Prohibited and undesirable names

Question: Are there names that are forbidden in the Shariah, which can not be called? What are these names?


The following types of names are Makrooh meaning undesired, if somebody has one of them, he should change it. But if it is difficult for him to do so, then he is not obliged.

(a) Names, which are too soft, charming or have provocative meaning, especially for the girls, like Ghaadah (delicate young woman), Huyaam (one passionately in love), Shaadiyah (female singer), etc.

(b) Names of immoral people, such as singers and actors. This is a sign of foolishness and lack of pride in one’s faith, which is often seen when a particular show or a movie becomes famous, people compete with one another to name their newborns after these women and actors.

If these people have names carrying good meanings, then it is permissible to use them, but not in their imitation but for the good meaning!

(c) Names, which convey any kind of sin or refer to sinners and tyrants, like ‘Saariq’ (thief) or ‘Zaalim’ (wrongdoer), Fir’awn, Haamaan, Qaroon, etc. It is also forbidden to use names of devils (shayaateen), such as Khanzab, al-Walhaan, al-A’war and al-Ajda’

(d) Names of animals, which are well known for their undesirable characteristics, such as al-Himaar (donkey), al-Kalb (dog), al-Qird (monkey), etc.

In the previous times, the Arabs would call their children by names of animals but it was only because of the good qualities found in those animals, and this was the desired meaning. So, when they used the name Kalb (dog), it was because of the dog’s alertness and ability to work hard; when they used the name Himaar (donkey), it was because of the donkey’s patience and forbearance, and so on…

(e) Names with ugly and undesirable meaning, which might sound odd and provoke others to make fun of the person and cause him embarrassment, like ‘Harb’ (war), Sahaam (summer heat). Using such names is against the teachings of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), who taught us to use beautiful names,

he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “On the day of Resurrection you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good.” [Musnad Ahmad (5/194).

It’s isnaad is declared ‘Hasan’ (good) by Imaam an-Nawawi and Ibn al-Qayyim. However, it was declared weak by Shaikh al-Albanee and others]

(f) Any name, which is added to the word ‘Deen’ or ‘Islam’ (i.e., names which appear in idaafah genitive construction with these words) such as Noor al-Deen (light of the religion), Shams al-Deen (sun of the religion), Sayf al-Islam (Sword of Islam), Imaam ad-Deen (Imaam of the Religion), etc. because of the great status attached to these two words and also because such names give a person more than what he deserves. Therefore, some scholars ruled it Haraam, while majority say it is Makrooh.

This practice of using the words ‘Deen’ and ‘Islam’ along with one’s name was started with giving such titles to learned men. Later people started using them as first names.

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) was known as ‘Taqiy al-Deen’ (piety of the religion), he disliked it and he would say: “But my family gave me this nickname and it became well-known.” Similarly, Imaam an-Nawawi (rahimahullah) disliked his nickname ‘Muhiy al-Deen’ (reviver of the religion).

(g) Names of Angels – It is disliked to use the names of Angels, particularly for girls because it implies imitation of the Mushrikeen, who considered Angels as daughters of Allaah. (Na’aodhu billah).

(h) Names of Qur’aanic Soorahs, such as Ta-Ha and Yaa-Seen because these words are al-Huroof al-Muqatta’ah (letters which appear at the beginning of some Soorahs and their meaning is known to Allaah Alone)

[See Tuhfat al-Mawdood by Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah), p 109] (The notion that Ya-Seen and Ta-Ha are names of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) is false.).

And Allah knows best.