Islamic names

Q304 :Is there anything such as Mulsim or non-Muslim names? Names are taken on regional or language basis. Names used by Muslims today were used by people before Islam, such as David, Jacob, Abraham, etc. albeit they are used in their Arabic forms Dawood, Yaqoob and Ibraheem. These names are also used by Christians and Jews. In some countries, Christians use such names as Khalid, Khadija, etc. which are supposed to be Muslim names. Please comment.


A304 : It is a child's right, according to Islam, to be given a good name. If his father does not give him a good name, he can press his claim against his father on the day of judgement. In Islamic culture, names are chosen either on the basis of their meaning or their historical associations. If you call your child after someone who rendered great services to Islam, you want your son to remember that fact and to take that particular personality as an example to follow. If you admire that person and know his history, you will be telling your child about him as soon as he begins to understand. You try to make him love that person and follow his example. Similarly, we use the names of prophets because they provide the perfect example for us to follow in submitting ourselves to Allah's will and dedicating our efforts and actions to the service of the Islamic cause. It is true that Christians and Jews call their children after their prophets, such as the ones whose names you have mentioned, but then those prophets also brought the message of Islam, i.e. submission to Allah, in its pure form. Therefore, they belong to our heritage. It is also true that Christians and other religious minorities in a Muslim country use some names which are used by Muslims. There are good reasons for that. In certain periods of history, using a certain variety of names may be particularly convenient. In Arab countries, which fell under European imperialism for a period of time, it was noticed that the European form of Christian names was used by these minorities. After independence, it became more common to use either the Arabic form of these names or names derived from the culture of the country. That is a natural reflection of the state of the country. When we say that a name is Islamic, we mean that either its historical associations or its meaning should be acceptable from the Islamic point of view. The names of the companions of the Prophets were used very widely, generation after generation. Therefore, they became distinctly Muslim names. Similarly, names of prophets are Islamic names, despite the fact that these prophets were sent with messages before Islam. [Added : It is laid down by Allah - ayah 285 of Cow from the Quraan, whose translation in English may be rendered as : "The Messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believeth in Allah and his Angels and His Scriptures and His messengers - making no distinction between any of His messengers - and they say : We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, Unto Thee is the journeying."


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )