When should a child be named?

Translated by:

When should a new born be named? The nusus and narrations are differed in this matter. Some [sources] suggest that it should be kept on the seventh day whilst other sources suggest that it should be on the day the child is born without delay.

There is an athar which indicates that the name be kept on the third day. It is reported in Zad al-Ma’ad1 that “Maymuni stated that we were discussing as to when a name should be kept? Abu Abd Allah (Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal) said that it is reported from Hadrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that name should be kept on the third day”. However, most athar and narrations indicate that a name be kept on the day of birth or the seventh day.

Naming on the seventh day of birth

The following narrations and athar indicate to the name being kept on the seventh day.

روي اصحاب السنن الأربعة و اللفظ للترمذي رحمه الله في الجامع (في أبواب الأضاحي) عن سمرة بن جندب رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم الغلام المرتهن بعقيقته يذبح عنه يوم السابع و يسمي و يحلق راسه. قال الترمذي حسن صحيح. و روي الترمذي في الجامع (في باب ما جاء في تعجيل اسم المولود) عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما أن النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم أمر بتسمية المولود يوم سابعه و وضع الأذي عنه و العق. هذا حديث حسن غريب. و روي الحاكم رحمه الله في المستدرك (في كتاب الذبائح) عن أم المؤمنين عائشة رضي الله عنها عقّ رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم عن الحسن و الحسين يوم السابع و سماهما. و قال الحافظ العسقلاني رحمه الله في الفتح عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنه إذا كان يوم السابع للمولود فاهريقوا عنه دما و اميطوا عنه الاذي و سموه. و روي عبد الرزاق رحمه الله عن قتادة رحمه الله يسمي يوم يعق عنه و يسمي. فعلي هذه الروايات قال العلامة ابن العابدين الشامي في رد المحتار يستحب لمن ولد أن يسمّيه يوم اسبوعه.

The author of the four sunan [and namely] Imam Tirmidi et al. report from Hadrat Samurah b. Jundub that the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A child is pledged an aqiqah. Slaughter an animal on its behalf, shave its head and name it.”2

It is reported from Hadrat Abd Allah b. Amr b. ‘As (may Allah be pleased with them) that the prophet (peace be upon him) ordered that a child be named on the seventh day, it’s hair be removed and aqiqah be done.3

It is recorded with a sahih sanad via Hadrat Aysha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) did aqiqah on behalf of Hasan and Hussayn (may Allah be pleased with them) on the seventh day and named them.4

It is narrated from Hadrat Abd Allah b. Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) with a marfu’ hasan sanad that “when the new born reaches the seventh day, do aqiqah on its behalf, remove their hair and name it.”5

Qatada (may Allah have mercy upon him) is quoted that the name should be kept on the day of the aqiqah and the name of Allah must be said on the animal (being slaughtered).6

In consideration of these narrations, many hanafi fuqaha such as Allm. Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy upon him) are of the opinion that it is preferable to keep the name on the seventh day.7

Naming on the day of birth

The following nusus and narrations indicate that the name should be kept on the day of birth without waiting for the seventh day.

