Was Prophet Muhammad in the Vedas?
Starting With the Rig-Veda
In this article we will take a look at some of the verses in the Vedas that some people, such as Dr. Zakir Naik, say that Mohammed is mentioned or foretold in them. This is a summary based on the research by Dr Radhasyam Brahmachari and others, and shows that these verses in fact do not speak of Prophet Mohammed, but are used in a way that is based on mistranslations to justify that idea.
First of all, the Rig-Veda is globally recognized and accepted as the oldest book created by man and hence if it could be shown that there is mentioning of Prophet Mohammed in that text, it will be immensely helpful to paint the Arabian Prophet as a divine personality. Not only that, it will be helpful to deceive the Hindus and convert them to Islam. So, it does not become difficult to understand what has inspired Dr Zakir Naik and others to discover the mentioning of Mohammed in the Rig-Veda and in other Vedic texts. But as his investigation culminated into a failure, he had no other way but to apply stupid arguments to befool the kafirs and infidels but to twist the meanings and translations into something different, all the while acting most scholarly and convincing.
First of all, we should see what the Rig-Veda actually says about Prophet Muhammad. It should also be mentioned at the outset that two Sanskrit words śaṃsata and narāśaṃsa play the central role in these arguments of such people as Zakir Naik. According to him, the word śaṃsata stands for an individual who praises. In Arabic, such an individual is calledAhammad, the other name of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, wherever he could find the word śaṃsata, he took it as the mentioning of their Prophet.
According to him, the second word narāśaṃsa means an individual who is to be praised or who is praiseworthy. The Arabic word Muhammad means a man who is praiseworthy. So, wherever he could have found the word narāśaṃsa in any Sanskrit texts, he took it to be a mentioning of Muhammad.
In fact, both the Sanskrit words śaṃsata and narāśaṃsa stand for a deity or God, who is praiseworthy. According to Sāyana, the most reputed commentator of the Vedas, the wordnarāśaṃsa means a deity or a respectable entity (not a man) that deserves to be praised by man.
However, we should have a closer look to see what Zakir Naik has to say. According to him, the verses (1/13/3), (1/18/9), (1/106/4), (1/142/3), (2/3/2), (5/5/2), (7/2/2), (10/64/3) and (10/182/2) of the Rig-Veda contain the word narāśaṃsa, and hence mention Muhammad, and the verse (8/1/1) of the Rig-Veda contains the word śaṃsata (Ahmmad), or the other name of Muhammad. So here he begins with another blatant lie and says that the word śaṃsata stands for a man who praises, the Arabic equivalent of Ahammad and hence mentions Muhammad. The said verse (8/1/1) of the Rig-Veda reads:
Mā cidanyadvi śaṃsata sakhāyo mā riṣṇyata l
Indramitstot ā vṛṣaṇaṃ sacā sute muhurukthā ca śaṃsata ll (8/1/1)
“Glorify naught besides, O friends; so shall no sorrow trouble you. Praise only mighty Indra when the juice is shed, and say your lauds repeatedly.” (Translation: R T H Griffith; The Hymns of the Ṛgveda, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi; 1995, p-388). So the word śaṃsata (praiseworthy) in the above verse refers to deity Indra, and not a man who praises (Ahammad) as claimed by Dr Zakir Naik.
We shall now see what the verses containing the word narāśaṃsa say. In Rig-Veda, a verse is refered as (x/y/z), where x stands for Mandala, y stands for Sukta and z stands for the Verse or Ṛk. The verse (1/13/3) of Rig-Veda, as mentioned above, belongs to 13th Sukta of the 1st Mandala. It should also be noted here that every Sukta of the Rig-Veda is dedicated to a deity. The presiding deity of the 13th Sukta of the 1st Mandala is Agni (the God of Fire). The verse says:
Narāśaṃsamiha priyamasminajña upahvaye l
Madhujihvat haviṣkṛtam ll (1/13/3)
“Dear Narāśaṃsa, sweet of tongue, the giver of oblations, I invoke to this our sacrifice.” (tr: ibid, p-7)
As Agni is the deity of the entire 13th Sukta, there is no doubt that the word narāśaṃsa (praiseworthy to man) in the verse refers to Agni. One should also note that the wordnarāśaṃsa does not signify a man who is praiseworthy, as some people claim.
