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.”

************************************

Added Note: Muslim names are NOT chosen according to the date or time of birth.

Choosing names according to the date or the time of birth is a form of astrology or numerology. It is a type of shirk – associating partners with Allah. It is a custom which some Muslims of the Indian subcontinent have borrowed from other religions. It has no basis in Islam.

Allah said in the Quran, “Say: ‘None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allah.” (Surat al-Naml 27:65)

Saheeh Muslim has narrated, on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (Hafsah – may Allah be pleased with her), that Allah’s Prophet (sws) said:

“Whoever went to a fortune-teller and asked him about some matter (i.e. of the unseen) and believed him, will have his prayer rejected for forty days.”

Imam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Astrology that is concerned with studying the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs is prohibited by Almighty Allah’s Book, the Sunnah, and the unanimous agreement of the Muslim scholars. Furthermore, astrology was considered forbidden by all Messengers of Almighty Allah.”

The great scholar, Ibn `Uthaymeen, said: “Astrology is a kind of sorcery and fortune-telling. It is forbidden because it is based on illusions, not on concrete facts. There is no relation between the movements of celestial bodies and what takes place on the Earth.”

Before the advent of Islam, people would think that the sun and moon might eclipse when a great figure died. During the Prophet’s lifetime, it happened that the sun eclipsed on the same day when the Prophet’s son Ibrahim died. The people then thought that it had eclipsed because of the Prophet’s son’s death. On knowing this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) led them in the Eclipse Prayer and then delivered them a speech saying: “The sun and moon are but signs of Allah; they do not eclipse because so-and-so died or was born.”

This hadith indicates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) denied all relation between the movements of the heavenly bodies and events on the Earth. Besides, people who believe in the prophecies of astrologists are easily exposed to a labyrinth of illusions, pessimism, and psychological problems.

How Do Muslims Choose Names?

Muslims can choose any name with a good meaning. Good sources for names are the Quran (for example names of the Prophets), names of the Sahabah, and names of great figures from Islamic history. And of course, “Abd” followed by any of the 99 names of Allah, such as AbdulRahman, AbdulAzeez, etc.

There is also nothing wrong with choosing a name to honor someone you love, such as an ancestor, family member or friend.

Wael Abdelgawad
Zawaj.com Editor

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Islamic Names

114 Comments

  1. Wael,

    I really appreciate your patience with us all. Everybody keeps on asking names based on date of birth. May Allah reward you.

    I need a suggestion. I want to name my baby girl, Nora. Now the pronunciation i want to use is different from what is usually done (Noor-A, from Noor). Instead i want it to be pronounced as NO-ra. Does it make any difference? The reason is that the original pronunciation means something bad in Punjabi (my mother tongue).

    Regards

    • Ezi, I’m sure you can pronounce it however you wish and I don’t think there is a problem. After all, even in different Arabic dialects words are pronounced differently.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  2. Can you please shed light on name “hooriyah fathima”.is it good name??please looking forward for reply.

    As i found two meanings for hooriyah
    Hooriyah=beautiful,radiant
    In another website huriya =angel
    It is bit confusing which would be correct n exact meaning of hooriyah.
    Plz kindly answer to my query.

    • As-salamu alaykum sister Rizwana. “Hooriyah” refers to the Hoor-Al-Ayn that are mentioned in the Quran, which are the pure and lovely companions of Jannah. They are not angels. The name seems to be used mostly in the subcontinent. There is nothing wrong with it; however, many people believe (mistakenly I think, and Allah knows best) that the Hoor-Al-Ayn are rewards to men, to be enjoyed sensually. Because of that I think it’s best to avoid this name.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  3. My baby boy took birth on
    23/01/2016
    Rabil Akhir 12 tarik
    Saturday at 4:10pm
    I kept his name
    Mohammed sheik Uzmir pasha
    Is this name good for my baby
    Will it match with date, time ,day
    Will it bring good luck, good life , good health & good wealth to him please reply
    What name is the Best for him

    • Tabreen, fortune and success in life is NOT based on names or birthdates, or any relationship between these items. Such ideas derive from astrology and numerology; they are superstition and shirk (associating partners with Allah) which is a major sin.

      One of the six pillars of imaan (principles of our Islamic faith) is to believe in Qadar, which is Allah’s divine predestination, meaning that whatever happens to us from beyond our control is predestined and ordained by Allah. It is not related to names, birthdates, mother’s names, star signs, or any such factors. This is a fundamental principle of our deen, and is a part of “Laa ilaha il-Allah.”

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  4. can we use the name zayyan for our son ?? The meaning is beautifier and the it is indirectly Quranic name .
    Actually I did not find this name related to prophet or sahaba! Can we use this name ??

