The right to name newborns

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

The right to name newborns


The questioner asked that he and his wife agreed that they will name their newborn Yusuf if it is a boy, or Leila if it is a girl. The wife [now] wants to use different names out of spite and out of rebellion against her husband.
Who has the right to name children when the parents disagree?
What is the ruling in my going against my wife and desire to name our children with names dear to me?


It is obligatory for spouses to have mutual agreement and understanding in order to create affection and mercy, conforming to what Allah Most High says: And of his signs is this: He created for you mates from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, therein indeed are portents for folk who reflect.1

Based upon this and concerning the question:

When spouses disagree about naming their newborn, the husband has the right to name the newborn – male or female – because the Prophet said, “Verily, on Judgment Day you will be called forth with your names and the names of your fathers. So choose your names well.”2 [In this hadith] the phrasing and its imperative address males; and the father is the one who provides for the family, so one of his rights is choosing the newborn’s name.

We advise the petitioner and his wife to come to an agreement, and not to leave Shaytan any opportunity to come between them.

And Allah Most High knows best.

1. Qur’an 30:31
2. Sunan Abi Dawud, 2:829

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