#385: Naming One’s Child with one of the Names of ‘Asmaul Husna’

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for me to name my child from one of the Asmaul Husna names? Thank you.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

In Islam, when a child is born, the parents must name their child with good names and not bad names or names that contain elements of shirk. Furthermore, naming one’s child with a good name is encouraged for it is a form of supplication and the child will be called with that name in the hereafter. There is a narration from Abu al-Darda’ RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:

إِنَّكُمْ تُدْعَوْنَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِأَسْمَائِكُمْ وَأَسْمَاءِ آبَائِكُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا أَسْمَاءَكُمْ

“On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your father’s names, so give yourselves good names.” [1]

Coming back to the question presented, scholars have discussed this matter and divided it into two; the part where it is permissible and the part where it is impermissible.

The impermissible part is further divided into two:

  1. If the name of Allah includes alif lam (ال), then it is absolutely impermissible to name someone with it. Such names are specified only for Allah SWT because it shows the origin and the meaning behind the name, such as the naming with the name al-Sayyid, al-Hakim or others are impermissible to be used for other than Allah SWT.
  2. If the meaning of the name is the characteristic and it doesn’t contain alif lam (ال), then it is also impermissible to be named for a person. This is the reason the Prophet PBUH changed the nickname – or kunyah – of one of the companions from Abu al-Hakam to Abu Syuraih which is the name of his eldest son. [2] This shows that if naming a person with one of the names of Allah with the meaning that the name contains, then this is impermissible, for the name is equivalent to the name of Allah SWT, while Allah SWT is the only one worthy according to the meaning that the name contains.

Whereas, if naming with a name that doesn’t have alif lam (ال) and it is also not meant with the name’s attribute, then in this matter, it is permissible to name someone with it, for instance, the name Hakim which is a name of a companion, Hakim bin Hizam, where the Prophet PBUH said to him:

لا تَبعْ ما لَيْسَ عِنْدَكَ

“Do not sell what you do not possess.” [3]

Hence, this is evidence that shows that if the name isn’t meant with its attribute, then it is permissible to be used. [4]

Thus, we know that any names of Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla are divided into two; there are some that can be used to name someone and there are others that can’t. For example, the name al-Khaliq cannot be used as a name for another creation, for it is specific to only Allah SWT.

However, names such as Hakim (حكيم), Basir (بصير), Ali (علي) and others are permissible to be given, for creations also own them. There are also companions who have such names such as Ali bin Abu Talib and Hakim bin Hizam R.Anhuma. Thus, it is fine to use such names.

Syeikh Zakaria al-Ansari explained that it is permissible to use names that aren’t specified for Allah SWT. He said that it is permissible to name one’s child with Allah SWT’s names that aren’t specific for Him (Allah SWT). As for names that are specific for only Allah SWT, then it is prohibited. This is as explained by Imam al-Nawawi in the book Syarh Muslim. [5]

This is also as stated by some jurists from madhhab Hanafi who said that naming with Allah SWT’s names that are mentioned in His book such as al-‘Ali, al-Kabir, al-Rasyid, al-Badi‘ is permissible, for the names are associative (with its meaning). It is meant for the rights of humans and not the meaning for the rights of Allah SWT. [6]

Whereas Ibn Qayyim explained this issue by giving several examples of Allah’s names that are specific for Allah SWT and are prohibited from being used for creations. He said: Among the prohibition in naming a human with Allah SWT’s names is that it is impermissible to name a person al-Ahad, al-Samad, al-Khaliq, al-Razzaq and other names that are specific for Allah SWT. [7]

Conclusion

According to the above discussion and arguments, in our opinion, if the names are specific for Allah SWT such as al-Ahad, al-Samad, al-Khaliq and others, then it is absolutely impermissible to name someone with it. However, if the name isn’t specific for Allah SWT and the meaning is also owned by creations, then it is fine to name someone with it. Especially if the meaning is good.

Thus, we say that naming one’s child with one of the names from Asmaul Husna isn’t an offence, for it is included as names that have good meanings.

May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in this religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Narrated by Abu Daud (4948)

[2] Narrated by Abu Daud (4955)

[3] Narrated by Abu Daud (3503)

[4] See Fatawa al-‘Aqidah, hlm. 37.

[5] See Asna al-Matalib Syarh Raudh al-Talib, 4/243.

[6] See al-Buraiqah al-Mahmudiyyah, 3/234.

[7] See Tuhfah al-Maudud, 1/125.

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