The name Muhammad ( مُحَمَّد ) comes from the root “H-M-D” ( ح م د ), which conveys the meanings of praise, admiration, and gratitude. The term “hamid” ( حَمِدَ ) means “he praised.” So the question is, what does the name “Muhammad” ( مُحَمَّد ) mean?
In Arabic, when the letter “m” ( م ) is added as a prefix to a word, it signifies a person or place that possesses that quality. So, for instance, the word “he prostrated” is “sajada” ( سَجَدَ ), so a masjid ( مَسْجِد ) would literally translate to the place of prostration.
We see this also in the term “Muslim” ( مُسْلِم ), which means one who submits, while the word salama ( سَلَمَ ) means “he submitted.”
Another example can be seen in the word “shirk” ( شِرْك ), which in Arabic refers to the act of associating partners with God. While a “mushrik” ( مُشْرِك ) is what you call someone who associates partners with God.
So that stated, how should the name Muhammad ( مُحَمَّد ) be translated?
Based on the logic stated above, one would translate Muhammad as “one who praises, ” yet most Muslims translate this name as “one who is praised,” thus changing the focus of the praise from one who praises God to one who is praised.
This deviation in meaning shows the Muslim desire to elevate the prophet as their focus of praise. By doing this, they are transforming the prophet from one who praised God to the one who should be endlessly praised. Thus they have turned Muhammad into their idol and use the distortion of the meaning of his name to give credence to their perpetual praising of him.
There is not a single verse in the Quran to give praise to anyone other than God. Every occurrence repeats that we are to give all praise to God alone.
[39:75] You will see the angels floating around the throne, glorifying and praising their Lord. After the equitable judgment is issued to all, it will be proclaimed: “All praise be to GOD, Lord of the universe.”
وَتَرَى ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةَ حَآفِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ ٱلْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَقُضِىَ بَيْنَهُم بِٱلْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
[35:8] Note the one whose evil work is adorned in his eyes, until he thinks that it is righteous. GOD thus sends astray whoever wills (to go astray), and He guides whoever wills (to be guided). Therefore, do not grieve over them. GOD is fully aware of everything they do.
أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُۥ سُوٓءُ عَمَلِهِۦ فَرَءَاهُ حَسَنًا فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرَٰتٍ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
In one video, the Muslim teacher of the Islamic sciences, Anis Ahmed, tries to justify that his praising of Muhammad is praising Allah.
Ironically his reasoning for his perpetual praising of the prophet is not much different than the argument the Catholics make for praising their saints. In the following article entitled, “Why Honor the Saints?“
“Honoring the saints does not detract in any way from our worship of God. We actually give God more praise when we acknowledge his achievements in the saints. When we honor the saints, we are basically saying, “Praise be to you, God, for what you did in the life of St. Paul!….Praised be you Jesus, for the work you did in St. Therese of Lisieux! We give praise to you Holy Spirit for transforming all the holy men and women of God!”
So when it comes to honoring the saints, the important question to ask is: Do you want to love God with all your heart and give God more praise? Because if you do, then you will want to recognize his spiritual masterpieces, the saints. That’s why we take time to learn about the saints, strive to imitate them, develop a relationship with them and seek their intercession. As we draw nearer to the saints, we draw nearer to God.”
The Quran warns people who use these kinds of distortions to justify their idol worship in the following verse.
[39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers.
أَلَا لِلَّهِ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْخَالِصُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ أَوْلِيَآءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ زُلْفَىٰٓ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِى مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِى مَنْ هُوَ كَـٰذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ
The Quran commands believers to remember and commemorate God frequently.
[33:41] O you who believe, you shall remember GOD frequently.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا
[33:42] You shall glorify Him day and night.
وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
By encouraging the perpetual praising of Muhammad, they are inevitably turning the masjids dedicated to God alone into places of idol worship.
