Names for Muslim Children

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by Mawlana Ahmad Muhammad Hathurani

INTRODUCTION (2) … cont’d

NAMING THE CHILD
It is the infant’s vested right to be honoured with a good name. When choosing a name for the child, it should be done with the intention that the child will be blessed with the barakah of that name. Here are some Ahadeeth to show the importance of selecting a good and correct name:

Ibne Umar (RA) relates Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) as saying: “Truly, the most loved of your names by Allah are Abdullah and Abdur-Rahmaan.”

It is also reported in the Aboo Dawood that Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: “Keep the names of prophets. And the most desirable names by Allah Ta’ala are Abdullah and Abdur-Rahmaan. And names that depict honesty are Haarith (planter) and Hammaam (thoughtful). And the most disliked ones are Harb (battle) and Murrah (bitter).

THE BARAKAH OF NAMING A CHILD AFTER THE BELOVED NAME OF RASOOLULLAN (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: “Whoever is named after me with the hope of being blessed, he will be blessed and will be in peace till the day of Qiyaamat.”

He also said: “To whomever is born a boy and he names him Muhammad solely for the love of me and for the blessings of my name, then both he (the father) and his son will enter Jannah.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING GOOD NAMES
HADITH: “On the Day of Qiyaamah you will be called by your (own) names and the names of your fathers. Therefore keep good names.” Aboo Dawood.

HADITH: “To whoever is born a child, the child should be given a good name and sound education. And when he becomes of age he should be married.”

It Was Rasoolullah’s (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) practice to enquire the names of persons and villages. If they were pleasant, it became apparent on his face. If not, his displeasure could be seen.

Once Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) called for a volunteer to milk a camel. Four persons volunteered: he refused to accept the services of the first three because their names did not imply pleasantness. The names of the first two were Murrah (bitter) while Jamrah (burning coal) was the name of the third person. When the fourth said his name is Yaeesh (long live) Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam said to him: “Milk her.”

UNDESIRABLE NAMES SHOULD BE CHANGED
Aa’ishah (RA) reports that Rasool sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam used to change displeasing names replacing them with good names. Abdullah bin Umar (RA) relates that one of his sisters was named Aasiyah (disobedient). Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) changed it to Jameelah (beautiful). Zainab (RA) says that I had been named Birrah (pious). Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam said: “Do not claim piety for Allah knows best who amongst you are pious. Name her Zainab!”

NAMES MAY INFLUENCE THE LIVES OF PEOPLE
Sa’eed ibne Musayib (RA) relates from his father that his grandfather went to Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam and was asked: “What is your name?” He replied: “Hazn” (sorrow). Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam said: “You are Sahl.” (contended). He replied: “I will not change the name my father had given me.” The narrator says that thereafter sorrow continually remained with them.

KEEP AWAY FROM NAMES IMPLYING SHIRK
As Muslims, we should always abstain from keeping names implying any elements of Shirk, like adjoining the word ‘Abd'(servant) to names or epithets other that those of Allah Ta’ala. Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam also forbade keeping pompous and selfglorifying names, for this reveals arrogance and haughtiness – human elements most abhorred by Allah Ta’ala.

BE PROUD OF YOUR IDENTITY AND FAITH
Muslims should always be proud of their identity and faith. Nowadays, to conceal his identity, it is common practice for a person to ‘westernize’ his name, like substituting Yoosuf with Joe or Joseph, Sulaimaan with Solly or Sully, Faatimah with Fatli, Sumay-yah with Summi, etc. Efforts to distort such beautiful names merely reveal an un-Islamic and sacreligious attitude. Remember, there exists behind each Islamic name an Islamic spirit and meaning, which, when distorted, is ruined. For example, there is intended love for the Prophet of Islam, and barakah when naming a child Muhammad. But when Muhammad is called Mahmad or Gammat, this spirit of love for Rasoolullah sallallaahu-alayhi-wasallam and the acquiring of barakah by such a name is shattered. Should we not then refrain from such sacreligious practices?

May Allah Ta’ala guide us so that we may realize the beauty and uniqueness of the religion of Islam propounded by no other than the one who is the best of Allah’s creations-May Allah shower His choicest blessings upon him.

May Allah Ta’ala guide us on the Right Path.

May He also grant this humble effort of mine to be a fulfilment of a long-felt need amongst the Muslims-especially the English-speaking Muslims. Ameen.

M Rafeeq Hathurani