Name carries a meaning about its bearer. It is his title by which he is distinguished from others. That has been the people’s way. No sane person will doubt the importance of the name, for it is by it that the new born is known and distinguished from his siblings. The name becomes his symbol and that of his children after him. When a man dies his name lives on after him.
In Arabic Language, the word ‘ism’ [which means name], is derived from the word ‘sumuww’ that means: highness, or from ‘wasm’ that means: symbol.
And all this indicates the importance of a name for the new-born.
The importance of a name to the father is very clear. It indicates his religion and wisdom. Or have you ever heard a Christian or a Jew naming his son Muhammad? Or have you ever heard Muslims naming their children allaat or al-‘uzza except those who have deviated?
The son is linked to his father through the name, and the father and members of the family call their children with the names they chose for them. The name is them frequently used among members of the family. There an old adage that says: “From your name, I know who your father is.”
The importance of a name in Islam
The importance that the Shari'ah attached to names is enough an indication of the weight that this issue carries in the religion of Islam. The Messenger of Allah, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) changed the names of some of his male and female Companions. He even changed the name of his city that used to be known as ‘Yathrib’ to ‘al-Madinah’.
He commanded that none should be called ‘king of kings’ and the like. He said, “The lowliest person in Allah's estimation is a man who calls himself ‘king of kings’.”
The beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then advised that names like ‘Abdullah’ and ‘Abdur-Rahman’ should be adopted, for these names show their bearers’ affirmation of their servitude to Allah and that He Alone they do worship. The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The dearest names to Allah are: Abdullah and Abdur-Rahman.”
The Messenger of Allah, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) loved nice names and regarded them as good omens. This is known in his guidance, may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him and his household!
And it is an established rule in the view of scholars of Islamic principles of jurisprudence and the linguists that names have their indications and meanings. This topic is extensively discussed in books of linguistics and Islamic principles of jurisprudence.
Is it reasonable?
Dear reader, do not be in hurry and do not be surprised. Read on with me and follow the answers with me! What will you name your son? Will you choose for him a name that you, his mother and your family love, or will you name him after your enemies?
So, we choose for ourselves names that have meanings to us and yet we deny the right to do the same to those who are the best of mankind and we put forth for them an illogical rationalization that they chose names of their children for political and social reasons, as opposed to the people’s custom?!! Choosing of name, we claim, was meaningless to these excellent people??!!
The wise men and the leaders of this Ummah, and those who possessed sense of honour concerning themselves and their progeny are denied the least of the human meanings: they are not allowed to name their children after their loved ones and their brethren in faith as a sign of recognition for the latter’s excellence and their love for them, and they rather named some of their children after their enemies??!! Is this believable?!!
It needs to be made known that it was not a mere naming of a single individual, but rather of a group of children; and it was not after forgetting a centuries-old hostility. No! The naming rather took place during the peak of hostility – according to their claim. But we say: The naming took place at the peak of love.
This is a very important issue that needs to be studied, because it has very great implications. It includes refutation of tales, whims and illusory stories; and it includes addressing the soul and the sentiments and convincing the people of reason. The issue is, therefore, impossible to be refuted or twisted.
The Real Issue:
‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib: It is out of his fervent love for the three caliphs preceding him that he named some of his sons after them. They are:
Abu Bakr Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who was martyred at Karbalaa along with his brother Hussain, may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him and upon their grandfather!
‘Umar Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who was also martyred at Karbalaa along with his brother Hussain, may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon them and upon their grandfather!
‘Uthman Ibn ‘Ali who was also martyred at Karbalaa along with his brother Hussain, May Allah bestows peace and blessings upon them and upon their grandfather!
As for al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, he named his sons with following names: Abu Bakr Ibn al-Hasan, Umar Ibn al-Hasan and Talha Ibn al-Hasan, all of whom fought the battle of Karbalaa on the side of their uncle al-Hussain.
Al-Hussain also named one of his sons after ‘Umar.
