Monday, January 09, 2017

Origin of bin and binte

MM ONline - Muslims, converts need not include ‘bin’, ‘binti’ in their names, evangelical group says (extracts):

Admiral Cheng Ho - a Chinese Muslim

From Glimpses of History:  Between 1405 and 1433 he led seven voyages. 1622 ships were constructed in Nanjing along the Yangtze River.

The first voyage had a 30,000 person crew, 62 large ships, and 255 smaller ships.

Some of these smaller ships were dedicated to specific purposes such as carrying horses, carrying fresh water, and carrying items to trade such as porcelain dishes, vases and cups, Chinese silk, gold, and silver.

Each of the 62 ships were 475 feet long and 193 feet wide, and each held a crew of 1000.

By comparison, Columbus’s three ships held 90 men each, and the longest of them, the Santa Maria, was 85 feet long.

Cheng Ho’s fleet was so large, that it would not be matched again in history until World War I

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Muslims and those who convert to Islam have the freedom to choose their own names and they need not include the words “bin” or “binti”, a Muslim evangelical group has said.

Weighing in on the controversy surrounding the National Registration Department’s (NRD) unilateral decision to include the word “bin” to a Chinese Muslim boy’s name, the Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM) said that there is no such compulsory requirement in Islam.

"Before I answer the question, let's understand the meaning of bin or binti. Bin means 'the son of' meanwhile binti means 'the daughter of'.

“There is no clear evidence that one must put bin or binti when someone becomes a Muslim, in the Quran or Hadith,” MRM president Firdaus Wong Wai Hung, a Muslim convert and Islamic preacher told Malay Mail Online.

"There is one evidence in Surah Al-Ahzab, Chapter 33, Verse no. 5 which says; ‘Call them by [the names of] their fathers’ — but this is related to surname rather than the issue that we are discussing now.


For NRD to add bin or binti to a children (sic) when their parents never agreed to it is not something that NRD should do in the first place," he said adding that those who convert to Islam are not automatically Malays or even Arabs.

In Malaysia, the words “bin” and “binti” are commonly used for a child of Malay ethnicity, with these patronyms denoting whether someone is respectively a man’s son or daughter.

Being a Muslim is often closely associated with being Malay in Malaysia despite religious and ethnic identity being separate matters, as the Federal Constitution’s Article 160 defines a Malay as being among other things a “person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom”.

This has led to problems in east Malaysia, with reported cases of multiple non-Muslim natives in Sabah being wrongly registered by the NRD as Muslims due to the “bin” and “binti” titles in their names.

Some Malays, for example, like the NRD officer, do not realize that a Chinese converting to Islam to become a Muslim or being already born a Muslim is not necessarily (or automatically) converting to or has become a Malay.

In other word, while a Malay is a Muslim, a Muslim is not necessarily a Malay.

Some Chinese are Muslims but do not wish to be Malays. They want to continue being Chinese.

And please do not refer to Ridhuan Tee Abdullah as an example. Mr Ridhuan Tee wants to be a Malay as he has been wont to say "Kita Melayu" when he wrote in a Malay newspaper, as he must have believe all his readers would be Malays (hence his use of the pronoun 'kita' instead of 'kami').

Also, many Malays (not just the NRD officer) are not aware the Islamic pedigree of Chinese predates theirs. Chinese became Muslims much much earlier than did the first Malay in this region, not that in the concept of Islamic brotherhood that matters. 

Some ten years ago, when then Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin stated that non-Muslim converts who embrace Islam could retain their family name and need not adopt 'bin/binti Abdullah' to append to their personal name, he was resoundingly condemned by many Muslims. I have also read a number of such letters in Malaysiakini rejecting Dr Asri’s advice on this matter.

Why the ferocious aggravative feedback?

The appending of the 'bin/binti Abdullah' to a convert's personal name is commonly, and mistakenly required to be, practised in Malaysia.

ctually, again I have to say this, that some Malays may not realize this, the suffix 'bin' is a Hebraic (or Middle-Eastern) term with the same meaning of 'son of', as in Yehoshua ben Yosef or Yehoshua son of Yosef.

BTW, do you know who he was?

Sometimes he was referred to as Yeshua ben Yosef, where Yeshua was a shorter form of his personal name of Yehoshua.

traditionally portrayed by Europeans as above

modern scholars believe Yeshua was more like above

Yeshua in English would be translated as Joshua, as per the name of the Israelite who invaded Canaan and f**k-ed the local inhabitants kau kau a la the Nazi initiated Holocaust.

Yes, there were two most well-known Joshua in the Bible, where the former invaded Canaan to massacre the locals and the latter was referred by his Greek rather than English name of Jesus, probably to preserve his unique appellation for the believers.

Anyway, 'ben' or its Malay-nised 'bin' is of Israelite or Jewish origin, like in David Ben-Gurion the 1st PM of Israel (3 November 1955 – 26 June 1963), where Ben-Gurion means 'son of the lion'.

Chinese-Muslim in China, not Malaysia, wakakaka 

Related to this issue, please see my KTemoc Konsiders’ postings:

Can you imagine Kaytee bin Abdullah? Hmmm, maybe that’s why I stopped dating cute Saba … and sweet Kama ...!

Subconsciously I must have dreaded that moment when I would be compelled to change my name (or, something more …er … painful?), … of course apart from one teeny weeny silly iota of insignificant inconvenient fact, that they both dumped me … sob sob sob!

Chinese-Muslim (again) in China, not Malaysia, wakakaka 

Chinese-Muslims in China, not Malaysia, wakakaka 

But there may be possibly a reason why there seems be a reluctance in some Malay quarters to discard the desire of labelling new converts with ‘bin/binte Abdullah’.

