Thursday, 25 October 2007

Giving A Child An Angel's Name

Brother Ruvian Ruslan contacted me this morning to ask of the permissibility of naming his soon-to-be child with the name of the Angel of Allah - "Mikail" - the Mala'ikah responsible for the delivery of provisions i.e. Rizq to this World. This post is our exact response to the issue, with minor syntax and language modifications - merging the advice and knowledge from the Ulama of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah, as well as providing a discussion on the principles of making decisions in Islam for the purpose of Taqwa and a drive for Piety.

May this be beneficial. Ameen.

Abu Khadijah Damansari

Salams Ruvian

Wa'alaikumussalam Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

JazakallahuKhaira for taking the time to send your enquiry. May Allah SWT make it easy for your wife and yourself in the preparation for the welcoming of your child into this world. We hope that preparations are made for the child's Aqiqah and Tahneek with the Ulama. It is recommended that your wife increases her indulgence in Qur'anic recital, Nawafil Solat, Zikr and Du'a. May Allah SWT make the child pious and of grand benefit to the Muslim Ummat. Ameen.

With regards to giving a child the name - Mikail - or any other Angel of Allah. The situation may be summarised like this:

Evidence From Hadith

Many Ulama express that it is Makruh i.e. offensive and undesirable to name a child with the name of an Angel.

The Hadith of reference is as follows:

سموا بأسماء الأنبياء و لا تسموا بأسماء الملائكة

Which means:

"Give a name (to your child) with the names of the Prophets (AS) and do not give a name from the names of the Angels."

The above Hadith is narrated by Imam Bukhari RA in his kitab: "At-Tarikh Al-Kabir"; as well as by Imam Baihaqi RA in his kitab: "Shu'abal Imaan".

Nevertheless, the authenticity of the above Hadith is questioned by some Ulama i.e. some scholars say that the above hadith is Dha'if. However, we must understand that the injunction of "Dha'if" (i.e . Weak) is not the same as "Maudu'" (i.e. Fabricated/False). Thus the above Hadith has some bearing and influence to the way we choose the name of our children. The Ulama say - one weak hadith is better than 1000 independent opinions of scholars.

It should ne noted that the grand Imam - Imam Malik bin Anas RA explained the ruling that it is Makruh to give the child the name -Jibril. This ruling is also held by other grand Ulama such as Ibn Qayyim RA as explained in "Tuhfatul Maudud" and Ibn Uthaymeen RA in "Al-Manahi Al-Lafdhiyyah".

On the other hand, the Ulama from the Shafi'i School and Hanbali School of Jurisprudence say that doing such as merely Permissible. This is per explanation of Imam Nawawi RA in his Al-Majmu' - Chapter 8: Page 436:

ذهبنا ومذهب الجمهور جواز التسمية باسماء الانبياء والملائكة صلوات الله وسلامه عليهم أجمعين ولم ينقل فيه خلاف الا عن عمر بن الخطاب رضى الله عنه أنه نهى عن التسمية بأسماء الانبياء وعن الحرد بن مسكن انه كره التسمية باسماء الملائكة وعن مالك كراهة التسمية بجبريل وياسين

Meaning to the effect:

"Our school and the schools of the reliable - are of the position that it is permissible to give a name (to a child) with the names of the Prophets (AS) and the Angels (AS), and there has not been any difference of opinion in this, except from (Saiyidina) Umar ibn Al-Khattab RA - in that he prohibited the giving of names of Prophets, and from Al-Harith ibn Miskin - that he hates giving a name (to a child) with the names of Angels, and from Malik (RA) - that it is offensive to give the names Jibril and Yaasiin."


My humble approach to this matter is that we should take into account of the opinion of ALL scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah of Haqq and then practice what is best . Any parent would definitely want what is best for his/her child. In Dunia as well as Akhirah.

So let us find a solution systematically:

For example - in the Shafi'i School of Jurisprudence, it is Makruh to brush the teeth with Miswaak (sugi) while fasting, but in the Hanafi School of Jurisprudence, it is Recommended , especially before Solat. Hence because we are adherents of the Shafi'i School, and since the injunctions of both schools are almost opposite to each other, then we should abide by the Shafi''i School of Jurisprudence, and hence we should refrain from using the Miswaak whilst fasting.

On the other hand, in the Shafi'i School, Witr is Sunnat Mu'akkad but NOT Wajib, but in the Hanafi School, it is Wajib. Having known that Witr is the greatest Sunnat Solat after the five time daily prayer, and knowing that both schools ENCOURAGES the performance of Witr Solat, then hence - a Muslim should compel himself to perform Witr, and as such he will be fulfilling what is best in both Schools of Jurisprudence.

In the case of giving the name "Mikail" or any Angels' name on the other hand - we know that there is evidence that it is Permissible but not Virtuous, and there is evidence that it is Makruh and Detested. Hence by merging the views of both, we should choose the PRECAUTIONARY ROUTE OF PIETY and REFRAIN from selecting such a name, and opt for other names instead which has been CONFIRMED to be strongly recommended by Rasulullah SAW, his Sahabah RA and the Pious Precessors RA as well as the Ulama. Such names include: Muhammad, Abdulllah, Abdur-Rahman, the names of the Companions RA and other good Muslim names.

In Malaysia, the culture is to choose names which sound good / unique / "canggih" - whilst maintaining a good meaning. Although this is not the best way to go about things, it is certainly acceptable.

The name of a child is one that lasts forever. Even after the person has passed away. And in Islam, we know that the name of a child affects his/her character. So we should always go for what is best.

I hope I have answered your question sufficiently.



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