Naming a Child:
mother…advice to her
It is irrefutable
that the mother’s proper nourishment has telling effect on
the health of the yet-to-bo-born child. In the like manner,
the spiritual nourishment of the mother is no less
important. If the mother is desirous of an obedient, pious
and spiritually healthy child-and which Muslim parent isn’t?
– she has no choice but to think and act in a manner which
will manifest the luminous spirit of Islam. She will have to
spend much time offering her devotions to Allah by
performing salaat, making dhikr, reciting the Holy Quraan
etc. This will have a two-fold result: the mother will
remain spiritually and mentally healthy and at the same time
the child will be inheriting piety, good manners and many
other angelic qualities - Inshallah.
It is no wonder
then that these angelic qualities are often manifested in
the infancy of many a great personality. It is said of some
Auliyaa-Allah that they were born with certain portions of
the Holy Quraan already imprinted in their memory. Others
even refused to drink the milk of their mother during the
holy month of Ramadaan.
Here is an
authentic incident mentioned in the Bukhari and Muslim to
substantiate that the acts of virtue of parents certainly
have positive effects on their progenies for generations to
(RA), a companion of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
had a son who had fallen gravely ill. During that period the
father had to leave home for a number of days on an
important errand, leaving the child to the care of the
mother. Whilst away, the sickness caused the death of the
beseeched the people not to inform her husband even when he
returned. When he returned his very first enquiry was about
his son. When answered that he (their son) is presently in a
more comfortable state than that which he had been in…
meaning that death had rendered him peace and comfort. By
this answer the husband understood that he had recuperated.
She then offered him his supper which he ate with relish.
The good wife then even adorned herself as best she could
which filled him with passionate feelings. When she saw that
his needs had been tended to then only did she disclose to
him the death of their son. This stark news proved a severe
blow to him. He was annoyed and overcome with intense grief…
that she had not disclosed to him the child’s fate earlier,
and, instead allowed him to perform an act which
At daybreak he
approached Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
and related to him what had transpired during the night.
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) intently
asked him whether they had copulated. When he answered in
the affirmative, he blessed them by saying: “O Allah, grant
them blessings for what had transpired during the night.” A
male issue was born of them whose Tahneek was done by
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam). He named
him “Abdullah”. When Abdullah grew up and married, Allah
Ta’ala blessed him with nine children, all of whom became
huffaaz of the Holy Quraan and leaned Ulamaa of their time.
This overwhelming attainment can only be attributed to the
acts of virtue of the grand-mother of these ulamaa.
apparent from the above incident that acts of virtue of
parents not only have a telling effect on their children but
also on their progenies for generations to come.
When a child
It is indeed a
joyous occasion when parents are blessed with a child.
However, the extent of the joy could be enhanced even
further if the laws of Shariat are adhered to and all other
meaningless rituals are cast aside since they are neither
mentioned in the Holy Quraan nor cited in the Hadeeth.
After birth the
child should be given proper ghusl. Thereafter the message
of the Greatness and Oneness of Allah Ta’ala, and the
prophethood of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
should be the first words to reach the child’s innocent
ears. This should be accomplished by giving azaan near his
right ear and iqaamat close to his left. This noble task
should be the prerogative of an aalim or pious elder of the
family. If such a person is not at hand then any Muslim male
may perform this sunnah.
In order to
safeguard children against misfortune, the following duaa
should be recited as often as possible and “blown” on the
I seek protection
by the perfect words of Allah from the evil of every devil
and reptile, and from the evil of every revengeful eye.
the four Quls may also be recited and “blown” on the child.
afterbirth and naval-cord
and naval-cord should be buried with due care since they are
portions of the human body. As such, it should be treated
with respect and honour. Disposing it in the drain or
garbage is contrary to this concept. It is for this reason,
too, that the dead body of a human being may not be cremated
or abandoned in a pit for vultures and other animals to
devour it… as is customary among the people of other
As the infant is
the offspring of its mother, it is common knowledge that the
mother’s milk is the most suitable source of nourishment for
the baby. Therefore, the mother should most obligingly
fulfill her duty of breast-feeding the child. By so doing
bonds of love, affection and intimacy are strengthened
between mother and child, and in the process, good habits
and character are transmitted to the child. All these and
countless other benefits are contained in breast-feeding.
Artificial methods of feeding are all devoid of these
advantages. Other methods of feeding should only be resorted
to if ill-health or other circumstances do not permit her to
breast-feed the child. However, she must ensure that no
haraam food is consumed by the child. Bismillah should
always be recited before feeding.
period for which a child could be breast-fed is two years.
