The root of this debate goes back to the original debate of Allah vs God (linguistically). The word Allah in arabic, the word means simply "the God". It is used primarily by Muslims, Arabic-speaking Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians and Jews.It is related to Ĕlāhā in Aramaic. Which vividly outlines that Allah (linguistically) is not the Muslim hegemony. And also using any other synonym for Allah based upon its language and culture has same implicit meaning as it is expressed by word Allah, which is in fact the Al- Ilah. That is out of numerous Ilahs, there is one Al Ilah. Now English and Arabic have one grammatical commonality for articles (A, An and The) unlike Persian and Urdu. In Persian/Urdu when we do not have ‘The’ this does not mean that we cannot have Persian version of Al Ilah (linguistically). And the Persian version of Allah (i.e. Al Ilah) is Khuda or the Khuda. This has also been validated by Allama Iqbal in his work ( 1.“.Buton se hai tujhko ummeden aur Khuda se naummedi, yeh kafiri nahi to aur kya hai….” 2. “Khudi ko kar ke buland itna, Khuda bande se khud puchhe…” etc.)
One must make this clear in his/her mind that in the exact same manner the way we have in English so many gods and then one God, in Persian so many khudas and then our Islamic khuda is the one Khuda of all the khudas, In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was used by people of Mecca as a reference to the creator-god, but not considered the sole divinity; however, Allah was also considered the giver of rain. Allah was associated with companions, whom pre-Islamic Arabs considered as subordinate deities. People of Mecca held kind of kinship existed between Allah and the jinn (Astaghfirullah) . Allah was thought to have had sons and that the local deities of al-Uzzā, Manāt and al-Lāt were His daughters (Nauzubillah…). And the proof of this conclusion can be drawn from the fact that name of father of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)was Abdullah when there was no Islam in Arab at that time. Now this further clarifies that those who have started projecting word “Allah” as the only Islamic God are actually projecting their Arabic culture, names and grammars in the envelope of Islam.
It is never about the name and its dictionary meaning it’s always about the intention and its impacts. Same word with same meaning can be used with different intentions. Let us leave this issue right here in the light of first hadith of Sahi Al Bukhari (“1. 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said on the minbar, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Actions are but judged according to intentions. Every man has what he intends. So whoever emigrates to gain something of this world or to marry a woman, his emigration is for that to which he emigrated.'")
After exfoliating the layers of misunderstandings intentionally propagated for the word Allah (Why, how and when for this, is itself a huge subject), let us now look at the cultural practices associated with naming in the arab peninsula which actually have nothing to do with Islam. Two most prevalent practices in Arab even today are
1. Easy and consequently multiple marriages for men and women
2. Professional Breast feeders for new born.
These two cultural practices resulted into the current naming practices of new borns in the manner where every other name of Arabians irrespective of muslims, Christian and jews etc. will always have connectors in their names such as “ibn”,”abu”, “bint” and one more that is “abd” We have thousands of name known to us using these connectors including Abdullah, Abdumittalib Abd Manaf etc.
Now again the same principle applies here that those for whom Islam is their monopoly, they planned to spread their pattern of naming in the packet of Islam. This was a known fact that nobody will accept their claim for nothing so they started spreading the absolutely misguided and misleading notion of Allah’s characteristic name (Isme Sifati) to be considered as absolute. It appears that in their grammar books, they have clubbed noun and adjectives in the same chapters. To them Allah and Rahman are the same in its literal and objective sense. This is nothing but shear foolishness. Not less than 113 times, have bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ) and every, I repeat every translator of this world has always translated this as “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the most Merciful." Now let us replace the word Allah with God for language consistency and read the whole line as “In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the most Merciful." What do you think the words God, Beneficent and Merciful can all these be put in the same category? If no, the how can we consider putting the Arabic words Allah, Al Rahman and Al Raheem in the same class?
