The ahaadeeth about when the child is to be named fall into two classes:
(1) Those which mention naming the child on the seventh day after the
birth. Like the hadeeth of Samurah - radiyallaahu 'anhu - who said:
Allah's Messenger 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>1
And the hadeeth that the Messenger ordered that the child be named on
the seventh day, that the harm be removed from him and the sacrifice
(the 'Aqeeqah) be performed.2
(2) And those which indicate naming the child on the day of its birth.
From these is the hadeeth of Anas-radiyallaahu 'anhu who said: Allah's
Messenger (peace be upon him) said: <A boy was born to me this
night and I have given him the name of my forefather Ibraaheem.>3
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) also named 'Abdullaah ibn Abee
Taihah4. another baby was brought to him after birth and he called it
and there are many examples like this.
So from the previous ahaadeeth we can see that the time for giving the
name is something flexible - and all praise and thanks are for Allah -
so it may be named on the day of the birth, or delayed until the
seventh day after birth - just as it is allowed between the two and
later on. However, the time when it is recommended to name the child is
the seventh day after the birth since that occurs in the words of the
Prophet (peace be upon him) and so it is
taken to be a recommendation, and the ahadeeth mentioning the day of
its birth report the Prophet's action - and are, therefore, taken to
show & what is permissible.
Names the Child?
The father and mother are the ones who are to choose a good name for
their child, but if they disagree about the name, then the father has
the right to choose the name. If he wishes, he may name it himself and
if he wishes, he may give the choice to his wife, and if he wishes he
may draw lots with her.
The fact that naming the child is the right of the father is shown by
the fact that the child in this world is ascribed and attributed to his
father. Allah - the Most High - says:
"Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more
just in the Sight of Allah." [Sooratul - Ahzaab, Aayah:5]
They will likewise be ascribed to him on the Day of Resurrection, and
he (peace be upon him) said: <For every treacherous one a banner
will be raised saying: This is the treachery of so and so, son of so
And the hadeeth: <On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called
by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good.>7
It is also allowed for the parents to allow someone else to choose the
name his grandfather, or grandmother, or someone else, i.e. that they
should say: 'Call him so and so', or 'Your name is so and so', or 'His
name is so and so' etc., since our Messenger and teacher Muhammad
(peace be upon him) used to name some of the children of his Companions
- for example he named 'Abdullah ibn Abee Talhah as has preceded and he
said to a man: <Call your son 'Abdur-Rahman>8
The Ruling for Naming the Miscarried Fetus and the One who Dies before
If it happens that the new-born child dies before it is named, then it
is prescribed to give the child a name in this case9
- just as other children are named, and Funeral Prayer is said upon
him, and the rulings for the deceased apply to him. As regards the
fetus that is miscarried before the completion of six months - and that
is the earliest that life would have been possible for it10
- then the scholars of the Shaafi'ees11
and the Hanbalees12
hold that it is recommended to name him, and they add that if the sex
of the fetus is unclear then it should be given a name suitable for
either such as: Talhah, Rajaa, Hind and Tarafah. Their support for the
first and second questions is that the child will be called on the Day
of Resurrection by his name, and this is a good and reasonable argument
- if Allah wills.
It should also be noted that there are some ahadeeth reported
concerning the encouragement to name the miscarried fetus, however,
nothing from them is authentic - and Allah knows best.13
When the parents intend to name their beloved child - whether male or
female, then they may choose his or her name from one of the following
four classes of names:
FIRST: That the child is given a name indicating servitude to Allah by
calling him 'Abd (slave of...) followed by one of Allah - the Most
High's names, those which are confirmed for Him and the most beloved of
such names to Allah - the One free of all imperfections - are
'Abdullaah (the slave of Allah) and 'Abdur-Rahmaan (the slave of the
Most Merciful) as shown by the hadeeth:
<The most beloved of your names to Allah - the Mighty and
Magnificent - are 'Abdullaah and 'Abdur-Rahmaan>.14
SECOND: That the Child is Named after one of the Prophets or Messengers
of Allah - ('Alaihimus - Salaatu Was-Salaam)
It is said that he. said: <Call yourselves by the names of the
And he said: <You may name with my name.>16
And we find that following this principle, he called his own son
Ibraaheem - after the name of his forefather Ibraaheem - 'Alaihimus -
Salaatu Was-Salaam -, he said: <A son was born to me this night
and I called him after my forefather Ibraaheem.>17
THIRD: Naming after the Pious People - The Companions, The Martyrs and
the Scholars - both the Men and Women of Them.
