CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN

SUNNAH OF KEEPING NAMES

O Allah (The Exalted) bless our lord and master Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as much as all that is within range of Your Hearing.

Today our parents choose names of those who are seen as famous but not in the view of Allah (The Exalted), Allah forbid, Ameen. If our children get to know the names of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his family then they will relate everything according to their lifestyle. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “The child has a right that the father keeps a good name and teach good manners.” i Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that, “A son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who named him Ibrahim1, did Tahneek for him with a date, invoked Allah’s (The Exalted) blessing upon him and returned him to me.” Ii

Names liked by Allah (The Exalted) Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), that, “From your names, Allah (The Exalted) likes ‘Abd-Allah and Abdur Rahman.” iii Abu Wahab Al Jushami (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “Call yourselves by the names of the Prophets (upon them all be peace). The names dearest to Allah (The Exalted) are ‘Abd-Allah and ‘Abdur-Rahman, the truest are Harith and Hammam, and the worst are Harb and Murrah.” iv Dawudi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “Allah (The Exalted) dislikes the names Khalid and Malik as no-one will live forever and Malik belongs to Allah (The exalted) alone.” V

Keep good names Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) states that, “On the day of resurrection you will be called by your name and your father’s name so keep good names.” vi When a child grows up and ponders over the good meaning of his or her name, then he or she will attempt to be good as his or her name. as an example, if any man has the name Siddiq (truthful), Tayyib (pure) or Sa’id (fortunate); then he will attempt to behave in a manner that is truthful, pure and fortunate. Similarly, if any woman has the name Siddiqa, Tayyiba or Sa’ida; then she will attempt to behave in a manner that is also truthful, pure and fortunate.

Who is illiterate? Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), that, “Whoever has three sons, and from them he does not name one of them Muhammad, he is definitely illiterate (Jaahil).” Vii

Saved from punishment if your name is… Nubeat bin Shureet (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that, “Allah (The Exalted) said that ‘I swear by myself whoever has his name on your name, I will not punish them.” Meaning he whose name is Muhammad will not be punished. Subhanallah! Our name may not be Muhammad; however, it is very virtuous to put Muhammad before our name. If by keeping the name of the Prophet with your name can save you from punishment then imagine how much the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) can directly benefit you!

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), that, “Whosoever is called Muhammad or Ahmad will not go to Hell.” viii ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), that, “When you keep a child’s name Muhammad then respect him and make room for him in gatherings and do not associate bad with him.” ix Abu Raf’i (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), that, “When you keep a child’s name Muhammad then do not hit him nor neglect him.” x Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) states that, “That house who has a person called Muhammad has more blessings.” xi The names of the noble Prophet (upon whom be peace) and those of the prominent pious men and women of the history of Islam are all good. If any man or woman has a name that is attributed to any noble person and he behaves in a wrongful manner, those watching can guide him that your name is attributed to such a noble and virtuous person, yet your actions are not so good.

Names of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) related from Ibn Shihab (may Allah be pleased with him) the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “I have five names. I am Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). I am Ahmad. I am al-Mahi (the effacer), by whom Allah (The Exalted) effaces kufr. I am al-Hashir (the gatherer), before whom people are gathered. I am alAqib (the last).” xii ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “Allah (The Exalted) kept her name Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her) because of her and those who love her have been saved from the hell fire.” Xiii

Do not call people by bad names ‘Abd-Allah bin Jarrar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), “Do not call your brothers by bad names.” xiv Meaning names that are offensive to the person. ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) states that, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would change bad names.” xv Hisham bin ‘Urwa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that his father said that, “I called Hassan (may Allah be pleased with him) with bad names in front of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her).” She said that, “Don’t call him with bad names because he would defend the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) (against the pagans).” xvi We should not call anyone with nicknames or shorten the names as people do today. We should also not call ourselves with the names of non-Muslims. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) states that, “One of ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) daughter’s was called ‘Aasiya. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) named her Jameela.” Xvii

Nicknames Ameer bin Sa’ad (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “Whosoever calls a person by changing their name, the angles curse them.” xviii Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that, “Allah (The Exalted) has ninety-nine names, one-hundred less one; and he who memorised them all by heart will enter Paradise.” xix To count something means to know it by heart. Jannah becomes Wajib upon one who memorises the ninety-nine names of Allah (The Exalted). Subhanallah!

