How should one choose a name for a child?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Assalaamu Alaikum, I’m have a bit of difficulty name my son, and my husband left the main name decision up to me. Is there any specific way I go about this? Also, should I trust the internet for the authenticity of the names while doing so?

Wa Alaikum Assalaam,

With respect to the naming of a child, the Prophet (S.A.S) advised parents to give good names to their children.

About this, he said, ‘You shall be called on the Day of Judgement by your names and the names of your father. Therefore, keep good names.’ (Abdu Dawood, from the narration of Abu Darda (R.A).

As such, parents should name their children with good, lovely and meaningful names. They must not give them such names that might be a means of ridicule to them or have a meaning which is not good. The Prophet (S.A.S) used to change the names of people that were derogatory, and which belittled those who had such names. (Tirmidhi)

It is narrated that the name of one of daughters of Umar (R.A) was Aasiyah (with Ain, which means disobedient). The Prophet (S.A.S) changed her name to Jameelah, which means good/beautiful. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah from the narration of Abdullah Ibn Umar R.A).Besides this, the Prophet (S.A.S) changed many names that had bad meanings. (Abu Dawood).

Children should also not be given names that indicate to an ill omen or bad character. If such names are given, then the meaning of the names will have an effect on the child. Regarding this, it is narrated that the grandfather of Sa’eed Ibn Al Mussayyib presented himself to the Prophet (S.A.S) and was asked what his name was. He replied, ‘Hazan’ (meaning hard, surliness). Upon this, the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Your name is ‘Sahl’ (easy, soft). (That is, he should change the name given from Hazan to Sahl since Hazan indicated to a characteristic that was not good for a believer.)

The grandfather of Saeed Ibn Al Mussayyib replied, ‘How can I change the name given to me by my father?’ Based on this (where the grandfather of the great Tabi’ee scholar Saeed Ibn Al Mussayyib did not change his name from hazan to Sahl), Saee’d himself said, ‘From then on hardness of character was found among us.’ (Sahih Al Bukhari, from the narration of Saeed Ibn Al Mussayyib).

Parents must also refrain from naming their children with such names that are fixed and specifically used for Allah. For example, names such as Ahad, Samad, Khaliq, Razzaq etc. must not be used to name children. However, these names can be used attached with the word Abdul and given to the child. For example, Abdul Ahad, Abdul Khaliq etc. can be used.

When naming children, parents must not select names signifying servitude to others besides Allah. For example, names like Abdul Uzaa, (servant of Uzaa); Abdul Kabaa (servant of the Kabaa), Abdun Nabi (servant of a prophet) etc. must not be used to name children.

The Prophet (S.A.S) encouraged the parents to give their children meaningful names. In one narration, it is recorded that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Name your children with the names of the prophets, and the most beloved names to Allah are Abdullah and Abdur Rahman. (Abu Dawood; An Nasaa’i).

And Allah knows Best.

Mufti Waseem Khan.


This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.