Bearing the name Al-Fadil

Fatwa no. 3862 All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, and his family and Companions. The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read (Part No. 11; Page No. 454) the question submitted by his Excellency, the Minister of Saudi Education to his Eminence Chairman which is transferred to it under the number 818 in the date 3/5/1401 A. H. The question reads as follows:I send to your Eminence the inquiry of the exams' administration at the Ministry under the number 2121 on the date 7/4/1401 A. H. And which is attached with a table for the Most Beautiful Names of Allah. The inquiry relates to the Name 'Al-Fadeel'; is it one of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah? What should be done with people who are named `Abdul-Fadeel? Should this name be changed? It may be worthy to mention that similar inquiries about the Most Beautiful Names of Allah are repeated by many organizations. This is because many people who go into transactions have names which are unaccepted by Shar` (Islamic law) such as `Abdul-Naby, `Abdul-Imam, `Abdul-Zahra', and so on. Please provide us with a report defining the names that the word '`Abd' is permissible to be annexed to and that may be used as proper names especially since many books state that Allah's Most Beautiful Names are not confined to the renowned ninety-nine. Rather, narrations disagree even on the number of these ninety-nine Names. Moreover, some scholars hold the view that the Names of Allah are countless. They quote the following Hadith in support of their view: O Allah! I invoke You by every Name that You have and that You called Yourself by...

The Committee answered as follows: First, Allah (Exalted be He) says: And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allâh, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Part No. 11; Page No. 455) Thus, Allah (Glorified be He) says that He is the One Who is distinguished by the Most Beautiful Names which comprise the perfection of His Attributes, His Might, and His Majesty. Allah (may He be Exalted)commands His slaves to make Du`a' to Him by His Most Beautiful Names as to name Him with the Names that He named Himself with. Thus, Allah (Exalted be He) orders His slaves to make Du`a' to Him by such Names with humility and in secret at times of prosperity and adversity. He (Exalted be He) prohibited His slaves to belie His Names by rejecting them, denying the meanings thereof, naming Him with names that He did not name Himself with, or by naming others than Allah with His Names. Allah (Exalted be He) threatened whoever does any of the foregoing with the worst punishment.Allah (Exalted be He) has named Himself with certain Names which are mentioned in clear Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) and in the authentic Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) that He revealed to His Messenger (peace be upon him). The name 'Al-Fadeel' is not amongst the foregoing Names and thus, it is not permissible for any one to name Allah (Exalted be He) as such. This is because Allah's Names are Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion) for He (Glorified be He) knows best what is appropriate for His Majesty while any one other than He does not have such knowledge. Consequently, whoever names Allah (Exalted be He) with something apart from what He named Himself with or that His Messenger (peace be upon him) named Him with; is belying the Names of Allah and deviating from the straight path. None of Allah's creatures is permitted to enslave any person of the slaves of Allah to other than Him. Therefore, it is not permissible to name somebody `Abdul-Fadeel, `Abdul-Naby, `Abdul-Rasul, `Abd Aly, `Abdul-Husayn, `Abdul-Zahra', Ghulam Ahmad, Ghulam Mustafa, or any other name which implies enslaving a created being to another. This is because such names involve excessive reverence of pious and prominent people, and therefore, impudence against the Right of Allah (Exalted be He), (Part No. 11; Page No. 456) and a means to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and transgression. Moreover, Ibn Hazm narrated the consensus of scholars regarding the prohibition of using names that imply enslaving people to other than Allah (Exalted be He). Accordingly, names such as those which are mentioned in the question should be changed along with all other similar names. Second, it is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Jannah (Paradise). (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) The foregoing Hadith is also related by Al-Tirmidhy, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim, Al-Bayhaqy, and others. They mentioned the concerned ninety-nine Names with some differences in their specification. Scholars have studied regarding this: A - Knowing the ninety-nine Names implies