Islamic Guidelines for Choosing Names

Happy babyReprinted from IslamOnline.net, Ask the Scholar

Date: 18/Apr/2001

Name of Mufti: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Topic: Islamic Guidelines for Choosing Names

Name of Questioner: Shazia from Pakistan

Question: As-Salamu `alaykum, could you please shed light on the Islamic guidelines in choosing names? In other words, what are the criteria to be followed by Muslim in choosing names?

Answer:

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear sister in Islam, we commend your keenness on getting your self well-acquainted with Islam and its teachings, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

Islam emphasizes that Muslims should have good names and give good names to their children. It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)

In the choice of names, we should follow certain guidelines as illustrated in the following fatwa issued by the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:

“Islam does not oblige Muslims to choose specific names, Arab or non-Arab names, for their children, whether males or females. It is rather up to people to decide which names they would like to choose for their children.

However, selecting names should be pursuant to some Islamic rules:

1- To be a good name that is neither detestable by people nor to be rejected by the child himself, when he grows up. Such detestable names are like those which bear the meaning of bad omen, evil connotations, names of people known for their oppression and excessiveness, and so on. In this regard, we find that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to change bad names into good ones. For example, he changed the name of someone from “Qalilah” (A few) into “Kathirah” (A lot), and the name of another from “`Aasiyah” (Sinner) into “Jamilah” (Beautiful), and so on.

2- A Muslim should not call his son names such as, “`Abdul-Ka`abah”, “`Abdun-Nabi”, “`Abdul-Hussayn”, and such names that implies `Ubudiyyah (servitude) to others than Allah. Ibn Hazm said that naming children with names as such is, according to the consensus of Muslim scholars, prohibited, except the name of “`Abdul-Muttalib”.

3- A Muslim should not choose names that give an impression of pomposity and vainglory. This is supported by the hadith that reads, “The most detestable name for Allah in the Hereafter is that of a man who calls himself “King of All Kings”, for Allah is the Lord of the Kings.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi)

Muslims are also forbidden to name their children after the Finest Names of Allah, such as “Ar-Rahman (the Gracious), Al-Khalik (the Creator), etc.

It is also prohibited to use the Attributes of Allah with a definite article, such as “Al-`Aziz” (the All-Powerful) and “Al-Hakim” (the Most-Wise), as names. But they may be used without a definite article, e.g. “`Aziz” and “Hakim”.

4- It is a commendable thing to call children after the Prophets and righteous people, to keep them in memory, so as to take them as a guide and follow in their footsteps.

The best of such names are the names that show man’s humility before his Lord, as indicated by the hadith that reads, “The best names in Allah’s Sight are `Abdullah and `Abdur-Rahman.” (Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)

The same applies to names that consist of two parts, of which the first “`Abd” and the second is one of the Finest Names of Allah, such as “`Abdul-`Alim”.

5- As for non-Arab names, there is nothing wrong in using them as names, so long as they bear good meanings in their language. Although the early Muslims were purely Arabs living in a pure Arab atmosphere, they found no harm in non-Arab names, as regards men and women. For example, “Mareyah” (the Mother of the Believers) who gave birth to Ibrahim, the son of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was known for her Coptic name.

Also, most of the names of early believers were linguistically names of plants, such as “Talhah”, “Salamah”, “Hanzalah”; names of animals and birds, such as “Asad”, “Saqr”; names of objects and parts of nature, like “Bahr”, “Jabal”; adjectives used as names, like “`Amir”, “Salim”; names of previous Prophets and righteous people, e.g. “Ibrahim” and “Yusuf”.

Thus, a Muslim should take into consideration such restrictions while choosing names for their children.”

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Islamic Names

32 Comments

  1. assalakum
    i was blessed with the baby boy on 5th september 2011 at 3.33 p.m now please suggest the easy and good names for my son
    thank
    regards

  2. Salamualaikum,

    I willing to put a good and meaningfulname for my daughter, shw was born in 2010,september 10. at 5:12PM (friday) Kindly suggest a good name for my daughter. Thanks.

  3. My daughter’s name is Esha Faisal & she was born on 9 Nov 2006. Is is the right name?

    • As-salamu alaykum Faisal. We Muslims do not base choices on numerology or astrology as the Hindus do. Such practices are shirk. I am not familiar with the name Esha – is a variation of Aishah? In any case, if you like it, and it has a good meaning for you, and it suits your daughter, then it is the right name.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  4. Assalam -o- Alaikum,
    i have a query regarding my daughter’s name. she was born on 17th march, 2009. I named her ‘maheen (moon in persian language)’ as her name.
    but recently, while reciting Quran i read the word maheen in sura zakhraf 43-52.
    according to the ayat, maheen means insignificant / disgraced in arabic.
    now i want to change her name but this time i want to be 100% sure… can u pls suggest some good and islamic names from quran.
    i also want to know the meaning of the following names:
    anabia, umme-abeeha, az-zahra

    • Erum, wa alaykum as-salam. Please visit this page:

      A complete guide to Muslim names

      Check the various links at the bottom of that page for suggestions.

      I do not know the name anabia. Maybe you are thinking of Inabiyah, which means “one who turns to Allah”.

      See here for umm-abeeha. I do not recommend it as a name.

      Az-Zahra was a title given by Muslims to Fatima, the daughter of Rasulullah (sws). It means, “the shining one”.