Hoping that the child will grow up to love and respect them and follow
their way and adopt their manners in righteousness, knowledge and
seeking martyrdom. For this reason the noble companion az-Zubayr ibn
al-Awaam radiyallaahu 'anhu chose the names of some of the martyrs from
the Companions for his ten sons, hoping that they would become like
them. So he named one 'Abdullaah after 'Abdullaah ibn Jahsh the martyr
of Uhud, and 'Urwah after 'Urwah ibn Mas'ood, and Hamzah after Hamzah
ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib - the noblest of the martyrs, and Ja'far after
Ja'far ibn Abee Taalib - the martyr of Mutah, and Mus'ab after Mus'ab
ibn 'Umayr - the martyr of Uhud radiyallaahu 'anhum ajma'een18
and what we have just mentioned is not specific to the males - rather
it is for both the males and the females. So it is indeed praiseworthy
and beneficial for the correct upbringing of daughters that they be
called after the names of the pious women and those who participated in
Jihaad from the female companions and those after them, hoping that
they will follow them in piety, chastity and manners, and from these
names are: Faatimah, Maryam, Asmaa, Sumayyah, Nusaybah, Khawlah and
others from the pious and believing women.
FOURTH: GOOD NAMES WHICH DO NOT FALL INTO THE PREVIOUS THREE CATEGORIES
Names that are good in their wordings and meanings carrying meanings of
bravery, chastity or piety and easily pronounced, harmonious, and
suitable and befitting the person who carries the name. They should be
far from that which has been forbidden in the Sharer'ah (which will
follow) and from the examples of this type are: Hamzah, Khaalid, Anas,
Usaamah, Thaamir, Haarith, & Hammaam the last two being the
most true of names as occurs in the hadeeth19,
and names like them in wording and meaning and from the examples of
these for daughters are: Saarah, Hassaanah, Su'aad, 'Affaaf and other
such names beautiful in wording and meaning.20
The prohibited names are of two categories: those which are forbidden
in the Sharee'ah and those which are either disapproved of due to the
Sharee'ah, or due to manners and good taste.
FIRSTLY: FORBIDDEN NAMES21
(1) Names indicating servitude to other than Allah - the Most High such
as: 'Abdun-Nabee (slave of the Prophet), 'Abdur-Rasool (slave of the
and 'Abdul - Muttalib - and whatever is like these names.
(2) Using these names which are particular names of Allah - the One far
removed from all deficiencies - like: al-Ahad23.
(3) From the names forbidden for our sons and daughters particular to
our enemies, the Jews and the Christians, like: George, David, Michael,
Joseph, Diana, Jaclyn etc., since use of these names causes - sooner or
later-love of them and feeling of closeness to them and imitating them
in their manners and their customs and we - the Muslims - have been
forbidden to imitate our enemies and to have love for them and ties of
(4) From the names which should also be avoided are the names of
tyrants and despots like: Fir'awn (Pharaoh), Qaaroon, Aboo Jahl and
their like, also the names of the leaders of Kufr and the heads of
atheism such as Marx, Lenin and so on.
