The child should be given a name indicating servitude to Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) by calling him 'Abd (slave of...) followed by one of Allah’s names, which are authentically confirmed. The most beloved of such names to Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) are 'Abdullah (the Slave of Allah) and 'Abdur-Rahman (the Slave of the Most Merciful) as shown by the Hadith, "The most beloved of your names to Allah - the Mighty and Magnificent - are 'Abdullah and 'Abdur-Rahman" (Reported by Muslim & Abu Dawud)
Then these two Names are followed in excellence by similar usage of the rest of Allah’s names to indicate the person’s servitude to Him, such as ‘Abdur-Raheem (the Slave of the Bestower of Mercy) and ‘Abdul-Lateef (Slave of the One knowing the Most Hidden Matters and the One Most Gracious and Kind to His Slaves), and so on.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also put this into practice, he therefore called one of his sons ‘Abdullah. He also named the son of Abu Talhah: ‘Abdullah, and the son of another of his Companions: ‘Abdur-Rahman, and there are many more examples similar to this.
We find that a large number of the Companions gave these two names to themselves, aswell as to their children so much so that there were about three hundred of them who were named by this name. Ibnus-Salah mentions that they numbered about two hundred and twenty.
Naming the child after one of the Prophets or Messengers of Allah
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Call yourselves by the names of the Prophets." (Part of a Hadith reported by Ahmed & Abu Dawud)
He also said, "You may name with my name." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
We find that following this principle the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also called his own son Ibraaheem, after the name of his forefather Ibraaheem ('alayhis-salam). He said, "A son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather Ibraaheem." (Muslim & Abu Dawud)
He likewise called the son of Abu Musa: ‘Ibrahim’, and he called a son of ‘Abdullah ibn Sallaam: ‘Yusuf’, after the Prophet ('alayhis-salam). (Reported by Ahmad)
The Banoo Israa'eel also practiced this, as the Prophet informed us and approved of by his statement,
"They used to name their children after the Prophets and the pious people who came before them." (Muslim)
Naming the Child after one of the Pious People
We must name our children after the Pious People, the Companions, the Martyrs and the Scholars, the men and women of them, hoping that the child will grow up to love and respect them and follow their way and adopt their manners in righteousness, knowledge and also in seeking martyrdom.
For this reason the noble Companion az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwaam chose the names of some of the martyrs from the Companions for his ten sons, hoping that they would become like them. He named one 'Abdullah after 'Abdullah ibn Jahsh the martyr of Uhud, and 'Urwah after 'Urwah ibn Mas'ood, and Hamzah after Hamzah ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib - the noblest of the martyrs, and Ja'far after Ja'far ibn Abee Talib - the martyr of Mutah, and Mus'ab after Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr - the martyr of Uhud.
Also, it is indeed praiseworthy and beneficial for the correct upbringing of daughters that they be called after the names of the pious women and those who participated in Jihaad from amongst the female Companions and those after them, hoping that they will follow them in piety, chastity and manners, such names are: Faatimah, Maryam, Asmaa', Sumayyah, Nusaybah, Khawlah and others from the pious and believing women.
Good Names Which Do Not Fall Into the Previous Three Categories
Names that are good in their meanings carry meanings of bravery, chastity and piety and are easily pronounced, harmonious, suitable and befitting for the person who carries the name, such as: Hamzah, Khalid, Anas, Usamah, Thamir, Haarith, & Hammam the last two being the most true of names as occurs in the Hadeeth. Some examples of good names for girls are: Saarah, Hassanah, Su’ad, 'Affaaf and other such names which are beautiful in both wording and meaning.
Muslims must choose names which arenfar from being that which has been forbidden in the Sharee'ah (Islamic Law).
One can also name the child after the child’s grandfather or grandmother, if it is a good name, as we saw from the following Hadeeth,
"So I named him after my forefather ‘Ibraaheem.’" (Reported by Muslim & Abu Dawud)
May Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, make our children the coolness of our eyes. Aameen.
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