By: Mufti Taqi Usmani and M Rafeeq Hathurani
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 layhi 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 layhi 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 RASOOLULLAH (Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam)
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu layhi 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 layhi 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 layhi 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 life) 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 layhi Wasallam) changed it to Jameelah (beautiful). Zainab (RA) says that she 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 self-glorifying 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.
NAMES FOR MUSLIM CHILDREN, by M Rafeeq Hathurani
Psychologists now apprehend the wisdom of the effect a person’s name has on his life. But Muhammad (Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam) had revealed this fact to his followers already 1400 years ago. His teaching to his followers was that children should be given good names, and that meaningless names and those having unsavoury connotations should be avoided. Subsequently, we find many incidents mentioned in the Hadith where Rasulullah (Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam) changed the names of people with this object.
Another aspect of a person’s name is that it bespeaks a person’s religion. Hence, the name of a Muslim is usually of such a nature that by the mere mention of it, the listener understands that the person so addressed, is a Muslim. It is for this reason that our elders laid great emphasis on keeping good and pleasant names.
But since the widespread of Western culture throughout the world, it has become customary amongst Muslims not to take into cognisance the meaning of the name when naming a child. Many do not even bother to ascertain whether it is permissible for one to keep such a name or not. Often, even if the name is correct and suitable, then by way of abbreviating it, its Islamic connotation is distorted. In fact, at times it even becomes unlawful to address one by such a name. For example, Abdur-Rahmaan is called Rahmaan; Abdur-Razzaaq, Razaaq; Abdul-Wahhaab, Wahhaab whereas Rahmaan, Razzaaq and Wahhaab are the exclusive epithets of Allah Ta’ala. To address any creation by such a name, is therefore unlawful.
While this disease is rampant in the entire Muslim World, it is more in vogue in South Africa: Sulaymaan is called Solly; Yoosuf is called Joosub, Essop or Joe; Uthman is called Ossy, etc. In this way the blessed names of the Anbiyaa (Alayhimus-Salaam) and Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) are distorted and needlessly rendered meaningless. Moreover, one may never know whether the one so addressed is a Muslim or not.
Hence, with regards naming children, there was a need for compiling a book wherein all misconceptions could be eradicated and guidance could be given as to the importance of giving correct and meaningful names. Alhamdulillah, respected Brother, Moulana Qaree Muhammad Rafeeq, teacher at Madrasah Islamia, Lenasia has fulfilled this need proficiently in the pages to follow. The respected compiler has in his introduction explained most ably the Islamic teachings regarding a new-born child. The Masaail pertaining to Tahneek, Adhaan, Du’aas, circumcision, naming a child and many more have been explained in detail. Apart from having compiled a book on Muslim names in an alphabetic order, he has also rendered their meanings and their literal and historical aspects as well. During my tour of South Africa, I have had a cursory perusal of the book from various portions and found it to be most invaluable. In my opinion it should find its place into the home of every Muslim that no family should remain without it.
May Allah Ta’ala grant the compiler the best of rewards in both the worlds for the services rendered by him, and may He also grant this book acceptance and grant him the guidance to render more and greater service of this nature, Aameen.