By Muqeet Mujtaba Ali
Around the world in the month of Rabi-al-awwal, Muslims joyfully celebrate Meelad-un-Nabi. Among us there are those who actively discuss, gracefully lecture, reverently deliver Jummah sermons, send/receive/forward e-mails – all about the Seerah: the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
Here, I would like to highlight one aspect of Muslims’ approach towards the Glorious Prophet (Peace be upon him) – writing down the name of our great Prophet (Peace be upon him) in English language.
The name Muhammad is a beautiful name. It means ‘the one who is praiseworthy’.
It seems to me that in the world today there is no other name as distorted as the name of beloved Muhammadur Rasulullah (sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam).
This is of two kinds:
1) While naming their new born male child, some Muslim parents choose to include this name because of their love of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
2) While writing books or articles on the Seerah even some good Muslim writers – not to speak of the orientalists – spell the name in different ways.
This name is written in different distorted ways such as:
Do we ever consider what wrong we commit when we misspell the name? The distortion that leads to incorrect meaning!
Why on earth only our Prophet’s name is misspelled? And misspelled by no other than his very followers!
It is a tragedy of sorts that we have fallen into a kind of conspiracy against our Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Some Muslims argue by saying: what’s in the name! It’s important to believe in and follow the Prophet of Islam!
Yes, it is important to believe in him and follow him. But, does that mean that we should not write his name properly?
When you distort the name what reverence you show to your Prophet?
What kind of love you show to your leader when you don’t write his name properly?
Of course, a person would neither become Muhammad nor even becomes good merely because he has kept this name but then the original idea was that it is his name that your parents had borrowed to give it to you!
Yes, the name in Arabic is the original. But we have to take care while writing the name in English.
There must be a set pattern to standardise the name at every level: local, regional, national and international.
Mainstream Islamic organisations working in different countries must realise and prevail upon the concerned authorities to get the job done through legislation.
The name’s spelling must become so popular and standard throughout the world that no Birth Registration Office should accept any other spelling.
The spelling ‘Muhammad’ is very close to the Arabic sound. Even writing ‘Muhammad’ as ‘Mohammad’ is incorrect. Mo doesn’t sound like Mu, a mistake mostly committed by the subcontinent Muslims, and even by Arab nationals.
More than it was in the past, in the present world even a tiny dot matters! If you don’t put dot in the web address you are lost in wilderness!
But some are unmoved even after spelling the glorious name, wrongly! Some are not even aware of such a fact!