SECONDLY: NAMES DISAPPROVED OF IN THE SHAREE'AH OR DISLIKED DUE TO GOOD
MANNERS OR GOOD TASTE.24
(1) Giving names which are meant to show servitude to Allah but using
names not known to be from Allah's perfect names - like 'Abdul-Mawjood,
'Abdul-Maqsood and 'Abdus-Sattaar. This is because nothing can be
affirmed as one of Allah's names without an authentic text.
(2) From these names are those which carry meanings of pessimism, or
blameworthy characteristics which will be disliked or cause aversion or
cause the possessor of the name to feel degraded, humiliated and such
as will kill his personality - like Harb (war), Himaar (donkey), and
(3) From good manners is to avoid naming children with names which are
suggestive or offend one's meaning of shame - such as: Huyaam (one
passionately in love), Nuhaad (A young woman with full and raised
breasts), Sahaam (summer heat)!, Wisaal (sexual union), Ghaadah
(delicate young woman), Faatin (temptress), Fitnah (temptation),
Shaadiyah (female singer) and names with similar meanings.
(4) It is also disliked to give names which amount to a declaration of
a person's being pious like: Barrah (pious / piety) and the like - due
to this meaning the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) changed the
name of one of his wives from Barrah to Zaynab, as he used to hate that
it be said: "He left/went out from 'Barrah' (piety)."25
(5) From these names which it is disliked to use for naming are the
names of the Angels27-
Particularly if they are used for females - such as Malaak since it is
to be feared that this involves imitation of the pagans who gave
feminine names to the angels.
(6) Just as it is disliked to name with the names of soorahs of the
Qur'an such as: TaaHaa, Yaaseen and other names of soorahs. This is the
saying of Imaam Maalik- rahimahullaah- Ibnul- Qayyim also said: "The
saying of the common people that Yaaseen and TaaHaa are from the names
of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not correct, there is no 'saheeh'
hadeeth about it or any 'hasan' hadeeth, nor anything 'mursal'28,
nor any narration from any Companion, but rather they are letters like
'Alif Laam Meem', 'HaaMeem', 'Alif Laam Raa' and the like". 29
(7) It is disliked to give names 'Yasaar' (Ease), 'Rabaah' (Profit),
'Najeeh' (Successful), 'Aflah' (Prosperous), 'Ya'laa' (Elevated)' and
Barakah' (Blessing) since the Messenger (peace be upon him) forbade that30
with his saying: <Do not call your boy Yasaar, nor Rabaah, nor
Najeeh, nor Aflah, since you will say: Is he there,' So it will be
said: 'No'. Indeed they are four, so do not attribute more to me>31And
the forbiddence of Ya'aa and Barakah occurs in another hadith.32
Combining the Name and the Kunyah of the Messenger.
Many scholars hold that there is no harm in giving the child the name
of our Prophet: Muhammad and for him to take his Kunyah along with it,
i.e. Abul-Qaasim. This is because they say that the forbiddence
mentioned in the hadeeth: <Name with my name but do not give my
Kunyah>33 was particular to his lifetime - this is the view of
Imaam Maalik and the majority of the Salaf.34
Others hold that it is prohibited to join between the name of the
Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Kunyah in ones name - based upon
the previous hadeeth.
However, an evidence of the preferability of the first saying may be
the hadeeth of 'Alee-radiyallaahu' anhu - who said: "O Messenger of
Allah, if a son is born to me after your death, may I give him your
name and your Kunya?" He said <Yes>35
So this clearly shows that the prohibition was particular to his
lifetime and those who say that the allowance was only for 'Alee do not
have any evidence for this.
Giving Kunyah to a Small Child.
