Is it true that the names of the people given to them and the food that they eat affect their disposition (fitra)? Is there any relation between the name and the person named; the food and the one who eats it?

Details of the Question
Is it true that the names of the people given to them and the food that they eat affect their disposition (fitra)? Is there any relation between the name and the person named; the food and the one who eats it?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

ANSWER 1:

Although it is not a general rule that is observable at everyone, we can say that, generally, there is a relation between the individuals’ lives and their names. As if appropriate names have been decided to be given to individuals. Although some part of this relation is observable in some people, it may be unobservable in others.

For example, the fact that the name of our prophet is MUHAMMAD shows the strong relation between His name and being an individual who is praised by the angels in the skies and people on earth. That his lifeline always deserves to be praised is an obvious example for the relation between the name and individual. (See. Al-Qurtubi, XVIII/84)

We see that Prophet Muhammad (BPUH) replaced some names that have not a decent meaning and those that associate bad things by the names that have good meanings. This also shows the relation between the name and bearer and the existence of its effect on people.

In the hadith resources, the list of names includes so many names that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not find decent and changed.

In conclusion, we can say that, names have an impact on their bearers and it can be said that there may also be a psychological interaction between the name and its owner because, in respect of the meanings of names as good and bad notions, they associate some characteristics and feelings; they affect people psychologically, and this may cause a prejudice for the bearer of this name.

In addition to this, it might not be true to consider this as an unchanging rule for all people and all situations because, we have no opportunity to tell that all people who have names which have bad meanings are bad people or who have names which have good meanings are good people.  (see Niyazi Beki, Kur’an’da İsimlerin Esrarı)

ANSWER 2:

It has been scientifically proved that the kinds of food that man eats has separate effects. It is a well known fact that human body needs proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc. It is natural that the foods and fruits have an effect on the biological system of the human body along with on the psychological and emotional system of the human body because a human comes into existence by body and soul. The absence of interaction between this material body and spiritual system cannot be thought.

The advice of our prophet (PBUH) to the young people to perform fasting is to show that there is an effect of foods on human emotions. (Bukhari, Nikah 2) As it is known, the characteristics such as lust and rage that man has exist in animals, too. These two senses are manifest differently in different animals. It is also known that the components that affect the biological structures of these animals also affect their emotional structures. Thus, it is a requirement of the human body’s nature to generate similar effects on their structure when people eat the same things.

A person’s eating habits and the foods that he eats is really a broad subject which should be analyzed in depth. The spiritual side of a person develops when he/she eats halal foods and has a balanced eating habit but in the opposite case an individual’s spiritual aspects do not develop so much. For example, fast food which belongs to the European culture, that is, the culture of eating hastily affects the family relations in a negative way. On the other hand, in the Muslim culture, the food is eaten within the family and together. This is an important factor for the communication within the family and its development.

That is, whether the food is halal or not and the way of eating food is an important element that shapes man and consequently the community. Eating habits and the content of the food have important effects on the indulgence of the Europeans in materialism and naturalism.   

It should not be forgotten that the kinds of food that Allah has made halal will not have a negative effect on the body of a healthy person if a person acts in accordance with the command of the verse, “…eat and drink: but waste not by excess…”(al-Araf, 7/31). We think the explanations made in some resources regarding the issue are exaggerative.  

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