How can we prove that “Ahmed” mentioned in the verse 61:6, refers to Muhammed [pbuh]?
It is self evident that the verse under consideration is referring to Muhammad (pbuh). He (pbuh) was named ‘Ahmad’ by his Mother. This was his actual name. However, he was known by his appellation ‘Muhammad’ as was traditional amongst Arabs. So, when the Qur’an says that Jesus (pbuh) said:
…giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad – Al Saff 61:6
The only ‘Ahmad’ claiming to be a Messenger and who came after Jesus (pbuh) is obviously Muhammad (pbuh).
Perhaps your confusion lies in the following words:
…but when he came to them with clear signs they said: This is obvious magic. – Al Saff 61:6
In my opinion the above continues on with reference to Jesus (pbuh). In other words it is not in reference to Ahmad (pbuh). This style is similar to the following:
We did send Moses a foretime, with Our Signs, to Pharaoh and his Chiefs: He said, “I am a messenger of the Lord of the Worlds.” But when he came to them with Our Signs, behold they ridiculed them. – Al Zukhruf 43:46-47
In other words it merely explains what Jesus (pbuh) told the Bani Israel and then explains that when he came to them with clear signs they rejected him. It is the next verses that are in regards to the stance against the final Prophet (pbuh):
And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against God while he is invited to Islam (i.e. to submit fully to God)? And God does not guide the unjust people. They desire to put out the light of God with their mouths but God will perfect His light, though the rejecters dislike it. It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome all religions, though the polytheists dislike it. – Al Saff 61:7-9
Yet, even if, as interpreted by many commentators, the words “but when he came to them with clear signs they said: This is obvious magic” were in reference to Ahmad (pbuh) I still see it as a plausible interpretation. For Muhammad (pbuh) had already come and been addressing them and they did actually call the signs that he recited to them “obvious magic” (e.g. surahs 34:43, 37:15 and 46:7).
In this surah the weak in faith among the Muslims are actually rebuked and warned about their behaviour. They had promised to fight in the way of God but when it came to putting their faith into action, they turned back. Thus they are reminded that their attitude is similar to that of the Israelites who though they accepted Moses (pbuh) as their prophet just as these weak in faith accepted Muhammad (pbuh) as their Prophet, yet did they continuously break their covenants and make Moses (pbuh) grieve. But this only made them more and more perverse and this unbecoming attitude remained a general trait of the Bani Israel. So, when Jesus (pbuh) came along in fulfillment of the Torah and presented clear signs such as raising the dead, curing the ill, breathing life into a bird made of clay and so on, while also predicting the coming of the final Messenger (pbuh) to humanity yet they rejected him due to their wickedness and called it mere magic. Now that the predicted Messenger by the name ‘Ahmad’ was here, it is clear that Jesus (pbuh) was absolutely true to his word. Yet, even now, this attitude continued as they mocked the predicted Messenger (pbuh) and made a mockery of his invitation to Islam (i.e. to submit fully to God). Had they kept themselves pure from wickedness, they would never have fallen so low but rather have surrendered quite naturally.
Keeping the above in mind, the surah ends by assuring the believers to have no doubts about it; God’s truth shall prevail, and His Messenger along with the believers who follow and support him shall come out triumphant. They should be brave as were the true disciples of Jesus (pbuh) and accept the honourable task of being helpers in God’s cause. There is no room for turning back on one’s word. Utter determination and strong will power is a must. Either the weak in faith take heart and jump on the bandwagon to victory or else they will be left behind as losers.
Please keep us in your good prayers and do write back if anything remains unclear.
June 18, 2005