Question: 6th Jamadil Ulaa 1320 Hijri - What is the ruling of the Ulama-e-Deen and the learned Muftis in the following case: There some people who keep names such as, Taaju’deen, Muhiy’yud’deen, Nizaamud’deen, Ali Jaan, Nabi Jaan, Muhammad Jaan, Muhammad Nabi, Muhammad Yaseen, Muhammad Taaha, Ghafoorud’deen, Ghulam Ali, Ghulam Hussain, Ghulam Ghaus, Ghulam Jilani and Hidaayat Ali. Is it permissible to keep such names or not? (Translator’s Note: The second part of this query deals with a specific situation and has been left out here due to detail. It can be viewed by the learned scholars in the original document)
The Answer: May their be countless Durood and salaams upon Muhammad Nabi, Ahmed Nabi, Nabi Ahmed (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam). Such words (names) are only befitting the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam). افضل صلوات الله و اجل تسلیمات الله علیه و علی اله
To keep such names for others is absolutely haraam, as it is accepted that there is no claim of Prophethood, and if this is the case (in other words the name is kept to claim Prophethood), then it is kufr. There is however the chance of claim and this is Haraam and treacherous and this view that in a proper noun the meaning in the first instance is not contemplated, is actually not a statement regarded as being sound in the Sharia and it is also not acceptable according to common law. There is no doubt in it not being referred to as stated in the first meaning but to just think that it is out of sight is also incorrect. It is evident from numerous Hadith Shareef that the Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) changed numerous names which had some weakness in them. It is in Jaame Tirmizi from Ummul Mo’mineen Aisha Siddiqa (radi Allahu anha) as follows: “It was the blessed habit of the Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) that he would change names that were not good.”
It is in Sunan Abu Dawood that the Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) changed the names Aasi, Azeez, Utla, Shaitaan, Hikm, Araab, Hubaab and Shihaab. قال ترکت اسنیدھا للاختصار
He changed the name Ahram and kept the name Zar’a (Ref: Usaama bin Akhzari radi Allahu anhu).
He changed the name Aasiyah to Jameela (Ref: Muslim from Ibn Umar radi Allahu anhu).
He changed the name bira to Zainab and said, “Do not refer to your selves as good. Allah knows well, who is good amongst you.” (Ref: Muslim from Zainab bint Abi Salma radi Allahu anhu).
(The meaning of Bira is ‘pious woman’. The Prophet Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam said this was self praise and thus changed it. The Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said, “Verily you will be called on the day of Qiyaamat by your names and the names of your fathers, so keep good names.” (Ref: Ahmed and Abu Dawood from Abu Dardah radi Allahu anhu)
If the first meaning has to be completely ignored, then what now will be said about a certain name being good and a certain name being bad? Also what will one say about instances where the names where changed, and why would certain names be regarded as self praise? In the name being prefixed all are the same? Now, after this, we need to ask those people (who object) if they would keep the names of their children shaitaan, mal’oon (cursed), evil raafdhi or Khuk (swine) etc? They will never allow this. Then it must be noted that it must be accepted that it directly refers to the original meaning of the word and can not mean something else. Now, how then can one (claim that the meaning is not same) and name your children and yourself Nabi? Is there any Muslim who thinks it is correct to keep his child’s name Rasoolullah, Khatimun Nabiyeen or Sayyidul Mursaleen? By no means will someone allow this. How then is it correct to name our children Muhammad Nabi, Ahmed Nabi, Nabi Ahmed etc? I have even heard some who don’t even seem to fear Allah, keeping their child’s name Nabiyullah. Wa La Howla Wa la Quwwata il’la bil’laahil Aliyil Azeem. Is it haraam just to use names that claim Nabuiwat and halaal to use names showing Nabuiwat? It is necessary for the Muslims to change such names.
It’s not surprising when such disgraced people give weak excuses and even end up trying to keep names attributed to “Allah”, Ya Rab’bal Aalameen etc. for according to their statements, in a Proper Noun the actual meaning of the name is not given any regard. والعیاذ بالله رب العالمین
In the same way, to keep the name Nabi Jaan is also not ideal. If the word jaan has been added individually to show love, and this seems to be the general reason, then it is clear, that it is as if claiming Nabuiwat. And if one takes the meaning where the sentence structure is read in reverse, the it would be Jaan-e-Nabi (The Prophet’s life – The Prophet’s Beloved), this is a thousand times more self praise compared to the name Birah and the Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) did not like this name (birah), so why will this name be one that is liked. To change this name a little, will not be objectionable. By adding just one alphabet (The Haa) one will end up with a good meaning name which is allowed and one is saved from sin. One should change it to Muhammad Nabiyyah, Ahmed Nabiyyah, Nabbiyah Ahmed and Nabiyyah Jaan. One should rather call and write these names. Nabiyyah here means to be alert and conscious.
In the same way, it is not allowed to keep the names Yaasin and Taahaa since they are those names of Allah and of the Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam), that there meanings are not known to us. It is not astonishing if they have such meaning, that they can not be used for any beside Allah and Rasoolullah. Thus, it is better not to keep these names as well, just as it is not permissible to chant that which one does not know the meaning of for perhaps it may mean something that entails shirk (polytheism) falsehood. Imam Abu Bakr Bin Arabi states as follows in the book Ahkamul Quraan: “Ash’hab has reported from Maalik that one should not keep the name Yaasin alone as it is the name of Allah and it is a rare kalaam. And this can be explained in this way, that, it is permissible for the servant to keep such names that are joined to the name of Allah, when this meaning is evident in it such as Aalim and Qaadir. And Maalik has forbidden such names from being kept because they are from those names where the meanings are unknown. Possibly they have such meanings that are only attributed to Allah. Thus, one should not give preference to that which one does not recognize, for there is danger in doing so.”
Allama Shahabud’een Ahmed Kufaji Hanafi Misri quotes this in Naseemur Riyaaz the annotation of the book Shifa by Imam Qaadi Iyaaz and states that it is a great presentation and a foot note has been placed therein by this Faqeer:
قد کان ظھر لی المنع عنه لعین ھذا المعنی لکن نظر الی انه اسم النبی صلی الله تعالٰی علیه وسلم ولا ندری معناه فلعل له معنی لا یصح فی غیره صلی الله تعالیٰ علیه وسلم الخ و العل ھذا اولی و ما تقدم لان کونه اسم النبی صلی الله تعالٰی علیه وسلم اظھر و اشھر فلا یکون له معنی ینفرد به الرب عزوجل والله تعالٰی اعلم
The same (as mentioned above) applies to the name Taahaa.