When I was born, some people from Malaysia laughed at my parents for naming me ‘Omar Mukhtar’. According to them, it was a backdated name. They said, “You live in England, why would you give him a name like that?”. The funny thing is that living in England, none of the local people who lived here ever made fun of my name, even at school, students and teachers alike. My parents call me by my full name ‘Omar Mukhtar’, or ‘Mukhtar’ for short. I did choose to be called ‘Mukhtar’ at school too, because ‘Omar’ is also my father’s name and it could get confusing. Even though my friends and teachers found it hard in the beginning to pronounce the name ‘Mukhtar’, they didn’t choose to call me ‘Omar’ just because it was easier for them. They all respected my decision and tried their best to pronounce it. They never call me anything I didn’t want to be called.
I love how my parents named all three of us – Omar Mukhtar, Fatimah and Ali. They didn’t simply just say, “Ooh, ‘Omar Mukhtar’ sounds like a nice name, I’m going to call my son that” no, they named us after the owners of the names, hoping that one day, we might become as great a person as they are – Omar Mukhtar, after the famous Lion Of The Desert; Fatimah, after the beloved Prophet’s daughter; and Ali, after the 4th Caliph. Our parents always reminded us how important our names are and that we must live up to them. They also told us to be proud of our names and never be ashamed of them, even though some people say they are old-school.
Truthfully, I am proud to be named Omar Mukhtar and I respect my parents for naming me and my siblings with such great names – I owe it to them!
Happy Namesake Day,
Omar Mukhtar a.k.a. The Pawsome Lion
p/s: If you can learn to pronounce Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin and many other brand names correctly…then I’m pretty sure you can easily pronounce Omar Mukhtar, FATIMAH and Ali correctly too!!