Native Names and Religion; The Igala Perspective

1877

Nigerians and Africans at large are known for their overwhelming religiosity. Our tenacious religious standing seems to be our undoing especially in areas of moral values and development.

Religion: this is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. It is about a particular system of faith and worship.
Question:
Is Islam and Christianity against native name?
Answer is No.
An objective and conscious digestion of the following Qur’anic and Biblical verse(s) will lend credence to my answer.
Qur’an 49 vs 13: Allah created us in tribes and in nations for the purpose of identification.
Qur’an 49 vs 11: Do not give yourself an unworthy name.
Qur’an 53 vs 32: Do not overpraise yourself over others. Only Allah knows who is God fearing.
Also, in the Hadith,  Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) says, the best of all names is the one that bear servitude to Allah the creator.
Ephesians 4 vs 29: let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear it. (More Bible quotations are welcome).
Reference to above quotations, you will agree with me that the major admonition of the two prominent religions is: do not partake of any unwholesomeness, be it spoken words or name calling cum bearing.
Pertinent question for Igalas;
Can we say our very beautiful and special names like: Ojochenemi, Ojimaojo, Ojodale, Ojonugwa, Ojonimi, Ejura, Ojone, Achenyo, Ebule, Agbele, Onucheojo, Aduojo, Ojodu, Ojogbane, Eleojo, Ufedojo, etc constitute unwholesomeness and self praise and therefore against our religion? If the answer is No, what then is the rationale behind pushing our native names through the back door to the dustbin while, overly adopting another tribe’s. Yes, our so-called religious name is another tribe’s name. My proof: the name Muhammad was in existence even before the prophet of Islam was born. Same goes to names like Abdullah, Mariam, Suleiman etc. Same way, names like David, Moses, Benjamin, Michael etc were all in existence even before the proponent of Christianity (Jesus) was born. Need I school us that, the name Jesus is Jewish cum Greek, just as Muhammad is Arabic native name which means “Praiseworthy”
Why then have we ignorantly placed high premium on Arab, Jewish, Greek and Roman names while treating our own with monumental disdain?
Is there any verse in the Bible or Qur’an that says, God/Allah will not accept the prayers of anybody with native name?
Have we taken the Arabs and Jews as superior races to the extent that, their own native names appeal to us more than ours?
How many Arabs or Jews bear our own native names?
Is what is good for the goose not also good for the geese?
Bottom line;
Our names only serve the purpose of identification as captured in Qur’an 49 vs 13.
Let us endeavor to promote our beautiful Igala names since it is established that, it is not against our religion more so that, we have even become more religious than the people we learnt from (Arab & Jews) whereas, love, development, justice and peace have painfully eluded us without respite in sight.
God Bless Ane-Igala.
– Comrade Ochedi Shaibu Udale



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