Fruits for the Week

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This is also a way of showing concern for people. How great it is to meet a person on occasion, such as in a bank, or plane, or wedding party, and then be acquainted with his name; thereafter, when you see him on a different occasion, you go up to him and say: “Hallo, so-and-so!” Undoubtedly, this would implant in his heart love and respect for you.

For you to remember the name of the person in front of you shows him that you have concern for him. There is a different between a teacher who remember the names of his students and the one who does not. For you to say to student: “Stand up, O so-and-so” is better that to say: “Stand up, O student!”

Even when responding to a telephone call, which is more beloved to you? For one to respond to you saying: “Yes” or “Hello”? Or for one to say: “Hello dear Khalid!” or, “Hello Abu Abdulla!”? No doubt, the fact that you hear your name rings bells in your heart.

It has become a tradition that after I deliver general lectures, many youngsters come to me to shake my hand and to thank me. I am therefore always eager to repeat the phrase: “What is your name? Who am I speaking to?”

I say this to everyone I greet, to show that I care for him. Hence, every one of them responds to me saying: “I am your brother, Ziyad” or, “I am your son, Yasir” and so on.

I recall that once when just after a great number of youngsters greeted me and left, one of them came back to ask me a question. The first thing I said to him was: “May Allah prolong your life, O Khalid!” He rejoiced and said: “Praise be to Allah! You know my name!” People often like to be called by their names.

It is well known that all policemen wear name plates on their shirts. I recall that once I gave a lecture in a garrison town, and many policemen came to me to greet me after the lecture. I noticed that one of them kept going back and forth, as if he wanted to greet me, but was too shy to walk through the crowd around me.

I turned to him, looked at the name plate he had on his chest, extended my hand to him and said: “Welcome, dear so-and-so.” His face changed and he was amazed. He extended his hand to shake mine and, said with a smile on his face: “Wow! How did you know my name?” I said to him: “Dear brother, we must make an effort to know the names of those we love.” This had a great effect on him. Many people feel a sense of satisfaction due to this, and wish that they also remember the names of others.

There are many reasons why some people cannot recall other’s names. One of them is the lack of concern for people while meeting them. Another is that their minds are preoccupied whilst meeting and asking other’s their names such that they are unable to focus when they mention their names. Another factor is their own attitude towards the person they are meeting.

Again, you deem it unnecessary to remember the name. Or if the person is very ordinary, and does not affect you enough to catch your attention. Sometimes, you do not get to hear the name properly, and feel embarrassed to ask him to repeat himself. These are some of the reason people do not remember names.

There are several ways of curing this problem of not being able to remember names. One is to realize the importance of remembering people’s names, and to feel that once you have heard their names, you would be asked to repeat them after a few minutes.

Another way is to focus on a person’s face while listening to his name. Try to make note of the person in front of you, how he talks and smiles, such that it leaves an impression in your memory.

As you speak to him, refer to him by his name repeatedly: “Isn’t that right, so-and-so?”, “Did you hear that so-and-so?”, or “Do you follow me, so-and-so?” repeat it more than once.

This is very important, for if you were to contemplate the Qur’an, you would find that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, refers to His Prophets by their names:

  • “O Abraham! Turn away from them.”
  • “O Noah! He is from your family”
  • “O David! We have made you a deputy on this earth”
  • “O Jesus the son of Mary!
  • “O Joseph! Pass this over!

by Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi