Ibn Arabi said "Beings come and are mirrors of the Divine names; they are seen and then disappear." Reflections of the Divine world can be found in names, and names like Abdurrahman are chosen from the Names of Allah for new arrivals in this world because in this way closeness to Allah can be expressed. The person who is given such a name becomes a frequent reminder of the infinite mercy of Allah in this world.

Names have other purposes as well; they allow us to differentiate between the people around us and, in one way, we exist with them. We learn from a hadith that not only will our names leave traces in this world, but that we will be called by the same name in the other world: On the Day of Judgment you will be called by your name and by the name of your father; for this reason give yourselves good names." The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) concerned with naming people are not limited to this. The Companions would bring a newborn child to Prophet Muhammad to be named even before the child had had its first taste of its mother's milk. Also, Prophet Muhammad changed the names of those whose names had negative connotations.

Names Chosen by Prophet Muhammad

It is reported that when Prophet Muhammad named children he acted in a way that showed he expected the best for the child. When we examine the names that Prophet Muhammad gave to newborn children, the majority were either the names of other Prophets, like Abraham, or names like Abdullah and Abdurrahman, which referred to the attributes of Allah. We know that in general when a child is given the name of a Prophet it is because there is desire that the child will, in some way, follow in the footsteps of that Prophet. Those who carry the name of a Prophet at the same time will act as a means of commemoration, as names are not merely words, but they become a way that a "connection" is established between the person or meaning that they represent and the world.

The Name Muhammad...

It can be said that the secret behind the increase in the use of the name Muhammad in recent years can be found in this mentality. One of the most frequently chosen names by parents is Muhammad; this name is chosen by parents to commemorate the Prophet and with the aim that the person carrying the name will take the Prophet as their example.

There is a common belief that the name a person carries has an effect on their character. Although it is of course debatable whether or not this is true, what interests us here is that people who believe this frequently choose names like Muhammad, or other names of Prophet Muhammad, like Ahmed, Mahmud or Mustafa. We only need to look around us to discover that today the names of Prophet Muhammad (Asma-i Nebi), in particular the name Muhammad, have taken their place among the most common names given to boys today.

On the other hand, it is known that there are different opinions on this matter. In particular, in countries like Turkey, it is thought that the responsibility of carrying a name like Muhammad is very great, that it is not possible for everyone to live up to this responsibility, and that one cannot shout at a child who carries the name of Prophet Muhammad, as when one shouts at them they are being disrespectful to the Prophet. However, in recent years the name Muhammad has once again started to be more common.

When we asked the opinions of some parents who named their sons Muhammad and those who are called Muhammad (which we will share with you below) we found that they have the same worries. However, when we examined the reasons why the parents who stated their views had chosen this name it becomes apparent that they acted on the principle that Prophet Muhammad should be taken as an example in life.

Opinions about Naming a Child after Prophet Muhammad

In our brief summary about the use of the name Muhammad we have already come across two opposing views. Although both are results of the respect for Prophet Muhammad, what is important here is what Allah's Messenger has to say on the subject. The following hadith, reported by Muslim, is in connection with this.

Once when a man named his son Muhammad the tribe told him not to give the child the name of the Prophet. The Prophet replied "Name yourselves with my name (use my name), but do not use my kunya name (i.e. Abu-l Qasim)." In this hadith it can clearly be seen that Prophet Muhammad is not opposed to the use of his name.

Those who Chose the Name Muhammad

When asked why they chose this name and the reaction they received parents who had chosen the name Muhammad answered in the following way:

Hatice Tarhan:

There are a number of reasons why I chose the name Muhammad, but the most important is that it is the name of our Prophet. I always thought that "All children who come to the world should carry this name; no other name is as suitable and every family should have one Muhammad." A person who carries the name Muhammad should be of good morals, a beneficial person.

The name Muhammad reminds me of beautiful things. First of all the feeling of trust...good morals, depth of character, human love and the beautiful life of our Prophet...

I received both positive and negative reactions when I chose this name for my son. For example, some people told that whenever you say this name you need to send blessings to the Prophet, you have to be careful about getting angry or shouting at a child who has such a name, and that carrying this name requires too great a responsibility for a child to bear. But I did not pay too much attention to these opinions.

