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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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Amel is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator. She started the Muslim Writers Club as a means of sharing useful information about the art (and business) of writing.
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  1. As-salamu Alaykum,

    Thank you to everyone who left supportive comments. I had a lot of spam on the site this morning and inadvertently ended up deleting some of the “good” comments I meant to preserve.

    In any case, a few people asked me to clarify where their submissions should be sent. My original instructions (which I am about to change) said to leave your submission as a comment, but it looks like this is confusing people – and it was probably a bad idea in the first place.

    So, please use the form on this page instead. I hope this makes things easier.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Amel recently posted…Q&A: Want to Write about Mental HealthMy Profile

  2. Salam-u-Alaikum Sayadati Amel,

    I stumbled upon your website by chance.  I, like  you, have always been interested in names, especially my own name, since I was four years old.  I have a very interesting story about my name and I would like to send it for your book.

    As a freelance writer I have been writing business, travel and community related articles for almost over two decades.  I always told myself that I would never write about myself and about politics.  Lo and behold, I just completed my memoir and currently an editor friend is looking at it.  

    I moved to the U.S. in 2015 and wrote a syndicated article that first appeared in The Washington Post.  The article was helpful to my non-Muslim friends.  Now I’m looking for writing outlets and want to focus on creating understanding about Muslims.  Though I would also love to write on other topics.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Thank you and once again apologies for writing the letter instead of submitting my story about my name.

  3. Dear Majida,

    Wa ‘alaykum as-salam – and thank you for introducing yourself. I look forward to reading the story of your name.

    Memoirs are a special interest of mine (I am currently writing a book to help convert Muslims tell the story of their journey to Islam, and I have a few other memoir writing projects up my sleeve as well). When yours is finished, Insha’Allah, I hope you will tell us about it in more detail.

    There are many venues for writing about Islam and Muslims, and I like that you started big with an article in the Washington Post. As you may have discovered, this site lists numerous freelance opportunities of interest to Muslim writers. I am also working on a companion site, where freelance opportunities are organized by rate of pay.

    In any case, welcome to the site. I am glad you found us.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Amel recently posted…Featured Book: Bitter Sweet, by Sahira JavaidMy Profile

  4. Assalamu alaikum. I ran into your web site. I read your call for anecdotes involving our names. Please tell me how I should send it, and other rules and regulations. Thank you.

  5. As Salamu Alaykum.Dear sister, Is it mandatory to provide website address with submission.I’ve no personal website. Am I eligible to submit?

  6. Eid Mubarak – and thank you to everyone who has submitted a story! We have received 11 submissions so far, and they are all very interesting, masha’Allah. The original deadline was September 15th, but I am extending it to October 15, 2017. If you were thinking of submitting a story but became busy or forgot, now is the time, Insha’Allah – Don’t delay!

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Amel recently posted…An Inspirational Story for the EidMy Profile

  7. As Salamu Alaikum, sister. I’ve submitted my writing piece including URL that is not active on regular basis. Can it make any problem?More to add,your website still shows 12 submissions as of  September 3, 2017.Hope my submission will be counted soon In Sha Allah.

    Jazak Allah Khair

    • Dear Aziza,

      Wa ‘alaykum as-salam – and thank you for your submission. As of today, we have only received 13 submissions (including yours), but Insha’Allah more will continue to trickle in. The option to provide a url is solely for your benefit. If the link is dead, people will not be able to visit it – but I do not mind including it if this is a website you are planning to keep active for the future. I visited the link and think you’re off to a good start!

      Amel – MWC Admin
      Amel recently posted…Featured Book: Naji and the Mystery of the Dig, by Vahid ImaniMy Profile

  8. Salaam Amel

    Can you please verify that you have received my story, I did have problems sending it through both times.  I was hoping to receive an email acknowledging safe receipt but haven’t had anything through.

    Jazakallah khair





  9. As-salamu Alaykum,

    To date, we have only received 19 submissions, so I am again extending the deadline, this time to December 31, 2017. Please tell your friends – and thank you once again for all of your amazing stories. Some are very touching, while others have made me laugh out loud. As I suspected, names are so much more than mere appellations. They go to the very heart of our identities and the way we view the world.

    Amel – MWC Admin

  10. Here’s an interesting exercise: Have you ever asked your parents what they “almost” named you? The answers may be very surprising. Imagine yourself going through life with one of these “other” names. Would things have been different as a result?

  11. Dear Ms. Amel,

    Allah forgive me, but I am getting a little impatient, that the deadline has again been extended to december 31st. I request you not to extend the deadline any further, not to deny others a chance to submit their articles, but so that those who have already submitted within the first deadline, not be denied the pleasure of seeing their name in print, and also to read the articles of other writers.

    My humble suggestion is that you can publish the entries received so far, and have a sequel for later entries. Please think about it.

    Thank you.


    • Dear Gulnar,

      Thank you for your valuable input, and I apologize for the many extensions. I understand how frustrating that can be. If I remember correctly, we have about 23 stories that have been submitted to date. So if we’re able to get a few more quality submissions, Insha’Allah, I will be willing to proceed to the next step. Please understand, however, that I don’t want to rush things for the sole purpose of “finishing” the project. I have several more anthology projects planned, and my intention for each one is to create a quality product. In any case, please share this post with anyone who may be interested. I sense interest out there but feel that perhaps word hasn’t gotten out sufficiently to attract enough people. Thanks again for checking in and giving me a little push as well. 🙂

      Amel – MWC Admin

        • Thank you, Gulnar!

          Okay, guys, we’re down to the bottom line now. After Gulnar posted her comment, we received another 4 submissions – and it’s now December 31, which is supposed to be the final deadline for this project. I will begin reviewing and editing the submissions, Insha’Allah – and if your submission requires edits, I will be in touch.

          If you have not submitted your essay, please do so immediately. I will continue accepting submissions until the final phases of this project, but we don’t want this to stretch on indefinitely. Also, if you happen to have a suggestion for the book’s title, please post it below.

          Amel – MWC Admin

  12. Whatever title you choose for the project, please do not choose the line of Shakespeare, ‘What’s in a name’.

    It has been used so often, that it has become a stale cliche!


    Thank you






  13. As-salamu Alaykum, Everyone,

    Just a little update. Although this has been going a little slower than originally planned, I am now firmly in the editing phase of this project and will be contacting each person who submitted an essay individually. If all goes well, I should be in touch with each of you by the end of the month – so please check your e-mails!

    Thank you for your continued patience.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Muslim Writers Club recently posted…#NationalPoetryMonth: “A Tourist in My Own Country” & Other Gems from the UmmahMy Profile

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