I am thinking of naming my child Mustafa. I am interested to know the origin of this name. I know that the root word “istafa” has been used in the Quran on multiple occasions, that Mustafa means “the chosen one” and that it is one of the names of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). However, what I would like to know is, when was this name first used to refer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)? Is it mentioned in any of the hadith books? Who was the first person who referred to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as Al-Mustafa?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The word ‘Mustafa’ is derived from the root word ‘صفو’, which means pure. Allah Ta’alah refers to the general messengers as pure and chosen. See the following two verses:
“وَإِنَّهُمْ عِندَنَا لَمِنَ الْمُصْطَفَيْنَ الْأَخْيَارِ” (ص:47)
Translation: “They are, in our sight, truly, of the chosen ones and the excellent”
In another verse Allah Ta’alah mentions:
“اللَّهُ يَصْطَفِي مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا وَمِنَ النَّاس” (الحج:75)
Translation: “Allah Ta’alah chooses messengers from the angels and the human beings”
According to some ulama, Mustafa is an attribute of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) like the other prophets. According to other ulama, Mustafa is the name of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This is probably based on the following hadith:
و عن عوف بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: انطلق النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يوما و أنا معه… فقال: (….و أنا النبي المصطفى, آمنتم او كذبتم)…رواه أحمد في مسنده (مؤسسة الرسالة) (39/410)
Translation: Hadhrat Auf Bin Maalik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) realates: Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) set out one day whilst I was with…He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said “…I am the messenger, the chosen one, whether you like it or not” ….
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Ifta
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.