Islamic Character Prophet Muhammad

What’s in a Name?

Commanded to Love: Part IPart II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI |Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV

Think of a person you consider to be very popular, someone everyone loves. Now think of all the names this person is known by – endearments or nicknames. Today, the number of names a person has is an indication of people’s love for him and his high nature. Not only that but a person’s different names often symbolize some quality of the person. For example, if a girl is called ‘smiley’ by her friends, it indicates she was always smiling; similarly if a boy is called ‘beast’ by his friends, it indicates that he is tough and fierce. A principle in the Arabic language states, “The more names an object has, the more prestigious and magnificent it is.” It is through this principle that we understand why Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has so many names just as the Day of Judgment does as well.  Similarly, our beloved Messenger ﷺ (peace be upon him) had many names and each of these names is an indication of a quality of his. We can learn a lot about our Prophet ﷺ through his names and get an idea of his honorable nature through the amount of names he had.


The first name of our Messenger ﷺ is his birth name and the name we call him by the most: Mohammed. Mohammed was the name given to him by his grandfather and it means ‘the praised one’. His Grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, named him this in hopes that he would be the one who is praised in the heavens and in the earth. Abdul Muttalib’s hopes were not lost. Mohammed ﷺ is constantly praised.

He is praised by Allah (swt) and His angels:

إن الله وملائكته يصلون على النبي يا أيها الذين آمنوا صلوا عليه وسلموا تسليما

Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace. [Qur’an 33:56]

He is praised by people throughout the Earth:

He is praised in some form during the athaan (call to prayer), in the supplication after the athaan, and in the durood (said near the end of prayer which starts with ‘allahuma Sali `ala Muhammad) that is said during salah (prayer). At every second on earth, there is someone somewhere making athaan, saying the du`a’ (supplication) after the athaan, or praying—so at  every second on earth there is someone somewhere praising the Messenger ﷺ.

He is praised by having many children named after him:

How many Mohammeds do you know today? Chances are, you know more than one, or have at least heard of more than one. The name ‘Mohammed’ is used widely throughout the Muslim communities and is a form of praise since one would only name their beloved child after someone who is more beloved and whom your child should strive to be like, ﷺ.


Another name of our Messenger is ‘Ahmed’, which means ‘the one who praises the most’. The Prophet ﷺ was not one who was looking for a free ride. He constantly praised Allah (swt), thanked Allah (swt), and did actions that would please Allah (swt).


RasulAllah (Messenger of Allah) ﷺ was also known as al-Mahi, or the Eliminator. This name referred to the blessing that Allah (swt) bestowed upon him, causing him to be the one by whom Allah (swt) will eliminate disbelief.


Al-Ameen, or the trustworthy, was also a name of our beloved ﷺ. He was known to never speak a lie and he was one with whom you would always feel safe. This name was spoken about more in the article ‘A Man of Character’.

These names are just a glimpse at the many that were given to our Messenger ﷺ. Imam al-Suyuti, tried to find and count all the names of our beloved Messenger ﷺ and he found roughly 500 names!  Imagine 500 names that indicate a positive quality. How many people have you met that you think deserve 500 names?

May Allah (swt) cause us to meet the beloved Messenger and witness for ourselves the many blessed qualities that he embodies.

About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.

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  • Imam al-Suyuti, tried to find and count all the names of our beloved Messenger ﷺ and he found roughly 500 names!

    Would you please name the work of Imam al Suyuti (d 911 AH), where he mentioned these 500 names of the prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam after his research.

    jazak Allah khayr.

  • “Al-Bahjat al-Saniyya” of Imam Al Suyuti has around 500 names and his book “al-Riyad al-aniqa fi sharh asma’ khayr al-khaliqa sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam” also covers around 400 which include proper names and attributes.

  • Jazak’Allahu Khairan for this brief overview of our Beloved’s many names.

    Ameen to the closing du’a!

  • Asslamalikum…..I like your articles, but what i like the most is your name “Reehab”. its beautiful mashallah. I’ve just had a daughter and i would like to name her “Reehab” but i dont know its meaning. Would you be kind enough to share the meaning so I could confirm this name?! thanks a lot…..

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