3:22 AM

What's in a Name?

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

This blog post I knew would eventaully be written. When I had enough courage and guts and the whim to do it. I was touring Veiled Muslimah and read this exerpt which made me immediatly think of this post.

It is reported from Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayyaad that he said:
"If you can be unknown, do so. It doesn’t matter if you are not known and it doesn’t matter if you are not praised. It doesn’t matter if you are blameworthy according to people if you are praiseworthy with Allaah, Mighty and Majestic."
Al-Bayhaqi, Az-Zuhd Al-Kabeer p.100

I have avoided using my name on my blogs because of fear that I'm a failure. Other writers proudly state their name in huge letters hoping the world will remember it and buy their books. Little me here upublished didn't want the scorn of my name being associated with failure. Even the good Angry Muslimah states her name often in her blogs. I thought eventaully once I'd achieved a Goal and had some success under my belt I could proudly stand on a sand dune and shout my name to the world and all would say Wow, Ooh, Ahh, ...........blah blah blah yeah right...i'm so imaginative eh? But after reading this and doing my in depth thoughts about this life and the next I realize not only my name doesn't matter but to be vain about it is stupid and worldly. At one point on contemplating life I realized not even my books about Arab Romance, Sci-Fi, etc.. will matter ...though I still want to write and publish someday. I used to look at my High School's library collection and stare at the spot between CER and CHI where my name would go when I was published and famous. I used to dream of my name being as famous as the authors that roll off my tongue. Also my name means something haram and though i DO have an Islamic name I use both frequently but I didn't really want lots of comments about how I shouldn't be using my birth name in public and blah blah.... The point is that it really doesn't matter what our names are. It only matters what we do in this life. SO making a big deal about not using my name is silly. It doesn't matter if I'm ever famous as long as I do what is right enough to get to Jannah insha'Allah. Though at times I also wish to be famous Islamically as a female Shiek like the American converts in USA who give lectures and such. BUt back to reality.... So do the names of bloggers really matter? Do you think differently about a person once you find out their name is X instead of XMuslimah? DO you think bloggers should be more free with their names? I like the spirit of calling people by their blog names but in e-mails their real names, though it feels weird to type their name instead of the blog name.....

So here I am. I'm still me. I'm still the same blogger I was, just less worried about failure and fame. [--well as much as any human can try to be]

I am American Muslima Writer aka Brandy A. Chase (Aminah-Zahira)

14 intelligent thoughts:

Umm Layth said...

I don't post my name for many reasons, but I really don't care if people notice me or not. But I do want to one day write a book on the issue of niqab, from a women's perspective - defending it. I just need to continue improving my arabic and insha'Allah study it better under some shafi'i 'ulema. That would be my dream. But not for a name or anything. I want people to see that women do defend it, full out - without ignorance. So yeah, that's my dream. *goes off to dream*

I enjoy reading your posts btw. I'm not a regular reader but you are on my rss feed.

Take care,

Umm Layth

Safiyyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum My Dear Sister:

Your post made me smile, but I know you are seriously concerned.

Names on blogs? Depends. I use my real name on ONE of my blogs because, as a writer, it is a place where I can refer people who want to see my writing style. Not all my posts are awesome prize winners, lol, but some of them I do put extra effort into (like "Am I Still Jewish" or "Righteous Muslim Women" for example). From that post, I was invited to submit to an anthology. So, some writers do use their name and others provide an email address (not real name) where one can contact them. Then they can choose whether or not to reveal their identity.

Some blogs are simply personal journals. So, it depends. I have a blog where I write seriously crazy stuff. Wouldn't want my name associated with it, lol. If it gets figured out, I can live with it, but I'm not going to advertise it :) Ahh, it is late at night here and I am tired and blabbering on ...

Seriously sis. Some of your posts are quite nice and thought provoking. You may want to shop around for places to submit them for publication. Have faith in yourself. So ARE good!

dZire2Know said...

My random search through net for Muslim ladies made me to reach here. My stand is that the name is not always that important but what we do in our life is really matters in most of the cases.

But personally, and being a Muslim gal from the rural area of India, i believe I should put my name even though I am not a good writer(I too share the same dreams you have )just bcoz, I want lot of Muslim gals to come up from the inner uneducated parts of India and to make their names and success as the foot prints on the sand of time..

More over, I have seen the people who believes that Muslima means soem one to b sit inside home without doing anything constructively restricted by the religious rules.

By putting the Muslim name, I just wanted to let them know that my rules is not locking me inside the walls but i am free to do anything good for the world!
So I belive in such case, a muslim name really matters.. Bcz why should I hide my muslim identity???

Susie of Arabia said...

I have a friend who has changed her name 4 times since I met her more than 30 years ago. She went from Mary Jo, to Mary, to Maria, and finally to Mariva. Just when I would finally get used to calling her one name, she would switch and want to be called something else. It never really mattered to me - she was still the same person. I hated my name when I was growing up - too plain, too boring, too common, nondescript. But now I don't mind it and I guess it suits me.
As far as putting your name on your blog, I don't see anything wrong with it. I guess I am just more open - the thought of whether or not I might be a failure never crossed my mind. Just do what you feel comfortable with and you will be true to yourself.
By the way, I think you are doing a fine job and you put a lot of thought into your posts.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting post, and I've also thought long and hard about the name situation. I do think names are important, because they are identifiers.The name you use refers to you, not anyone else. Why is this important?