Bismillah is just one example in this regard. Let us now take another example which is basically one of the most used phrase by Dr Zakir Naik which is in Surah Âl 'Imran (3:54) “Allah is the best of the planners” Here also, we can see that the act of planning is not only done by Allah but it is one of the characteristic of Allah, off course He is at its best, but Prophet of Allah did the planning during battles of Badr and Ohad. And also you and I as humans do plan. The quality of planning varies beyond doubt. The illustration is as same as The Allah is Al Rahman and Al Raheem, but Prophet of Allah has been declared by Allah himself as Rahemtullialemeen in Surah Anbiya (21:107). That again means being merciful is the characteristics of Allah and he is at its best. But Prophet of Allah has also been merciful as announced by Quran itself. Likewise let me tell that the extent of our muslimness depends upon how merciful we are. This can be seen in thousands of proves in Islam. Please find some evidences below in this regard
1."Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion. They are those on the Right Hand (i.e. the dwellers of Paradise)." [Al-Qur’ân 90:17-18]
2."Allâh is only merciful with those who show mercy to others." [Al-Bukhârî]
3. "Be merciful to those on the earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you." [At-Tabarânî and al-Hâkim with a sahîh (authentic) chain]
4. "He who does not show mercy to others, will not be shown mercy." [Al-Bukhârî]
5. "Mercy is only removed from the miserable." [Abû Dâwûd and at-Tirmidhî]
Now when I have clearly proved you that 3(Al Rahman, Al Raheem, Al Khalique (meaningis taken in terms of Planner) out of 99 names of Allah are basically the characteristics of Allah and He himself has empowered some of his different attributes to his different creations. Nobody but it is only Allah how has this power, when he wants to make somebody Self-Sufficient and Independent, he makes him as Usman Ghani (RA) and when he wants to make somebody Highest and Exalted, he makes him as Ali ibn –e-Abu Talib(RA). Where both Hazrat Usman and Hazrat Ali beared the names of Allah (Al Ghani and Al Ali). Do you still think they did something wrong.
Let us move ahead, one of the names of Allah is Al Baqui. Now you tell me have you heard of Jannat ul Baqui. How will you explain this “apparent” fallacy where Jannat ul baqui is a graveyard?
Now before I move to Al Haq, I would like to give you two more examples in the same line.
Allah says in numerous places about his characteristic of being Creator. Open the Quran and keep verifying the following counts
1. Surah al-Mu'minun (23:14)
2. Surah as-Saffat (37:125)
3. Surah at-Tur (52:35)
4. Surah al-Fatir (35:3)
5. Surah ar-Ra`d (13:16)
Unquestionably he the Allah is the best of the best creators but the characteristic of being able to create is something which he the Allah himself has shared with his creations in various forms.
Last example in this regard would be another characteristic of Allah Jalla jalalhu that is Al Razaq.
If you read Quran you will definitely find that at one occasion Allah says that he is the Razaq. In Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51:58) and then also Allah says in Quran in Surah Taha as “…and the sustenance (provided) by your Lord is better and more abiding. (20:131)”. So the conclusion is again the exactly same that no doubt that he is the final ultimate sustainer or provider but he has also shared this of his characteristic with other creations in this world. If you read the Quran, you will see that none of the 99 names that we have in Quran claims that they are Allah’s name to the extent that nobody can bear same characteristics, though in its miniature forms. We have clear exception with those names of Allah which are Allah’s proper names or Isme zaati.
Now let us come to our common last name with the Isme sifati of Allah (JJ) that is Al Haqq.
1. Surah 6:62- “Then they His servants are returned to Allah , their true Lord. Unquestionably, His is the judgement, and He is the swiftest of accountants.
2. Surah 20:6-“ That is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He is over all things competent
3. Surah 23:116- “So exalted is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth; there is no deity except Him, Lord of the Noble Throne.”
4. Surah 31:30-“That is because Allah is the Truth, and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand.
Now you know all Muslims recite their first Kalmah as La Ilaha IllAllah… which starts saying there is no Ilah but Allah. And there is no ambiguity about it. Could you find any reference in Quran which says there is not truth but Allah. Let me tell you my dear brother what Allah says in Quran, Quran says Surah Al Baqrah( Verses 2 to 6), being muslim we have to believe in 1. Quran 2. Books 3. Last Day 4.Hearafter. Can anybody say that these are not truth? Again the degree of truthfulness will vary for sure. Allah further says mankind is the ‘Ashraful makhluqat’. Everybody prostrated except Satan. Is this not true then and today?
The question comes of degree. Allah has always been and will always be. But everything else me, you, cricket match, Computer, feelings, politics will have a period of truthfulness and then die but He the Al Mighty will remain forever so his truthfulness is forever. But truthfulness is a characteristic. In its mightiest form it rests with Allah. But we all are true in our existence. When Allah says in Quran he is truth, he stresses not only about the truthfulness of his existence but also of his promises, intentions and accomplishments. We can be true for all these features as we have to be merciful being part of being Muslim. See below what the word Haqq has its sense in Arabic
From the root h-q-q which has the following classical Arabic connotations (Sources not mine)
-to be suitable to the requirements of wisdom, justice, truth or fact
-to be in accord with the needs of the situation
-to be true, right, correct, just, proper
-to be genuine, authentic, real, sound, substantial
-to be established, confirmed as fact
-to be necessary, requisite, justified
-to be unavoidable, inevitable, due
-to be binding, obligatory, incumbent upon
-to happen without doubt or uncertainty
Now tell me do we have any authentic or week references where we are prohibited from being striving to align ourselves with any of the above connotations of Haqq?