      Really, if you want to name your child after Fatima, then I recommend simply naming her Fatima, rather than any of the associated nicknames or titles.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  5. on 11 October 2014. Allahhas blessed us with a baby boy. Now.ive select his name as “Muhammad Arham Elahi”
    Kindly advice about this name whether it is right or not

    • It seems like a fine name, but who is Arham? Normally the middle name would be the father’s name.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  6. assalam u alaikum!!! my name is bt mostly scholar say that erum is not an islamic name bcz its belong to qom e aadh whom was destroyed.. please guide me in this matter and if its not an islamic name then please suggest me a gud one jazakAllah u khairun

  7. my name is mahreen & my date of birth is 23 july 1984. i have many ups & down in life.kindly suggest a islamic dua for me

    • mahreen, your name and birth date are not related to the ups and downs in your life. We Muslims do not ascribe to Hindu-style numerology and astrology. In fact such ideas are shirk. Instead, we believe that events that happen from beyond our control are part of our Qadar, determined by Allah. And events within our free will are determined by our choices. Of course dua’ can influence our lives and outcomes.

      One of the most basic dua’ is, “Allahumma aatina fid-dunyaa hasanatan wa fil-aakhirati hasantan, wa qinaa adhaab an-nar.” O Allah, grant us good in the dunya, and good in the aakhirah, and protect us from the punishment of the fire.”

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  8. Sorry for above mistake.
    I want to ask
    What is the meaning of WAEL?
    Is it Islamic name?

    • “Wael” is an ancient Arabic name. It is derived from the word “awwal” meaning first. It can mean returning to the beginning, or returning to the original condition. I would not say it’s an Islamic name per se, but the meaning is not bad, and there were some sahabah with this name.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  9. my baby girl was born on 12/12/2014 please suggest me to islamic name

    • Gafur, names are not determined by birth dates. That is a Hindu custom based on numerology and astrology. You should choose any Islamic name that you like, whether one of the sahabah, something from the Quran, or the name of someone you admire.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  10. Assalamu Alaikum. . My name is mohamed safwan. Im blessed with a baby girl. We thought of naming her as maryam. What you think of that name… and can you please suggest the proper way of organizing her full name.. if need can u suggest some names to attach with maryam to make it beautiful… jazakumullah hairen

    • Maryam is of course a wonderful name as it was the name of one of the most righteous woman in history.

      In Islam we do not “attach” other names to a child’s name. The first name is the one you give, like Maryam. The second name – if you choose to give one – would be the father’s name, which in your case is Mohamed. And the last name is either the family name or the grandfather’s name. So your daughter’s name should be either Maryam Safwan, or Maryam Mohamed Safwan, or Maryam Mohamed *grandfather’s name*.

      If you insert another random name, like Maryam Khadija Safwan, then that implies that her mother’s name is Khadija and the father is not known (the child is illegitimate).

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  11. Aslam o alaikum. Im expecting my first child in march . And its a baby girl. I have selected 2 names for her ” yaminah ( bringer of blessing ) and nuwairah ( light and radiance ) .. Can you please suggest if these will be compatible names for her. Thank you

    • Javeria, wa alaykum as-salam. Those both seem like very nice names ma-sha-Allah. I think you should choose whichever one appeals to you most.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  12. Aslam o alaikum. My 2nd child born on 17 march 2015 . And its a baby girl. I have selected 2 names for her ” Fabiha and Shanzay Can you please suggest if these will be compatible names for her. Thank you

    • Asha, wa alaykum as-salam. I understand from this and your other comment that you are asking for a name recommendation based on your daughter’s birth date. This idea of choosing names or making life decisions based on birth dates comes from Hindu astrology and numerology. It is not a part of Islam. In fact, it is a kind of shirk. In Islam we choose names from the Quran, the Prophets, the Sahabah, the righteous men and women of history, Muslim heroes, etc.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Aslam o alaikum.Wael thanks for islamic pointview guide . so i m choose Islamic Arbic Name
        Abrish Meaning ( Allah ki Rhamat). I hope this name is fruitfull for my daughter and her life.

  13. Hi my son date of birth is 9 august and his name is mohid which mean (believe in one Allah). But I m very worried about his name.because my friend has too much knowledge about numerology and astrology. And she said his star is Leo and by name he is Leo too.she said these persons are rebelious by nature and very rigid and they do whatever they want either it is good or bad for them…plz reply me soon

    • Sister naveeda, numerology and astrology are false beliefs with no basis in reality. To believe in them is an act of shirk – associating partners with Allah. As Muslims we know and believe that our Qadar – our destiny – comes only from Allah. The Messenger of Allah (sws) said that whoever believes in the stars has disbelieved in Allah.

      Please ignore what your friend says. The “star sign” will not influence your son’s behavior or character in any way. His character will be determined by whatever natural disposition Allah has given him, in addition to the upbringing that you give him.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  14. Thank u so much sir.I m very satisfied with ur answer.just tell me mohid is good name?

  15. assalamu alaikum
    my name is sobiya. i was born 12 june 1993. i want to change my name according to my birth date.plz suggest some good name for me.
    jazakallah.

  16. My birth date is 13 april 1985 my name is sumera is my name is right if not then sugest me names plz

  17. Asalam u alikum alikum
    My name is imtiyaz ahmad, i m blessed with baby girl can u suggest me a good arabic name as per her date of birth and time whichis 10/06/2015 time 3.17pm

    • sobiya, Sumera and imtiyaz: Names in Islam are NOT chosen according to the birth date, the star sign, or any other kind of astrology or numerology. That is a kind of shirk (associating partners with Allah) and it is a major sin. In Islam, we choose any name with a good meaning. Names can be chosen from the Quran, the names of the Prophets, names of the Sahabah, the wives of the Prophet (sws) or his daughters, or any good meaning.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

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