Is it permissible to name our child with angels’ names such as Gabriel, Michael and others?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
According to Imam al-Nawawi, madhab al-Syafie and majority of scholars, it is permissible to name one’s child with the names of prophets and angels and there is no restriction from the prophet PBUH regarding this matter. (Refer: al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab 8/417) Imam al-Buhuti from madhab Syafie refutes the claim that it is makruh (undesirable) to name a child with an angel’s name. (Refer: Kasyaf al-Qina’ 3/27). However, there are scholars who ruled it makruh, among them are Imam Malik who ruled it makruh to name one’s child with the name Gabriel. Imam Ibn Qayyim ruled it makruh to name a child with any name of the angels, he presented a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Jarrad RA to support his ruling:
صحبني رجل من مزينة فَأتى النَّبِي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم وَأَنا مَعَه فَقَالَ يَا رَسُول الله ولد لي مَوْلُود فَمَا خير الْأَسْمَاء قَالَ إِن خير الْأَسْمَاء لكم الْحَارِث وَهَمَّام وَنعم الِاسْم عبد الله وَعبد الرَّحْمَن وتسموا بأسماء الْأَنْبِيَاء وَلَا تسموا بأسماء الْمَلَائِكَة قَالَ وباسمك قَالَ وباسمي وَلَا تكنوا بكنيتي
“A man from Mazinah was with me when the Prophet PBUH came to see me, the he asked the Prophet PBUH, “What is the best of names?” The Prophet PBUH answered, “The best of names for you is al-Harith and Hammam and the best of names is Abdullah and Abdurrahman. Name your children with the names of the prophets but do not name them with the name of angels.” My friend asked again, “Is it permissible for us to use your name (O Messenger of Allah)?” The Prophet PBUH said, “Yes, you can use my name but do not use my nickname.”
Narrated by Imam al-Bukhari in al-Tarikh al-Kabir (5/35) and Imam al-Baihaqi in Syu’ab al-Iman (8268). According to Imam al-Bukhari and Imam al-Baihaqi, there are some discussions regarding its isnad. Syeikh al-Albani categorized the hadith as dhaif jiddan (very weak). (Refer: Tuhfah al-Maulud, pg. 119-120)
Imam al-Munawi also used the above hadith in supporting his opinion in his makruh ruling on naming a child with an angel’s name. (Refer: Faidh al-Qadir Syarh al-Jami’ al-Saghir 4/113)
In our opinion, considering the opinion of scholars who ruled it makruh to name specific angels’ name such as Gabriel and Michael for a child, it is makruh for us to use these names for our children. Especially when we did not find companions of the Prophet PBUH R.Anhum used these names.
As for names such as Malik, the permissibility of it is clear for we can see many scholars who used this name such as Imam Malik bin Anas and others.
To conclude, naming one’s child with the names of angels is permissible, with the exception of names which are synonymous to only angels such as Gabriel, Michael, Izrail and Israfil.
As for other names that is commonly used in society such as Malik and Ridhwan, then it is not ruled as makruh.