[9:107] There are those who abuse the masjid by practicing idol worship, dividing the believers, and providing comfort to those who oppose GOD and His messenger. They solemnly swear: “Our intentions are honorable!” GOD bears witness that they are liars.
وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًۢا بَيْنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِّمَنْ حَارَبَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَآ إِلَّا ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ وَٱللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ
[72:18] The places of worship belong to GOD; do not call on anyone else beside GOD.
وَأَنَّ ٱلْمَسَـٰجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ أَحَدًا
As believers in God alone, we must be satisfied with only mentioning God’s name in our praises.
[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.
وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ ٱللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ ٱشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ
People often cite the following verse in 61:6 to justify their praise for Muhammad.
[61:6] Recall that Jesus, son of Mary, said, “O Children of Israel, I am GOD’s messenger to you, confirming the Torah and bringing good news of a messenger to come after me whose name will be even more praised (Ahmad).” Then, when he showed them the clear proofs, they said, “This is profound magic.”
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
The above verse uses the term Ahmad ( أَحْمَدُ ), which comes from the same root as the name Muhammad and is meant as a subtle reference to the prophet to come after Jesus. In the Arabic of the Quran, when a ( أ ) is added to a descriptor, it is like adding an -er or -est to a word in English. So Ahmad would be translated as “more praised.” Many interpret this to justify the perpetual praising of Muhammad, except as we saw above, human beings are only commanded to praise God alone and that ALL praise belongs to God.
Additionally, it is interesting that this statement, out of all prophets, comes from Jesus, who people have set up as a part of the Trinity.
[5:17] Pagans indeed are those who say that GOD is the Messiah, the son of Mary. Say, “Who could oppose GOD if He willed to annihilate the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone on earth?” To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and everything between them. He creates whatever He wills. GOD is Omnipotent.
لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْمَسِيحُ ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيْـًٔا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ ٱلْمَسِيحَ ٱبْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُۥ وَمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
So if Christians have errored in elevating the status of Jesus, and Muhammad is going to be even more praised than him, then what does that insinuate as to what the Muslims will do to Muhammad?
The Quran tells us repeatedly that the prophets are sent as a bearer of good news as well as a warner. This statement from above serves both purposes. It is a blessing that God would send another messenger to reveal His final scripture, yet it is a warning that Muhammad will be even more praised by the people than Jesus.
Therefore, to those who believe a messenger to come is a blessing and good news, but to the idol worshipers, such a person to come is to their detriment. We see that how this is to be understood by the audience is dependent on their response. For instance, when the messengers visited their people in Sura 36, we see the following exchange.
[36:18] They said, “We consider you bad omens. Unless you refrain, we will surely stone you, or afflict you with painful retribution.”
قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا تَطَيَّرْنَا بِكُمْ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهُوا۟ لَنَرْجُمَنَّكُمْ وَلَيَمَسَّنَّكُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
[36:19] They said, “Your omen depends on your response, now that you have been reminded. Indeed, you are transgressing people.”
قَالُوا۟ طَـٰٓئِرُكُم مَّعَكُمْ أَئِن ذُكِّرْتُم بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُّسْرِفُونَ
[3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside GOD.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُؤْتِيَهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْحُكْمَ وَٱلنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُولَ لِلنَّاسِ كُونُوا۟ عِبَادًا لِّى مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَـٰكِن كُونُوا۟ رَبَّـٰنِيِّـۧنَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَدْرُسُونَ
The sad truth is that most people are willfully blind to their idol worship, and unless they address their dissonance, they will be utterly stunned by the facts on the Day of Resurrection.
[6:22] On the day when we summon them all, we will ask the idol worshipers, “Where are the idols you set up?”
وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوٓا۟ أَيْنَ شُرَكَآؤُكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كُنتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ
[6:23] Their disastrous response will be, “By GOD our Lord, we never were idol worshipers.”
ثُمَّ لَمْ تَكُن فِتْنَتُهُمْ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُوا۟ وَٱللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