When was Hz. Muhammad given the nickname "Muhammad al-Amin"?

Details of the Question

1. How reliable are the narrations and hadiths stating that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) was called "al-Amin"?
2. How reliable are the narrations and hadiths stating that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) was promised several things and that he rejected them?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

Amin (Trustworthy) is an attribute given to the Prophet (pbuh) before Islam and it is true.

Amin lexically means “somebody who is trusted, who does not betray, who keeps his promise, who is loyal and who does not fear others”.

According to what is stated in resources, Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) grew up purely, without being dirtied by the widespread bad deeds of the Era of Jahiliyya thanks to the protection of Allah Almighty. He was known as the most chivalrous, best-natured, noblest, meekest, most honest and most trustworthy person who showed respect to his neighbors’ rights the most by the people around him.

He became famous with the nickname “Muhammadul-Amin” because Allah gave him all of those good attributes.

One of its evidences is his role and his being accepted in the incident of the reparation of the Kaaba and the placement of Hajar al-Aswad, which took place when he was young. A disagreement occurred since all of the tribes wanted to take part in this honorable deed; they decided to accept the person to enter the Kaaba first the next morning as the referee to settle the problem. When they saw that the person who came in the morning was Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), everybody expressed their gladness by saying “al-Amin is coming.” (Musnad, III, 425)

This incident shows that he was known by the attribute amin long before.

He was also an active member of the society called "Hilful-Fudul", which was established in Makkah before Islam in order to protect the rights of those who were oppressed. 

It is known that some people of Quraysh entrusted their valuable goods to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) before Islam.

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came home after receiving the first revelation, Hz. Khadija consoled him as follows:

“Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.”  

Thus, she mentioned his attribute of amin. (Bukhari, Bad’ul-Wahy, 3)

Abul-As, who was the son-in-law of the Prophet (pbuh), mentioned his wife Zaynab in a poem he wrote before Islam as “the daughter of al-amin”. (Suyuti, ar-Riyadul-Aniqa, Beirut 1405/1985, p. 116)

In addition, Ka‘b b. Mâlik, the poet of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), used the phrase “al-amin” when he praised him. (Suyuti, p. 115)

This title continued to be used for the Prophet (pbuh) after Islam emerged too since he conveyed the divine revelation to people and fulfilled his duty properly.  

When the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is examined in all aspects, it will be seen that he was trustworthy in all aspects and that he made great efforts so that the believers would have this attribute in business life, relationships with neighbors and other issues.

The word amin in the sense of “having faith in someone” is used for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the Quran: “He believes in Allah, has faith in the believers.” (at-Tawba, 9/61)

The trait of being trustworthy is one of the main characteristics of all prophets. When the stories of the prophets Hz. Nuh, Hud, Salih, Lut and Shuayb are narrated in the Quran, it is stated that each of them was “a messenger worthy of all trust”. (ash-Shuara 26/107, 125, 143, 162, 178)

Hz. Musa addressed Pharaoh and his men as follows: “…"Restore to me the Servants of Allah: I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust.” (ad-Dukhan, 44/18)

On the other hand, when the king of Egypt wanted to appoint Hz. Yusuf to a high rank, he said, “…Be assured this day, thou art, before our own presence, with rank firmly established, and fidelity fully proved.” (Yusuf, 12/54)

Answer 2:

What is the resource of the Prophet Muhammad’s statement, "If you placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to make me give up carrying out my mission, by Allah, I would never give it up."

None of the tricks, oppression and tortures that Makkan polytheists inflicted upon the Prophet (pbuh) could prevent the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) from conveying the message of Islam. Besides, his paternal uncle, Aba Talib did not oppose what he did and he said; on the contrary, he protected his nephew.  

The polytheists tried something else this time. Ten people from the notables went to Abu Talib and said to him,  

O Abu Talib! Your nephew defamed our idols and religious beliefs. He kept saying we were insane and that our fathers and ancestors were on the wrong path. Either prevent him from doing and saying such things or do not stand between us.”  

- What would Ab Talib do in the face of this offer? On the one hand, the traditions and customs of his tribe; on the other hand, his sincere love toward his nephew. Which one would he prefer?

Finally, he sent the group of polytheists away by using some soft and mild words.

When the polytheists saw that their first complaint was fruitless, they applied to Abu Talib again:

"O Abu Talib! You are one of our elders and notables. We applied to you to so that you would dissuade your nephew from what he was doing. By Allah, we will never put up with his defaming our fathers and ancestors, accusing us of insanity and insulting our deities. Either dissuade him from doing them or we will fight him and you until one of the parties is destroyed."

Abu Talib was aware that he was facing something dangerous. He did not want to be abandoned by his tribe. However, he could not leave his nephew either. What could he do? After thinking deeply, he summoned his nephew and addressed him as follows as if begging him:

"My brother’s son! The notables of my tribe applied to me and told me what you said to them. Please show mercy on me and yourself. Do not make us undertake the burdens that we cannot carry. Give up uttering words that your tribe does not like."

The situation was quite delicate. The only person that guarded him in his tribe was Abu Talib up to that time. Was he going to give up guarding him?

When the Prophet faced this offer, he thought for a while sadly. Knowing that his real guard was Allah Almighty, he felt relieved and gave the following decisive and sharp answer to his uncle:

"O uncle! Know it very well that if they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, I would never give up this religion and conveying its message. Either Allah will make this religion dominant or I will die for the sake of this religion."

When Abu Talib realized that his nephew, who had an indomitable will, would not give up propagating his cause, he hugged him and said, "O my nephew. You may do whatever you wish. By Allah, I will never surrender you to anyone because of anything."

After this promise, the polytheists realized that Abu Talib would guard his nephew after all and that he would never leave him alone. (see Siratu Ibn Hisham, 1/266; Ibnu Sayyid an-Nas, Uyunul-Athar, 1/132; Ibn Kathir, as-Siratun-Nabawiyya, 1/474;  Bayhaqi, Dalailun-Nubuwwa-Shamila- 2/63; Tabari, 2/218-220)

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