Saturday, November 19, 2011



Assalamualaikum wbt and peace be upon all of you.

1. When I was young, my wonderful mom told me about beautiful stories of names. Back then, my mom was a smart girl from a small village in Terengganu. One day, one of his Malay friends, Saidi, was asked by their English teacher to read a sentence in the textbook- and there was an Indian name, Nathan in the sentence. 

2. But Saidi didn't know how to pronounce that name. So the whole class broke into a huge laughter when he hilariously mentioned "Natt-tang!"- which in standard Malay language means binatang or haiwan- translated as 'animal' in English.

3. The second story was about parents (not my parents of course) who went to register a name for their newly-born son. When asked by the registration officer, the father uttered, "Mat pun jadilah," which in English means, 'Mat would suffice'- suggesting that he wanted a short name for his son, only Mat.

4. However the simple-minded officer mistakenly took the whole thing he heard and yes, he wrote down the entire sentence (on the birth certificate). So the world now welcomes a new boy living with one of the most unique Malay names ever exists- Mat Punjadilah!

5. In this article, I will have three parts, and you can choose to read all or any one part that you like. They are a) Choosing good names in Islam, b) New names for new Muslims? and c) Using Allah as a name for non-Muslims.

a) Choosing good names in Islam
6. Before I begin, let me share a nice quote by Benjamin Franklin. He says,

"I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary (notice of death) page. If my name is not on it, I get up.LOL

7. Right. Let's get started. It is important especially for parents when it comes to choosing good names for their children or newborns, because they will carry those names until they die. Em, but dead people also carry the same name, don't they?

8. Now let's review some of beautiful Islamic guidelines for choice of names.

9. Firstly, of course, names are not restricted to any language, but so long as it has a good and beautiful meaning, then that's OK.

10. In Islam, the best names are Abdurrahman and Abdullah which mean the servant of Allah most gracious (Ar-rahman), and the servant of Allah respectively. The name 'abd' or 'abdul' which means a servant can be combined with the names of Allah such as Abdul Malik and Abdul 'Aziz.

11. Also, the names of Prophets or righteous (Soleh) people can also be used such as Muhammad, Ibrahim, Musa, Umar and Luqman.

12. Attention (Forbidden names): We have to be very careful because there are indeed names that are forbidden (haraam) to use. For instance, specific names of Allah such as Ar-Rahman or Al-Khaliq. Take note that Rahman or Abdul Rahman are however different and therefore they are good names and permissible in Islam.

13. Similarly, names that have 'abd' or 'abdul' but combined with other than Allah are also forbidden. Examples are Abdul Syams, Abdul Qamar and Abdul Nabi, which simply mean the servant of sun, the servant of moon and the servant of prophet respectively, because the truth is, we are all only servants of Allah SWT, not others. Names of angels (Malaikat) are not allowed too.

14. In addition, 3 more types are the names of idols (berhala) such as Al-Laat, Al-'Uzza and Isaaf, names of Satans (syaitan) such as Al-Walhan, Al-A'war and Al-Ajda', plus names that carry titles that we don't deserve like Malikul Amlak (King of all kings) or Sayyid Al-Naas (King of all mankind). All these are impermissible in Islam.

15. Lastly, there are names which are not recommended for they carry unpleasant or negative meanings. These names are such as Harb (war), Suham (disease of camel), Dumal (mute), Bakhil (miser or cheapskate) and Sariq (thief).

16. Not to forget names of animals such as Himar (donkey) and Al-Kalb (dog). Quite basically, all these names don't give a good impression to a creation called mankind.

Note: The list of names mentioned are just examples, not exhaustive.

17. To conclude on this part, let me reiterate that good names are not necessarily those in Arabic. In Malaysia, we have non-Malay Muslims with unique names such as Brother Shah Kirit Kakulal Govindji and also Lim Jooi Soon. They are both well-known local da'ies especially in comparative religion.

18. Do you know that Malay Muslims also don't necessarily use Arabic names though most of us do? According to National Department of Registration, about 30% names registered are not Arabic, but Malay names. One good example is Awang. Do you know what it means?

