N is for Names
The meaning and connotation of a name can be so fluid. Our perceptions of how nice or not a name sounds often depends on who we know with that name.
As a kid, I never really liked the name Sara. I don’t know why; it just didn’t sound nice to me. Then when I was seven, my aunt had a baby and named her “Saara.” Now when I think of that name, I am reminded of my cousin, my buddy who is so beautiful both inside and out. Now I find “Saara” to be such a pretty name, because of the girl I know who has it.
The same thing happened with Ingrid. When my cousins and I were little, for some reason we thought the name of the Wicked Witch of the West was named Ingrid, and the name always had that nasty, witch-like connotation. Then a woman came into our lives with that name, and she is one of the sweetest, coolest people I have ever met. When I think of the name “Ingrid,” I think of my friend who I am so happy became part of my life.
“Osama” is an interesting one. Even now, Osama Bin Laden is the first person to come to mind when I think of that name, along with the memories of the terrible things he brought to the world. I really feel for the normal people who have that name and get all of the negative thoughts unfairly thrown in their direction. However, there are two people with that name who are really changing the connotation for me. The husband of one of the Muslim YouTubers I follow is named Osama, and they are two of my relationship role models. There is also a teacher I very much admire named Usama Canon and I have always seen him as a symbol of knowledge, respect, and understanding, mashaAllah.
I truly hope the connotation for the name “Abu Bakr” stays positive in the long run. The original Abu Bakr in history was such a beautiful and inspiring person. It pains me to think that when non-Muslims, who have not been exposed to Islamic history, hear the name, they may be reminded of violence rather than generosity and loyalty. To anyone reading this who does not know the story of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, please just read a little bit about him. Don’t let the man living today cloud your perception of the person who made the name famous.
Has anyone in your life changed the connotation of a name?