, they are exclusive. However, sometimes both alternative readings can co-exist at the same time. One of the following, however, is a linguistic marvel; with its four alternative combinations, it excludes and includes at the same time, depending on the reference of the key word (3:7)! The following is a sample list:

    • 2:243 Kharaju or Khuriju (inclusive)
    • 3:7 Putting full stop after the word God and/or not stopping after the word God (both exclusive and inclusive!)
    • 5:43; 5:6 Arjulakum or Arjulikum (exclusive)
    • 11:46 Amalun or Amila (inclusive)
    • 21:112 Qala or Qul (exclusive)
    • 30:1 Yaglibun or Yughlabun (exclusive)
    • 42:52 Nashau or Yashau (inclusive)
    • 54:3 Kullu or Kulla (inclusive)
    • 74:24 Yuthir or Yuthar (inclusive)
    • Kitab or Kutub (inclusive or exclusive) in numerous verses
    • 3:146 Qatala or Qutila (both inclusive and exclusive)
    • 7:57 Bushra or Nushra (iclusive)

 4. What was the name of the last prophet: Muhammad or Muhammed?

All the derivatives of the root word H8M40D4 (read HaMaDa) occurs 68 times in the Quran

    • yuHaMmaDu (to be praised by others) occurs once in a NEGATIVE context in verse 3:188
    • HaMD (praise, noun) occurs 38 times and all for GOD: 1:2; 6:1; 6:45; 7:43; 10:10; 14:39; 15:98; 16:75; 17:111; 18:1; 20:130; 23:28; 27:15; 27:59; 27:93; 28:70; 29:63; 30:18; 31:25; 32:15; 34:1; 34:1; 35:1; 35:34; 37:182; 39:29; 39:74; 39:75; 39:75; 40:7; 40:55; 40:65; 42:5; 45:36; 50:39; 52:48; 64:1; 110:3.
    • HaMDika (your praise) occurs once for GOD in verse 2:30
    • biHaMDihi (with His praise) occurs 4 times all for GOD: 13:13; 17:44; 17:52; 25:58.
    • HaMiDun (those who praise) occurs once for praising GOD: 9:112.
    • HaMyD (the One who is praised) is used 17 times, and all for GOD: 2:267; 4:131; 11:73; 14:1; 14:8; 22:24; 22:64; 31:12; 31:26; 34:6; 35:15; 41:42; 42:28; 57:24; 60:6; 64:6; 85:8.
    • maHMuD (the praised position) occurs once as the description of the POSITION promised for the prophet: 17:79.
    • aHMaD (the one who praises more/most; it is not a proper name but an adjective made of a verb) occurs once in verse 61:6
    • muHaMMed (the one who praises frequently) occurs in 4 verses: 3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29.

The picture must be clear now. As Satan distorted the monotheistic message of Jesus by turning unity to trinity, similarly Muslims fabricated many different idols by creating partners in religious sources, by adhering the sharia laws made by their clergymen (42:21), and by glorifying the name of a human-messenger more than his Lord and Creator, by adding his name to the name of God in the Statement of Unity thereby transforming it to the Statement of Duality.

The one who was prophecised by Jesus was described as ahmad, that is “the one who praises more”, similar to the linguistic form a’lam (the one who knows more) or arham (the one who cares more).

61:6  When Jesus, son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, I am God‘s messenger to you, authenticating what is present with me of the Torah and bringing good news of a messenger to come after me whose attribute will be ‘the most praising.’” But when he showed them the clear proofs, they said, ‘This is clearly magic.’

Ironically, though the prophesized description is pronounced as AHMAD, (the one who praises more or the most) it is commonly translated as YUHMAD or HAMYD or HUMIDA (the one who was praised more or the most).

Some Sunnis might attempt to abuse verse 17:79, in order to maintain the Orthodox reading.  “If he was not praised which is denoted by his name Muhammad, how could his position be praised?” This objection initially appears to be a fair one, but with little scrutiny it falls apart. Here is the problem with this reasoning.

A person might be appointed and raised to a praised position by the frequently praised Lord and that person would still not be a “frequently praised person.” The position is the one which is praised, not the person who might be blessed by God to reach such a position, which is returning to God, the Praise-worthy.

If I am given a miraculous sign, I do not become miraculous myself. If one is promised high heaven, he does not become high himself.  If one is blessed with abundance, she does not become abundant herself.

In fact, God provides us with the best mathal, the best tafsyr in verse 26:58 by using similar words. In verse 26:58 we are informed that pharaoh and his followers lost their “treasures and honorable positions (maqamun karym)” However we know that neither Pharaoh nor his close friends were honorable (karym), but they had honorable position (maqamun karym) in Egypt!

After the departure of the prophet Muhammad, like most heroes the hypocrites started carving an idol around his name, which later was extended to his family members, to his monotheist friends, and even to the hypocrite friends. Unlike what the sunni sources claim, the word sahaba is not a holy word in the Quran; to the contrary, it is mostly used to describe the hypocrites and mushriks around Muhammad. When the Umayyad and Abbasid tyrants betrayed the Quranic principle of democratic election, they distorted the meaning of the word jizya (war reparation) as an extra taxation on Christians and Jews (See Quran: a Reformist Translation for detailed discussion on this and similar issues).

This anti-islamic imperialistic policy forced many Christians and Jews to convert to Sunni or Shiite sects. Those unhappy converts found it easy to replace their previous idols with new ones; this time with Muhammed and many others. Knowing the depth and breadth of alteration performed by the Sunni and Shiite clergymen, especially, considering their intolerance to and aggression against those who adhered to the monotheistic principles, gradually changing the pronunciation of the word Muhammed to Muhammad would not be a difficult task. (I highly recommend my colleagues Prof. Aisha Musa’s and Ahmad Kassim’s books on this subject: Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam; and Islamic Renaissance: a New Era has Started, respectively.)

In summary, according to the teaching of the Quran, the name of the last prophet was most likely not MuhammAd, but was MuhammEd, similar to the linguistic form of Muallem (teacher) or Musawer (designer). HMD is true praise and implies magnifying, honoring and admiration. The person who engages in HMD, declares his or humility and submission. Thus, HaMD exclusively applies to Allah (the god), our Lord, the One, the Initiator, the Designer, the Compassionate, the Living, the Eternal, the Almighty, and the Omniscient God. Praise is to the Lord of the Universe.