The verse (1/18/9) of the Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃsaṃ sudhṛṣṭamamapaśyam saprathastam l
Divo na sadmakhasam ll (1/18/9)
“I have seen Narāśaṃsa, him most resolute, most widely famed, as ‘twere the Household Priest of heaven.” (tr: ibid, p-11)
The 18th Sukta, to which the verse belongs, is dedicated to Brahmaṇaspati, the Priest of heaven and hence the word narāśaṃsa (praiseworthy to man) in this verse refers toBrahmaṇaspati, the Priest of heaven.
The verse (1/106/4) of the Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃsaṃ vajinṃ vajayinniha kṣayadvīraṃ pūṣaṇaṃ summairī mahe l
Rathaṃ na durgādvasava sudānavo viśvasmānno ahaṃso niṣpipartana ll (1/106/4)
“To mighty Narāśaṃsa, strengthening his might, to Pūṣaṇa, ruler over men, we pray with hymns. Even as a chariot from a difficult ravine, bountiful Vasus, rescue us from all distress.” (tr: ibid, p-69)
The 106th Sukta of 1st Mandala, to which the verse belongs, is dedicated to the Viśvadevas, and hence the word narāśaṃsa (praiseworthy to man) in this verse refers to theViśvadevas, again not to Mohammed.
The verse (1/142/3) of the Rig-Veda says:
śuci pāvako adbhuto madhvā yajñaṃ mimikṣati l
narāśaṃsasthrirā divo devo deveṣu yajñiyaḥ ll (1/142/3)
“He wondrous, sanctifying, bright, sprinkles the sacrifice with mead, thrice, Narāśaṃsa from the heavens, a God amid Gods adorable.” (tr: ibid, p-98)
The 142nd Sukta, to which the verse belongs, is dedicated to the deity Āprī, and hence the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers to Āprī. Most of the scholars agree that Āprī is the other name of Agni and hence the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers to Agni, the god of fire.
The verse (2/3/2) of the Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃsaḥ prati dhāmānyañjan tisro div prati mahṇā svarciḥ l
Ghṛtapruṣā manasā havyamundanmūrdhanyajñasya sanamaktu devān ll (2/3/2)
“May Narāśaṃsa lighting up the chambers, bright in his majesty through threefold heaven, steeping the gift with oil diffusing purpose, bedew the Gods at chiefest time of worship.” (tr: ibid, p- 132)
Like the earlier one, 142nd Sukta of 1st Mandal, this present 3rd Sukta of 2nd Mandala, is dedicated to the deity Āprī or Agni and hence the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers toAgni the Fire God.
The Verse (5/5/2) of Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃsaḥ suṣūdatīmṃ yajñamadābhyaḥ l
Kavirhi madhūhastāḥ ll (5/5/2)
“He, Narāśaṃsa, ne’er beguiled, inspireth this sacrifice; for sage is he, with sweets in hand.” (tr: ibid, p- 240)
This 5th Sukta of 5th Mandala is also dedicated to Āprī or Agni and hence the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers to Agni the Fire God.
The verse (7/2/2) of Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃsasya mahimānameṣamupa stoṣāma yajatasya yajñaiḥ l
Ye sukratavaḥ śucayo dhiyandhāḥ svadanti devā ubhayāni havyā ll (7/2/2)
“With sacrifice to these we men will honor the majesty of holy Narāśaṃsa – to these the pure, most wise, the thought-inspires, Gods who enjoy both sorts of our oblations.” (tr: ibid, p- 334)
Again this 2nd Sukta of 7th Mandala is dedicated to Āprī or Agni, and hence the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers to Agni the Fire God.