As for the leader of the Successors, ‘Ali Ibn al-Hussain popularly known as ‘Zaynul-‘Aabideen’ and the fourth Imam, he named his daughter ‘Ayesha and named his son ‘Umar, and he has descendants.
There are other members of the Prophet’s household from among the descendants of ‘Abbas Ibn Abdul-muttalib, Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib, Muslim Ibn ‘Aqeel and others. Here is not the place to mention all the names. Few examples are enough.
There are some among the Shiites who deny the fact that ‘Ali and his sons gave their children these names. This is definitely a saying of those who have no knowledge of lineages and names, and have little knowledge of books. But members of this group are few in number; all praise is due to Allah.
The leading Shiite scholars and leaders have disproved this because; the proofs for the existence of these names are explicit through the children of those who are so-named and in the light of the approved Shiite sources. Even in narrations about the tragedy of Karbalaa where Imam al-Hussain Ibn ‘Ali was martyred, a mention is made of Abu Bakr Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Abu Bakr Ibn al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali and others who have been earlier mentioned.
All the above were martyred along with al-Hussain. And the Shiites mentioned this in their books. But do not say that you do not hear these names at Husayniyyaat or in the celebrations of ‘Aashoora. The fact that they are not mentioned on these occasions does not mean that their bearers did not exist. ‘Umar Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and ‘Umar Ibn al-Hasan were among the renowned and tested cavaliers of that day.
In short, the Shiites have failed to produce a convincing answer as to why those they claim to be their leaders named their children after Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ayesha and others among other leading Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Therefore, we could not strip names from meanings as we could not regard this fact as something that some Ahl-us-Sunnah smuggled into Shiite books. This will mean that all narrations of all the Shiite books are doubtful.
It is a habit of the Shiites to condemn every narration they do not like as smuggled and fake. It is rather a custom of a Shiite scholar to carelessly dismiss every narration that does not match his desire as something that is smuggled into their books; this is more so since every one of their scholars has the privilege to haphazardly accept or reject narrations!!
Don’t you think it would be ironically amusing and distressing to hear that these leaders named their children after the earlier-mentioned eminent Companions in order to insult them, or in order to win the hearts of the masses, that Imam ‘Ali gave his children these names to make people believe that he loved the caliphs and that he was pleased with them [i.e. practicing Tuqyah]??!!!
Subhanallah! Is it suitable to say that the Imam engaged in practices in order to deceive his followers and the masses?! And how could the Imam harm his children by doing this??
Then, who are those the Imam is trying to win their favour with these names? Surely, his celebrated braveness and sense of honour should definitely prevent him from disgracing himself and his children because of Banu Taym, or Banu ‘Adiyy or Banu Umayyah !!
The keen student of history of Imam ‘Ali will certainly realize that he was one of the bravest men, as opposed to fabricated narrations that seek to portray him as a coward who could not rise up to defend his religion, honour or dignity. But unfortunately, many are these fake narrations.
It can therefore, be concluded that what the Imams, ‘Ali and his sons did, is one of the strongest logical, psychological and practical proofs of sincere love that members of the Prophet’s household had for the righteous guided caliphs and other Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). You are also a witness to this indisputable reality. This reality is confirmed by Allah’s word:
“Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers).” [Surah Al-Fath: 29]
Dear reader, you are advised to read the above verse again and reflect upon its meaning. Then reflect upon the quality of mercy with which Allah described the Companions in the verse.
 See: “Tasmiyah al-mawlood fil-Islaam”, by Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd
 See: Kashf al-ghumma 2/334; al-Fusool al-muhimmah 283. You will also find these names among all the twelve imams. The Shiite scholars have discussed that and made mention of the names. See, for instance: I’laam al-waraa, by at-Tabarsee p.203; al-Irshaad al-mufeed p186 and al-Ya’qoobee in his Taareekh, 2/213
 The clan of Aboo Bakr
 ‘Umar’s clan
 Mu’aawiyah’s clan
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