    • Usman, I am not familiar with this name. If the meaning is good then there is nothing wrong with it. However I feel it’s better to stick to the names of the Prophets, sahabah, tabi’een and righteous individuals. Allah knows best.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  5. My baby boy name is Ruhan… the name i found on internet website… is the name origin arabic? N shall i continue the same name…? Does it has any good meaning..

    • Tanzia, As-salamu alaykum. If the name Ruhan is Arabic then it is derived from “Ruh”, which means spirit or soul. Ruhan would mean “two spirits”, which I think is a bit odd. You might like instead to choose Ruqayyah (daughter of the Prophet sws), or Rida (favored by Allah), or any name from the Quran or one of the righteous people from history. And Allah knows best.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  6. I want to change my name please guide me because I am suffering from lots of tention not getting any successes till now my date of birth 23May1991 Time: 8:35PM Thursday I was born

    • Sister, your name has nothing to do with your tension or lack of success, whether real or perceived. Neither does your birthdate and time have anything to do with it. Such ideas are based on Hindu astrology and numerology. These ideas are not acceptable in Islam. As Muslims we believe that our Qadar or destiny is determined by Allah, and can be changed only through dua’ and sincere effort. It has nothing to do with birthdates and names.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  7. Aslam-o-Alaikum

    i was blessed with the baby Girl on 28th March 2017 at 10.30 p.m now please suggest me good names for my Girl.

    I shall be very thankfull.

    regards

    Waqas Ahmad

    • Brother Waqas, mabrook on the birth of your child. selection of names is not based on birthdates or the time of birth. Such concepts come from Hindu astrology and numerology. You can choose any good name from the Quran, or one of the wives of the Prophet (sws) or one of the female sahabah, or any righteous individual.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  8. Assalamualaikum…..Sir I have blessed with baby BOY…. I thought below names for him please suggest…….
    MOHID- one who believe in oneness of almighty Allah….
    TAHIR-. Pure, chest, holy
    MAHAD- Great nice.
    I

  9. Assalamo alaikum
    Sir i was blessed with baby boy. I want to keep name ehan, what it mean or is it from quran. And suggest me any other name from quran.

    • Imran, “Ehan” is an Arabic boy’s name meaning “full moon.” It is a good name, there is nothing wrong with it.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  10. I was blessed with a baby boy last week and haven’t yet decided a name. Tomorrow I will have to finalise his, my family recited Bismillah and opened the Quran and took the first letter where the holy book opened which came out to be T and they have suggested to go with the name “Taimour”.

    Is this a good name? Please suggest!

    • Owais, congratulations on the birth of your boy, ma-sha-Allah. I don’t know why there is so much superstition regarding names. Why not just choose a name you like, rather than use this odd method you described?

      In any case, the name Taimour or Timur as it is commonly spelled is a reference to the Mongol-Turkic conqueror of the 14th century. He was the most powerful ruler of the Muslim world for a time. You can read about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur

      The actual meaning of the name is “iron” in the Turkish language.

      It is clearly a strong name, and I see nothing wrong with it. Alternatively, if you are set on something start with T, there are the well-known sahabah, Thabit (bin Qays) and Talhah (bin Ubaydullah). Though of course those are classically Arabic names and you may prefer something from your own culture, Allah knows best.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  11. Assalamalikum

    masha allah, I was blessed with a baby boy last week. we are in deep confusion in selecting name, as my inlaws want to keep name as Abdul Muizz Hussain and i as a father want to keep as Mohammed Yasir Hussain, please suggest me which name is best to my child.
    also please suggest there meaning Yasir and Muizz from the Quaran.

    I shall be very much thankfull to you.

    jazakallahu Kair
    Abdul Khuddus

    • Wa alaykum as-salam. Al-Muizz is one of the names of Allah. “Abdul-Muizz” means “servant of the One Who bestows honors.” In other words, servant of Allah. Yasir means “easy” and “right-handed” and was the name of a Sahabi, Yasir abu Ammar, may Allah be pleased with him. Both are good names.

      In the Islamic naming system, the first name is the given name (i.e. whatever name you give the child), the second name is the father’s name, and the third name is either the grandfather’s name or the family name. So the name Mohammed Yasir Hussain, for example, does not make sense unless the father’s name is Yasir.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  12. As salaam alekum

    I have kept my daughter name Maisarah do you think this name is ok for muslim girl, pls suggest.

