2Big Book BABY NAMES What do these names mean? Oliver… Olive tree Alice…Of noble kindSophie…WisdomAaron…Mountain of strengthWhat does your name mean?Big BookofBABY NAMES1. Ask children to find out what their names mean – ask their parents, for example.2. You might find out a few meanings of your pupils and show the meaning first – ask children who in the class this might describe. (E.g. servant = Abdul; clever = Hubert; Princess = Sarah etc.) NB Choose wisely whose names you display – Cow = Lea; Twisted nose = Cameron [honestly…]3. Do any of your children’s names tell you something about them? Do any names accurately describe what they are like?4. Give them some names and meanings and ask them to choose some names that do describe them. What are their new names? Eg Fred = peaceful ruler; Isaac = laughter; Fiyaz = artistic.Explain that in many parts of the world, the name you are given tells you something about who you are and what you are like. The meaning of names can be very important.
3God Dieu Gott Theos Allah German Greek French Arabic English Ask children if anyone knows the word Muslims use for God. Explain that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God – like French people say “Dieu” and Germans say “Gott”. Allah is not a name of God. Use this slide to match the names and languages. Click for colour coding.
4The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah MercifulAll-peacefulProtectorMightyKingCreatorMakerProviderJudgeAll-knowingWatchfulGentleForgivingSupremeWith-holderFirstLastJustHiddenExaltedGenerousPatientGuideAfflicterLightWiseExplain that the Qur’an uses 99 different names for Allah. Muslims never try to draw Allah, and so children should not be ask to do this either. The names give a way of understanding what God means for Muslims, without limiting ideas of God to something that can be seen.Each name describes something different about what Allah is like – this time, all the names apply to Allah, not like the names of children in the class.Ask children why they think there are 99 names? Muslims do not know 100 names of Allah to remind them that they do not know everything about God – only Allah knows everything.
5The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah MercifulAll-peacefulProtectorMightyKingCreatorMakerProviderJudgeAll-knowingWatchfulGentleForgivingSupremeWith-holderFirstLastJustHiddenExaltedGenerousPatientGuideAfflicterLightWiseYou might want to remove some of the names from here if you want to focus your children on some of the ones that are easier to read and understand.Give children a chance to choose a name they can understand. What does it mean? If Allah has this name, what is Allah like?Ask them to think what they would be like if the name applied to them. “If I was generous, I would …”
6The following slides give eight of the Beautiful Names, written in Arabic script, together with the meaning of the name.Many Muslims believe that thinking about different names can help them in different ways, so clicking on the slides reveals ways in which some Muslims believe that they may be changed by repeating the name.Remind children that these names help Muslims to think about God, and help them to behave in a way that God would like.The language is quite difficult, so you may prefer to leave the Arabic script and name, and use simpler language to explain the meaning. You might add children’s explanations too.
14Some ideas for using this resource: ArtworkHave a look at some examples of Islamic art based on the 99 Beautiful Names. Hafeez Shaikh has designed some colourful pieces of art.Use these to inspire your children to produce their own artwork on the Names of God. They should be careful not to try and draw living forms in their artwork, but can use colour and patterns to express the meaning of the name. They could copy the Arabic script or try some decorative versions of the English.Those who are able might write a sentence to explain their artwork.Meeting needsThe language on slides 6-13 is difficult. You might instead choose 8 names and ask children when a person might be pleased to have someone around who is patient / gentle / forgiving / creator / guide / all-knowing etc.If Muslims believe that God is all of these things to them, ask the children to talk about why God is important to Muslims. Try and get them to give concrete examples, linked with their ideas from the previous conversation. Record and gather their ideas together a class statement: “We think God is important for Muslims because…”