Naming Your Newborn
article is based on answers by prominent scholars like, Shaikh Muhammad Ibn
Saalih al-Uthaymeen (Majmoo Fataawa wa Rasa'il Fadeelat), Shaykh Bakr Abu
Zayd (Mu'jam al-Manaahi al-Lafziyyah), Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn
Baaz (Kitaab Majmoo Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi'ah li Samaahat), Shaikh
Muhammad S. Al-Munajjad and others.
effect the child's character?
Names do not
have any effect on the child's character or personality, except that the
meaning of the name would inspire him, when he grows old enough to understand
its meaning and indication. A good and pleasant name would motivate the person
to do good acts and inspire him strength and honor, since he is repeatedly
called by it.
if the child is named 'Abdullah' meaning 'a slave of Allah'; his name will
make him realize and keep him aware of his servitude to Allah. He will
understand his true role and the purpose of life. Likewise, if he is named
after the Khalifah Uthmaan Ibn Affan; the character, qualities and actions of
Uthmaan Ibn Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) would influence him. It might even lead
him to perform actions, which befit his name and prevent those, which conflict
its character. Similar is the case with unpleasant names, which denote bad
qualities and actions. A bad name might even provoke the person to do evil!!
decide a name for your child, it is good to consider some important details.
Know that the name, which you decide for your child will stay with him all
through his life, therefore the name you choose should not embarrass or
humiliate his personality.
bear in mind the different stages of life and give him a name which would
sound good as a child, a youth, an adult, a father, etc. and how it would suit
the father to be called as, 'Abu foolan' meaning, 'Father of so and so.'
Because a name which causes embarrassment or discomfort might be a cause of
bad feelings of the child towards his parents.
When should the child
Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Every child is held in
pledge for his Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for him on his seventh day, and he
is named on it and his head is shaved." [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee
(1165) Abu Dawood (vol: 2, no: 2831) and others]
narration in this aspect is related by Anas (radhiallahu anhu), who said:
'Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "A boy was born to
me this night and I have given him the name of my forefather Ibraheem." [Saheeh
Muslim (4/ 5733)]
In light of
these Ahaadeeth we understand that the child can be named on the first day of
his birth or it can be delayed until the seventh day. However, what is
recommended is to name the child on the seventh day, as such is related in the
saying of Allah's Messenger r. Regarding the Hadeeth which mentions the
Prophet's practice is taken as an evidence to prove that the child can be
named before the seventh day.
name the child?
It is the
right of the father to choose and name the child because the child will be
ascribed and attributed to him (so and so, son/daughter of so and so). But it
is Mustahabb (recommended) for the father to consult and involve his wife in
the decision. It is also permissible to allow the grandparents or someone else
to name the child, since this is also confirmed in the Sunnah.
Malik (radhiallahu anhu) narrates in a long Hadeeth that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu
alaihe wa-sallam) named the son of Abu Talha, he said: "…The Prophet took a
date, chewed it, took some of it out of his mouth, put it into the child's
mouth and did Tahnik for him with that, and named him Abdullah." [Saheeh al-Bukharee
Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) also named his grandchildren; the
children of Fatimah. [Reported by Imaam al-Bukharee in Adaab al-Mufrad. Saheeh
according to al-Haafidh al-Isaabah (4/450)]
RECOMMENDED NAMES (MUSTAHABB)
that indicate servitude to Allah
A name with
the first word Abd (slave) followed by any Name of Allah (which is established
in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah) This indicates servitude to Allah, for e.g. Abd
al-Ilaah means 'slave of the One True Lord' Abd al-Ghafoor, Abd al-Lateef, Abd
al-Azeez, Abd al-Raheem, Abd al-Malik, etc. However, the best names in this
category is 'Abd-Allaah' (the slave of Allah) and 'Abd al-Rahmaan' (the slave
of the Rahmaan) as it was reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe
wa-sallam) said: "The most beloved of names to Allaa are 'Abd-Allah and 'Abd
al-Rahmaan." [Saheeh Muslim (1398)]
It is forbidden to use a name which is not known to be from the Perfect Names
of Allah , like Abd al-Mawjood (the slave of the Present One), Abd al-Sattar,
etc. This is because Allah's Names cannot be confirmed without an authentic
text from the Qur'aan or the Sunnah. By doing so, we would end up giving Names
to Allah, which are not affirmed for Him.
