Every year BabyCentre comes out with a list of the top 100 baby names, I tried to find the ‘Muslimy’ version of this and they happen to have a post detailing the top 10 baby names among Muslim parents around the world. And apparently, by around the world, they mean ‘Arab countries’, Malaysia and India. Still, when you are in ‘looking for baby names mode’ any list is fair game!
Choosing a name for your Muslim child, in a predominantly non-Muslim country brings up its own issues. However, we are blessed to be in this position a third time and baby name searching has commenced! I’d love to see a list of the top 100 Muslim baby names in the UK or the USA … If anyone knows of one do share in the comments!
So do you try to go for names that easily blend in like Adam, or Rayaan or do you go for the classical ones? I like a mix of both. The classically traditional ones which are also familiar to the ear of most people living here in the West. For boys, the names of most of the Prophets mentioned in the Quran fit into that category.
6 years ago, when I was expecting our first baby (a boy) choosing a name was super simple. All the traditional prophetic names seemed so noble and majestic and there is something I totally love about the fact that there is a version of most of these names in all three Abrahamic faiths. ‘Biblical names’ they call them here. So choosing a ‘Prophetic name’ was a no brainer.
One day while I was making dua for a boy who would be ‘soft hearted and strong hearted’ and for a son who would be the ‘best of sons’, I suddenly thought of a prophet, who is often mentioned in the Quran, a prophet who was truly the best of sons and whose story is the cornerstone of our faith. The Prophet I was thinking of, of course was Ismail or Ishmael. That was it. The name just entered my heart and settled in around the little boy who was still in my womb. It was an amazing feeling. To ‘know’ my baby’s name. I felt no trepidation at all in telling my husband (!) parents and relatives that I had decided on the name myself and there would be no need for further suggestions!
It was lovely, I still have emails from my dad asking me about the baby by name, months before he was born. ‘How’s Ismail doing?’ He would write.
Second time around it was the complete opposite. Why are Muslim girl’s names so much harder to choose than boys names? I was stuck. It was so hard. My husband and, the then three year old, Ismail advocated for the name Ayesha from the start. But I was adamant on finding a more ‘unique’ one. Evidently, it mattered to me that her name should not be so ‘popular’ (and by popular I meant common!). I made and read so many lists but nothing fitted. I guess I was waiting for that same experience I had with Ismail, but my little girl was already teaching me that she was not the same as her brother. She was her own person and whatever name we gave her she would make it her own ~ truly in the end I couldn’t come up with a more strong, intelligent and fiesty namesake than Hazrat Ai’sha (RA).
As for the third time round … there will be other considerations, like should the name ‘match’ the sibling names or not? My parent’s took some poetic licence and named my first 2 sisters and I real ‘matching matching’ names ~ all of them three-syllabic rhyming names beginning with ‘S’ ! #pro-tip from my dad : Don’t name your kids with names all starting from the same letter of the alphabet! It makes letters from doctors appointments and banks ect a nighmare (in deciphering the correct recipient – we would have three of everything addresses to a ‘Miss. S.Teli’ ) Fourth time round they chose a name beginning with Z instead. It’s never too late to learn! Right?!
How did you choose your baby’s name? Do you care if your child’s name is popular?