From the Sunnahs established from the beloved Messenger (peace be upon
him) is the giving of a Kunyah to small children - calling them 'father
of so and so' or 'mother of so and so' - and this strengthens the
personality of the child and enables him and causes him to realize his
worth and his importance. Together with the expression of hope which it
contains, the feeling of familiarity it produces and the protection it
gives from unbefitting nicknames. So he spoke in a good and
affectionate manner with one of the small children and called him
Aboo'Umayr. Anas said: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the best of
people in manners, and I used to have a brother who was addressed as
Aboo'Umayr - (the narrator said: I think he was one who had recently
been weaned) and the Messenger (peace be upon him) when he came to him
would say: <O Aboo 'Umayr what has happened to the Nughayr
(Little Finch)>36 The
finch was a small bird which the child used to play with. So this
hadeeth shows the manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in
treating this boy in an honorable and comforting way. Just as the poet
said: "I call him by his Kunyah when I call him to show him due
respect, and I do not call him by a nickname for that is unbefitting."
Manner and Regulations Relating to Giving a Kunyah.
(1) It is permissible to give a Kunyah to a person before they have any
children as is seen from the hadeeth of Aboo'Umayr.
(2) And someone who has children takes Kunyah after the eldest of his
sons. This is what our Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) did when
he asked a man about his sons, so the man said: "I have Shuraih,
Maslamah and 'Abdullaah. So he said to him: <So who is the
eldest of them!> He said: "Shurayh." So he said: <Then
you are Aboo Shurayh.>"37
There is, however, no harm in taking ones Kunyah after the youngest or
middle son - but it is better and more fitting that one should take
ones Kunyah after the eldest.
(3) It is also allowed for one who has children to take a Kunyah not
connected with his children - as was the case with Aboo Bakr, Aboo
Dharr, Aboo Sulaymaan, since Aboo Bakr did not have a son called Bakr,
Aboo Dharr did not have a son called Dharr, Aboo Sulaymaan did not have
a son called Sulaymaan.
(4) It is also permissible for a man or a woman to take their kunyah
after the name of a daughter - like Abuz-Zahraa, Aboo'Aa.ishah, Aboo
Raihaanah, Aboo Ruqayyah, Aboo Arwaa, Abud-Dardaa, Ummud-Dardaa and
others from the Companions of Allah's Messenger.
(5) It is also not a condition that Kunyahs have to be with names -
they may involve attributes such as Abul-Fadl (father of excellence),
Abul-Majd (father of honor), or involve nouns - such as Aboo Hurairah
(father of the kitten), Aboo Hafs (father of a lion-cub) and Aboo
Turaab (father of dust).38
(6) It may be that the Kunyah is actually the person's name which he is
known by, i.e. that his/her name begins Aboo.... or Umm....., and this
Reported by Ahmad (5/7, 17), Aboo Daawood [E.T. 2/797/No. 2831) and the
remaining 3 Sunan [E.T. Declared 'Saheeh by Shaikh al-Albaanee (No.
Reported by al-Tirmidhee [E.T. and declared 'hasan' by Shaikh
al-Albanee in 'Saheeh Sunamit-Tirmidhee]
Reported by Muslim [E.T. 4/1243/No. 5733] and Aboo Daawood
al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 7/273/No. 379] and Muslim [E.T. 3/1172/No.5341] as
al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 8/137/No.211] and Muslim [E.T. 3/1173/N0.5349]
Reported by al-Bukhaaree [E.T. Vol. 8/p. 128/ No. 196] and others
Reported by Ahmad (5/194), Aboo Daawood [E.T. Vol. 3/p.1377/No. 4930
and others Transl.... Its isnaad is declared good by an-Nawawee and
'Hasan' by Ibnul-Qayyim. However, it was declared weak by al-Baihaqee,
al-Mundhiree, Ibn Hair, al-Manaawee, Shaikh al-Albaanee and others
since the taabi'ee reporting it did not meet the Companion he is
narrating from as pointed out by Aboo Daawood himself. ('ad'Da'eefa' of
Shaikh al-Albaanee: 1/431-432)]
Reported by al-Bukharee [E.T. Vol. 8, p. 134, No. 205] and Muslim [Vol.
3/p. 1169/No. 5323]
Refer to 'al-Majmoo' of an-Nawawee (8/435)
Refertro 'khalqul-lnsaan bainat-Tibb wal-Quraan' of Muhammad al-Baar p.
