CAIRO – A group of Saudi youths have launched a new campaign to honor the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and stop misusing it for calling expatriate workers to denote inferiority.
“It is a commendable initiative by our students who are aware of the malpractices of some people in our community and are willing to change this phenomenon by raising awareness in society of the importance of showing the ultimate respect to our Prophet (pbuh) in all possible ways,” Saleh Salem, a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the King Abdul Aziz University (KAAU), told Arab News on Monday, December 23.
“The prevalence of using ‘Mohammad’ in this inappropriate way surfaced around 15 years ago and I remember we never used this name to call unknown people or workers before.
“Unfortunately, we as Muslims and members of the Saudi community disregarded the sanctity of the name until we arrived at a point that we began to use it to show our resentment toward strangers,” he added.
The campaign was launched by a group of students from the Faculty of Economics and Administration in KAAU in Jeddah recently.
Honoring the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the students tried to halt the spread of the phenomenon where Saudis use his name to call any stranger, even non-Muslims, in restaurants or supermarkets.
Over the past years, the Saudis’ use of the name of the Prophet (pbuh) has come to denote inferiority when used in this manner, signifying a deplorable phenomenon and impolite use of the Prophet’s name.
The students started to garner support for their campaign by sending text messages via social networking services or through the mobile phone’s “WhatsApp” application.
“Assalamu alaikum, this is a campaign carried out by the Saudi community aimed at honoring the name of our Prophet (pbuh) and stopping the use of his name to call people whose names we don’t know, workers and sometimes even non-Muslims,” read the messages sent via the application.
Praising the initiative, a famous Saudi scholar said that any initiative which aims to honor the personality of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is regarded as praiseworthy and is rewarded by Allah.
“Calling a Muslim person whose name we don’t know with the word Mohammad was originally considered an honor. Moreover, it is not prohibited to do so for a Muslim as he is a follower of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” well-known Saudi scholar Sheikh Abdullah Al-Muslih said.
“As for non-Muslims, it is better to call them with a title such as ‘Fellow’, ‘Friend’ or even ‘Abdullah’ as we are all servants of Allah.
“However, if the use of the name of our Prophet (pbuh) has conventionally become a norm or sign of contempt when calling unknown or low-class people and workers, it is unacceptable in Islam and could amount to a lack of respect for the Prophet (pbuh) and his honorable name,” expounded the sheikh.
Other Saudi Arabia residents have also welcomed the new initiative.
“I know that it is such an honor for every Muslim to be called by the name of the Prophet (pbuh). Khalid Al-Madani, a flight attendant, who said he gets annoyed when some passengers call him Mohammad.
“However, the name in our society has regrettably come to denote a lowly person,” said Madani.
Coming to Saudi 10 years ago, Tawfeeq Al-Saqqa, an Egyptian engineer, said that he was surprised to see people using Muhammad to call workers or cleaners.
“My son told me that his friends at school just shout ‘Hey, Mohammad’ at the canteen’s Nepalese guy, a non-Muslim, when they want to buy something,” concluded Al-Saqqa.
“My son asked me why people didn’t call the canteen guy ‘Ammo’ (uncle) as we usually do in our schools in Egypt. I really commend this campaign for preserving our Prophet’s name.”
Usamah Al-Ajlan, a Saudi businessman, shared a similar opinion, urging Saudis to honor the name of the Prophet (PBUH).
“We, as Saudis living in this country of the Two Holy Mosques, should be the first to show the utmost respect to the name of Prophet (pbuh) and preserve it from any misuse. I support this campaign wholeheartedly,” Al-Ajlan said.
“I have received the text messages on my cell phone and forwarded them to as many contacts as I could. I also suggest that the campaign be supported by the local media and senior scholars.”
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