By Ayden Zayn
August 24, 2016
Most people have heard of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as well as the former heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. But if asked to identify other Muhammads, past or present, it’s likely that many would have a hard time naming even one! Yet there are many noteworthy people having achieved great things who happen to bare the name of Muhammad (alternate spellings included). Here are a few of the most famous ones…
Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī
Lived: 780 to 850
Highlight: One of the fathers of algebra.
A Muslim mathematician who introduced the use of the decimal to the Western world. He is considered one of the fathers of algebra. Some words reflect the importance of al-Khwārizmī’s contributions to mathematics. “Algebra” is derived from al-jabr, one of the two operations he used to solve quadratic equations. “Algorism” and “algorithm” stem from Algoritmi, the Latin form of his name. His name is also the origin of “guarismo” (Spanish) and of “algarismo” (Portuguese), both meaning “digit”.
Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi
Lived: 865 to 925
Highlight: Father of pediatrics.
The first to produce acids such as sulfuric acid, writing up limited or extensive notes on diseases such as smallpox and chickenpox, a pioneer in ophthalmology, author of first book on pediatrics, making leading contributions in inorganic and organic chemistry, also the author of several philosophical works… Through translation, his medical works and ideas became known among medieval European practitioners and profoundly influenced medical education in the Latin West. Some volumes of his work Al-Mansuri, namely “On Surgery” and “A General Book on Therapy”, became part of the medical curriculum in Western universities. Edward Granville Browne considers him as “probably the greatest and most original of all the physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author” and has been described as the father of pediatrics and a pioneer of ophthalmology. Source: Wikipedia
Abū Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad Fārābī (Al-Farabi)
Lived: 872 to 950
Highlight: Widely considered second only to Aristotle in knowledge.
Farabi made contributions to the fields of logic, mathematics, music, philosophy, psychology, and education… Credited with preserving the original Greek texts during the Middle Ages because of his commentaries and treatises, and influencing many prominent philosophers, like Avicenna and Maimonides… Philosophy: Al-Farabi had great influence on science and philosophy for several centuries, and was widely considered second only to Aristotle in knowledge (alluded to by his title of “the Second Teacher”) in his time. Physics: Wrote a short treatise “On Vacuum”, where he thought about the nature of the existence of void. He may have carried out the first experiments concerning the existence of vacuum. Psychology: Wrote “Social Psychology and Principles of the Opinions of the Citizens of the Virtuous City”, which were the first treatises to deal with social psychology. Source: Wikipedia
Abū l-Walīd Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rušd (Ibn Rushd or Averroes)
Lived: 1126 to 1198
Highlight: Renewed Western interest in ancient Greek philosophy.
Developed the notion that bodies have a (non-gravitational) inherent resistance to motion into physics. This idea in particular was adopted by Thomas Aquinas and subsequently by Johannes Kepler, who referred to this fact as “Inertia”… Ibn Rushd is most famous for his commentaries of Aristotle’s works, which had been mostly forgotten in the West. Before 1150, only a few of Aristotle’s works existed in translation in Latin Europe, although the tradition of great philosophers and poets of antiquity continued to be studied and copied in the Greek Byzantium. It was to some degree through the Latin translations of Ibn Rushd’s work beginning in the thirteenth century, that the legacy of Aristotle was recovered in the Latin West. Source: Wikipedia
Muhammad Ibn Battuta
Lived: 1304 to 1369
Highlight: Widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time.
A Medieval Berber Muslim traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time. He is known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in the Rihla (lit. “Journey”). Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Source: Wikipedia
Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb
Lived: 1846 to 1916
Highlight: The earliest prominent Anglo-American Muslim convert.
An American writer, publisher, and the United States Consul to the Philippines. He converted to Islam in 1888, and is considered by historians to be the earliest prominent Anglo-American Muslim convert. In 1893 he was the only person representing Islam at the first Parliament for the World’s Religions. Source: Wikipedia
Lived: 1877 to 1938
Highlight: The “Spiritual father of Pakistan”.
Muhammad Iqbal is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both the Urdu and Persian languages… He was a poet, philosopher, and politician, as well as an academic, barrister and scholar in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the “Spiritual father of Pakistan”. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, granting him the title “Sir”. Source: Wikipedia
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Lived:1876 to 1948
Highlight: The “Father of Pakistan”.
Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, in which Jinnah had also become prominent. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, or non-violent resistance, advocated by Mohandas Gandhi… The well documented influence of Muhammad Iqbal on Jinnah, with regards to taking the lead in creating Pakistan, has been described as “significant”, “powerful” and even “unquestionable” by scholars. He’s also cited as an influential force in convincing Jinnah to… re-enter the politics of India… Iqbal gradually succeeded in converting Jinnah over to his view, who eventually accepted Iqbal as his “mentor”… By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading all parties to agree to separate independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state, to be called Pakistan… Jinnah’s legacy is Pakistan. According to Mohiuddin, “He was and continues to be as highly honored in Pakistan as [first US president] George Washington is in the United States … Pakistan owes its very existence to his drive, tenacity, and judgment … Jinnah’s importance in the creation of Pakistan was monumental and immeasurable.” Stanley Wolpert, giving a speech in honour of Jinnah in 1998, deemed him Pakistan’s greatest leader. Source: Wikipedia
Warith Deen Mohammed
Lived: 1933 to 2008
Highlight: Led largest mass conversion to Islam in U.S. History.
Warith Deen Mohammed was the son of Elijah Muhammad, a self-proclaimed prophet and leader of the so-called “Nation of Islam” or NOI (a deviant sect of Sunni, or orthodox, Islam). When the elder Muhammad died in 1975, Warith Deen (or W.D. Mohammed) took charge of NOI. Like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali before him, he embraced Sunni Islam and proceeded to disband and transform the NOI into the “World Community of Al-Islam in the West”. By 1978 most of the NOI members followed him in what became, according to Wikipedia, the “largest mass conversion to Islam in the history of the United States”. Resistance to these changes led to the reformation of the NOI in 1981 under the leadership of Louis Farrakhan, whose message of black superiority continued the NOI’s contradiction of the Qur’an’s teaching of racial equality (chapter 49, verse 13). Source: Wikipedia
Highlight: Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Mohamed ElBaradei was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, from 1997 to 2009. He and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005… for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy, for peaceful purposes, is used in the safest possible way. ElBaradei donated all of his winnings to building orphanages in Cairo. The IAEA’s winnings are being spent to train scientists from developing countries to use nuclear techniques in combating cancer and malnutrition. Source: Wikipedia
Highlight: Co-developer of the best-selling website template of all-time.
Muhammad Haris is co-founder of ThemeFusion, a company that created Avada, the best-selling website template of all-time. Avada has sold over 219,000 copies since being released in 2012. The template (or theme) is used by individuals and companies to easily and efficiently build professional websites for a fraction of the cost of hiring a developer or company to do it. The theme is run on the WordPress platform, which is used by approximately 25% of all websites.
Lived: 1901 to 1982
Highlight: First ever Arab recognized as a “Righteous Gentile”.
Born in Egypt, Mohammed Helmy eventually settled in Berlin where he became a prominent doctor. When the Nazis began deporting Jews during World War II, he went to great lengths to save them by concealing their identities and hiding them. Anna Gutman later wrote, “He managed to evade all [Nazi] interrogations. In such cases he would bring me to friends where I would stay for several days, introducing me as his cousin from Dresden… Dr. Helmy did everything for me out of the generosity of his heart and I will be grateful to him for eternity”. He became the first ever Arab recognized as a “Righteous Gentile” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. Source: Wikipedia
Mohammad Salman Hamdani
Highlight: Hailed as a hero by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Mohammad Salman Hamdani was the NYPD cadet and EMT who was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 where he had rushed to help save lives. He was under no obligation to do so since he was not on duty at the time. He was hailed as a hero by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the police commissioner. He was mentioned in the subsequent U.S. Congress “Patriot Act” as an example of “Arab Americans and Muslim Americans [who] have acted heroically during the attacks”. Mayor Bloomberg called him “an example of how one can make the world better”. Source: Wikipedia
Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
Highlight: Saved the life of a fellow student during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
He’s one of the unsung heroes of the Virginia Tech massacre in April of 2007. Professor Randy Dymond attests that Shaalan saved the life of a fellow student at the expense of his own. After Seung-Hui Cho began his rampage, killing many students and faculty members in cold blood, Shaalan lay on the classroom floor with serious injuries. As Cho surveyed his victims, Shaalan noticed him moving towards another student near him who was lying on the floor playing dead. Shaalan, apparently believing Cho was about to kill the other student, moved suddenly and that’s when Cho fired the shot into Shaalan which proved fatal. Witnesses believe he moved suddenly to distract Cho in an effort to save the other student. Source: Time Magazine
Highlight: Saved a Hindu couple and their unborn baby from drowning.
Hindu couple Mohan and Chitra became hopeless when rapidly rising flood waters threatened their lives and they appeared unable to escape to higher ground. That’s when Mohamed Yunus appeared with a boat and rescue team. The 26 year old businessman took it upon himself to rent four boats to search devastated areas that Indian government officials hadn’t reached yet. He saved Mohan and Chitra, who was pregnant at the time. In honor of their hero she pledged to name the baby after him, and Mohamed pledged to pay for the child’s future educational costs.