The compiler of the Puranas, Mahrishi Vyasa, is highly honored among the Hindus as a great rishi and learned person. He was a pious and God fearing man. He also wrote the Gita and the Maha Bharat. Among the eighteen volumes of the Puranas is one by the title ‘Bhavishya Puran,’ literally meaning future events. The Hindus regard it as the Word of God. The prophecy containing Prophet Muhammad by name is found in Prati Sarg Parv III: 3, 3, Verse 5.
Before the English translation is presented, a note on the word Malechha that appears in the first part of verse 5 is in order. The word Malechha means a man belonging to a foreign country and speaking foreign language. This word is now used to degrade people meaning unclean or even worse. Its usage varies and depends on who is using it and for whom. Sir William Jones had great difficulty in recruiting a Pundit to teach him Sanskrit because he was considered unclean (Malechha). It was only after the direct intervention of Maharaja (King) Shiv Chandra that Pundit Ram Lochna agreed to teach him Sanskrit.
It is not known when this word began to be used in the derogatory sense, whether before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (Allah's Peace and Blessings upon him), after the conversion of Hindu King Chakrawati Farmas (of Malabar, located on the southwest coast of India) to Islam during the lifetime of the Prophet, soon after the arrival of Muslims in India (711 CE) or sometime later. Mahrishi Vyasa, the compiler of the Puranas, has defined a wise Malechha as “a man of good actions, sharp intellect, spiritual eminence, and showing reverence to the deity (God).
Many Sanskrit words have borrowed from Arabic and Hebrew with a slight change as was shown in the examples of Brahma, Saraswati and Manu, and as indicated in Table 2 below. It appears that this word is derived from the Hebrew word Ma-Hekha, which means thy brethren (e.g., And he (Ishmael) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. Genesis 16:12; i.e., Ismaelites are the brethren of the Israelites). In the context of Biblical scriptures this word meant a descendant of Prophet Ismail (Ishmael), and it is well known that Muhammad (Allah's Peace and Blessings upon him) is a descendant of Prophet Ismail through his second son Kedar. Those who can read Arabic Script can easily see that a mistake in separating Ma from Hekha will produce a single word ‘Malhekha,’ and when adapted in another tongue like Sanskrit might sound like Malechha.
The Sanskrit text and translation of Verse 5 of Bhavishya Puran, Prati Sarg Parv III: 3, 3 are given below. (The boxed area in the Sanskrit text identifies the word Mahamad or Mohammad).
A malechha (belonging to a foreign country and speaking foreign language) spiritual teacher will appear with his companions. His name will be Mahamad...
The translation of Verses 5-27 (Sanskrit text of the Puranas, Prati Sarg Parv III: 3, 3) is presented below from the work of Dr. Vidyarthi.
“A malechha (belonging to a foreign country and speaking foreign language) spiritual teacher will appear with his companions. His name will be Mahamad. Raja (Bhoj) after giving this Mahadev Arab (of angelic disposition) a bath in the 'Panchgavya' and the Ganges water, (i.e. purging him of all sins) offered him the presents of his sincere devotion and showing him all reverence said, 'I make obeisance to thee.' 'O Ye! the pride of mankind, the dweller in Arabia, Ye have collected a great force to kill the Devil and you yourself have been protected from the malechha opponents (idol worshipers, pagans).' ‘O Ye! the image of the Most Pious God the biggest Lord, I am a slave to thee, take me as one lying on thy feet.'
“The Malechhas have spoiled the well-known land of the Arabs. Arya Dharma is not to be found in that country. Before also there appeared a misguided fiend whom I had killed [note: e.g., Abraha Al-Ashram, the Abyssinian viceroy of Yemen, who attacked Mecca]; he has now again appeared being sent by a powerful enemy. To show these enemies the right path and to give them guidance the well-known Mahamad (Mohammad), who has been given by me the epithet of Brahma is busy in bringing the Pishachas to the right path. O Raja! You need not go to the land of the foolish Pishachas, you will be purified through my kindness even where you are. At night, he of the angelic disposition, the shrewd man, in the guise of a Pishacha said to Raja Bhoj, "O Raja! Your Arya Dharma has been made to prevail over all religions, but according to the commandments of ‘Ashwar Parmatma (God, Supreme Spirit), I shall enforce the strong creed of the meat-eaters. My follower will be a man circumcised, without a tail (on his head), keeping beard, creating a revolution, announcing call for prayer and will be eating all lawful things. He will eat all sorts of animals except swine. They will not seek purification from the holy shrubs, but will be purified through warfare. Because of their fighting the irreligious nations, they will be known as Musalmans (Muslims). I shall be the originator of this religion of the meat-eating nation."