    Jazakallah

    • Wa alaykum as-salam. Maisarah comes from the Arabic root y-s-r, which means ease, and also refers to the right side. Names deriving from this root have meanings of ease, success, etc. So yes, I think it is a good name.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  13. As Salaam o Alaikum, my name is M.Abid and I’m 21 now. However, I mostly fell sick always from time to time different diseases. Even I care and cure the most… but still… What I’m looking here is to know that is there really any impact of Name on our health? I mean many have told me that there is a link between the personality and the suitability of name and the person. and probably my name might not suit me. Can someone clarify me this? or it’s just a myth?

    • Muhammad, there is NO CONNECTION between your name and your health. This belief is a superstition with no foundation in Islam, just like beliefs in star charts (astrology) or that certain names must match certain birth dates (numerology). These are all different kinds of shirk (associating partners with Allah). Islam teaches us that the things that happen to us are part of our Qadar. Only Allah controls our fate.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  14. As Salaam o Alaikum, my name is M.Naeem and I have a baby girl plz suggest a good islamic name by date of birth.
    Baby born tym is 1st June 2017 4:16am.

    • Brother Naeem, we Muslims do not determine names according to date of birth. This is a false practice based on numerology and astrology, which are both types of shirk. These practices are most likely derived from Hindus. Please abandon such practices and don’t get drawn into these superstitions, even if they are common.

      In Islam we choose any name that we like and has a good meaning. It could be a name from the Quran, one of the sahabah, or any righteous individual from history. Or any name that has a good and positive meaning that is consistent with Islam.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  15. Assalamolaikum brother. Allhamdullilah you are doing a great job by guiding other’s regarding their queries,May Allah SWT reward you for this kare-khair.
    Brother Allah blessed me with a baby girl and i want to keep a name “Illiyeen ” Which is in Quran chapter 83 Sura Almuthaffafin Ayat No 17..
    and the other name is “Ameera” so which name do you think is better.
    JazakAllah Khair

    • Wa alaykum as-salam brother Jawad. I think Ameera is easier to pronounce and generally more suitable.

      However, it is an interesting idea to name a child Iliyeen. If you read the surah, you will not that it is not entirely clear what Iliyeen is. In Tafsir ibn Kathir it says:

      Illiyyin… is the opposite of Sijjin. It has been reported from Hilal bin Yasaf that Ibn `Abbas asked Ka`b about Sijjin while he was present, and Ka`b said, “It is the seventh earth and in it are the souls of the disbelievers.” Then Ibn `Abbas asked him about `Illiyyin, so he said, “It is the seventh heaven and it contains the souls of the believers.”

      This statement — that it is the seventh heaven — has been said by others as well. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement, (Nay! Verily, the Record of Al-Abrar (the righteous believers) is in `Illiyyin.) “This means Paradise.” Others besides him have said, “`Iliyyin is located at Sidrat Al-Muntaha.” The obvious meaning is that the word `Illiyyin is taken from the word `Uluw, which means highness. The more something ascends and rises, the more it becomes greater and increases.

      (END OF QUOTE)

      * * *
      So it is definitely an lovely name in its meaning. I just think it is a difficult word to pronounce and probably difficult to spell for those not familiar with it. So I would choose Ameerah.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  16. I blessed with a baby boy on 05.06.217
    At 9.10 am . Could you please suggest some names

    • Hussain, mabrook and congratulations on the birth of your boy. As I just wrote to brother Naeem, we Muslims do not determine names according to date or time of birth. This is a false practice based on numerology and astrology, which are both types of shirk. These practices are most likely derived from Hindus. Please abandon such practices and don’t get drawn into these superstitions, even if they are common.

      In Islam we choose any name that we like and has a good meaning. It could be a name from the Quran, one of the sahabah, or any righteous individual from history. Or any name that has a good and positive meaning that is consistent with Islam.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  17. Assalam walequm bhai,
    My name is shahrukh in my home one baby girl birth on 4th june 2017 8th ramzan we can’t able to decide her name good can you plz sugges any good name.

    • Mabrook and congratulations on the birth of your baby girl. We Muslims do not determine names according to date or time of birth. This is a false practice based on numerology and astrology, which are both types of shirk. These practices are most likely derived from Hindus. Please abandon such practices and don’t get drawn into these superstitions, even if they are common.

      In Islam we choose any name that we like and has a good meaning. It could be a name from the Quran, one of the sahabah, or any righteous individual from history. Or any name that has a good and positive meaning that is consistent with Islam, or even simply a relative or friend that you admire and wish to honor.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  18. Asslam alaikum. Can you tell me the meaning of sharjeel

    • As far as I can tell, the meaning is not known. The name is mostly found in Pakistan. It may be Urdu in origin, or may be a loan word from another language. One source on Quora claims the name means “great one” or “powerful.”

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  19. My son name is azainuddin khan and daughter name is javeria yashfeen are their names are good for them or not.if not,then suggest me the best name for my children

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