Can you please tell me what Shariah says about names for Muslim children?

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Ref no: 0041#

Date: Monday, 28th March, 2011


Child Upbringing


Can you please tell me what Shariah says about names for Muslim children?


Can you please tell me what Shariah says about names for Muslim children.

I have a friend that says that there is nowhere in Shariah that states that a

Child SHOULD have a Muslim name.


Muhtaram / Muhtaramah

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.


Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has mentioned:

“On the day of Qiyāmah you will be called by your name and your father’s name, therefore, you should keep good names”.

(Abu Dāwood, Vol.2, Pg.320, H.M Saeed)[1]

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has mentioned:

“Keep the names of the Ambiyā (alaihimus salām) and the most beloved of names to Allah is Abdullah and Abdur Rahmān The most truthful names are Harith and Hammam. The most detestable names are Harb and Murra”.

(Abu Dāwood, Vol.2, Pg.320, H.M Saeed)[2]

Hadhrat Āisha (radiyallahu anha) has mentioned:

“Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to change bad names”

(Tirmizi, Vol.2, Pg.111, H.M Saeed)[3]

There were many cases where Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) changed the names of certain individuals and tribes. He gave each of them a better name and encouraged them to keep good names.

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) mentions that once a person came to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) asked him his name. He replied Hazn (meaning hard natured). Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised him to change his name to Sahl (meaning soft natured). The person replied that he does not want to change the name his parent’s had given him. The narrator of this hadeeth Sa’eed, who happens to be the grandson of Hazn says our family was always hard natured.

From the above it is clear that a parent should give his/her child a suitable name with a good meaning. A name with a good meaning will have a good effect on the nature of the child and vice versa. We can also derive that it is permissible to give names in other languages as long as it has a good meaning, even though it is still better to give the child an Arabic name.

And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa

Madrasah Inaa’miyya

· The Sharée ruling herein given is specifically based on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.

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[1] عن أبى الدرداء قال قال رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « إنكم تدعون يوم القيامة بأسمائكم وأسماء آبائكم فأحسنوا أسماءكم »

[2] قال رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « تسموا بأسماء الأنبياء وأحب الأسماء إلى الله عبد الله وعبد الرحمن وأصدقها حارث وهمام وأقبحها حرب ومرة ».

[3] عن عائشة : أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم كان يغير الأسم القبيح