What’s In A Name?

Wake up. Cleanse. Pray. Caffeine. News. Practically the morning routine of Muslims who have minutes to spare in the morning.

The names that are read in the news usually gives an impression of association. If the reader saw a name related to a race, somehow the dots connect to a particular group as triggered by the name. For instance, reading the news of some rich Arab may make you think about Arabic countries, and the the Arabic population in Singapore.

Moreover, when reading local news, the association grows stronger. Since the news is limited within the border, the dots that are connected may get more and more personal. Reading the positive news of a foreign talent, somehow may remind you of you neighbour who found wealth after migrating to Singapore.

Reading a news in negative light meanwhile, will likely remind you of a negative encounter with a person associated with that particular group.

I seems that, what is sub/conciously occurring when a name is read the generalization his/her behaviour with his/her association. This passive gesture, even when not shared with peers at the risk of being called racist, is nevertheless notable. Who knows, perhaps some subconcious reminder pops-up when dealing with the person of that race, which was presented negatively in the papers last week.

Thus I am greatly bothered when reading names of Muslims in the news. Not the good news obviously, but the bad news. A recent lone masquerading as a police officer. A Muslim name means he’s Muslim man, but the actions of which are religiously cursed and abhorrent.

The name is the ambassador of the religion. A convert to Islam usually takes up a Muslim name, as the name reflects the hopes that one wants to achieve. That’s why parents are encouraged to give their newborns good names, so much so that a hadith iterated their chosen names are the same ones used to call upon them in the Day of Judgment.

Unfortunately, it is almost unfeasible to even imagine that all Muslims will grow up good, regardless the names. Common Islamic names such as the one after our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) unfortunately got tagged at the wrong guy. Granted that Allah has the fullest authority to forgive his slaves, the damage had already been done, and unjustly so, to the man that spread this beautiful religion, and the religion that puts peace and security at its helm.

Hopefully Muslims, as their name suggests, realize that their names are not just names which represent themselves. Nothing is as selfish.

The name represents their family, their religion, and more than a billion others worldwide. It represents the teachings of the religion, the teachers that teach them, and the lineage of knowledge. It represents the Prophets that were sent, the books that were revealed, and the values that were inculcated.

It is a reminder that even the smallest deed, will definitely be rewarded. And for each transgression, Allah be the Judge.

So what’s in a Muslim name?



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