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Last Updated: 2011/04/21
Summary of question
What is the best name one can pick for their child?
What is the best name one can pick for their child?
Concise answer

Names portray the owner of the name and whenever a name is said, the owner immediately comes to mind, therefore it is important to choose suitable and good names. It has been mentioned in ahadith that the best and most suitable name is one that denotes obedience; the names of the Prophets are the best names, as well.

Detailed Answer

Names and labels are signs and mirrors that reveal the character and nature of that person or thing. Name, is a word that automatically reminds you of the named – the owner - when hearing it. It is necessary for every creature (plant, animal, object and…) to have a name reminiscent and distinctive of their entity.

Providing that mankind is the greatest of all creatures and that every single human possesses a different and distinct set of attributes, it is only right to choose the most appropriate and suitable of names for each and every one of them, a name specifically suitable with the honorable and proud human character. The Prophet of Islam (sa) said: “One of the rights a child has upon his parents is to choose a good and righteous name for him/her.”[1]

In Islam, having a good and righteous name is considered to be a value that has positive influence on the body and soul. Therefore it is upon every parent to put good and appropriate names on their children, for positive names remind you of good things while inappropriate names bring to mind bad thoughts which might insult the owner.

In Islamic ethical resources we find some criteria for righteous naming, for instance:

1. The name must be properly chosen to fit the owner’s personality throughout his life, during all periods and ages (childhood, teenage, youth and elder years).

2. It should not be one of the names of Allah Almighty. For example: Dhat, Rahman.

3. The best name is one that indicates obedience to God, like Abdullah, Abdurrahman and Abdurrahim.[2]

4. The names of the Prophets (as) and Imams (as); it has been stated in ahadith that the best names are the names of the Prophets (sa).[3] Imam Sadeq (as) narrates from the Prophet of Islam (sa) that: whomever has three children and does not name one of them Muhammad has betrayed me.[4]

5. It must not have an immoral and regretful meaning or belong to an immoral figure.

In a hadith from Imam Baqir (as), the Prophet (sa) is quoted exemplifying the best and worst names as follows:

The best names: Abdullah, Abdurrahman and…. The worse names: Dharaar, Murrah, Harb and Dhaalem.[5] In a few other hadith the names Hakam, Hakim, Khalid and Malik were added to the above.[6]

There are different levels amongst the good names, making some of them better and more valuable than the others. Hence it is important to choose the best name that exhibits the most standards.

[1]حق الولد علی والده ان یحسن اسمه و ادبه”.

[2] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 101, pg. 130.

[3] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 101, pg. 130.

[4] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 101, pp. 130 and 131.

[5] Hurr Ameli, Wasa’el al-Shia, vol. 21, pg. 399, hadith 27403, Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, fifth print, 1398 (AH).

[6] Hurr Ameli, Wasa’el al-Shia, vol. 21, pg. 398, hadith 27399.

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