The verse (10/64/3) of the Rig-Veda says:
Narā vā śaṃsaṃ pūṣṇamagohyamagni deveddhamabhyarcase girā l
Sūryāmāsā candramasā yamaṃ divi tritaṃ vātamuṣasamaktumaśvinā ll (10/64/3)
“To Narāśaṃsa and Pūṣaṇ I sing forth, unconcealable Agni kindled by the Gods. To Sun and Moon, two Moons, to Yama in the heaven, to Trita, Vāta, Dawn, Night and Aśvins Twain.”(tr: ibid, p- 578)
This 64th Sukta of 10th Mandala is dedicated to the Viśvadevas, and the word narāśaṃsa in this verse refers to the Viśvadevas.
The verse (10/182/2) of Rig-Veda says:
Narāśaṃso na avatu prayāje śaṃ no astvanuyajo habeṣu l
Kṣipadaśtimapa durmati hannathā karadyajamānāya śam ṣoḥ ll (10/182/2).
“May Narāśaṃsa aid us at Prayāja; blest be out Anuyāja at invokings. May he repel the curse, and chase ill-feeling, and give the sacrificer peace and comfort.” (tr: ibid, p- 650)
The 182nd Sukta of 10th Mandala, to which the above verse belongs, is dedicated to Vṛhaspati, and hence the word narāśaṃsa refers to Vṛhaspati, the Priest of the Gods.
Another verse (1/53/9) of the Rig-Veda says,
Tvametāñjanarājño dvirdaśābandhunā suśravasopajagmaṣaḥ l
ṣaṣtiṃ sahasrā navatiṃ nava śruto ni cakreṇa rathyā duṣpadā vṛṇak ll (1/53/9)
“With all-outstripping chariot-wheel, O Indra, thou far-famed, hast overthrown the twice ten Kings of men, with sixty thousand nine-and-ninety followers, who came in arms to fight with friendless Suśravas.” (tr: ibid, p-36)
To narrate the incident, Sayana, the renowned commentator of the Rig-Veda, says that twenty kings with a force, 60,099 strong, attacked the King Suśrava (Prajapati) and Indra alone defeated them and frustrated their ambition (the Vayu-Purana also narrates the incident).
Most of the scholars agree that the Rig-Veda was composed more than 5000 years BCE, and hence the incident narrated in the verse (1/53/9) took place more than 7000 years ago. And Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630 AD. But Zakir Naik has proceeded to link the incident with Muhammad’s capturing Mecca, which any sane man, except a Muslim, would feel shy to undertake. To give his mischief a shape, he has, firstly replaced the word Suśrava with Suśrama and says that the word Suśrama stands for one who praises, and hence equivalent to Ahammad in Arabic, the other name of Muhammad. And he claims that the verse narrates Muhammad’s conquering Mecca, as the then population of the city was about 60,000 and Muhammad had invaded Mecca with 20 of his closest followers. It is not difficult for the reader to discover the absurdity of this claim and the deceit involved with making it.
The verse (8/6/10) of the Rig-Veda says,
Ahamiddhi pituṣpari medhamṛtasya jagrabha l
Ahaṃ sūrya ivājrani ll (8/6/10)
“I from my Father have received deep knowledge of the Holy Law: I was born like unto the Sun.” (Tr: ibid, p- 396).
In this verse the word ahamiddhi stands for “I have received.” But as the word spells like Ahammad, the other name of Muhammad, Zakir Naik claims that the verse mentions Muhammad, which shows how he is prone to error on account of his Islamic bias.
Thus we have studied all the verses of the Rig-Veda which, according to Naik, mention Muhammad. It has been said above that the Sanskrit word narāśaṃsa stands for a deity or God who is praiseworthy to man, but not a man who is praiseworthy to other men, which is what Naik claims. So, according to this kind of childish logic, whenever someone uses the word “praiseworthy,” it should be taken granted that he mentions Prophet Muhammad. But that is far from the truth.
However, the intellectual level of those who try to use these techniques of mistranslations are revealed when they try to do the same thing with the word narāśaṃsa in other Vedas, likeAtharva-Veda and Yajur-Veda and is again projecting them to be mentioning Prophet Muhammad. Though it is sheer wastage of time to deal with the utterances of such insane people as this, we may discuss these matters more thoroughly in the future. In the meantime, many are those who are realizing the confusing and inaccurate conclusions such as these and are losing confidence in such people who depend on this kind of tactic, as they also become an embarrassment to the religion they represent.