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What’s in a name?

  • Published at 08:14 pm March 17th, 2014
What’s in a name?

“Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has banned 50 names they argue contradict the culture or religion of the Kingdom,” reports The Independent UK. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/is-your-name-now-banned-in-saudi-arabia-9192298.html)

There is no such thing as a Muslim name. Names come from languages, not from religions. You can have an Arabic name, or a Celtic name, or a Gujrati name. But you can’t have a Muslim name.

Sure, most Muslims choose Arabic names. That’s because Arabic is thought of as the official language of Islam. Truth is, Arabic is just the language of the Qur’an. There is no official language of Islam, because Islam is made up of people who speak all the world’s languages. There are more Muslims in Indonesia than in Saudi Arabia. There are more Muslims in South Asia than in the Middle East.

Any historical reasons for looking to the Arabs as the arbiters of how to be Muslim no longer pertain. Muslims can be of any race, speak any language, and have different rituals and clothes. Islam was built for diversity, it was made to be applicable to different cultures and places. Islam, like many religions, is pan-human – it’s not restricted to a certain ethno-linguistic race.

Since anyone from anywhere can be a Muslim, any name from anywhere can be a Muslim name – so long as its bearer calls him/herself a Muslim.