Question # 522: I have read in the chain of many hadiths that some narrators are named ‘Israel.’ is it ok to name our children ‘Israel’ nowadays?
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).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: According to the interpreters of the Qur’an, Israel is the name of Ya’qoob (عليه السلام), the Prophet of Allah, and its meaning is the slave of Allah, as ‘Isr‘ in their language means ‘slave’, and ‘Ael‘ means Allah. The scholars are in consensus that there it is permissible to name our children after the names of Prophets. Nevertheless, given the circumstances these days, if one feels that naming a child after a particular Prophet will cause any hardship or inconvenience to the child, then it is recommended to you choose a different one.
Long Answer: The Prophet of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), Ya’qoob (عليه السلام), was [from the progeny] of Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام), the intimate friend of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). His name was also Israel, which means, the slave of Allah. Imam Ash-Shawkani said: ‘The interpreters of the Qur’an agreed that Israel is a name of Ya’qoob Ibn Is-Haq Ibn Ibrahim (عليه السلام), and its meaning is the slave of Allah, as ‘Isr‘ in their language means ‘slave’, and ‘Ael‘ means Allah. It is also said that he had two names, and it is said that Israel is his last name.’ Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) described him as a man of knowledge as He says in the Qur’an: “And indeed, he was a possessor of knowledge because of what We had taught him, but most of the people do not know.” (Soorah Yusuf, 12:68).
[The scholars are in consensus that] there is no harm in naming children with the names of Prophets … because there is no evidence prohibiting that. This is considered among the general good names which the hadith ordered us to name the children after the names of prophets. The hadith states: “On the Day of Judgement you will be called by your names and the names of your fathers, so make your names good.” (Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban) Ibn al-Qayyim said in his book ‘Tuhfathul Mawdud’ that ‘The chain of narrations of this hadith is good,’ and so said al-Sakhawi in his book ‘Al-Maqassid’. However, in the chain of narrations of this hadith, there are some interruptions that’s why Shaykh Al-Albani and Arnout said that it was a weak hadith.
The other evidence about the permissibility of the above (naming after Prophets and angels) is that our righteous predecessors used to name after the names of Prophets… Bukhari and Muslim wrote a chapter about naming after the names of Prophets, and they both mentioned the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) naming his son Ibrahim (Abraham). They also both mentioned that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Name yourselves after my name.”
In the hadith of Ahmad, Ibn Dawud, and Nasa’i (it is reported): “Name yourselves after the names of Prophets.” Ibn al-Qayyim stated in Tuhfat-ul-Mawdud when mentioning that it is permissible to name after the names of Prophets, that Talha (رضي الله عنه) had ten children and he gave them (all) names of Prophets (عليه السلام).
However, according to Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Member of the Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “If the name will cause any hardship or inconvenience to your child, then I suggest that you choose a different one.”
(Unless stated otherwise, the above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
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.