What is the proper naming of a child?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Saad Peters al-Attas

What is the proper naming of a child?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful, and May His Peace and Blessings be upon His messenger and slave Muhammad the noblest of creation.

It is preferred by the shari’ah that the father or the grandfather in the absence of the latter decides on an honourable and beautiful name for the newborn. The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ((Verily you will be called on the day of resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers so beautify thy names.)) Abu Dawood. It is sunnah to name a child on the seventh day of its birth before one carries out the ‘aqiqah.

The best names as the prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) has indicated in a sound hadeeth in Sahih Muslim is, ‘Abdullah and ‘Abdurrahman, and names similar to it starting with the word ‘Abd (slave) such as ‘Abdulkhaliq and ‘Abdurrazaq and so on. It is also permissible and highly recommended to choose a name from amongst the beautiful names of the Prophets such as Musa and that of the Angles such as Jibreel and Mikaeel (Peace and blessings upon all of them). Our prophet said: ((Name your children by the names of the Prophets….)) Abu Dawood, Nasai and others. In another tradition our Prophet (Peace and blessings upon him) said: ((Who so ever names his child Muhammad out of love for me and to attain the barakah there from, he and his child will be in Paradise.)) Musnad Imam Ahmad and others. According to Imam Al Suyuti this hadeeth meets the conditions of a hassan hadeeth.

Then it is makruh (offensive) and disliked by the shari’ah to choose an ugly name for ones child such as, Murrah (bitter), Harb (war) and names of other religions such as Susan, Sonya, Jack etc. It is haram (prohibited) to choose names which Allah alone is known by such as Malik al Muluk which means King of Kings or Al Kabir (the Great One) or Al Hakim (The Wise One or the Law Giver).

A man once came to the Prophet called Abu Hakam. The prophet said onto him: “Allah is Al Hakim, what do you have of children?” The man replied: “Suraij, Muslim and ‘Adullah.” The prophet then asked him: “Who is the oldest of them?” The man replied: “Suraij.” The Prophet then said: “You are then Abu Suraij” Abu Dawood.

Finally naming a child Hakim without the particle “Al” attached to it is acceptable, though the name ‘Abdul Hakim far accedes the merit of the latter.

And Allah alone knows best.

Saad Peters al-Attas

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