In my KTemoc Konsiders’ posting Dr Mahathir: "No such thing as moderate Muslim" he demolished the Malay folklore, still cherished by some Malays, that they had converted to Islam during the time of Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1450 years ago.

Fact - Malays only did so about 600 to 700 years back.

Fact - Chinese started converting to Islam in 616 CE, 1400 years ago.

The Malay claim of such an undiluted Islamic pedigree would not be unlike the attitude of some Chinese and Japanese martial art practitioners, who want (and invent) a lineage that traces the origin of their martial art to an old Taoist sage-hermit who sat meditating on Emei or Kunlun Mountains some thousand of years ago, and probably surviving on only kua-chee (dried melon seeds) and organic mountain-grown tea, or to the original Shaolin Temple with its 36 chambers of martial art challenges.

Was it because of this erroneous claim of believed undiluted Islamic pedigree, they reckon johnnies-come-lately should not be given automatic entry to the ‘established’ Muslim club until at least a new generation of Muslims have been born to the ‘bin Abdullah’ cadets, but failing to realize they themselves are in fact the 
johnnies-come-lately, wakakaka.

The darker reason could of course be that, despite the egalitarianism of Islam, some Malays (like PAS) believe non-Malay Muslims need to be consigned to a subtle subordinate category.

Supporting this Malay myth, my posting, Are Chinese Malaysian Muslims 2nd class Muslims? discussed the controversy about allowing (or not allowing) Chinese Malaysian Muslims to build their own mosques and surau's.

There was the refusal by the Malacca State government to allow Chinese Muslims their basic religious rights that brought into focus the uniquely Malay expectation of (or belief in) Islam being synonymous with Malay ethnicity, though with one exception*.

Chinese mosque in Xian, China 

* The sole exception is the Arabs, a recognition flavoured perhaps by a local cultural-religious cringe towards those Middle-Eastern Muslims.

In other words or in kaytee's words, wakakaka, in the minds of those who culturally cringe towards the Arabs, they want to suck Arab cocks.

The Perlis Mufti had succinctly said (but obviously still not heeded by some): "It's the faith that matters, not race".

Then, that’s where the Mufti dropped the cultural bombshell – which I mentioned, what Indonesians and other nations have actually been practising for eons - there wasn't any need for non-Malay converts to change their name or those cultural practices that are not against the teachings of Islam.

Chinese mosque

To support the Perlis mufti's advice, I brought out examples in Indonesia and China where Muslims in those countries don't even use Middle-Eastern names, least being tagged as 'bin Abdullah', as would be the case in Malaysia for new Muslim converts.

I am sure all of us are aware that there are Javanese Muslims who call themselves Suharto, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Megawati, etc.

And in China, the founder of a branch of the powerful renowned internal martial art Hsing Yi Chuan in Henan province was Ma Xueli (1714-1790). Ma was a Muslim, as were his family and all his students. They all had Chinese names, full stop!

Hsing Yi CHuan (Xingyiquan) 


  1. Kaytee,did any of the Chinese sweeties ever tell you that they were Chinese Muslims?Or did you do a physical check up on them?

    1. alas, my dates in Malaysia and Hong Kong (wakakaka) were mainly Chinese Christians (but there were a few Buddhists and Taoists as well) but I also dated Malay sweeties, at least two from Kelantan and three from Kedah, wakakaka

  2. Your posts of photogenic female Chinese Muslims is worth at least a few hundred potential converts.
    Is that the Agenda ?

    1. if one converts because of sweeties one must understand the consequences, wakakaka

  3. Hang Tuah bin ?
    Hang Jebat bin ?

  4. Ktee, if they were truly Muslims, dresse code would have been different. Living in a dream world? Wake up.

    1. in a way u r right, but what is a true muslim n who decide what n who a true muslim?

      my fav is liu shishi,ethnic hui (muslim). i think not many care abt her religion, perhaps she oso dun care.

  5. Chinese surname such as Ma, Ha & Hu are equivalent to Muhammad, Hassan & Hussin in arabic respectively. they have been keeping their ancestral names along with the local ones. in Bayan Lepas, Penang they are quite a number of families whose ancestors migrated from kwangtung province & one of them is our 5th prime minister (the name was Ha Su Chiang aka Hassan). semua dah jadi melayu though majority of them still maintain the oriental look. (lengchai & lengloi).

  6. the term "..muslim evangelical group" is a misnomer"
    Evangelism is from the root word "Evangel" (or Evangelion ) and is originally found/used 77 times in the New Testament to denote GOSPEL meaning GOOD NEWS. The good news being that Jesus Christ ( the GOD/MAN, had died for our sins and we are saved from our sins when he resurrected and we are now made right with God. Evangelism is a Christian term to bring good news of Salvation to other people groups and to let them know that this SALVATION (saved from our sins) is now available to anyone who would believe as well.
    So, a muslim evangelical group ? hmn..

    1. They are call themselves"Berdakwah" or Da'wah literally means "issuing a summons" or "making an invitation"to Islam.

  7. India with 180 Million Muslims, one of the world's largest Muslim populations, largely does not follow the "Bin/Binti" naming system.
    Islam in India came in several waves, but the most influential wave was through Central Asia.

    The "Bin/Binti" among Malay Muslims originated from Arabs, rather than Islam per se.
    Among Arabs this "Bin" naming practice predates Islam, and is practiced even among Arab Christians.
    So if you meet an Arab with a "Bin" name, don't assume he is a Muslim.

    Many Malays today aspire to be Arabs who just look a little bit different.

    So I expect the "Bin" convention to be retained for a long time to come, as well as the expectations toward Malaysian converts to Islam to adopt the practice.

    1. it predates arabs, like Yeshua ben Yosef, who BTW was not an arab, wakakaka