I am very happy right now, because my thoughts when choosing this name, thanks be to Allah, were not in vain. May Allah increase the number of Muhammad's who perceive the significance of this name and live their lives in this way.

Zubeyde Cukuryurt:

I consciously chose the name Muhammad for my son. I would like to list the reasons why I chose this name as follows: Muhammad is the name of the Prophet and it means one who is praised on the earth and in the heavens. It is the most beautiful exemplary name in the world...I would like my son to take the person whose name he carries as an example. I would like him to follow the Prophet and to try to be like him. I gave my son this name due to my love and admiration for the Prophet. I wanted to keep his way of life alive and to remind others of this beautiful person.

The name Muhammad brings to mind justice, love and all good moral behavior. The life of the Prophet comes into my mind, and I remember episodes from it. My son Muhammad brings these emotions to me from time to time and thus, even if it is only a little, the emotions I feel for the Prophet are kept alive.

When I chose this name for my son I received both positive and negative reactions. I received criticisms like, "the name Muhammad is a great responsibility for the child", "you will become angry with the child", "people will insult him and this will be a sin for you," "whoever says his name needs to send blessings to the Prophet" and similar comments. But I was aware that these are incorrect beliefs. I believe that it is necessary to keep this name alive. Of course, I also received positive reactions.

If a concise answer is necessary I am very very happy that I chose this name. I have a second son, Yusuf, but if I have a third son I will probably call him Muhammad as well, with another name as a second name. My son is now 11 and I have explained to him why I named him Muhammad. I pray that he will be someone worthy of this name.

Muhammed Salih Tarhan (High School Student - 17):

I am happy that my name is Muhammed. Above all else, Muhammad is the name of the Prophet of Islam. To have this name is a wonderful thing, but one must be deserving of it. The morals of one who is called Muhammad should be like those of Prophet Muhammad, because today, after everything the Prophet did, the significance of the name Muhammad if of even greater importance.

The responsibility of having such a name is great. First of all it is necessary to represent this name well in order to change the perspective that non-Muslim people have of Prophet Muhammad. Whenever one hears the name Muhammad, the first thing that comes into their minds is Prophet Muhammad. It is for this reason that one must be very careful in order to prevent people associating the name Muhammad with negative things.

People today are in need of the moral character of Prophet Muhammad. In order to remind people of his morals one must first remind them of the Prophet. People will be reminded of the Prophet to the degree that his name becomes widespread; in short, the behavior of other Muhammads reminds people of the Prophet of Islam.

Unzile Altinkaynak:

In our society our Prophet has become a being who is removed from the quality of being human and he has become "untouchable", or superhuman. It is for this reason that when following the Sunnah in forms of worship that are difficult for the nafs people are inclined to say: "But he was a Prophet and he could do this, we cannot". They also refrain from giving his name to a child - who, according to them, will be just an ordinary person. This situation saddens me and my husband greatly and it is for this reason that we decided to name our son Muhammad. Perhaps in this way we will be able to explain to people that this is not right and show them in practice.

Unfortunately we have received negative reactions, even from our close relatives. They ask the child's name and when they hear the answer they say "Find another name. You are making the name of the great Prophet common." We always explain that we were trying to keep alive the beautiful name of our Prophet and to spread it. And we tell them that we can use this name in the same way that the names of other Prophets, like Abraham, Ishmael and David, can be used.

Muhammed Kalyoncu (Businessman - 26)

Being named Muhammad did not affect me very much at first. By at first I mean when I was a child. When I began to mature and understand the world better I began to realize the significance of my name. Particularly when I began reading books about the life of our Prophet and when I understood what a wonderful person he was, I began to have different feelings. As a result, today I am very happy that I have this name. But I am also aware of the great responsibility of being called Muhammad. I now know that it is necessary to be someone who is deserving of this name.

The name Muhammad first of all brings to mind the beautiful things that occurred with the advent of Islam. It reminds me of Allah because our Prophet was someone who was sent by Allah.
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