حكي سبحانه و تعالي قصة امرأة عمران و قال فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنْثَى وَالله أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنْثَى وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ فقال العلامة اللوسي في روح المعاني تحت هذه الاية: و استدل بالاية علي جواز تسمية الاطفال يوم الولادة لا يوم السابع لان الظاهر انها انما قالت ذلك باثر الوضع اهـ روي البخاري رحمه الله تعالي في الصحيح (في كتاب العقيقة) عن أنس ـ رضي الله عنه ـ قال : كان ابن لأبي طلحة ـ رضي الله عنه ـ يشتكي ، فخرج أبو طلحة ، فقبض الصبي ، فلما رجع أبو طلحة قال : ما فعل ابني ؟ قالت أم سليم ـ وهي أم الصبي ـ : هو أسكن ما كان . فقربت إليه العشاء فتعشى ، ثم أصاب منها ، فلما فرغ قالت : واروا الصبي ، فلما أصبح أبو طلحة أتي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأخبره ، فقال (أعرستم الليلة ؟) قال : نعم ، قال : اللهم بارك لهما ؛ فولدت غلاما ، فقال : لي أبو طلحة : احمله حتى تأتي به النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وبعث معه بتمرات ، (أمعه شيء ؟) قال : نعم ، تمرات ، فأخذها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فمضغها ، ثم أخذها من فيه فجعلها في في الصبي ، ثم حنكه وسماه عبد الله( اهـ و روي البخاري في الصحيح (في كتاب العقيقة) عن أبي موسي الأشعري ولد لي غلام فأتيت به النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم فسماه ابراهيم فحنكه بتمرة و دعا له بالبركة و دفع إلي و كان أكبر ولد أبي موسي اهـ فقال الحافظ العسقلاني رحمه الله تعالي في الفتح قوله (فأتيت النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم فسماه ابراهيم فحنكه) فيه إشعار بأنه أسرع بإحضاره إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وأن تحنيكه كان بعد تسميته ، ففيه تعجيل تسمية المولود ولا ينتظر بها إلى السابع اهـ و في البخاري (في باب تحويل الاسم الي اسم احسن منه) نا سعيد بن أبي مريم ، نا محمد بن مطرف ، قال : حدثني أبو حازم ، عن سهل بن سعد ، قال : أتي بالمنذر بن أبي أسيد إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حين ولد ، فوضعه على فخذه ، قال : ما اسمه ؟ قالوا : فلان ، فقال : لكن اسمه المنذر، سماه يومئذ المنذر اهـ و روي مسلم بن حجاج رحمه الله تعالي في الصحيح (في كتاب الفضائل، باب رحمته صلي الله عليه و سلم الصبيان) عن انس ابن مالك قال قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم ولد في الليلة غلام فسميته باسم ابي ابراهيم عليه السلام

Whilst relating the statement of Hadrat Imran’s wifes, Allah almighty says, “My lord! I have given birth to a girl. Rather Allah knows to what she has given birth. That boy is not equal to this girl and we have named her Mariam.”8

    فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنْثَى وَالله أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنْثَى وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ

Allm. Alusi (may Allah have mercy upon him) writes under this ayat that this establishes the permissibility of naming a new born on the day of birth rather than the seventh day. The reason being is that it is clear the wife of Imran must have said it straight after birth.9

It is reported in Sahih Bukhari via Hadrat Anas b. Malik (may Allah be pleased with him),

    Hadrat Abu Talhah (may Allah be pleased with him) had a son. Abu Talhah left home for some need at which time the child died. When Abu Talhah returned, he enquired, “How is my son?” Umm Sulaym (may Allah almighty be pleased with her) responded, “He is more at peace than before”. She gave him food. He ate the food and the fulfilled his need with his wife Umm Sulaym. When he finished, Umm Sulaym said, “Please see to the (burial of) the child.” The following morning Abu Talha (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) and informed him of the death of his child. He (peace be upon him) asked, “Did you cohabit in the night”. Abu Talhah replied, “Yes”. He (peace be upon him) said, “O Allah! Give bless them both for (the cohabitation of) that night”. Umm Sulaym (after completing her pregnancy) gave birth to a son. Abu Talhah said to me, “Take the child to the prophet with safety.” He was brought to the prophet (peace be upon him) and Umm Sulaym also sent some dates. The prophet took the child and said, “Is there anything with him (for tahnik)?” They said, “Yes! Some date.” The prophet took it to chew, then took it out of him and placed it in the child’s mouth; he did tahnik and named the child Abdullah.”10

Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (may almighty be pleased with him) states, “I had a child. The prophet named him Ibrahim and then did tahnik with a date. He did dua of barakat for him and gave me the child.” The narrator says that this was the eldest son of Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari.11

Hafid Ibn Hajar Asqalani (may Allah have mercy upon him) says, the statement of the narrator, “fa ataytu bihial-nabiyya fa sammahu ibrahima fa hannakahu”, suggests that they quickly brought the child to the presence of the prophet (peace be upon him). The prophet did tahnik after naming the child. In this regard, the narration proposes that a child’s name should be kept early and one should not wait to the seventh day.12

There is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari via Hadrat Sahl (may Allah have mercy upon him),

