In my primary school, people often called me BaraKAT and I just didn’t like it! I was the only one bearing the name in the whole school, so the moment you say Barakat, It was definitely me! My parent and siblings never added T, They called me BaraKAH, So it got to me whenever anyone added T instead of H and as soon as people realized I didn’t like it, trust my fellow Nigerian brothers and sisters, They called me BaraKAT at the slightest chances they got. I remember having a classmate who will just stand right in front of my table and repeat it to my face constantly! I don’t remember ever crying but I was always super mad and angry. I would always look people in the eye to correct them on how to correctly pronounce my name, It was such a big deal!… I mean it is BARAKAH! And not BARAKAT! Where on earth is the KAT coming from? Whenever I told my mum, she would say tell the headmaster or don’t worry I will call him…Those didn’t change anything.
My dad usually drops me and my siblings off at school on Mondays, But on this particular Monday, I was just not going to go to school, he was surprised as I almost never had issues with school. I remember screaming “I have had enough! I am not going to that school until my name is changed!” My dad was shocked as he had never seen me express myself in that manner before. He then said to me “okay, If you want me to change the name, I will, but it will have to be on Friday so that everyone can celebrate with you, by then the Ram we would slaughter would be ready and you will have enough time to choose a new name for yourself, deal?” I said yes! deal! Finally, I am letting go of this name that brings me so much trouble!
I was super excited that I was going to have my name changed and that encouraged me to go to school that day. I remember that week, my aunties called me and tried to convince me not to change my name, but I didn’t listen! I was like Ko le work! (it won’t work) I shall not be bullied because of this name again! Let Friday do and come jare! Let us parry!
You are probably wondering what school was like that week abi? Super Awesome! I smiled all through the week, I gave people the keep being silly smile and look! Like, I will soon shock you with my new name. The funny thing is I didn’t tell anyone in school because I truly wanted to shock everyone.
Fast forward to Friday, I got back from school and didn’t see my Ram anywhere and my dad wasn’t home yet. My mum always taught us patience, so I kept my calm and didn’t flip. my dad got back late that day. He sent for me and said to me “Barakah, we are supposed to change your name today but I thought you would want to read this (handing me a brown envelope) first before we go ahead and do the naming ceremony.
In my head, I was like heee heee! What is this now!, It is bad enough that we are yet to begin the ceremony and now I have to go and read something again! Okay now! Be it 3 am today, we must change this name. let me quickly go and read this handout.
As soon as I opened it I saw Barakah , UmmAyman written boldly on the first page. And I smiled! I have always known the meaning of my name was Blessings but I had never heard of the woman called Barakah during the prophet’s time.I remember clearly how shocked i was when I read this:
Barakah related: “She whispered in my ear:
‘O Barakah, I shall depart from this world shortly. I commend my son Muhammad to your care. He lost his father while he was in my abdomen. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, Barakah. And don’t ever leave him.’
My father knew I loved reading and writing, so he printed her story for me to read. Find link of the handout HERE.
I remember waking up in the morning with the handout right next to me and my mum was teasing me saying “what name have you chosen for yourself madam secretary” ( she called me secretary because I was always writing). I laughed and went to the washroom to freshen up after which I headed to see my father…”
Me: Good morning daddy,
My dad: Good morning Barakah, How are you? You slept off yesterday, What name have you chosen?
Me: Daddy! I am not changing my name again!
My dad: Laughs! Why?
Me: I just don’t want to change it anymore! I love my name like that, after reading the story of Barakah, I am sure my name will always be a source of Inspiration for me! but you have to follow me to school on Monday and tell the headmaster to change the spelling and warn my classmates not to call me that Yeye BaraKAT again!
My dad: (laughs) I will In shaa Allah!
I had a long chat with my dad that day, we highlighted different areas of Inspiration on the handout and he told me a lot about my name and good people that bear the name. I mean I was not going to change any name after reading this:
“Yaa Umm Ayman! Ya Ummi! (O Umm Ayman! O my mother!) Indeed for you is a place in Paradise!” exclaimed the Prophet when he saw her.
The one thing I know for sure is after reading that story! My confidence tripled! I had and still have so much love for my name, I was now focused on living close to if not up Umm Ayman and I cared less on how people pronounced it. That doesn’t mean I want to hear KAT anywhere biko! The funny thing is, this happened when I was just 7 years old! you now know that i have always been a drama queen in my own subtle way…
Moral of the story: Give your children name with beautiful meanings and stories behind them and help your children fight bullies in the best way possible. please add yours in the comment section. (There is more).
Please share meanings and stories of your name in the comment section and If you have any experience similar to mine please share as well.
That’s it guys.
See you in my next post In shaa Allah.