Note: It is
Makrooh to use any word with the name of Allah except 'Abd', like 'Rahmat
Allah' (the Blessings of Allah).
2. Names of Prophets
priority is given to the names of the Prophets and Messenger. Amongst them,
first comes the name of our Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam).
(Ahmad is also one of his names).
Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "You may name with my name." [Saheeh
al-Bukharee (8/206) and Saheeh Muslim (3/53254)]
Then next are the 'Messengers of strong will' [Soorah al-Ahqaaf (46): 35]
namely, Ibraheem, Moosa, Eesa and Nooh, then the rest of the Prophets (alaihim
Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) himself followed this principle and
named his son after Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam), he said: "A son was born to
me this night and I called him after my forefather, Ibraheem." [Saheeh
3. Names of righteous
slaves of Allah
(the Companions of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)), the
Shuhadah (Martyrs) and the Ulama (Scholars). Above all are the Sahabah (radhiyallahu
anhu); it is Mustahabb (preferable) to name after them, hoping to follow their
example, attaining righteousness and high status.
category suggests those good names, which have a good and pleasant meaning,
and are easily pronounced. Examples of such names are Khalid, Usaamah and for
girls are Sarah, Su'ad, etc.
includes Haraam names; therefore anyone who has any of these names is obliged
to change it
1. Names indicating
servitude to other than Allah.
worshiping anyone or anything other than Allah, therefore any name, which
shows any servitude to anybody except Him must be avoided, whether it be
Prophets, Angels or a leader, like Abd al-Rasool (slave of the Messenger), Abd
an-Nabi (slave of the Prophet), or Abd Al-Ameer (slave of the prince).
Sahabee (Companion of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)), Abd
al-Rahmaan Ibn Awf (radhiallahu anhu) said: "My name was Abd Amr - or
according to one report, Abd al-Ka'bah and when I became Muslim, the Messenger
of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) called me 'Abd al-Rahmaan." [Narrated
by al-Haakim (3/306)]
Ibn Yazeed (radhiallahu anhu) said: "A delegation came to the Prophet (sallallahu
alaihe wa-sallam) and he heard them calling someone 'Abd al-Hajar (slave of
the stone). He asked him: 'What is your name?" and he said, 'Abd al-Hajar.' He
said, "No, you are Abd-Allaah (the slave of Allah).'" [See Al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah
mentioned in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa': "They (the scholars) agreed that every name
which implies enslavement to anything other than Allaah is forbidden (Haraam),
such as 'Abd al-'Uzza, 'Abd 'Amr, 'Abd 'Ali, 'Abd al-Ka'bah, and any other
similar names, such as 'Abd al-Nabi (slave of the Prophet), 'Abd al-Husayn, 'Abd
al-Maseeh (slave of the Messiah)." [Haashiyat Ibn Aabideen 5/268; Mughni al-Muhtaaj,
4/295; Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, 10/373; Kashshaaf al-Qinaa', 3/27]
2. Names befitting
the consensus of the scholars names which are particular to Allah alone are
Haraam to be used, like al-Quddoos (the Most Holy), al-Khaliq (the Creator),
al-Raaziq (the Provider), al-Rabb (the Lord), al-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful),
which are Attributes of Allah alone, like Malik al-Mulook (King of kings), al-Qaahir
(the Subduer), etc. because Allah says: "Do you know of any who is similar to
Him?" [Soorah Maryam (19): 65]
of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: 'The most despised name with
Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be a man called Malik al-Mulook." [Saheeh
a report in Saheeh Muslim, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "The man who
will be most deserving of Allah's anger and most evil on the Day of
Resurrection will be a man who was called Malik al-Amlaak. There is no King
It is also
forbidden to use names, which befit no one except the Prophet, such as Rahmat
lil-Alameen (Mercy for the world), Sayyid Walad Adam (master of the sons of
Adam), Sayyid al-Naas (master of mankind), Sayyid al-Kull (master of all)etc.
because these names befit no one except him.
