A survey conducted by a parenting website has declared the name Muhammad to be the most popular name for baby boys in Britain, surpassing previous favourites, Oliver and Jack. The results have fuelled some controversy, because the survey includes various spellings of “Muhammad” in calculating its results.
The online survey by BabyCentre is not an official national census, but does echo figures collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which also ranked “Muhammad” number one and included various spellings of the name.
Muhammad jumped 27 spots from last year to claim the top spot on the list of the 100 most popular baby boy names for 2014. The Arabic names Omar, Ali and Ibrahim also made it onto the list for the first time this year.
Sarah Redshaw, managing editor for BabyCentre, told The Guardian: “With the increase of Arabic names plus Aarav, an Indian boys’ name, the top 100 shows the ever-increasing diversity of the UK today.”
Muhammad, name of Islam’s most revered prophet, translates to “praiser of God” and “praised” from Arabic. First seen in the top 100 boys’ names in the 1950s, Muhammad has taken the lead in 2014. The name can be spelled 10 different ways, so when they’re all added together, it jumps up to first place, according to BabyCentre website.
For girls, Nur, a new name on the list, ranked as the 29th most popular name. Maryam surged 59 spots to the 35th spot.
Meanwhile, the popularity of British royal names waned. Charlie and Harry fell three places each to numbers six and seven on the list, and William fell to the 12th spot. The name George fell five spots to no. 18.