431 and 451
See 'Mughniyyul-Muhtaaj' of al-Khateeb ash-Sharbeenee (4/294)
See'al-Mughnee' of Ibn Qudaamah (2/398) and 'Sharhul-Muntahaa' (1/332)
Refer to: 'Da'eeful-Jaami;' (Nos. 3281 and 3282)
Reported by Muslim [E.T. 3/. 1168/No. 5315], Aboo Daawood (E.T. Vol. 3/.
Part of a hadeeth reported by Ahmad (4/345) and Aboo Daawood [E.T.
3/1377/No. 4932] and its isnaad contains 'Aqeel ibn Shabeeb who is
unknown - as al-Haafiz says. However, its meaning is witnessed to by
the ahaadeeth which follow. It is declared weak by Shaikh al-Albaanee
Reported by al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 8/134/No. 206] and Muslim [3/1169/5325)
Reported by Muslim [E.T. 4/1243/No. 5733] & Aboo Daawood
'Tarbiyatun-Nash.fee Zilaalil-lslaam' of Muhammad 'Umaarah, p.124.
Part of a hadeeth [E.T. Aboo Daawood Vol. 3/1377/No.4932] which is
weak, however the authenticity of this part is witnessed to by other
narrations - see 'as-Saheehah' (No.1040).
This class also covers calling the child after the child's grandfather
or grandmother - if it is a good name - as seen in the hadeeth:
<So I named him after my forefather 'Ibraaheem.
Names in this category must be changed.
[E.T. Just the same in meaning are 'Ghulaamun-Nabee' and
[E.T. The One and Only, Unique in his Lordship, names and attributes,
and His right to worship. The One having no equal, no assistant, no
rival and no-one similar to Him]
The classes of name included here are hated or disliked - varying in
degree of dislike. The worst are the first type - and it is recommended
to change these but not an obligation and Allah knows best. Therefore,
we find that some of the levels (4), (6) and (7) were found amongst the
Pious Predecessors of this Ummah.
Reported by Muslim [E.T. 3/1170/5334]
[E.T. For the prohibition of ascribing piety to oneselves, see
But as regards their use for males - then that is disliked by Maalik,
but allowed by a group of the scholars since the hadeeth prohibiting it
is not authentic.
[E.T. Having a missing link between the Taabi'ee and the Prophet]
'Tuhfatul-Mawdood' (p. 80)
This was a forbiddence showing disapproval as shown by the hadeeth:
<If I live - if Allah wills - I will forbid my Ummah to give the
names ... > (Muslim) and the hadeeth: "The Prophet wanted to
forbid naming with Ya'laa and ... and ... then his soul was taken and
he had not forbidden that." (Muslim) Meaning he did not forbid it and
make it 'haraam'. Refer to an-Nawawee's 'Sharh' of Muslim (14/119)
Reported by Muslim [E.T. Vol. 3, p. 1170, No. 5329], Aboo Dawood [E.T.
3/1379/No. 4940] and at-Tirmidhee
Reported by Muslim [E.T. 3/1170/No. 5331]
[E.T. al-Bukhaaree 8/139/N0.217 and Muslim 3/1168/5314]
'Sharh saheeh Muslim' of an-Nawawee 14/112
Reported by Aboo Dawood [E.T. 3/1382/No. 4949] and at-Tirmidhee and
al-Haakim who declared it 'Saheeh' [as does shaikh al-Albaanee]
Reported by al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 8/142/N0.222] and Muslim [E.T.
Reported by al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 8/142/No.222] and Muslim [E.T.
Reported by Aboo Dawood [E.T. 3/1378/No. 4937] and an-Nasaa-ee, and
declared 'saheeh' by Shaikh al-Albaanee Information
From Manners of Welcoming the New Born Child in Islam
By Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdullaah Al-‘Areefee
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood ibn Ronald Burbank