A Debate On The Baby’s Name

My sister in-law gave birth to her second child on January 12 2012. After the loss of her daughter three years ago, this handsome baby boy is a celebrated birth. I finally made the first meeting with my new nephew today.

He came out 2 days earlier than expected and had to go through a Caesar surgery because he was rolled up on the umbilical cord. Although the surgery went well, he had to spent the night in the incubator, but thankfully this little baby is fine. He was 3.7 kg and 53cm when he was born. Big baby…

I just visited them today with my mom and father. And there’s a little debate on the name of the baby.

My brother actually had several options for baby name. There’s one thing my brother and his wife emphasize on, the last name of the baby. Well it’s actually a very normal thing to let the baby, especially since he is a boy, to receive my brother’s last name, which is also my father’s last name as his last name. But it turns out the other grandfather insists that the boy should have his name as well. But then my father started to share his proposal.

He said last night he had done a special prayer to ask God to give guide him with a clue of what name should the baby have. Then he got some ‘visions’ and started to sort some related names. He said, “Bukhari was the name that shone the most last night, and I had done the counting (of the letter) and it was the best. And I had consulted (on the name) as well. It’s the name of great Muslim people, the famous hadist scholar, and many others. It’s the most glorious name for him.” What my father meant by the counting here is the knowledge of Arabic letter counting. Did you know that every Arabic letter has its numerical value? I didn’t, until today. 😀 And I found the explanation on Google.

My brother and his wife and her mother were very welcome with the name. But then my brother said that he would add both grandfathers’ names as his last name. My father said don’t. “You cannot just add names, even though it’s parents’ names into the boy’s name. It would give the name different value. The only additional name after Bukhari should be Arifin Nur or Nur Arifin. Other than that better not to add anything. It’s not that I don’t like both parents’ names, it’s what I got from last night (his special prayer).”

Well, the problem is within that “Arifin Nur” or “Nur Arifin” is my father’s name anyway. I started to sense that my sister’s in-law’s father’s expression changed a bit. So I encouraged myself to speak up. Telling my father that in this era, someone shouldn’t have a single name. He should have a family-identity name, which at least his father’s name. My father kept saying no. He said, “I am just telling you what I have received the knowledge. However I know the final decision is on you two, I want you to please remember that giving name to a child is a very serious deal that the holder will bring and bear until the after life.”

I understand why my father was so eager on being involved in giving the baby’s name. He never got this chance with his other grandchildren because he’s on the mothers’ sides. He had to respect the husbands’ decisions. So now it’s his turn to be on the father’s side. And just like all the fathers-sons out there, father always expects more from his son than from his daughter, and my father and my brother’s relationship is as complicated as other fathers-sons out there.

My sister in-law’s mother agreed on adding the Arifin Nur, but the parents looked hesitated. Then my brother asked for my opinion. Thankfully  I got an idea.

“What if we do it the Malaysian people way? To make it fair, the baby won’t hold both granfathers’ names. Instead, he will hold only his father’s name. Most Malaysian people write down their bin or binti on the certificate, while we Indonesian usually just use the full bin or binti on two occasions in his or her life: on the wedding ceremony and on the funeral. So let’s do it the Malaysian way. It’s a win win solution, in my opinion that it won’t change anything on the counting (I took a quick glare to my father), and the baby still has his family-identity name.”

I was glad my brother and sister in-law looked relieved by the idea.

Then it was official, inshaAllah agreed by both families, that the child’s name is Bukhari (to be nicknamed Hari) and his registered name will be including the “bin” my brother’s name. Bin in muslim Melayu-race people’s names originally from Arabic “Ibnu” which means “the son of”. So if someone’s name is Harry and his father’s name is Hasan, so it will be Harry bin Hasan.

The original debate was a real debate and took longer than my summary. But it was already tiring to be involved in the debate, so I’m not gonna waste more energy to make a tiring writing.

And I almost burned down my mom’s kitchen that I forgot I was boiling a pasta for my dinner. Thankfully someone saved my cooking. Burning on the edge, but the pasta are mostly edible though they’re overcooked. :p

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One thought on “A Debate On The Baby’s Name

  1. I think it’s really difficult to come up with a name for a newborn. My college friend recommended a lot of names for my sister’s daughter who were born a couple of months earlier. She chose one from them. Before that, we literally didn’t have any name for her.

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