The right to name newborns
We have received a question, wherein the questioner indicated 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 going against my wife and desire to name our children with names that are dear to me?
It is obligatory for spouses to come to a mutual agreement and understanding in order to create affection and mercy whenever possible, conforming to the words of God Most High Who says, “And of His signs is this: He created for you mates from yourselves that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought” (Quran 30:21).
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 (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, on Judgment Day you will be called forth with your names and the names of your fathers. So choose your names well” (Abu Dawud). In this hadith, the phrasing and its imperative address males; and the father is the one who provides for the family, thus 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 give Shaytan any opportunity to come between them.
And God Most High knows best.