Is it permissible to give a Muslim child one of the following names: Pharaoh, Haman, Qaroon, `Ad, Madian, and Thamud?
Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.
It is established in the authentic Sunnah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) used to change improper names into nicer ones. This is indicated in the following Hadiths: Narrated Al-Musaiyab: That his father (Hazn bin Wahb) went to the Prophet (PBUH) and the Prophet (PBUH) asked (him), "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Hazn." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "You are Sahl." Hazn said, "I will not change the name with which my father has named me." Ibn Al-Musaiyab added: We have had roughness (in character) ever since. Narrated Al-Musaiyab: on the authority of his father similarly as above (i.e., 209). Also, Narrated Sahl: When Al-Mundhir bin Abu Usaid was born, he was brought to the Prophet who placed him on his thigh. While Abu Usaid was sitting there, the Prophet was busy with something in his hands so Abu Usaid told someone to take his son from the thigh of the Prophet . When the Prophet finished his job (with which he was busy), he said, Where is the boy? Abu Usaid replied, We have sent him home. The Prophet said, What is his name? Abu Usaid said, (His name is) so-and-so. The Prophet said, No, his name is Al-Mundhir. So he called him Al-Mundhir from that day.
Undoubtedly, Pharaoh, Haman, Qaroon aren`t favored by all Muslims because they represent symbols of Kufr (Disbelief).
Consequently, whoever has such a name should do his/her best to change it. We also recommend the Civil Status and Passports Department to respond to the request of the person who wants to change his/her name into a nicer one following the guidance of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) in this regard. And Allah the Almighty knows best.