To exceed this period is not permissible since the use of
any part of the human body, without necessity, is not
allowed. The milk of the mother is portion of the human body
and there is no necessity to feed the child for more than
two years. Therefore not to wean the child after the
permissible period is haraam.
Muslim males may
not adorn themselves with clothes of silk or any red and
bright orange (saffron) colour. Neither gold nor silver
ornaments. Adornment is characteristic of womanhood.
also ensure that children dress in an honourable and modest
manner-never imitating the ostentatious styles that may be
in vogue. Due to the incorrect concept of ‘freedom’ and
‘broad-mindedness’, parents allow their children to dress
and act in a manner they wish. This eventually results in
problematic, rebellious and disobedient children who in
adolescent stages cause parents and society untold
heartbreak and much anxiety.
and naming the child
It is mustahab
to remove the baby’s hair and to observe the aqeeqah
and to name the child on the seventh day after birth. Gold
or silver equivalent to the weight of the removed hair may
be given as charity to the poor. Otherwise its equivalent
value in money. The hair, being a portion of the human body
should be buried with due respect. Aqeeqah is a form
of Sadaqah whereby the child is safeguarded against
misfortunes. Two sheep or two goats are offered for a boy
while one goat or sheep suffices for a girl. If the seventh
day co-incides with the days of qurbaani then
portions of a cow, ox or camel may be offered as qurbaani
and portions as aqeeqah.
before seven years is mustahab. The baby’s health must be
taken into consideration before deciding on khatnah.
However, khatnah before he attains twelve years is
When the child
begins to talk
The child should
first be taught to say the kalimah when he begins to
considerable emphasis on education and good character. It is
the children’s rightful claim to be given sound Islamic
education and taught good manners. This will not only afford
the children happiness in both the worlds, but they will
prove great assets to both, their families and society as
well. This is why Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
declared good manners as the ‘best thing’ a father can
impart to his children. He also declared the mother as the
‘shepherdess’ of the household which implies that she is
responsible for the correct upbringing of her children.
owe their children
Self-esteem: Parents owe their
children personal worth and self-esteem which are the
cornerstones for sound mental health. A child who is
constantly criticized, “put down”, reproached, made to
feel stupid and inept, continually compared with brothers
or cousins who do better, will become so unsure and so
terrified that he or she will lose enthusiasm for learning
and becoming successful.
Praising the child and expressing love:
A child needs to be praised every now and again for
his achievements and good behaviour. Some parents find it
difficult to voice their approval or praise the child.
However, there are other modes of expressing approval as
well-a smile, caress or a kiss will convey approval. All
these acts of love are very essential for producing
children who are healthy in mind and body. It is for this
reason that our Shariah lays considerable stress on
showing love and affection the children. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
said that one who does not have mercy on our children and
does not respect our elders, is not from among us.
Equality: Parents should always
treat their children equitably. Children tend to grow
miserable, lose confident, become discouraged and
resentful if parents show favoritism towards a particular
child. It is related by Hadhrat Aaisha (RA) that once she
offered a date to a lady beggar who was accompanied by her
two daughters. The lady shared the date between her two
daughters, depriving her self of a share. Then she
departed. When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
came home, she related to him the incident. He said:
“Whoever is involved with any daughters, and he treats
them well (equitably), this will serve as a protection for
him from the Fire.”
Basic Islamic education: It is the
duty of every parent to ensure that his children have
basic Islamic education which covers aqaaid or
Islamic beliefs, the five principles of Islam, the rules
and masaail pertaining to these five principles and
the correct recital of the Holy Quran.
Standards and values: Decent
standards and solid values should also be taught to the
child. This means being respectful to parents, elders,
the Ulama, teachers and just laws.
and other necessary precautions
termed cleanliness half of Imaan. As such the mother
should personally accomplish all maternal devotions such as
feeding, bathing and keeping the child clean and paak.
Soiled clothes must be cleaned without delay so that the
danger of bacteria spreading is nipped in the bud. Thus,
barakah and happiness will abound. The baby should also
be immunized against infantile diseases. This does not,
however, imply lack of faith and reliance in Allah.
It is the
infant’s vested right to be honoured with a good name. When
choosing a name for the child, it should be done with the
intention that the child will be blessed with the barakah
of that name. Here are some Ahadeeth to show the
importance of selecting a good and correct name:
Ibne Umar (RA)
relates Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) as
saying: “Truly, the most loved of your names by Allah are
Abdullah and Abdur-Rahmaan.”
It is also
reported in the Aboo Dawood that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
said: “keep the names of prophets. And the most desirable
names by Allah Ta’ala are Abdullah and
Abdur-Rahmaan. And names that depict honesty are
Haarith and Hammam. And the most disliked ones
are Harb and Murrah.”
