What’s In A Name?

// May 25th, 2007 // Blog

The task of naming a child is a significant one for Muslim parents. The name should be honorable, and filled with good meaning. The best of names are Abdur-Rahman and Abdullah (slave of the Most Merciful and slave of Allāh), as well as the names of the Prophets, including the Final Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon them all.

Lately, i have been noticing more and more in the news, stories involving people with such honorable names, doing the most dishonorable of things. I am not even referring to the 'War on Terror', but rather more 'normal' criminal acts, such as theft, murder, and rape. I cannot help but feel sad when i read the name of our beloved Nabi, peace be upon him, being associated with such immorality. It's not just about saving face – that such stories may cast a bad light on Muslims, and perhaps Islam. It is just that i wish for the name of Allāh and the names of His Prophets to be kept far away from any kind of depravity, any kind of filth.

I wonder if people of other faiths feel the same way? Whether a Hindu is hurt when he sees reads about a thief named Krishna, or a Jew hears of a rapist named David, or a Christian reads about a murderer named Jesus (i've noticed that Spanish people use this name a lot, but pronounced 'Hay-zus').

It might sound strange, but perhaps people with religious names should be even more careful of their behaviour, if they have any love for the person, or the deity, that they are named after.

Saying that, it is easy for me to talk; my real name has no Islamic connotations whatsoever! Although, i seem to be making up for the deficit, with my blog-land pseudonym. I suppose i best be careful what i write then…

12 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. hema says:

    my real name has no Islamic meaning either:(
    and i was told a while ago that “hema” is actually a Hindu name. oops

    i have heard people say that people with “Islam” or “Muslim” in their blog url should only write about Islamic stuff, as that’s what people expect to find when they are searching on google or whatever. but i don’t think that’s necessarily true. it just means you are talking to somone who is proud of their religion.

    i think it’s sad when you hear such honourable names being assoicated with horrible things, but i don’t really know what should be done about it. should they change their names? there is a guy at work who calls himself “Mo”, or rather lets others call him that. once when i explained why i couldn’t go drinking with them after work due to religious reasons, they said “oh but Mo drinks..”
    sigh.
    but i remember thinking, at least the sentence sounded better than if his whole name had been said.

  2. Abū Ilyās says:

    al-Salamu ‘alaykum,

    I just wanted to mention that the hadeeth in Muslim mentions that the most beloved names to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘AbdurRahman, rather than ‘AbdurRahman and ‘AbdurRaheem.

  3. Abū Ilyās says:

    Oh yeah and I’ve told this story before but I can’t resist telling it again.

    In one of my previous jobs there was a cleaner whose name was “Good luck.” So one day I asked him if he had a brother called “Bad luck”? He replied “No” and so I said “I guess he died when you were young?”

    *borrows iMuslim’s badoom tish!*

  4. iMuslim says:

    Jazakallah Abu Ilyas! I’ve corrected the entry now. :)

  5. Sumera says:

    I love names beginning with or that which contain a “Z”. I think Im obsessed with them.

  6. iMuslim says:

    hema: i agree, just cos my name is iMuslim, doesn’t mean i have to write about Islam and Apple Macs all the time. :)

    Abū Ilyās: Wa ‘alaykum salam. That was a reeeeeeeeeeeeally bad joke! :o

    Sumi: hehehehehe *wink*

  7. AnonyMouse says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! :D

    When I was younger I hated my name… dunno why… but now I’m quite proud of it, al-Hamdulillaah, knowing that I’m named after one of the Prophet (SAW)’s wives and daughters! :D

    Subhan’Allah, I totally know what you mean – recently in the papers there was something about a bunch of Kuwaiti guys who were caught smuggling drugs out of Canada… the first thing that caught my eye were their names, and then I read the whole article and was really sad – and angry – about it all. Smuggling drugs is in and of itself a bad thing; but then when “Muslims” do it, I find it a kazillion times worse.

    :(

  8. Abū Ilyās says:

    There’s plenty more bad jokes where that came from.

  9. iMuslim says:

    Mouse: I think your name is wuvly, mashallah, even without the beautifully Islamic connotations. :)

    Abū Ilyās: Thinking about it, I’m not sure the above even counts as a bad joke – i don’t see any joke-like qualities in there at all. It sounds like a tactless statement that deserves an awkward pause after it has been released into the atmosphere. A conversation killer, if you will. I am quite disappointed in you. Please fetch your coat.

  10. Abū Ilyās says:

    But my mum says I’m funny :(

    *gets coat*

  11. mcpagal says:

    I love Z’s! And J’s too! And a Y thrown in wouldn’t hurt either. Basically I love names that’d give you a great score in Scrabble.

    There are some names I really love in Arabic, but when you imagine people saying them and what they’ll morph into, it gets a bit weird. Like the Arabic for pearl, I think it’s Lu’lu? But you just know the kid would end up sounding like some 70’s pop singer.

    Also I have a story to rival Abu Ilyas’s!
    My mum once had a client come in, and when they asked him his name, he said ‘God knows!’. After a while they worked out that his name actually was ‘GodKnows’. He explained that when he was born, he had umpteen other siblings, so when the registrar-type-person asked what the new baby was to be called, they replied ‘God knows!’. :D
    Dunno if the guy was joking though…

  12. iMuslim says:

    Abū Ilyās: *resists the urge to throw in a “yo momma” joke as they’re quite mean, and unIslamic*

    McP: Scraaaaabble! hehe You do know that names are ‘illegal’ in that game. :P
    Names must be playground-proof… mine isn’t, and i had many unfunny derivatives thrown at me as a result, but nothing too harsh, Alhamdulillah.
    & your joke was funnier… at least, it qualified as a joke! :P

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