Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What is in a name?

A lot of people have been asking me what the name of my daughter - Rahil, means. Some said that it sounds like an Indian name, some say it's a masculine name. Others said that I should have picked a "melayu" sounding name.
Coming back to how I got the name, when we got to know that my wife was carrying a girl, we started seaching for names. I browsed through a number of web sites and even bought a book of baby names. Of course a lot of people chipped in with their suggestions. Some of them even wanted us to name the baby after them. Anyway, there were none I liked and most of them sounded so common. One day I just picked up the Quran (Yusuf Ali's translation) and randomly opened it up. Would you believe it, I found this name in the page I just opened.
Rahil is the arabic version of Rachel. She was the favourite wife of Jacob (Nabi Ya'qub) and the mother of Joseph (Nabi Yusuf) and Benjamin.
I would have preferred her name to be without the Binti (or daughter of) as her name becomes too long with my name at the back which is by the way made up of three words. I don't why they suddenly changed the practical idea of having a surname without the Bin or Binti. The argument that people don't know whether you are a male or female doesn't hold much water. There are a lot of other problems too. For example, in western countries, people would call you by your father's name thinking that it is your surname. Also there is the unwanted association with Mr. Osama and after Sept. 11 you can be sure that you will get a lot of unwanted attention while travelling to western countries if you have a Bin in your name. As far as they are concerned, you may be a relative of Osama.

UPDATE: (15th January 2005)
Found that the name Rahil is Hebrew for 'Innocent'. In other website it is translated as 'Path Guider/ Leader'.

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