Bearing name with bad meaning in Arabic but good in other language
Fatwa No: 358447

  • Fatwa Date:1-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 14, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. My previous question is about names, and I want to clarify it. A name is good in a language, like, for example, "Zaniyah", which means "forever"/"always" in "Nahuatl", while it is known that this means "an adulteress" in Arabic. If the person bears this name while she meant the first meaning though it has a bad meaning in the Arabic language, can she still use this name? And there are many cases where in my country where their names are a Greek god's name, while they did not actually intend to use a Greek god's name. Thank you for your clarification. May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

You should know that the basic principle regarding names is lawfulness and not forbiddance, as scholars stated. No name is declared prohibited unless it is forbidden to bear it by valid religious evidence. Since the meaning of the name you mentioned is not regarded as bad in the environment of the person who bears it, then it seems to us that nothing prevents bearing it. However, the other names in that language that do not have a bad meaning in Arabic are a better alternative.

It is impermissible to bear names of the Greek so-called gods, even if the person does not intend to imitate the names of the false gods, because the mere use of those names involves promoting them. The Permanent Committee of Fatwa was asked, "What is the religious ruling on naming someone 'Rama', as some people mentioned that it is not permissible because there is a temple in India called Rama, and it is also borne by non-Muslims. I am not going to change this name until I receive your fatwa in this concern. May Allah reward you with the best!"

The answer: "There is no harm in naming with the above-mentioned names because the basic principle concerning names is lawfulness, except for adding the word ʻAbd (lit. slave) to anyone other than Allah. However, if it is proven that the above-mentioned name is a name of a temple in which people worship other than Allah, then it is impermissible to take it as a name because this glorifies and promotes this temple."

Allah knows best.

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