Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
Feedback on Names

Muhammad Naajih writes on 9 May 2002

You have written that Maldivians call their children Ibrahim Ishaaq and Ismail while they are Jewish names ,but that they don't call names like Cain and Rebecca because they are Jewish. You know something we never call our children Jewish names we never call them Abrahaam Yitshaaq or Yishmoel or Ribqaa( original hebrew form of rebecca) or Qain we call them names of rightious servants of god like Rifqaa ,Qabil and Haam.

Majid replies:

Dear Muhammad Naajih,

We would be banging our heads against a brick wall if we could not appreciate differences in transliteration across languages and alphabetical/ hieroglyphic writing systems. Ismail (from Arabic), Ishmael (from English), Yishmoel (from Hebrew), Ihimeira (from Maori), Isimeira (from Niuean), Ismaalu (from 20th Century Divehi), Ismeheli (from pre-20th century Divehi) are all transliterations of the same name. Whatever is the spelling, when transliterated into English, there would be little difference between how a Hebrew speaker and an Arabic speaker would pronounce, for instance, the name Yitzhak/ Ishaq. Both the informed Arabic speaker and the informed Hebrew speaker would know that the most well-known ancient bearer of that name was one and the same person- the younger son of Abraham. From what you have written it sounds as though you are implying that Isaac/ Yitzhak/ Ishag son of Abraham/ Ibrahim and Abraham/ Ibrahim were not "righteous servants of God".

More recently, as a result of the adoption of a new transliteration system from Chinese to Roman, for example, the spelling of the name of the Chinese communist leader has changed. What used to be spelt Mao Tse-tung is now spelt Mao Zedong. Try telling the Chinese that these were two different people.

I'm not sure when you were born, but in the 1970's or earlier, in the Maldives, it was likely that your name would have been spelt in English as Mohamed Najih. If you spell it now as Muhammad Naajih, does that make you a different person?

Please re-read my article. I feel you have missed my point.

Muhammad Naajih writes again on 7 June 2002

First of all i would like to thank u for your reply

Aharennah heevanee aharenge koshi ingireysi thibeyfulhaa ah neyduneehen.Aharen aggothakavves nubunan Ibrahimgefaanaai Is-haqugefaanakee"kalaange saalihu alhunneh"nooney.I feel the same way as u,that u also missed my point.

Thibeyfulhaage article gaivaa gothun dhivehin ebaimeehunge dharinnah nan kiyumugai Ibrahim,Ismail,Is-haq kahala "yahoodhee" nannan kiyaafai Rebeccah,Cain,Abel fadha nannan nukiyanee e-ee "yahoodhee'' nannan kamah vaathee kamasheve.

Ekamaai beheygothun aharen buni vaahaka akee dhivehin Ibrahim,Ismail,Is-haq fadha nannan ebaimeehunge dharinnah kiyaafai vanee"yahoodhee"nannankamah vaathee eh nooneve.Enannan kiyaafai vanee e ee quranunves egen oiy adhi muslimunge thereinves rasoolu zamaanugai varah gina meehunnah kiyaafaivaa adhi saalihu rasoolu beykalunge nannan kamahves vaathee eve.

Adhi aharen bunee Rebeccah, Abel fadha nannanves dhivehi kudhinnah kiyaakamasheve.Rebeccah,Abel minan namuge aslakee ibraanee(hebrew)bahun Ribqah adhi Habel eve.Meege arabi transliteration akee Rifqah adhi Habeel eve.Migothun dhvehin beynunkuranee meege arabi gotheve.

I was born in the late 70's.Aharen ufanvee fahun mifahakaa jehen dhenves aharenge namuge spelling akee"Mohamed Najih''.Namaves mi "Muhammad Naajih'' ah badhalu kuree eggothakahves thafaathu meehakah vaakah noon.Kurin oiy gothun gina meehun khaassa ko beyru meehun enan kiyaneeves liyefai oiy gothah kamah vaathee,veehaaves aslaai eggothah kiyeynehen spelling egothah badhalu kuree.

Aharennah ingey "Mohamed, Mohammed, Muhummed, Muhammad, Mahomet, Mehmet, Muhandhaa, Muhammaa, Mohonu" mi ee hus ennameh kan.

Majid replies:

Thank you for your continued interest in Majid's Pages.

I am sure you have written something very meaningful in your mail. However it seems to be composed in a dialect of the Maldive language that my family (rather unkindly, according to some) used to refer to as "alhugandu vadaigannavaa bahuruva". No doubt, in its own peculiar way, the dialect is articulate and steeped in literary attributes. As I never mastered the subtleties of the "alhugandu vadaigannavaa" dialect, I am at a loss to determine what you have said in your mail.

Indeed it is possible and rather likely that "alhugandu vadaigannavaa bahuruva" is now the formal dialect of State in the Maldives.

Besides, you appear to have written in the Romanised writing system used in the Maldives these days, which in itself is something of a mystery to me. Please accept my sincere apologies if I have incorrectly Romanised the term "alhugandu vadaigannavaa bahuruva".

I wish you the best of health and happiness.


Muhammad Naajih writes again on 26 July 2002

How are you Majid?

You seems to know everything about the Maldives yet I find that you really know nothing about this country though you were born here.and I find you lack of love and respect to your own motherland. Majid I really feel sorry for you. Hope you will learn some day man's love for his nation. May God bless you and make your faith on him stronger.

Majid replies

Dear Muhammad Naajih,

Your first statement is self-contradictory. I find it very difficult to respond to your statements because you do not back them up with facts or logical reasoning. Emotive statements do not lend themselves to objectivity.

I have been reflecting on your statement that I lacked respect (I presume you meant) to the Maldives and remembered a few incidents from when I lived in the Maldives many years ago. I used to fail my Divehi language exams regularly because I insisted on writing all of my Divehi (including my name) in Thaana. When I left Grade 10, I was also required to sit a "sanadhu" exam, which I failed too, for the same reason. The examiners insisted that I wrote the Arabic words used in Divehi and my name in the Arabic script. Do tell me please, was it I or the examiners who lacked respect to the Maldive language?

I worked very briefly in a Maldive government office, which had an English name. When I was asked to write a letter in Divehi, I wrote the name of that office translated to Divehi. I was told to change it back to English. I believe you still have government office names and the titles of officials in English. Do tell me please, Muhammad Naajih, is it I or those who insist on these English names who lack respect to the Maldives.

I have seen the 1984 version of the Maldives currency notes that are still in circulation. The Divehi writing is on the obverse and guess what it says in Thaana?- "Moaldivs Manitaree Othoaritee". They didn't even write the name of the country in Divehi. Tell me who lacks respect. Don't you have a ministry called Atolls Administration? "Atoll" is arguably one word the Maldive language contributed to English, but lo and behold, those who named this ministry (in 1984 or there abouts) were too embarrassed even to give credit to the Divehi language for this. Tell me who lacks respect, Muhammad Naajih. Is it I?


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