Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I have named my son ubayy mohammed after ubayy ibn kab,he is now 1 yr old.Recently we found about ubayy ibn khalaf who was the a non believer However me and my husband chose the name only beacuse of ubayy ibn kab as he was a sahaba,we are very confused now as the name of non believer is about the same.I would like to know about ubayy ibn kab and whether we should keep my son`s name as it is or change it.
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Keeping name Ubayy is fine
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
A name assigned to each individual is no more than a sign or recognition of that person; and there is absolutely no obligation or compulsion in Shariah that a believer is obliged or required to keep a ‘traditional’ Islamic or ‘muslim’ name. One is at complete liberty to assign any good wholesome name to their off-spring in absolutely any language they will or please.
The only names which Islam prohibits from assigning to a believer are names which connote or denote polytheism or disbelief (Abdul-Lat, Abdul-Uzza, (slaves of the pagan gods like Lat and Uzza, etc.) or names like Ramdas (slave of the Hindu god Ram), etc.; or names which have an inherit evil or vile meaning.
Other than names which connote polytheism and disbelief, or names which have an inherently evil meaning….Islam has allowed the believers the complete freedom to chose and assign any good wholesome name in any language they will and please.
The literal meaning of the Arabic term ‘Ubayy’ is one who has a high esteem….and is a perfectly acceptable name for a believer. Besides Hadrat Ubayy ibn Kaab was the name of one of the closest companions of the Prophet (saws), thus there is absolutely no harm if one chooses to name their off-spring after this noblest of companions of the Prophet (saws).
Just because a disbeliever happened to have a good name like Abdullah, or Mohamed, or Hisham, or Waleed, or Ubayy, etc…does not make by itself the name impermissible for the believers.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,