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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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

199 Comments

  1. Assalam o alekum,

    I want to name my son Aariz but it’s meaning is ‘rain bearing cloud’. It’s a Quranic word. I just want to ask you is this name will be good or not?

    • Anum, wa alaykum as-salam. I have never met anyone with that name, but if you like it I think there is nothing wrong with you. The rain bearing cloud brings barakah and life for crops, animals and people. It is a good thing.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  2. We have blessed with baby boy. Please comment on below names as we are confused and want to select from these names.
    1) Mustafa
    2 Abdul Ahad
    3 Essa
    4 Zarrar

    • Sara, congratulations on the birth of your child mashaAllah.

      These are all good names. You can select whichever one pleases you most. Personally I like Mustafa. It was one of the titles of the Prophet (sws), and it has a pleasing sound.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  3. Sir My nephew born on 04 november 2020 about 6 o’ clock and i suggest the name ‘ Hussain’ so can u please tell me is it suitable for him or if u can suggest me name for him then plzz tell me

    • Zeeshan, Muslim names are not based on birthdates or time. That is bidah and is based on Hindu numerology. Instead just choose any good name from the Quran, the Prophets, the Sahabah, or any great Muslims of history. Hussain is a good name, of course, since he was the grandson of the Prophet (sws).

      May Allah bless your child and with good health and strong imaan.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  4. My daughter born on 17th November-2020, plz suggest islmic names according to date

    • Rauf, Muslim names are not based on birthdates or time. That is bidah and is based on Hindu numerology. Instead just choose any good name from the Quran, the Prophets, the Sahabah, or any great Muslims of history.

      May Allah bless your child and with good health and strong imaan.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  5. Assalamu walaikum
    Please suggest me a baby girl name
    My baby is 4 month old and still I am confused about choosing name for her. She born on September 16 2020 Wednesday at 4.57 pm please tell me name for her ..
    I have found some name
    safa taskeen
    Laiba mahnoor
    Nargis fakri
    Adah mahnoor
    Please suggest me ….

    • Syed, Muslim names are not based on birthdates or time. That is bidah and is based on Hindu numerology. Instead just choose any good name from the Quran, the Prophets, the Sahabah, or any great Muslims of history. Out of the ones you mentioned, I like Safa, as it is one of the hills that Hajar climbed, and it means “pure.”

      Secondly, the child’s second name should be your given name. So if the child’s first name is Safa, the second name should be Syed (if that is your given name). And the last name should be either the family name or the grandfather’s name.

      May Allah bless your child and with good health and strong imaan.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  6. Assalamu Alaikum, Dear Brother/Sister,

    This blog is Masha Allah beautiful and very helpful. Jazakallah for that. Also I appreciate your patience too in spite of repeatedly people sharing date of birth and you explaining them again.

    Can you kindly suggest few Baby boy and girl name which is the best in terms of meaning and easy to pronounce.

    Jazakallah in advance for the help

  7. Salam.. i named my son Ali Hassan.. many ppl are saying it could b a heavy name,and they are 2 different names it means two different personalities so may be it could be heavy for the baby because these 2 names have strong personalities,what to you say should i change it??

  8. I named my daughter as “Fatima”
    Is it fine from islamic point of view

    She is few days old

  9. Assalamualaikum
    My daughter’s name is Inaya
    Is it a good name for her

    • Wa alaykum as-salam. Inaya means solicitude, concern or care. So it seems like a nice name for a girl. Mabrook 🙂

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  10. Assalamualaikum

    InshaAllah, We still have a month’s time till our baby arrives.
    The name we decided if it’s a girl is Hayat Nasira Kaka ( Nasira is my mother in law’s name, which my husband wants to give our child in her memory. And kaka is his family name )
    Please give clarity if this can be used.

    • Sakina, wa alaykum as-salam. It’s not from the sunnah to give two first names like Hayat Nasira. It should be either Hayat, or Nasira. The sunnah is to use the father’s name as the second name, so if your husband’s name is Ali, for example, the child’s name could be Hayat Ali Kaka, or Nasira Ali Kaka.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

  11. Hi, i want to keep my baby name ZARA
    She born on 13th of june afternoon 3:30pm
    So plz advice me if ZARA name is fine and if u can suggest any other word also
    According to birth plz let me know
    Thanks in advance

  12. Assalamualaikum, wrbt
    Sir,
    My friend is planning to name her daughter as “Aisha” or “Fatima” or “Qurratulain”. Kindly suggest.

  13. Asslamulkum sir,
    My brother had a baby boy in pakistan Lahore. Time about 9.15 date 22.6.2021…Tuesday. please help us to choose the baby’s name. We like these names
    Muhammad Haris Nawaz
    Muhammad Rehaan Nawaz
    Muhammad Ayaan Nawaz
    Thank Thank you

  14. By the grace of almighty Allah, we are likely to welcome our first child, please suggest me few names.

    • Waseem, may Allah bless you with a healthy and happy child. You can choose any good name from among the names of the sahabah, or something from the Quran, or any of the great Muslims of history, or any ancestor or person you admire.

      Wael
      Zawaj.com Editor

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