Children’s Rulings in Islam Naming, 'Aqeeqah and Legitimation (Lawful Birth)

children’s rulings in islam

naming, 'aqeeqah and legitimation (lawful birth)

after the birth of the child it is a recommended to recite the athan (call to prayer) in his right ear to follow the footsteps of the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) when he recited the call to prayer in the ear of al hassan (ra) ([1]) ([2]). this way, the word of tawheed (monotheism) would be the first thing that the child hears, so satan will run from him ever since he is just a baby. it is also recommended to congratualate the parents by saying: “may allah bless your child. thank the bestower for his blessing. may he grow up to be strong. may he be benign to you” ([3]). it is a sunnah (prophetic tradition) to give 'aqeeqah([4]) in the seventh day of the child’s birth to celebrate his birth, hoping and praying that he lives a long righteous life. 'aqeeqah is like 'udhiyah (animal sacrifice especially during pilgrimage) except for preferring not to break the bones of the slaughtered animal like the 'udhiyah. cooking the meat and offering it to people in a banquet is better than giving it to people as a raw meat. two families should not slaughter one 'aqeeqah because there is no evidence of the validity of such act according to sunnah ([5]). the 'aqeeqah for the birth of a boy has to be by slaughtering two sheep or goats, and one goat or sheep for the birth of a girl ([6]). it is permissible to delay the celebration of 'aqeeqah if it is not available for the parent ([7]), so it can be celebrated on the 14th day of the birth or the 21st.

the benefits of practicing this sunnah:

satan clings to the baby the minute he comes to the world to distance him from fitrah (natural disposition of monotheism). the 'aqeeqah is the mean to release the pledge of the child ([8]). the prophet (peace and blessings of allah be upon him) said: “every child is held in pledge for his 'aqeeqah, which should be slaughtered on his behalf on the seventh day, and he should be shaved and given his name.” ([9]) ([10]) parents have to name the child a good name; the naming should be after the birth or in the seventh day of birth ([11]). the parent should choose from the best of names because when the child grows up to realize the good meaning of his name, he would make sure to adhere to this meaning in terms of deeds and manners and he would try not to contradict with the good meaning of the name ([12]). naming is the right of the father, but consulting the mother and siblings would definitely ascertain affinity among the members of the family ([13]).

the best names to almighty allah is abdullah (servant of allah) and abdur-rahman (servant of the merciful one), then comes any other name that reflects man's humility before his lord, as indicated by the hadith that reads, "the best names in allah's sight are abdullah and abdur-rahman." (reported by muslim, abu dawud, at-tirmidhi, and ibn majah) it is also recommended to name our children after the prophets and messengers of allah, then the righteous men, then any other name that islam does not prohibit, namely names that have no taint of shirk or names that suggest ideas that are repugnant to islam. any name that contains or implies shirk (associating partners with allah) is prohibited as is the case with names such as servant of muhammad, servant of the prophet, servant of ka’bah and so on. it is also prohibited to name the children after polytheists and disbelievers such as the pharos, oppressors and tyrants. it is banned to name children with names such as: king of the kings, judge of the judges and ruler of the rulers. the prophet (pbuh) said: “the vilest name you can give a human being is maliku ‘l-amlak, or ‘king of kings,’ because no one can be such but god himself.” it is not permissible to give children the names of the devils such as khanzab (a demon who casts doubt at the time of prayer), al-walhan (demon of ablution), al-awar (demon of fornication), al-agda and al-habab. it is also not right to name children with names that imply recommendation such as barrah (pious), aflah (felicitous), yasar (abundance), najih (prosperous), baraka (blessing) and ya’li (elevated). the prophet (pbuh) said: “you must not name your slaves yasar (abundance), rabah (gain), najih (prosperous), aflah (felicitous), because if you ask after one of these your domestic servants, and he be not present, the negative reply will express that abundance, or gain, or prosperity, or felicity, are not in your dwelling.” the same applies to names such as iman (faith), huda (guidance), malak (angel) and so on. it is inhibited to have names that imply negative, hateful or misfortunate meaning such as: harb (war), haya (serpent), murra (bitter), huzn (sadness), asyah (disobedient) and all names of that sort. it is disliked to be named after the names of the angels ([14]).

it is prohibited to name the child sayed walad adam (chief of sons of adam), sayed al-bashar (chief of humans) because these are titles of the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him). banning the bearing of the name of the prophet muhammad (pbuh) and his nickname was only during his lifetime. after the death of the prophet muhammad (pbuh) four sons of the companions were named muhammad and nicknamed abu al-qasim ([15]). it is also applicable to the names of the daughters, it is recommended to name them after the righteous women of previous nations, the female companions and righteous women such as: asia (pharaoh’s wife), hajar and sarah (wives of prophet ibrahim peace be upon him), in addition to the names of the prophet muhammad’s wives and daughters such as aisha, khadijah, fatimah, ruqayyah and om kolthoum.

the legitimation of the child’s lineage and parentage is proven by his birth, because based on this the child gets other legal rights such as guardianship, custody, nursing, inheritance, will, waqf ([16]), grant or gift, expenditure and other rights of the child and also rights of parents, siblings and relatives ([17]).

the lineage of the child is proven by birth from his married mother or from the mu’taddah (woman in waiting period after her divorce or death of a husband) after the passing of at least six months since marriage has been consummated. if the lineage of the child is unknown, and a man claims to be the parent, the lineage to this man is proven, provided that he is allegeable or capable to father a child and no one else is disputing with him over the parentage of this child. these rulings are detailed and explained in jurisprudence and shariah books ([18]).


([1]) ra: radya allah anhu/anha[may allah be pleased with him/her]

([2]) tuhfat al-mawdoud fi-ahkam al-mawloud by imam ibn al-qayyim: page 21-22.

([3]) al-mughni (the most widely known textbook of hanbali fiqh) by ibn qudamah: 11/125.

([4]) 'aqeeqah: celebrating the birth of a new baby, usually by slaughtering a sheep and distributing its meat or making a meal with it for a group of people

([5]) al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/539.

([6]) al-eddah sharh al-omdah by bahaa al-deen al-maqdesi: page 210-211.

([7]) al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/536 - 537.

([8]) tuhfat al-mawdoud fi-ahkam al-mawloud by imam ibn al-qayyim: page 50.

([9]) at-tirmidhi kitab al-adhahi (1522), al-nessai kitab al-aqiqh (4220), abu dawud kitab al-dhahaya (2838), ibn majah kitab al-thab’eh (3165), sunan ahmed (5/22), al-drami kitab al-adhahi (1969).

([10]) recoded in sunan abu dawud in kitab al-dhahaya, bab al-aqiqah 3/259, no. 2837.

([11]) al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/540.

([12]) zad al-ma'ad fi hadyi khayri-l 'ibad by imam ibn al-qayyim: 3/17.

([13]) al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/545.

([14]) tuhfat al-mawdoud fi-ahkam al-mawloud by imam ibn al-qayyim: page 93-99 and al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/543.

([15]) tuhfat al-mawdoud fi-ahkam al-mawloud by imam ibn al-qayyim: page 93-99 and al-sharh al-mumte by muhammad ibn al-uthaymin: 7/543.

([16]) waqf: an inalienable religious endowment in shariah or islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for muslim religious or charitable purposes.

([17]) al-tifel fi al-sharia al-islamiyah by muhammad al-saleh: page 76

([18]) al-eddah sharh al-omdah by bahaa al-deen al-maqdesi: page 432-434.

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