Skip to main content

Ramadan Special (Days 10-21): What's In A Name?


It's funny to think that after all this time I NOW get why Muslims are encouraged to learn Allah's 99 names

We have a guest in our home, and according to Dagomba tradition, her name for the first week of her life here on earth is "Saanpaga", which means "Lady guest". The male equivalent, "Saandoo" also means, take a wild guess, "Man Guest". Total ingenuity, I know. Anyway, today Saanpaga will finally get her own name according to Islamic tradition. And during the last 10- and what is deemed the holiest- days of Ramadan too! MashAllah. In addition, as per family tradition, she will get a Dagbani middle name.

Yes, her Islamic name will most likely have "tu" affixed to the end as most Islamic female names do.  No, it's not a fad, but rather a grammatical rule, as "tu" serves as a female indicator. Kind of like the French 'e'. My full name for instance, is Jemila(tu) Wunpini Abdulai. Jemila means beauty or beautiful in Arabic. My Dagbani name Wunpini - given to me at age 14 by my late grandfather- means "God's Gift", while Abdulai is our family name and incidentally, the name of Prophet Muhammed's father. So now you know the origins of the "God's Gift" on my Facebook profile.

Anyway, after suhoor this morning I was doing some research on how Muslims select names for their babies and I came across this website detailing Allah's 99 most beautiful names. Nothing new there. I'd heard about them and even attempted memorizing them. But I'd never actually connected with them. This directory gives a good descriptiom of each of Allah's names and I found it especially comforting. That's when I realized the importance of knowing Allah's names by heart- so at any given moment, we can "call on" Him and find solace in the many roles he plays - as our Guide, Confidant, Lord, Protector, etc.

Here's something interesting about His names. Each of them starts with "Al", "Ar" or "As"which means "The", and Allah encourages people to take on some of His names as their own, only without the "The". Also, all names are free game with the exception of "Allah" which means "The One" (Obviously, the name would become defunct if more than one person used it.) So, essentially, Allah gives each of us some quality similar to the many He has and asks us to imbibe it. Now if that's not an amazing thing- sharing the same name as the Creator of the Universe! - then I don't know what is. MashAllah.

Bon, I've only just started perusing Allah's names, and already, I have favorites - Al-Rahmaan ( the Compassionate), Ar-Raheem (the Merciful) and As-Salaam (the Source of Peace). Take a look at the list and let us know yours :) 

Love, Light and Blessings to you all! Salam!

P.S. My lil cousin has a name! Shefa'atu Nasara. Shefa'atu meaning 'intercession' in Arabic, and Nasara being 'blessing' in Dagbani. Welcome to the world lil one! May each of your steps be guided by Allah, Ar-Rahman! Amine!

Popular posts from this blog

The Untold Stories of Ghana's Kayayo (Market Girls)

Thought I was done blogging for the day -- until I came across this BBC photo feature on Ghana's market girls or "kayayo". When I was back in Ghana, I would occasionally go to the Madina market in Accra with my mum and I remember seeing them every time. I often wondered why they weren't in school, why they were doing what they do and why they didn't bargain how much money was paid them. My mum would lament about their situations and each time she patronized their service she would ask them how come they were doing what they did. Unlike my mum, most patrons of the Kayayo's services are not as considerate and don't think twice about having them carry things twice their weight! This is a very sensitive topic to me, because the way I see it, a twist of fate, and I could have been one. I've been meaning to blog on this issue, but somehow it escaped me. Not about to let that opportunity slip by again. Alors, voila.

Here's a youtube slideshow (by the sam…

Lifestylz GH Interview: Sangu Delle

As part of Lifestylz GH’s interview series, we bring you our premier interview with Sangu Delle.

Profile: Sangu Delle
Sangu Delle is a senior at Harvard University. He was born and raised in Ghana, and is the youngest of five children in a bi-religious family (his father is Catholic while his mum is Muslim). He attended Christ the King Catholic School (CTK) and went on to study at the Ghana International School (GIS) until his O-Levels when he transferred to the Peddie School (a college preparatory school in NJ) on scholarship. His areas of concentration in academics are Economics and African studies, with a particular focus on development.

AspirationsTo be involved in the development of Ghana and Africa at large in some capacity. In the past, he was more involved in non-profit and development work, but has increasingly become active in entrepreneurial and business ventures; a testament to his belief that there should be “less foundations and more entrepreneurs” in Africa. In his own wor…

The Letter Writing Project: Unplanned (Student AGAIN!)

Ciao people! I'm blogging all the way from Bologna, Italy! Beautiful city, interesting experiences so far. This blog was written a couple of days ago and didn't get posted because I got quite self-conscious about what it was about (definitely NOT my grandest moment). But after some thought I decided to post it. I feel it's important to acknowledge both struggles and triumphs, especially if growth is the bottom line objective, and particularly since life does throw us a curve ball from time to time. Alors...I'd say enjoy...but given the subject matter, maybe "I hope this speaks to you in some way" is more appropriate? Here goes..
-- Unplanned
"It isn't what you did in the past that will affect the present. It's what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future." - Aleph (Paulo Coelho)
It’s been a week and a day since I arrived in Bologna land, which coincidentally, is the very reason why we have so many foods “Bo…