Names have always fascinated me. Research indicates that names influence how people treat you – and one study even shows that people who share your culture can often guess your name based on facial appearance alone.
Although it’s not required, many people who embrace Islam later in life adopt a “Muslim” name. Mine is Amel (also spelled Amal), which means “hope” in Arabic.
Interestingly, I was always attracted to the English name Hope as a child. I don’t think I ever met a real-life Hope, but I encountered the name elsewhere – mostly in literature.
Early in my journey to Islam, I found many people eager to assign me Arabic names of their own liking. Taqwa (God-consciousness), Iman (Faith), and Ghada (Graceful or Charming) were all suggested by well-meaning friends and in-laws. But when my husband called me “Amel” one day, I knew this was meant to be my name. He said he chose it because he had hope that I would find a new and beautiful start in life with my acceptance of Islam.
While I still use and identify with my birth-name, I feel that Amel expresses my overall attitude towards life. When faced with difficulties or challenges, I have never lost hope. I choose to look for the good in people and believe that things are rarely “hopeless.” And yes, I did find the new and beautiful start my husband spoke of. Islam is a form of guidance that soothes the soul and aligns with a person’s natural state of being.
Not too long ago, someone told me that I “look like a Hope,” which I took as a compliment. I would love to think that my name conveys a sense of optimism to others.
Unfortunately, the name Amel isn’t that easy for Americans to pronounce. This is perhaps the only downside I have experienced when using this name.
Did you enjoy this little anecdote?
I’m currently putting together a book of “Muslim” names – and I’d love to include similar anecdotes…authored by YOU.
If you’re not a convert/revert to Islam, that is perfectly fine. You may wish to tell the story of why your parents chose the name they gave you – or even the story of someone you have named (such as a child) or plan to name (if the child isn’t yet born).
If you’re a convert who didn’t change your name, I’d still like to hear your story, along with your reasoning for keeping your birth-name. This is an important form of support and education that many converts are sure to appreciate.
To participate, submit your anecdotes using the form on this page. Tell us why you have the name you do. Were you named after a beloved family member? Or perhaps your name was inspired by a dream, an emotion, an event in Islamic history, or something entirely different. What language is your name in – and what does it mean in English?
It’s up to you how you tell the story, but try to include information regarding how you feel about the name and how it has influenced your life (or that of your child). Are you content with the name? Has anything funny or interesting happened because of your name? Would you choose the same name again? It’s okay to submit different stories for different names.
Note: Be relatively brief (300 to 500 words per name) – and please stick to first names only.
Ideally, I’d like to collect at least 100 different names (50 male and 50 female). If you send me a submission, this means you are giving me permission to include it in the book, which will most likely be both a print book and an e-book. I am not offering compensation for these stories, but I will offer a free e-book in Kindle format to each person who participates. You are also welcome to include your full name, website, and title with your submissions. Include this information at the end of your submissions.
Example: Submitted by Amel Abdullah (www.arabicandmore.com), Freelance Writer and Arabic to English Translator
I cannot guarantee the publication of all submissions, but I will do my best to include as many as possible. Make sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you regarding any edits that may be needed.
UPDATE: The new deadline for submissions is December 31, 2017. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment.
Finally, please help this project succeed by submitting your anecdotes and inviting your friends to participate. I can’t wait to see your names in print!
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