Nicknames

Shortened Question:

Is it permissible to call people by harmless nicknames?

Question:

As-Salamu-Alaikum. Is there any Hadith or Ruling regarding giving people nicknames (petnames) derived from their original names that do not cause harm unto them but just means of shortening or out of love? Eg, Muhammad as Moe etc. Jazak Allah

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

It is permissible to call a person with a nickname or an abbreviation of his or her name in order to express one`s love and affection or for brevity purposes.

Consider the following:

  • The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) sometimes called his wife ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) “Humairaa” (one with pink cheeks)[1] and “‘Aa`ish”[2] (an abbreviation of her name);
  • The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) also addressed Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) as “Abu Turab” (father of soil) when he saw him covered with dust lying in the Masjid[3];
  • Another companion was famously known as “Abu Hurairah” (the father of the kitten), due to his love for cats;
  • Similarly, the abbreviations “Abu Hirr” and “Uthm” were used in place of “Abu Hurairah” and “Uthman”, respectively[4].

However, the following points must be considered in using a nickname or an abbreviation of a name when calling someone[5]:

  • It is not permissible to abbreviate a name or give an individual a nickname which denotes any offence, humiliation, resentment or indecent and hurtful meaning[6]. The Glorious Qur`an states:

ولا تنابزوا بالألقاب

“And do not call each other (by insulting and derogatory) names.[7]

  • It is also impermissible to abbreviate a name which denotes and exclusive quality (sifat) of Allah, such as Abdur-Rahmaan to Rahman, Abdur-Razzaaq to Razaaq; Abdul-Wahhaab to Wahhaab, etc.[8]

 

  • We should be cautious about distorting the Islamic connotations of blessed names of Prophets and companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) and needlessly making them meaningless. There are various examples of such names in vogue, including, Muhammad to Moe, Ismaeel to Issy or Ishy, Ibrahim to Iby etc[9].

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hanif Yusuf Patel

Student Darul Iftaa
UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

 

References

[1] [Sunan Ibn Majah, 2469; Sunan an-Nasa`I, 8951]

[2] مسند أحمد ط الرسالة (41/ 122)

قال أبو سلمة أن عائشة قالت: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوما: " يا عائش، هذا جبريل يقرئك السلام "، فقلت: وعليه السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته، ترى ما لا أرى. تريد رسول الله

[Sahih al-Bukhari, 3557]

[3] [Sahih al-Bukhari, 3500; 5851]

[4] [Fat`h al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari li Ibn Hajar, 10: 581-2]

[5] According to Allama Ayni, the famous commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, abbreviation in names is limited to when calling someone

وَفِي غير المنادى لَا يجوز إِلَّا لضَرُورَة الشّعْر.

[Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, 22: 212]

[6] كذا اقتصر على حرف وهو مطابق لحديث عائشة في عائش ولحديث أنس في أنجش وأما حديث أبي هريرة فنازع بن بطال في مطابقته فقال ليس من الترخيم وإنما هو نقل اللفظ من التصغير والتأنيث إلى التكبير والتذكير وذلك أنه كان كناه أبا هريرة وهريرة تصغير هرة فخاطبه باسمها مذكرا فهو نقصان في اللفظ وزيادة في المعنى قلت فهو نقص في الجملة لكن كون النقص منه حرفا فيه نظر وكأنه لحظ الاسم قبل التصغير وهي هرة فإذا حذف الياء الأخيرة صدق أنه نقص من الاسم حرفا وقد ترجم في الأدب المفرد مثله لكن قال شيئا بدل حرفا وأورد فيه حديث عائشة رأيت عثمان والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يضرب كتفه يقول أكنتم عثم وجبريل يوحي إليه قوله وقال أبو حازم عن أبي هريرة قال لي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يا أبا هر بتشديد الراء ويجوز تخفيفها وهذا طرف من حديث وصله المصنف رحمه الله في الأطعمة أوله أصابني جهد شديد وفيه فإذا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قائم على رأسي فقال يا أبا هر ويأتي في الرقاق حديث أوله والذي لا إله إلا هو إن كنت لأعتمد على الأرض بكبدي من الجوع وفيه مثله

[Fat`h al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari li Ibn Hajar, 10: 581-2]

[Sunan Abi Dawuud, 2: 676; Bazl al-Majhud fi halli Sunan Abi Dawud, 13: 351-360, , Dar al-Basha`ir al-Islamiyah]

[Aap kae masa`il aur unka hal, 7: 19, Maktabah Ludhyanwi]

[7] [Al-Qur`an, 11: 49]

[8] [Aap kae masa`il aur unka hal, 7: 22, Maktabah Ludhyanwi]

[9] http://www.albalagh.net/qa/children_names.shtml

DISCLAIMER:
The Ask Our Imam site hopes to respond to queries relating to Islamic law. It is not an Islamic Law Shari`ah Court. The questions and answers found on this website are for educational purposes. However, many of the rulings rendered here are distinct to the specific scenario and thus should be read in conjunction with the question and not taken as a basis to establish a verdict in another situation or environment. This site bears no responsibility in these responses being used out of their intended context, nor to any party who may or may not follow the responses given and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused. None of the responses rendered may be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of Our Imam. Any reference to another website or link provided in our responses or article should not be taken as an endorsement of all the content on that website; in fact, it is restricted to the particular material being cited.

Posted in Aadaab (Ettiquettes & Manners)MiscelleaneousSocial Conduct on 20th Jan 2016 by Our Imam | 616 Views