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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 45

Honouring the Names of Allah and Changing One's Name Because of That

It is reported on the authority of Abu Shuraih (ra ) that he used to be known as Abul Hakam, until the Prophet (saas ) said to him: "Allah is Al-Hakam and His Judgement will prevail." Abu Shuraih (ra ) replied: "When my people dispute in any matter, they come to me for adjudication; and when I judge between them, both parties are pleased with my judgement." The Prophet (saas ) said: "How excellent is this! Do you have any children?" He said: "Yes, Shuraih, Muslim and `Abdullah." Then the Prophet (saas ) asked: "Who is the eldest?" He answered: "Shuraih." Then the Prophet (saas ) said: "Then (from now on,) you will be known as Abu Shuraih." (Narrated by Abu Dawood and others)

Abu Shuraih (saas ), whose real name was Haani Ibn Yazeed Al-Kindi, came to the Prophet (saas ) in a delegation from his tribe; and his nickname at that time was Abul Hakam (Father of Judgement) 1 but when the Prophet (saas ) heard his people addressing him thus, he rejected it, informing him that Al-Hakam is one of Allah's Names, for His is the final Judgement, from which there is no appeal. Abu Shuraih then explained to him that his people had given him this name because of his skill in adjudication and arbitration which in most cases, satisfied both parties. The Prophet (saas ) was pleased with what Abu Shuraih (ra ) told him and he praised him for his wisdom and good judgement. Then He (saas ) asked him if he had any children. Abu Shuraih (ra ) replied in the affirmative, stating that he had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Shuraih. At this, the Prophet (saas ) informed him that thenceforth, he would be known as Abu Shuraih.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. That Islam erases what came before it.

2. That the ignorant man is excused his faults until such time as he is made aware of them.

3. The obligation to reject that which is detestable.

4. Confirmation of one of Allah's Names: Al-Hakam.

5. The permissibility of referring disputes to those who are capable of wise and fair judgement, even though he may not be an appointed judge and the obligation upon both parties to accept his judgement.

6. The virtue of accepting a Muslim's excuse when it is sound.

7. The permissibility of naming a person after his first-born daughter.

8. The lawfulness of naming onself after one's eldest child.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves the obligation to change one's name if there is any similarity with the Names of Allah (swt ).

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith rejects similarity in men's names to the Names of Allah (swt ) because to describe oneself by one of Allah's Names or a name with the same meaning is shirk, for it is a negation of Tawheed Al-Asmaa Was-Sifaat.


1. It was, and continues to be a practice among the Arabs, when they notice a certain trait in someone to name him (literally) father of that trait; thus Abu Hurairah (ra) - Father of Kittens, because he was so fond of kittens etc.

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