    Munzir b. Abi Usayd was bought to the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) when he was born. He placed him on his thighs and Abu Usayd was sitting there. The prophet became occupied with something in front of him and so Abu Usayd offered to take hold of his son and so he did. When he returned his attention, he said, “Where is the child?” Abu Usayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “O prophet of Allah! We have return him home.” He asked, “What is his name?” He replied such and such. He (peace be upon him) said, “Rather his name is Munzir” (meaning I set his name to be Munzir). So from that day, he was called Munzir.13

It is reported in Sahih Muslim that Hadrat Anas b. Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

    The prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said regarding his son Ibrahim tonight I had a son and so I have named him after my ancestral father Ibrahim (peace be upon him).14

Solution

There are four suggestions to reconcile the conflict found between the nusus and narrations.

(1) Imam Tahawi (may Allah almighty have mercy upon) is of the opinion the ruling pertaining to naming on the seventh day is abrogated (mansukh). The abrogator (nasikh) for this is the story of the prophet (peace be upon him) naming his son Ibrahim and Abu Talhah (may Allah be pleased with him) his son. The names of Hadrat Ibrahim and Hadrat Abd Allah b. Abi Talhah was kept before the seventh day and before the day an animal was sacrificed for aqiqah on their behalf; they were named on the day of their birth.15

(2) Imam Bayhaqi (may Allah have mercy upon him) chose to give preponderance between the aforementioned conflicting narrations. He declared the narrations which suggest immediate naming asah (stronger) compared to narrations which suggest naming on the seventh days after birth.16

The point of the abovementioned two positions is that the name should be kept on the day of birth.

(3) Hadrat Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) has included a chapter entitled, “Bab Tasmiyat al-Mawlud Ghadat Yuladu Liman lam Ya’uqq ‘Anhu wa Tahnikuh17. Through this chapter Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) indicates towards a fine reconciliation between the conflicting narrations. If there is no intention to do aqiqah for the child, the naming should not be delayed to the seventh day such as the case of Ibrahim b. Abi Musa, Abd Allah b. Abi Talhah, Ibrahim b. Nabi (peace be upon him) and Abd Allah b. Zubayr (may Allah almighty be pleased with them all). This is because there is no report of aqiqah being done for them. If there is a plan to do aqiqah, the naming should be delayed to the seventh day as is stated in the hadith.18

(4) Amongst our elders, Allm. Zafar Ahmad Usmani (may Allah have mercy upon him) states that the narrations which have come regarding naming on the seventh day refers to the fact that it is makruh to delay naming beyond the seventh day. It is not makruh to name before the seventh day.19

واللہ أعلم بالصواب و علمه أتم و احكم

Shaykh al-Hadith Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi
Bachche Ka Nam Kab Raka Jay
In Fiqhi Jawahir. 1425. 3rd Ed. vol 3 p. 35-44
Kosamba, India; Jamia Abu Hurayrah.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
2 Rabi 1436
25 December 2014

  • 1. Zad al-Ma'ad p. 288 v. 2
  • 2. Tirmidi #1522, Abu Dawud # 2837, Nasa'i #4225, Ibn Majah # 3165
  • 3. Jami Tirmidi p. 110 v. 2
  • 4. Mustadrak Hakim p. 237 v. 4
  • 5. Fath al-Bari p. 503 v. 9
  • 6. Musannif Abd al-Razzaq p. 333 v. 4
  • 7. Radd al-Muhtar p. 236 v. 5
  • 8. Surah Al Imran: 36
  • 9. Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani p. 136 v. 3
  • 10. Sahih Bukhari p. 822 v. 2
  • 11. Sahih Bukhari p. 821 v. 2
  • 12. Fath al-Bari p. 502 v. 9
  • 13. Sahih Bukhari p. 914 v. 2
  • 14. Sahih Muslim p. 254 v. 2
  • 15. Sharh Mushkil al-Athar p. 68 v. 3
  • 16. Fath al-Bari p. 502 v. 9
  • 17. Sahih Bukhari p. 821 v. 2
  • 18. Fath al-Bari p. 501 v. 9
  • 19. Ahkam al-Quran li al-Tanwi v. 2 p. 18
Cite: 

Lawharwi, Mft. Umar Faruq. (2014). When should a child be named? (Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman, Trans.). Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Number 3. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/141225501

Status: 
In review