understanding their meanings, believing in them, acting upon them, and submitting to what they signify. Hence, the object is not only to keep their letters or enumerate them. B - The relied on opinion of scholars is that the specification of the ninety-nine Names in the Hadith is extracted by some scholars either from the Qur'an only or from the Qur'an and authentic Hadiths. They added the mention of the ninety-nine Names after the Hadith to explain it, give some details to the total number which is mentioned in the Hadith, and to act upon the Prophet's encouragement to know these names hoping to attain the reward of entering Jannah. C - The Hadith does not mean that there are only ninety-nine Names of Allah (Part No. 11; Page No. 457) for the wording of the Hadith is not that of confinement. The Hadith only tells about one characteristic of the ninety-nine Names of Allah (Exalted be He) and clarifies the greatness of the reward of knowing them. This is supported by what is related by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith compilation) on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: Any person who is overcome by sadness or grief and supplicates: 'O Allah! I am Your servant, son of Your female servant. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your decision concerning me shall certainly come to pass. Just is Your Judgment about me. I invoke You by every Name that You have and that You called Yourself by, sent down in Your Book, taught to any of Your creatures, or kept with You in the knowledge of the Unseen that is with You. Make the Glorious Qur'an the spring of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my grief and the dissipater of my concern.' Surely, Allah will remove his grief and sadness and exchange them for delight. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked: 'O Messenger of Allah! Should we learn these words?' He said: 'Yes. It is an obligation on all those who hear this supplication to learn it'. Thus, the Messenger (peace be upon him) explained that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) alone possesses the knowledge of some of His Names that He did not inform any body of. Such Names belong to the matters of the Ghayb (the Unseen) that nobody is permitted to guess because the Names of Allah (Exalted be He) are Tawqifi as will be clarified soon In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills). D - The Names of Allah are Tawqifi so that it is not permissible to name Allah (Glorified be He) with something other than that which He names Himself with or that His Messenger (peace be upon him) names Him with. Moreover, it is not permissible to name Allah (Exalted be He) with a name (Part No. 11; Page No. 458) via the application of Qiyas (analogy) or the derivation from a verb and so on. All schools agreed on this except Al-Mu`tazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief) and Al-Karamiyyah (a deviant Islamic sect that compares Allah's Attributes to those of others and claims good deeds are not a condition for sound Faith) Therefore, it is not permissible to derive names for Allah (Exalted be He) such as 'Banna'' (constructer), 'Makir' (plotter), or 'Mustahzi'' (mocker) from the Ayahs: With power did We construct the heaven. And: And they (disbelievers) plotted to kill ‘Isâ [(Jesus) عليه السلام], and Allâh plotted too. And Allah's Saying: Allâh mocks at them Similarly, it is not permissible to derive names for Allah (Exalted be He) such as 'Zari`' (grower), 'Mahid' (spreader), 'Faliq' (splitter), 'Munshi'' (producer), or 'Shadid' (severe) and so on, from the Ayahs: Is it you that make it grow, or are We the Grower? And: Excellent Spreader (thereof) are We! And: Is it you who made the tree thereof to grow, or are We the Grower? And: Verily, it is Allâh Who causes the seed-grain and the fruit-stone (like date-stone) to split and sprout. And: ...the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment because these words are only used in the foregoing texts as being annexed and not unbounded and in a context that does not tell about Allah's Names. Accordingly, they can only be used in the same way they appear in the Shar`y (Islamic legal) text.It should now be clear that, with regard to proper names, it is only permissible to annex the prefix `Abd (slave) to one of the Names with which Allah (Exalted be He) names (Part No. 11; Page No. 459) Himself explicitly in the Qur'an or that His Messenger (peace be upon him) names Him with in the Hadiths which are authentically reported from him (peace be upon him). Some examples of these Names are Allah's Names which are at the end of Surah (Qur'anic chapter) Al-Hashr, at the beginning of Surah Al-Hadid, and which are mentioned in some other Surahs (Qur'anic chapters) of the Qur'an.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.