The West has often been accused of distorting some of the most sacred Muslim names. The Jammu and Kashmir government has now decided to restore the purity of one such name. All schools in the Valley have been told to register only the spelling Muhammad while admitting students. “Generally in the admission (forms) and other school records, Muhammad is spelled only as Mohd. This practice needs to be done away with,” a
circular issued by the state education department says.
Muhammad and its variant spellings – such as Mohammed or Mohammad –
make up one of the most popular names world-wide. It’s common in Kashmir, too, but is rarely used as the actual name out of reverence for the Prophet (may Allah bless and greet him).
“People have been using it inadvertently, so we decided to make the correction. Since it is admission time now, we have directed schools to enter the proper spelling (in their records),” said Muhammad Rafi, state education director, adding, “My name in the official records is Mohd Rafi but after I became aware of it, I refused to sign papers that did not spell my name correctly.” He further said: “Mohd is not the correct transliteration of the Arabic word Muhammad, and there was a concern over allowing this practice to continue.”
Conspiracy theories, circulated mostly through text messages and emails, have long been accusing the West of deliberately distorting Prophet Muhammad’s name to Mohd, Makkah to Mecca and masjid to mosque.
The Jamiat Ahle Hadees chief, Molvi Showkat Ahmad however suggested to Muslims “to use the spellings or pronunciations that are closer to the Qur’an.”