Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, asks everyone to avoid avoid the use of the acronym ‘RAK’ and instead use the full name of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Names, as do labels, mean a lot to those who hear them. And for a city to be addressed so casually (by abbreviation) and not by its complete name is something considered almost slanderous in the UAE.
With the progression leading to the mixture of Western and traditional concepts not only in the UAE, but anywhere in the world, something as basic as a name can sadly, say much about how the younger generations are changing a country’s culture and traditions.
Say Ras Al Khaimah, Not RAK, Urged Sheikha Jawaher
In line with this issue, Sheikha Jawaher, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, called out the youngsters for the use of the acronym ‘RAK’ instead of the full name of the Emirate, to which many Emirati nationals have all expressed the same concern.
Sheikha Jawaher shared on her official Twitter account how she felt sorry to hear young people, particularly those of Ras Al Khaimah, using acronym RAK instead of the full name of the emirate.
Below is a tweet frm Sheikha Jawaher on Twitter:
يؤسفني جدا ان اسمع من الشباب وخاصة ابناء رأس الخيمة الكرام ان يتحول لديهم اسم الإمارة العزيزة الى مسمى RAK رآك وهذا لفظ دعائي لشركة اوبنك أما رأس الخيمة الجليلة فذكرها جاء من أيام الاسكندر الأكبر عام ٣٢١ قبل الميلاد فى كتاب بطليموس كما جاء اسم الشارقة وأم القيوين اعتزوا وافتخروا
— Jawaher M Alqasimi. (@jawaheralqasimi) May 13, 2019
Translated from Arabic “I am very sorry to hear from the guys and especially the people of Ras Al Khaimah that they have the name of the Dear emirate to the named RAK saw you this is a propaganda word for usbank. They were proud”
She explained that the abbreviation could be a promo brand of a company or a bank, but the name Ras Al Khaimah has longer been used since the time of Alexander the Great in 321 BC in one of Ptolemy books.
Moreover, the name of Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain were also mentioned, she affirmed. To this, Sheikha Jawaher mentioned, “Be honoured and proud (of these names).”
Several Emirati nationals have also aired the same view, noting that Sheikha Jawaher has raised a “critically important issue; changing Arabic names with foreign ones.” The practice was due to this generation’s use of the English language and western culture, they pointed out.
The government, in reference to this issue, has issued several resolutions to enforce the use of Arabic language in official transactions.
However, the younger generation fails to do their part, to take responsibility and preserve these Arabic names.
Renowned Emirati writer and poet Habib Al Sayegh expressed her support and gratitude to Sheikha Jawaher for her post, and noted that he has raised the same issue before based on his experience of hearing some youth saying RAK to refer to the emirate in the country.
And while others see no harm in using the abbreviated form of a name, there are those who hold meaning and value in the significance of a name as a cultural practice.