19. According to the 4th edition of Kamus Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the most reliable Malay language dictionary and book of vocabulary in Malaysia), Awang is a Malay traditional nickname given to young men (especially to the eldest in family).

20. So, please don't wrongly accuse a Muslim friend as non-Muslim, just because they don't use Arabic names!
b) New names for new Muslims (mualaf)? 

21. When a person just embraced Islam, it is not compulsory for them to change their names or their fathers' to Arabic names such as Abdullah or Abdur Rahman. This, as far as I am concern, has nowhere been done except in Malaysia. However, the good news (for the reverts especially) is that it is no longer so in places like Selangor, Malacca, Perlis, Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territory) and Kelantan.

22. The issue of names is so important because non-Malays especially, often find it an excuse not to be interested in Islam because of the misconception that Islam takes away their family names, and therefore ruin the whole relationship with their families.

23.  Before we comment further though, it is good to firstly consider the fact that maintaining the names of father, with regard to descendant and lineage is in line with Quran. It says:

"Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father's (names, call them) your Brothers in faith, or your Mawlas. But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful."  
Surah Al-Ahzab, (33:5)

24. Also, in a hadith narrated by Bukhari, Rasulullah SAW says that those who claim to be a son to someone who is not his own father, then Paradise is forbidden upon him. Also in another hadith narrated by Bukhari, he SAW declares that amongst the biggest lie is a person claiming to be the son of someone who is not his own father.

25. If today a non-Muslim reverts to Islam, but his father is still a non-Muslim, he is not at all entitled to syirk just because his dad's name is not in Arabic! Great companions of him SAW like Umar Al-Khattab, Uthman Ibn Affan and many more didn't change their fathers' names after embracing Islam.

26. There are many more interesting examples and explanation about this but I would recommend that you visit reference number (2) and (4) below for some enlightening and awesome articles (both in Malay Language). Seriously, if you intend to really get a deep insight into these subject, both articles are must-read!

27. Before I end this second part though, I would personally take the position that choosing names for mualaf and their fathers should be an option, so long as it is within what is permissible in our deen, Islam.

c) Using Allah as a name for non-Muslims

28. This last part will be the most special one because I am not going to write anything except that I intend to share with all of you a paperwork by an expert in comparative religion, who is also a Professor Madya in the Department of Aqidah and Islamic Thought in Academy of Islamic Teaching, University Malaya, Dr. Khadijah Khambali.

29. His paperwork is in Malay Language, translated in title as 'The Analysis of the Word Allah According to Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamaah'. You can download and read this paperwork here. Below is the screenshot of its cover page.



30. You can also visit his 'newly born' blog here. Insya Allah, I am also trying to help her update her blog for the benefit of her students in UM, and also everyone of us here, not to forget all Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the public. Insya Allah, do make prayers for these efforts ya?

31. To end this, I thank you for your time. For your information, Ibnu Hanaffi is basically only my nom de plume. It means pseudonym, and pseudonym means a false name, or a nickname, not a real name used by an author or writer.

32. My real name is Mohd Amirul Asyraf Mohd Hanaffi. People call me with many names, like Amir, Amirul, Am, Asyraf, Aleng, Mamat (lol) and so on. I personally love Asyraf the most though. And well, I shall end here now I think. Just in case you want to know why I chose Ibnu Hanaffi as my pen name in my writing, you can read it here.

Wallahuaklam, wassalamualaikum wbt.

P/S: Some wonderful friends of mine call me Ibnu! LOL =p




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The Colours of Life

The Colours of Life
Picture taken on Syawal 1, 2009

THE BELOVED FAMILY-Hey, do the maths!

Dad: Mohd Hanaffi bin Hassin
Mom: Noorma bte Mamat


Mohd Ridzwan
Nurul Shuhada
Mohd Amirul Asyraf (blog owner)
Fatihah Sakinah
Nurul Ain Afifah
Ilyana Nazlin
Nur Amira Mawaddah
Mohd Aizat Aiman
Nur Anis
Mohd Amri Afiq