Is it permissible to name a person after his grandfather?
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.
Before we answer the above question, we would like to explain the related method of naming a person after someone else. In matan Alfiyah, Imam Malik stated its meaning as naming a person after someone or something else. Regardless of whether it is after a qabilah, state, knowledge, work or others.
Moreover, there are two methods or ways to name a person after someone else (See Syarah Alfiyah, 576):
- Change the denomination to sighah al-Mubalaghah such as Haddad (حَدَّاد) which means a blacksmith.
- Adding the letter ya’ at the end of the denomination such as Makki (مَكِّيّ) which means from Mecca or Quraishy (قُرَشِيّ) which means from the qabilah of Quraish.
According to the above question, we try to assemble the related hadiths of naming a person after his grandfather. Among the hadiths which narrate the related matter under this chapter are:
- From Ibn Abbas R.anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنِ انْتَسَبَ إِلَى غَيْرِ أَبِيهِ أَوْ تَوَلَّى غَيْرَ مَوَالِيهِ، فَعَلَيْهِ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
“Whoever claims to belong to someone other than his father, or (a freed slave) who claims that his Wala is for other than his real master, the curse of Allah (SWT), the angels and all the people will be upon him.”
Sunan Ibn Majah (2609) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh evaluate the hadith as sahih]
- From Anas bin Malik RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنِ ادَّعَى إِلَى غَيْرِ أَبِيهِ، أَوِ انْتَمَى إِلَى غَيْرِ مَوَالِيهِ، فَعَلَيْهِ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ الْمُتَتَابِعَةُ، إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ
“If anyone pretends to be the son of a man other than his father, or attributes his freedom to people other than those who set him free, on him will be the curse of Allah that will continue till the day of resurrection.”
Sunan Abu Daud (5115) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh evaluate the sanad of this hadith as sahih]
This hadith clearly shows the prohibition of a person to name after himself as the son of someone else (who is not his father) or someone who refers himself to a person who is not his master. The reason is it is a form of disobedience of blessing (kufr ni’mat) and abrogating the rights of inheritance, obedience towards the master, rational mind and others. Furthermore, it severs the ties of silaturrahim and a form of disobedience. (See Aun Ma’bud, 14/15)
- From Sa’ad bin Abi Bakrah R.anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنِ ادَّعَى إِلَى غَيْرِ أَبِيهِ، وَهُوَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ غَيْرُ أَبِيهِ فَالْجَنَّةُ عَلَيْهِ حَرَامٌ
“He who claimed for another one his fatherhood besides his own father knowingly that he was not his father-to him Paradise is forbidden.”
Sahih Muslim (115)
- From Abi Zar RA, he said the Prophet PBUH said:
لَيْسَ مِنْ رَجُلٍ ادَّعَى لِغَيْرِ أَبِيهِ وَهُوَ يَعْلَمُهُ إِلَّا كَفَرَ
"If somebody claims to be the son of any other than his real father knowingly, he but disbelieves in Allah,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (112)
According to Imam al-Nawawi, both hadiths of Imam Muslim stated above can be understood that there are two meanings for the word or meaning of kufur (disbelief) for the people who commit this (See al-Minhaj, 2/52):
- A person who claims that this act is halal is considered as a disbeliever (has renounced Islam).
- The person who did this is the same as a person who has disbelief in the blessing, ihsan, rights of Allah and the rights of his father.
The Ruling of Naming A person After His Grandfather
Here, we cite the opinion from Syeikh al-Sarakhsi, he said:
لِأَنَّ النَّسَبَ إلَى الْجَدِّ بِمَنْزِلَةِ النَّسَبِ إلَى الْأَبِ فِي الْحَقِيقَةِ؛ لِأَنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ يُنْسَبُ إلَى الْجَدِّ لِيُعْرَفَ دُونَ الْأَبِ
(أَلَا تَرَى) أَنَّ ابْنَ أَبِي لَيْلَى يُنْسَبُ إلَى جَدِّهِ، وَكَذَلِكَ أَبُو نَصْرِ بْنُ سَلَامَةَ يُنْسَبُ إلَى جَدِّهِ؛ لِأَنَّ سَلَامَةَ جَدُّهُ لَا أَبُوهُ، وَإِذَا كَانَ يُنْسَبُ إلَى الْجَدِّ صَارَ الْحُكْمُ أَنَّ الصُّلْبَ وَالْجَدَّ سَوَاءٌ
“Nasab (lineage) to the grandfather is in truth the same with the lineage to his father. The reason is most people’s lineage are connected to his grandfather with the purpose for him to be known without stating the name of his father. You will not see Ibn Abi Laila named himself after his grandfather. Likewise, Abu Nasr bin Salamah named himself after his grandfather, where Salamah is his grandfather and not his father. If named after his grandfather, then the ruling of a father and grandfather is the same.” (See al-Mabsuth, 158/27)
Furthermore, there are scholars who named themselves after their grandfather and not their father. Among them are:
- Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Musa but is famously known as Ahmad bin Musa.
- Ishaq bin Ibrahim bin Suwaid but he is famously known as Ishad bin Suwaid.
- Said bin Kathir bin ‘Ufair but he is famously known as Said bin ‘Ufair.
- Uthman bin Abdullah bin Mawhib but he is famously known as Uthman bin Mawhib.
- ‘Amr bin Muaz bin Sa’ad bin Muaz but he is famously known as ‘Amr bin Sa’ad bin Muaz.
Moreover, if the nasab of Imam al-Syafie is considered, we would find that al-Syafie is his grandfather. The full name of Imam al-Syafie is:
Muhammad bin Idris bin al-Abbas bin Uthman bin Syafi’ bin al-Sa’ib bin Ubaid bin Abd Yazid bin Hasyim bin Abd al-Muthalib bin Abd Manaf.
The same for a Companion who is famously known as Abu Ubaidah al-Jarrah where he is not an exception of being named after his grandfather and not his father. Abu Ubaidah’s real name is:
Abu Ubaidah Amir bin Abdullah bin al-Jarrah
To conclude, it is clear to us that equating something to what is not his right is haram regardless of whether it is wrongfully claiming one’s father or master. However, there are some scholars who permit it but on certain conditions or dhawabit stated above. Thus, there are numerous scholars of whom they are famously known by their grandfather’s name including Imam al-Syafie. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us all understanding in this religion. Amin.