Is It Permissible to Name Your Child After a Living Person?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Is it permissible to name your child after a living person?

In the Syrian tradition the first born son of the oldest son is named after the paternal grandfather.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I haven’t come across a ruling which indicates the dislikedness of naming a child after a living person. Rather, the matter of naming is very expansive, as long as you adhere to some general guidelines which are outlined in the attached answers.

Please also see: Is it Necessary to Change One’s Name after Becoming Muslim? and: Can We Give to Our Baby His Grandfather’s Name as a Surname?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Is the Name Gabrielle Permitted for a Muslim Girl?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam alaykum

My pregnant sister is looking for a name to her child. Is the name Gabrielle permitted for a Muslim girl?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. May Allah grant a smooth pregnancy and bless with a blessed child that is a source of lasting joy for you and your families.

There is nothing wrong with the name “Gabrielle.”

The basis of names in Islam is that they are permissible. It is recommended, by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), to choose names with wholesome, good meanings.

It is discouraged to choose names with clearly negative meanings (Arabs liked naming their sons with the names of wild animals, to intimidate enemy tribes).

It is prohibited to use names directly expressive of sin, corruption, or disbelief (e.g. calling oneself the name of a Hindi deity).

Thus, the name mentioned wouldn’t fall under any of these prohibitions. It is said that the root sense of the name “Gabrielle” is from the Hebrew meaning of being a person of God. While the feminine of “Gabriel,” this alone wouldn’t make the name disliked or avoidable.

Please see: Is it Permissible to Name Children with Names of Angels?

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and translator of several Arabic works to the English language. After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersGuidance to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner.

Is It Acceptable to Choose a Name That Is Not Arabic and Is Not From the Quran?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is it acceptable to choose a name that is not Arabic and is not from the Qur’an as long as it has a good meaning? We have been told that for example “Audrey” or “Isaiah” are impermissible or disliked. Is this true?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This is permitted and those who have told you otherwise are incorrect. The most important consideration when it comes to a name is its meaning.

Islam does not prohibit people from embracing and continuing to abide by their own cultural norms so long as these norms are not interdicted. Rather, as the Qur’an states, God created people and gave them diverse backgrounds and cultures as a means: “We have made you nations and tribes so that you may know one another.” (49:13) This verse continues by stating, “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the one most righteous.” In other words, it is not the Arabization of one’s culture that counts; what counts is piety and righteousness. From this perspective, an Isaiah can be far greater in the sight of God than an Amr or Zayd.

Those who state that keeping non-Arabic names is impermissible ignore a number of crucial points. The most glaring is the fact that many of the prophets were not Arabs, did not speak Arabic, and nor did they have Arabic names. They were people who spoke in their own non-Arabic tongues. As the Qur’an states, “We have not sent a messenger except with the tongue of his people.” Thus, Moses (God bless him) was said to have spoken Hebrew and Jesus (God bless him) Aramaic, while Abraham (God bless him) spoke a Kushitic language.

Another point worth noting is that fact that there were a number of Companions who also had non-Arab names, such as Fayruz al-Daylami who was Persian. [Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba] Throughout the history of the Islamic world, Muslims have always used non-Arabic names.

Finally, none of the above is to suggest that Arabic does not hold significance. It clearly does. It is the language in which the Qur’an was revealed and the tongue spoken by our Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) and many early Muslims. However, just as we are not prohibited from speaking in our own non-Arabic tongues, we are not prohibited from keeping non-Arabic names.


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani