Etiquette of naming children, Categories of good names.

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Etiquette of naming children

2. There are four categories of good names:

a. The first (best) category is the names ‘Abd-Allaah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.

It was reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved of names to Allaah are :

  • ‘Abd-Allaah and
  • ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.”

(Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 1398).

b. The second category is all the names which express enslavement to and worship of Allaah, such as

  • ‘Abd al-Azeez,
  • ‘Abd al-Raheem,
  • ‘Abd al-Malik,
  • ‘Abd al-Ilaah,
  • ‘Abd al-Salaam, etc.

c. The third category is the names of Prophets and Messengers – may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them. Undoubtedly the best and greatest of them is our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam); the name Ahmad is also one of his names. 

Next come the names of the “Messengers of strong will” [cf. Al-Ahqaaf 46:35], namely :

  • Ibraaheem,
  • Moosa,
  • ‘Eesa and
  • Nooh (may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them),
  • Then the rest of the Prophets – may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them.

d. The fourth category is the names of righteous slaves of Allaah, above all the companions of our noble Prophet.

It is mustahabb to use their names, following their example and hoping to reach a higher status.

e. The fifth category is any other good name which has a proper and pleasant meaning.

It is good to pay attention to a number of matters when giving names to our children, including the following:

1. Recognizing the fact that this name :

  • Will stay with the person for his entire lifetime, and
  • It could cause some embarrassment or problems for him which in turn could make him feel badly towards his father, mother or whoever gave him this name.

2. When looking at names in order to choose one, we should look at it from a number of angles. We should look at the name itself, and also think of how it will sound when this person is :

  • a child,
  • a youth,
  • an adult,
  • an old man and
  • a father, and
  • how it will suit his father to be called “Abu” (Father of) So and so, and
  • how it will suit his son to be called Son and
  • so son of So and so, etc.

3. Choosing the name is the right of the father, because he is the one after whom the child will be named (son of, or daughter of…).

But it is mustahabb for the father to involve the mother in the decision and to ask for her opinion as to whether she thinks the name is good, so that she will feel happy.

4. The child must be named after his father even if the father is deceased or divorced, etc., even if he does not take care of the child or see him at all.

  • It is utterly haraam to name a child after anyone other than his father, except in one case, which is when the child is born as the result of adultery (Allaah forbid).
  • In this case the child should be named after his mother and it is not permissible to name him after his father.

Islam Q&A

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