It's a matter of authenticity. When a person is named-- regardless of whether the name is a birth name, Islamic name or simply a colorful blog name-- that person is responsible for his/her writings, and cannot hide behind anonymity or a name change like a change of underwear.

Frankly, I don't care what a person's "real" name is, but I want to know that the person takes enough responsibility for his/her words that a consistent name is attached. In this way, readers can challenge or engage in meaningful exchanges, confident that a sincere person sits on the other end.

When I was writing for a local Islamic newsletter, my name was never attached to my work. Supposedly, anonymity brought greater thawwab.

I disagree.

When one of my articles was accepted for an international publication, I was disappointed to see that my name had been omitted. That's when I lost interest in writing Islamic articles.

It's not that I want fame or money. No. I want readers to know that the author believes in her work enough to attach her name, thereby exposing her to criticism (deserved or not) as well as approval.

Safiyyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum Dear Sister Marahm:

I agree: anonymity does not necessarily bring greater reward.

Some "Islamic" publications, especially those that make money, often like to take credit for an author's work, or avoid paying the writer for their work. All this cn be negotiated with the editor prior to publication. Additionally, copyright your work and develop a byline for yours work.

Please don't stop writing for Islamic publications; Muslims need your voice. Just learn how to do it in the most beneficial way.

After all, Allah (swt) took credit for authoring the Quran! Bukhari and Muslim took credit for their works of hadith. Just think if someone quoted a hadith or gave daleel with no name verification! As well, all great scholars have put their name to their work!

Jayne said...

What an interesting post :-)
I never gave much thought into the option of using my real name or not. I figured that if I published photos of myself, then anyone who happened to stumble by my blog (that knows me in person) would spill the beans anyway. If.....the big IF.....I pull my finger out & put effort into writing the book that I've promised myself I will do someday, then I'd probably do that under another name :-)

On a personal note, I thank you in all sincerity for the wonderful messages you've left on my blog regarding grandma. You are very inspiring :-)

Jayne said...

Having just read your 'Dizzy' post, remember hon, it costs nothing to send an email.Just writing your feelings down can be good therapy & at the end of it, you choose whether you want to hit the send button. I'm here, at the end of an email, if you'd like :-)

American Muslima Writer said...

Umm Layth: it's good to have a noble dream like that. I too hope to show the normalcy of arabs and their lives through my books. And niqab books are selling like mad these days ;)

Safiyyah: my post are drivil i feel unlike my "real" writing of novels. but i liek that thy are short and get instant feedback not like books where usually only fans read it then comment or critics but normally poeple taht hate a book just put it aside and don't write the author. It's good you know where to seperate your feelings and sides of personality. Heh i'm the kind of person though that gives you everything about me at once and then lets you decide if you like the package heh. I wouldn't even know where to begin to shop around although if someone came to me I probly wouldn't refuse their money ;) Thnaks for your input!

dzire2know: Very good point about promoting muslimahs by offereing our thoughts with our names. Glad you found me ;)

American Muslima Writer said...

Suzie: I have a friend like that too. Especailly in high school she had a new nickname each year or half year and still i called her the new name and loved the same person inside. Suzie's a good name so versitle you can have many nicknames. I never had a nickname until i was 16 and one friend shortened my name to Bran and it worked well but she's the only one who ever used it. Heh. I'm glad you like what I blog about but I have to confess I don't really think it out much. While I'm breastfeeding my boy I let my mind wander and bam it all comes flowing out and when i finish with my babay i just start typing. ;) Love your blog too.

Marahm: Very good point and example of putting work with names. Many times poeple wont read an islamic book/article unless the author has a muslim name or a long list of qualifications on the back because of the idea that the "muslim name" would be more knowledgable about Islam. Imagine an islamic book by Brandy A. Chase or by Aminah-Zahira...which would people pick? Either way though yes one should be always ready for critism to your work.

Safiyya 2: good point about authenticating a source by use of name. Hadiths wouldn't be worth anything without chain of narration.

American Muslima Writer said...

Jayne: Thank you dear for your kind words in return. It did feel good to just write out my Dizzy post though. I always try to help inspire people for the better with what i say and do and if i've helped someone then I feel someday someone will help me either in this life or the next.
Just today with all this problems my canadian friend turned the tables and has inspired me when i was down and needed a shoulder. When normally it has been her doing the leaning so I'm glad people can give and take. Thank you kindly too and I hope you're doing well.

Miss Muslimah said...

Assalaamu alaikum

I think you're an awesome writer and although i may not comment on all your posts I do read them!So pretty much what im trying to say is.... DOnt Go!

Anonymous said...


oh....I get a link....I am so but seriously I am one of those so proudof er work, andI don't want anyone to think I am hiding or afriad of what I say or I am quick to sign my name...besides if you don't stand behind your work..who would wat to read all your anonymous writings........ -:)
on another note..
love ya sis.....thanks for the email...

TheAngryMuslimah (smile)

PM said...

Salaam Alaikum,

I don't use my name because as youcan see from my blog, I often take positions that other people (mostly Muslims) get upset or angered by. I have had a fair share of wackos visit my blog and I don't need to worry about real-life stalkers. I also want to maintain some privacy from my uni students.

At the same time, I see no problem if someone does wnat to use their real name. I'd just remind everybody to be careful about their personal security and not make their phone numbers and addresses available online.


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