Important Rules: 1. The parents have the first right in naming their child. 2. It is better not to keep names that are not mentioned in the Qur’an or the Hadith or is not used in the Muslims. xx 3. If a child is born dead, there is no need to keep a name, one can bury the child without a name. xxi 4. If a child was born alive then died, keep a name then bury the child, if one does not know if it is a male or a female then keep a name that is used for both. xxii 5. Names such as Rashid, Latif, Hafiz, Rauf etc. are the names of Allah (The Exalted), we should not called them but with ‘Abdul’ meaning ‘servant of’ before it. It is forbidden to call one with the names of Allah (The Exalted). 6. To keep names such as ‘Abdul Mustafa, ‘Abdun Nabi, ‘Abdur Rasool is permissible as it is for respect and not of worship. This had been proven in the Qur’an and Hadith. xxiii 7. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) changed the names that praised oneself. Names such as Shamsdudeen, Zainudeen, Siraajuddeen, Fakaruddeen, Nizamuddeen should be avoided. xxiv The question arises that the pious people would be called by these names so why is it we can not follow their footsteps? The answer is that these where pious scholars and have helped the religion, we are ignorant towards our religion and have not helped in the religion at all, so we are not worthy of having these names. Imam Mohyuddeen Nawawi (may Allah be pleased with him) besides being a great scholar would stop people from calling him Mohyudden. xxv Allahu Akbar! 8. To keep names such as Baksh after a Prophets or a saints name is permissible such as Nabi Baksh, Ahmad Baksh and Hussain Baksh etc. xxvi 9. To keep names such as Muhammad Nabi, Muhammad Rasool etc. is not permissible as these are specific names of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). xxvii 10. If one is unsure of any name then it is better to ask your local Imam. 11. Do not call people by names that will bring pride in them, as this is a sin, but call them by names that they like. xxviii such as many call a person with some knowledge of Islam ‘Allama Saab’. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was …… To call your teachers, parents or your husband by their names is disrespectful. xxix Call you husband by another name i.e. Hajji, or the father of your son/daughter etc. If your son is called ‘Abdullah then you can call your husband Abu ‘Abdullah (father of ‘Abdullah). Some call there husbands by nicknames, this should be avoided if you are shorting his first name i.e. to call Farouq as ‘Faz’ or Muhammad as ‘Mo’ etc. more details on this is covered in the chapter of names. 12. Do not call the Prophet by saying, ‘O Muhammad’ (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) or ‘Ay Muhammad’ (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), but call him by ‘O Prophet of Allah’(may Allah bless him and grant him peace), or ‘O Messenger of Allah’ (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The daughter of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would always say ‘O Messenger of Allah’ (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and not even ‘father’.

  1. To keep nicknames such as ‘Abu Bakr, ‘Abu Turaab or ‘Abul Hasan etc. is permissible as to keep these names is a form of relic (tabarruk) to gain blessings. xxx 14. To keep the names of the Prophets (upon them all be peace) the companions or the pious people (the Salaf) with the name ‘Gulam’ in front is permissible. xxxi i.e. Gulam Mustafa, Gulam Nabi etc. 15. Do not keep names such as ‘Yaseen’ ‘Taha’ etc. as these are part of the ‘Ayat-e-Muqati’at’ and the meaning is unknown. Some scholars say it belongs to the names of Allah (The Exalted) and some say it belongs to the names of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). These names may be specific names of Allah (The Exalted) or the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), hence, we should abstain from keeping them. xxxii

May Allah (The Exalted) give us the ability to keep good names of our children, Ameen.

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