Parents are apt to call their children with nicknames, and
in a good number of cases these names endure to the
exclusion of real ones. While choosing nicknames or calling
names care should be taken to see to it that one does not
fall ashamed to be addressed by it in full grown age.
Some parents intentionally corrupt the names of their
children, just in a fondly way, but later on this corruption
goes so deep that it is beyond correction. As for instance
Muhammad is turned into Mamad, Ahmed into Amad, Ebrahim into
Ibu, Yusuf into Isop and so on. The parents are the root
cause of such mutilations. They should avoid this sort of
Islamic philosophy of naming is that a child must have a
good name, significant of good augury, congenial to human
nature sweet, serene, noble, indicative of submission to
the Almighty, avoiding names suggestive of ferociousness or
sanguinity. The name should not smack of dirtiness,
incivility, abuse or debasement.
The last but not least point to be kept in view while naming
a child is that the Muslim identity should not be lost in
strange and foreign names. The Muslims must be able to
clearly make out whether a man or a woman belongs to Muslim
society by just hearing their names. That is, the names must
be familiar and relative to Muslims. There is nothing wrong
in naming a girl as Rosy, or Rosetta, but on hearing it her
identity is lost. Such un-Muslim names must be avoided even
in nicknames or calling names.
Every man and woman must have a distinct name but it is not
possible to do so. Hence, human ingenuity and inventing
power has attached prefixes and suffices to common names
just to make out one from the other. This glossary also
contends itself only with more common names in vogue among
Muslims of Indo-Pak origin.
It is hoped the website will prove useful to parents and
relatives of new-borns to choose and select names of their
choice from this glossary.
Humiliating and debasing names must also be eschewed as such
names degrade a man and hurt his self-respect. Some sections
give their children degrading names to cast off evil eyes
and ward off the Angel of death. These are mere
superstitions and revolting to the spirit of Islam.
Another point to be remembered in giving names is that
bondman ship of a child must be attached to Allah alone and
to none else. Hence, such names as Abdur Rasul, Ghulam Nabi,
Ghulam Husain, Kalbe Ali (the dog of Ali), etc., must be
The Prophet (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) ordered to
give a good name to the child on the seventh day, and
cleanse it of the dirt (i.le. the hair of the head) and
It is advisable to give children names of Arabic origin.
This tends to create a sense of attachment towards the
language of the origin of Islam and also uniformity and
familiarity amongst the Muslims of the world. One may reside
in any part of the world but his name of Arabic origin will
at once indicate that he is a Muslim.
During the prophet’s time the names were short and simple,
but later on as Islam spread from country to country, the
names also underwent great changes. Political upheavals
developed personality-cult and the names of a section of
Muslims revolved round Ali, Fateman, Hasan, Hussain. Others
who shared equal love for all the caliphs combined their
names such as Siddique Ali, Omer Ali, Uthman Ali. Many
combined names where coined based on ‘Deen’, ‘Islam’ such as
Hakimuddin (wise man of religion), Naserul Islam (Helper of
Islam). Some liked to have prophet’s name prefixed to every
name such as Muhammad Ali, Muhmmad Husain, Muhammad Hasan.
The as Islamic Government and society assumed greater
dimensions, bombastic, flamboyant, high sounding lengthy
names also came into vogue. If I try to compile combined
names the task would be beyond the scope of the present
booklet. It is sufficient to give some guidance on combines
names to enable parents to coin the names of their choice:
The combination must conform to the direction given
by the holy prophet as mentioned above.
All conceivable noble abstract qualities and good
adjectives could be pressed into service to form combined
name such as Shujaa (courage), Shujauddin (courage of
religion), Noor (light), Noorul Islam (light of Islam), etc.
Poetical names: Some like to give their children
names in consonance with their own rhythm, metre and
measure, lsuch as Ismail, Israel, Sulaman, Salman, Mohamed,
Historical names: These are based on the year of
birth and only those well versedin arithmetical poetry could
make out fitting names.
Remember, there exists behind each Islamic name an Islamic
spirit and meaning, which, when distorted, is ruined. For
example, there is intended love for the Prophet of Islam,
and barakah when naming a child Muhammad. But
when Muhammad is called Mahmad or Gammat,
this spirit of love for Rasoolullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
and the acquiring of barakah by such a name is
shattered. Should we not then refrahin from such
May Allah Ta’ala guide us so that we may realize the beauty
and uniqueness of the religion of Islam propounded by no
other than the one who is the best of Allah’s creations-May
Allah shower His choicest blessings upon him.
May Allah Ta’ala guide us on the Right Path.
May He also grant this humble effort of mine to be a
fulfillment of a long-felt need amongst the
Muslims-especially the English-speaking Muslims.