3 . Names, which
exclusively belong to the Kuffar
names, which have no basis in the Arabic and are particular to the Kuffar and other names, which
denote religions of Kufr are all forbidden. Such is because these names cause
imitating the Kuffar and might sooner or later create a feeling of closeness
and love for them.
temptation to use such names is very strong in our time, but this is a big sin
and a sign of humiliation and defeat - It is imitating the Kuffar. If taking
their names is due to whims and desires, then no doubt, it is a major sin.
person should be reminded the Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe
wa-sallam) said: "He who imitates a people is one of them." [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
and if using such names is because one actually believes that these names are
better than the Muslim names, then this will take him away from Islam!
case, the person who has done this must hasten to repent. (changing the name
is a condition of repentance)
of Idols and false gods are all Haraam.
UNDESIRED NAMES (MAKROOH)
The following types of names are Makrooh meaning undesired, if somebody has
one of them, he should change it. But if it is difficult for him to do so,
then he is not obliged.
which are too soft, charming or have provocative meaning, especially for the
girls, like Ghaadah (delicate young woman), Huyaam (one passionately in love),
Shaadiyah (female singer), etc.
(b) Names of
immoral people, such as singers and actors. This is a sign of foolishness and
lack of pride in one's faith, which is often seen when a particular show or a
movie becomes famous, people compete with one another to name their newborns
after these women and actors.
people have names carrying good meanings, then it is permissible to use them,
but not in their imitation but for the good meaning!
which convey any kind of sin or refer to sinners and tyrants, like 'Saariq'
(thief) or 'Zaalim' (wrongdoer), Fir'awn, Haamaan, Qaroon, etc. It is also
forbidden to use names of devils (shayaateen), such as Khanzab, al-Walhaan,
al-A'war and al-Ajda'
(d) Names of
animals, which are well known for their undesirable characteristics, such as
al-Himaar (donkey), al-Kalb (dog), al-Qird (monkey), etc.
previous times, the Arabs would call their children by names of animals but it
was only because of the good qualities found in those animals, and this was
the desired meaning. So, when they used the name Kalb (dog), it was because of
the dog's alertness and ability to work hard; when they used the name Himaar
(donkey), it was because of the donkey's patience and forbearance, and so on…
with ugly and undesirable meaning, which might sound odd and provoke others to
make fun of the person and cause him embarrassment, like 'Harb' (war), Sahaam
(summer heat). Using such names is against the teachings of the Prophet (sallallahu
alaihe wa-sallam), who taught us to use beautiful names,
alaihe wa-sallam) said: "On the day of Resurrection you will be called by your
names and your fathers names, so make your names good." [Musnad Ahmad (5/194).
is declared 'Hasan' (good) by Imaam an-Nawawi and Ibn al-Qayyim. However, it
was declared weak by Shaikh al-Albanee and others]
(f) Any name,
which is added to the word 'Deen' or 'Islam' (i.e., names which appear in
idaafah genitive construction with these words) such as Noor al-Deen (light of
the religion), Shams al-Deen (sun of the religion), Sayf al-Islam (Sword of
Islam), Imaam ad-Deen (Imaam of the Religion), etc. because of the great
status attached to these two words and also because such names give a person
more than what he deserves. Therefore, some scholars ruled it Haraam, while
majority say it is Makrooh.
This practice of using the words 'Deen' and 'Islam' along with one's name was
started with giving such titles to learned men. Later people started using
them as first names.
al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) was known as 'Taqiy al-Deen' (piety of
the religion), he disliked it and he would say: "But my family gave me this
nickname and it became well-known." Similarly, Imaam an-Nawawi (rahimahullah)
disliked his nickname 'Muhiy al-Deen' (reviver of the religion).
(g) Names of Angels - It is disliked to use the names of Angels, particularly
for girls because it implies imitation of the Mushrikeen, who considered
Angels as daughters of Allaah. (Na'aodhu billah).
(h) Names of
Qur'aanic Soorahs, such as Ta-Ha and Yaa-Seen because these words are al-Huroof
al-Muqatta'ah (letters which appear at the beginning of some Soorahs and their
meaning is known to Allaah Alone)
al-Mawdood by Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah), p 109] (The notion that Ya-Seen
and Ta-Ha are names of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) is false.)