Question # 429: Is it permissible to name a child “khidr”. It’s name of the prophet, moosa alayhissalam met in the boat. But stories of Prophet Khidr is not seen or discussed anywhere. Can you please share some authentic narrations?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Although the name of Khidr (عليه السلام) is not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an, according to the majority of scholars and in line with the authentic ahadith, it is established that the name of the companion of Moosa (عليه السلام) was al-Khidr. Further, most scholars believe that Khidr (عليه السلام) was a Prophet of Allah, hence choosing names of the prophets for naming one’s child is permissible in Islam, as demonstrated in the practice of our Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) when he named his son Ibrahim to take after Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام). Next, the sahih hadith mentions that the name al-Khidr etymologically related to “green”, “greenness”, from the fact that wherever he stood on the ground, the ground would become green (with plants). Also Refer Question # 235: Prohibited and Disliked Names in Islam.

Long Answer: From the general meaning of the Qur’anic verses it appears that Khidr (عليه السلام) was a Prophet. Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the ayah: “Then they found one of Our slaves, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:65)

“But it may be understood from some ayahs that the mercy mentioned here was the mercy of Prophethood, and that this knowledge which came from Allah was the knowledge of revelation (wahy)… It is known that mercy and the bestowal of knowledge from Allah is more general and comes in more ways than via Prophethood. The fact that something general exists does not necessarily imply that something more specific exists, as is well known. One of the indications that the mercy and knowledge with which Allah blessed His slave al-Khidr came by way of Prophethood and revelation is the ayah:  “And I did them not of my own accord” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:82) i.e., rather I did them by the command of Allah, and the command of Allah is only conveyed via wahy (revelation), because there is no way for the commands and prohibitions of Allah to be known except through revelation from Allah, especially with regard to the killing of an apparently innocent soul and damaging a ship by making a hole in it, because committing acts of aggression against people’s lives and wealth can only be validated via revelation from Allah.

Allah has restricted the method of warning to revelation as He says: “Say (O Muhammad): “I warn you only by the Revelation” (Soorah al-Anbiya’, 21:45) the word innama (translated here as “only”) implies limitation or restriction. (Adwaa’ al-Bayaan)

From all of this, [it] …clearly indicates that he was a Prophet. Al-Fakhr al-Raazi, in his tafseer, attributed the view that he was a Prophet to many scholars. Another factor that may indicate that he was a Prophet is the fact that Moosa (عليه السلام) humbled himself before him and said:

  • “May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:66)
  • “If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:69)
  • Even though al-Khidr said to him: “And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:68) (Adwaa’ al-Bayaan)

(The above reply is based on answer provided by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Although, the name of Khidr (عليه السلام) is not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an, Imam Qurtubi states, “The aforementioned servant is Khidr according to the majority of scholars and according to what is indicated by established prophetic narratives…” (Tafsir Ahkam al-Qur’an) The established prophetic narratives mentioned by Imam Qurtubi are found in authentic narrations from `Ubay ibn Ka`b from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم):

  • Narrated Ubai bin Ka`b (رضي الله عنه): Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Moses the Messenger of Allah,” and then he narrated the whole story about him. Al-Khidr said to Moses, “Did not I tell you that you can have no patience with me.” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:72). Moses then violated the agreement for the first time because of forgetfulness, then Moses promised that if he asked Al-Khidr about anything, the latter would have the right to desert him. Moses abided by that condition and on the third occasion he intentionally asked Al-Khidr and caused that condition to be applied. The three occasions referred to above are referred to by the following Verses: “Call me not to account for forgetting And be not hard upon me.” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:73) “Then they met a boy and Khidr killed him.” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:74) “Then they proceeded and found a wall which was on the verge of falling and Khidr set it up straight.” (Soorah al-Kahf, 18:77) (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
  • Ubayy b. Ka’b (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: The young man whom Khidr killed was a non-believer by his very nature and had he survived he would have involved his parents in defiance and unbelief. (Sahih Muslim)

The name “Khidr” means “the green one”. It is narrated from Abu Hurayra (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “He was named Khidr because he sat on a dry, barren piece of land and it suddenly became green under him.” (Reported by Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi)

Lastly, choosing names of the prophets for naming one’s child is permissible in Islam, as demonstrated in the practice of our Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) when he named his son Ibrahim to take after Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام).

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam