LONDON: Muhammad was the fifth most popular name for male British babies in 2020, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed on Monday.
Mohammed and Mohammad were also among the 100 most popular baby boy names in the UK – ranking 32 and 74 – though neither came close to the Muhammad spelling.
Noah, an important figure in all three Abrahamic religions, was the fourth most popular name for male British babies.
Two other Muslim names — Ibrahim and Yusuf — made it into the top 100 for 2020. All three spellings of the prophet’s name, as well as Yusuf and Ibrahim, have been climbing in popularity consistently since 1996, ONS data shows.
Muslims from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds transliterate the name Muhammad differently into English, but all are named in reverence of Islam’s most loved figure.
Despite being spelled differently by different groups, the origins and intention behind the naming are likely shared by each culture and ethnicity employing it.
It is likely that the name is even more popular than the ONS rankings suggest, but the methodology of dividing names based on their spellings makes it unclear exactly how it ranks against other top names.
Other popular names for male British babies included George, Oliver, and Arthur. The eldest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton is called George, while the middle name of their third child is Arthur.
Sian Bradford, a statistics officer at the ONS, said: “Popular culture continues to provide inspiration for baby names, whether it’s characters in our favorite show or trending celebrities. Maeve and Otis, characters from the program ‘Sex Education,’ have seen a surge in popularity in 2020. While the name Margot has been rapidly climbing since actress Margot Robbie appeared in the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’”
Archie leapt into the top 10 of baby names for boys — likely because Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle chose that name for their firstborn.