Until earlier this year, one 19-year-old student from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, was known as Shohrukh to his friends and family.
But he recently decided to ditch his “purely Tajik” first name and now answers to “Muhammad,” the name of Islam’s prophet.
“I came to this decision gradually,” Muhammad says. “I learned about Islam and wanted to get a suitable Muslim name for myself.” He says that he heard that “on Doomsday, everyone will be called by their first names, so I wanted to be called Muhammad.”
So-called Islamic names are becoming increasingly popular in the predominantly Muslim country.
Like Muhammad, those who have chosen new names are largely young men in their late teens and early 20s. And an increasing number of parents are picking Islamic names for their newborn babies.
Experts say the trend reflects the growing influence of Islam among Tajiks.
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