Praise be to Allaah.
Children are gifts from
Allaah, a blessing that He bestows upon the parents, and He has enjoined
many duties towards them, which start with choosing a good name that he will
carry throughout his life.
al-Mawardi (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said in his book Naseehat al-Mulook (p. 167):
When the child is born, one
of the first ways in which he is to be honoured is by giving him a good
name, because a good name will have a good impact on the heart when it is
first heard. End quote.
There follows some advice
which it would be good to think about before choosing a name.
1 – It is not recommended
to adhere to all the names of male and female Sahaabah, because some of
their names were known and accepted in their society, but would be strange
in other societies.
something in the book quoted above about that which is recommended when
choosing names, which is:
That the name should have a
good meaning and be appropriate for the one who is so called, and it
should be common among people of his class and community. End quote.
The parents should choose a
good name for their child, and it should not be weird or odd in the society
in which they live, because having an odd name may cause the name or its
owner to be made fun of, and he may feel too shy to mention his name before
The one who wants to choose
a name like that of the Sahaabah, Prophets or righteous people should choose
a name that suits him and suits his society and people.
2 – Non-Arabs do not have
to give their children Arabic names. What is required is to avoid names that
are used only by the followers of other religions and which are usually used
by the followers of those religions, such as George, Peter, John and so on.
It is not permissible for Muslims to use these names, because that is
imitating the Christians in the names that belong uniquely to them. End
quote from Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah by Ibn al-Qayyim (3/251).
But if the non-Arabic name
has a good meaning, there is nothing wrong with using it and giving it to
one’s child. The Messengers and Prophets (peace be upon them) had good names
and gave good names to their children, which they took from their customs
and traditions, and they did not stick to Arabic names. Examples include
Israa’eel (Israel), Ishaaq (Isaac), Moosa (Moses) and Haroon (Aaron).
3 – One should avoid ugly
names or those that praise their owners. Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on
him) said, as quoted by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari (10/577):
One should not use names
that have ugly meanings, or names that imply praise of a person, or names
that have insulting meanings, even though names are just markers for people
and are not intended to be a description of them. The reason why this is
disliked is that when a person hears the name, he will think that it is
describing the person named. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) changed names to something which, if the person was
called by it, was true.
Among the female names that
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) disliked was
the name ‘Aasiyah (meaning disobedient), which he changed to Jameelah
(beautiful), as was narrated by Muslim (2139).
Other disliked named which
are widespread in some Muslim countries are names which include the words
al-Deen (or uddin/uddeen) and al-Islam, such as Noor al-Deen and ‘Imaad
al-Deen or Noor al-Islam and so on. These names are disliked by the scholars
for both males and females, because they suggest exaggerated praise of their
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may
Allaah preserve him) said:
That is because of the high
status of these two words, al-Deen (the religion, the faith) and al-Islam.
Forming names that include these words implies a false claim that is almost
a lie. Hence some of the scholars stated that they are haraam, but the
majority are of the view that they are makrooh, because some of them suggest
meanings that are incorrect and cannot be applied to a person. Initially
they were titles that were added to names, then they started to be used as
names. End quote. Tasmiyat al-Wulood (p. 22).
4 – With regard to female
names, it is essential to avoid names that carry meanings that provoke
desire, such as Fitnah or Faatin (meaning tempting) or Naahid or Naahidah
(which means one whose breasts are prominent).
It is also essential to
avoid giving females the names of angels, because that is an imitation of
the mushrikeen who thought that the angels were the daughters of Allaah.
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may
Allaah preserve him) said:
With regard to giving girls
the names of angels, it seems that this is haraam, because it is an
imitation of the mushrikeen who regarded the angels as daughters of Allaah,
exalted be Allaah above what they say. Similar to this – i.e., in that it is
haraam – is calling a girl Malaak or Malakah (meaning angel). End quote from
Tasmiyat al-Mawlood (p. 24).
With regard to permissible
names that may be suggested, there are many of them and we cannot list them
all, but we will mention some of them:
Aaminah – means one who has
peace of mind and is not afraid
Shayma’ – a woman of
Arwa – feminine of wa’l
(mountain goat), meaning beautiful and radiant
‘Aa’ishah – one who is
Asma’ – it was said that it
is derived from wasaamah (elegance) or from samw which means loftiness or
Reem – a gazelle which is
‘Aaliyah – derived from
words meaning high status and eminence
Juwayriyah – the name of
one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
Rahmah – mercy, kindness,
Basmah – smile, an
expression of happiness
Razaan – dignity among
‘Afaaf – derived from
‘iffah, meaning chastity, purity
Zaynab – a tree with a good
Saarah – brings joy to
Maymoonah – a blessed
Raaniyah – one with a fixed
Su’aad – guidance, good
fortune, blessings; the opposite of misery
Maryam – a Hebrew name
meaning exalted or mistress of the sea
Salma – a slender woman,
also derived from salaamah (security)
Noorah – light
Sumayyah – sound and of
Haajir – good and superior
And Allaah knows best.