Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 25 September 2014/30 Dhul Qa’dah 1435

The fact that the elite in certain prominent countries of the West are vehement drivers of an agenda of Islamophobia has in no way managed to hamper the spread of as iconic an Islamic name as Muhammad across their territories.

This poetic irony again bore itself out spectacularly this week when it was revealed that Muhammad was the most popular baby name in Israel, itself a state viewed as being deeply Islamophobic and one that prides itself as possessing a distinct Jewish character.

Despite authorities trying to keep it hidden from the annual official list, by initially omitting Arabic baby names, investigations by segments of the Israeli press revealed that, considering the names Arab Muslims living within ‘Israel’ choose for their offspring, Muhammad should have topped the boys’ list and Ahmed(another name of the Prophet SAW) should have placed ninth.

Facing criticism for failing to be forthcoming in revealing this fascinating indicator, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority said it had no intention of skewing the facts, arguing that the list simply reflected the media’s interest in popular Hebrew names.

But British born journalist Jonathan Cook, who is based in ‘Israel’, has another theory. In a post titled ‘Israelis frightened of a newborn’s name’, Cook argues that the right-leaning Israeli society has become increasingly paranoid.
“The names of newborns are a contested issue in Israel only because of the deep-seated ethnic insecurities of the Jewish majority. That insecurity looks here to be simply petty. But that very same pettiness also lies behind Israel’s security and demographic obsessions, its profound militarisation, and the systematic oppression of Palestinians,” he wrote.
But, whilst this occurrence  has raised particular interest because of the story’s paradoxes considering Israel, the phenomenon is by no means restricted to the Zionist entity.
Muhammad has consistently proven to have been the most common baby boy name in England and Wales since 2007 considering all its spelling variations.
Mohammed and Mohamed were also the first most popular baby names in Département Seine-Saint-Denis (2002, 2008) and in Marseilles (2007, 2009), France.Similarly, since 2008 it is the most popular baby boy name in Brussels and Antwerpen, Belgium’s most Muslim populated cities.
Norway, home to Europe’s largest anti-Islam organisation, also recently reported Muhammed to be the most common name for men in its capital city Oslo.
Adopting a global view, Muhammad is then also probably the most common given name [in the world], according to the sixth edition of The Columbia Encyclopedia. It is estimated that more than 150 million men and boys in the world bear the name Muhammad.
For observers in the West, the phenomenon is simply mind-blowing, especially considering the amount of bad press Islam and Muslims have garnered over recent years.
But for many Muslims, the occurrence is hardly surprising.
All of this, says Allama Moulana Sayed Imraan Ziyaee of the Cape Town Islamic Educational Centre, is the vivid manifestation of the promises of the Qu’raan.
“Allah SWT mentioned in Surah Inshirah of the Messenger of Allah SWT: ‘And we raised high for you your repute/mention’. Here, Allah SWT is giving to the Habeeb SAW a guarantee that: ‘O Muhammad SAW you have done some much good for My Pleasure, hence I am going to make it that your name be elevated.’ This is one way how the elevation of the Habeeb SAW is occurring – through the prominence of his blessed name.”
“Ask yourself, which Muslim whenever he hears the name Muhammad, does not feel love. It can be the angriest person, when the name of Muhammad is called, alone that serves as a means of Rahmah(mercy).”

Considering the succession of vile attempts to blaspheme against the noble personality of the Prophet SAW in recent years, Ziyaee said the continued popularity of the name Muhammad was ample testimony to the unbreakable attachment that every Muslim shares with his/her Nabi.

“Allah SWT has informed us that He gives honour to whomsoever He wills and abases whomsoever He Wills.Non Muslims have even begun to find the beauty in this name..The Barakah of Muhammad is that every mention of amounts to recalling the Habeeb SAW. And it further reminds us that we should praise Allah SWT. This is the name that is recognised by Allah SWT for His Habeeb SAW.”

Ziyaaee said numerous benefits would accrue by choosing to name ones offspring Muhammad.

Ibn Asakir and Hussain Ibn Ahmad have stated that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam said, “If a son is born to you and out of love and respect for me and to obtain the blessings of my name, you keep the child’s name ‘Muhammad’, then the father and child will both enter Jannah.”
However, he clarified, possessing such an illustrious name was merely a beginning. Behaving appropriately and becoming a figurehead for goodness are also imperative.
“We choose names in order that we live according to that name. By bearing this name, we should understand: ‘I have the name of Rasulullah SAW with me. So being known as Muhammad is indeed a Mercy from Allah SWT. If you intend doing something wrong – perhaps through the Barakah of that name, you won’t do that evil. Why? How bad would it look if the name Muhammad would be splashed all over the headlines as a criminal etc? It will be belittiling Islam. So on the basis of that, you try to abstain from all evils..It is about time that everyone who is named Muhammad should know that they are honoured, know that they are gifted and be proud that they are attached, not only to the name Muhammad, but they are named Muhammad. That is the Barakah”.

Israel’s List of Year’s Most Popular Baby Names Leaves Out Number One—Muhammad

The Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashanah—came and went last week. The New Year being a time of reflection in the form of top ten lists of the year’s greatest hits, Israel published a list of the year’s ten most popular baby names in the country. The only problem is—it omitted number one. “According to this list, Yosef was the most popular boy’s name, followed by Daniel, Ori, Itai, Omer, Adam, Noam, Ariel, Eitan and David,” Haaretz reported last week. That’s not quite accurate however, as the New York Times pointed out on Tuesday, “Muhammad was by far the most popular name for babies born in Israel last year: 1,986 boys shared the name of the Muslim prophet.”

Sabine Haddad, spokeswoman for Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority— the department that published the list—told the Times “the missing Muhammads [were] something between a mistake and a misunderstanding.”

The list, she said, was simply a response to requests “for Hebrew names” in conjunction with the start of “the Hebrew New Year.” It would have been better, she acknowledged, to put an asterisk noting that what she called “obviously Arabic names” were left off. “There was no intention, no political intention,” Ms. Haddad said in an interview.

Haaretz notes: “The authority put out a similar list last year, also without citing the fact that it included only Hebrew names, and nor did it issue a separate list relating to the Arab population.” And in that omission Haaretz sees a larger issue at play. Here’s more:

No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel’s population. On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn’t a matter of simple, blatant racism. It’s worse. It’s denial. Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.