Then 1.why not we can be on the path of haq? 2. Why not we can be the light of haq
3. Why not we can be propagator of haq? 4. Why not we can be supporter of haq?
5. Why not we can be pupil of haq.
In all of its superlative form the haq will transform into Al Haqq. But your and my parents are haq. Our grandparents are haq.Then where is this wrong? Rather let me remind you of one more saying from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) where he says a muslim should practice the sunnah of Allah. Now please do not take it in otherwise, here also Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) intended to say that these entire good and pious characteristic for Allah is what Muslims and momins should try to practice.
Till here, I did not use the references of past generations as you outlined in our talk that if there is something wrong done by our past generation should be fixed. You are very correct but the actual intention should not be to be automatically critical to everything that has been so far in practice. The intention should be based upon the very first hadith of Sahi Al Bukhari, where Hazrat Umar says, that Prohet Muhammad (PBUH) said that it is your intention which matters.
Now I want to give you the list of people/places from our past generations whose name does not make any valid meanings however they hold highest positions in our faith from very early days and hold true even today.
1. Abu al-Dardaa (Sahabi RA)
2. Abu Hurairah (Sahabi RA)
3. Al-Ala'a Al-Hadrami (Sahabi RA)
4. Qatadah (Sahabi RA)
5. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhayfah (Sahabi RA)
6. Suhayb ar-Rumi (Sahabi RA)
7. Abul Qasim (Muhaddis AR)
8. Noorul Haque (Muhaddis AR)
9. Noorul Islam (Muhaddis AR)
10. Salman Al Farsi (Ahle Suffah)
11. Maulana Fazle haq Khairabaadi (Islamic scholar AR)
1. Saudi Arab
2. Jannatul Baqi
3. Abu Dhabi
5. Majarr Al Kabsh
6. King Faisal bridge
7. King Fahd road
8. King Abdulaziz road
What I want to make you understand that name of an individual gradually takes its own place. There are people with name of mighty king who have been poverty driven throughout their lives and there are people with name of a poor person and been very rich. So your name is your name. I want to tell you now what has been my pain which compelled me to write down all these. There are two most important reasons which actually made me crying when I heard you changing your last name.
1. Do you know that it was Prophet Muhammad who gave the name to sons of his only daughter? I mean to say are you aware of the two facts that (1) name of Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain were given by Allah’s rasool and (2) Allah’s messenger has declared that Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain are his sons and His (Prophet Muhammad) generation will continue from them. And just to tell you both these information are available in Sunni books of hadiths in thousands. Do not think that I am speaking from any Shia’s book. Now see the lessons for us from this information. One, giving and approving the grandchildren’s name by grandparents has been Prophet’s sunnah. Two. Sahaba(RA) gave preference to the name given by prophet Muhammad not as prophet but as grandfather too. And third, you were telling me that day the people for first three generation never had the name like “FirstName Ul Haque”. As I have already explained you the right and wrong of this misconception above, let me ask you one more thing forget about first three generations, do we have any single account of first six(3+3) generations of Sahaba, tabyeen, tabetabayeen and others who advocated or changed their name from whatever they had since their birth. Let me add here that changing the name was only conditionally in practice when the new arrivals in Islam had their names same as the deities of their past faith. Otherwise if you read back you will see that the biblical names are continued, Torah’s name were in practice, Persian and Hindi names were even unaltered. You might be aware of the name of the first Indian/hindu with name of baba Rathan from Kerala coast who became Muslim but continued with same name. Objection to this practice for the first time innovated when a self proclaimed wealthy Islamic theologian proposed his version of Islam. I am talking about Ibn-e –Taymiyah (Born 1263 CE) . So if out of ignorance or out of some willingness anyone of us try to change our name, which had been chosen by our grandparents, we are basically going against preference of Prophet Muhammad and the practice of sahaba. It means you or I are putting ourselves before the first choices of rasool or Ahle baith or the sahaba.
2. The second reason of my dismay when I heard about you changing your name is that your and my first name is where we play our roles, but altering the last name means we are disassociating ourselves from our past generation, which has been yours and mine identities. I have my hindu and muslim friend who changed their first names for so many reasons, but if you change your last, your coming generations will find hard time in tracing back their lineage. Your own cousins will have different name and your will be different. Let me remind you two important points here. One, when Allah says in Surah AL Hujurat (49:13) “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware”. Read the above verses again. It is the will of Allah that the two nobles would be known among themselves based upon their nations and tribes and this is another truth. If we are damaging this link, we are actually doing something which Allah never preferred. Second, when Allah’s messenger says that my generation will continue from Hasan and Hussain, it manifests that basic principle that our generations and its pedigree is a reality, a truth. And none of us have right to jeopardize this.
With this I will conclude all that I had to say. I would again request you, if you can come back to your original name with which you had your dada (AR) preferred you and with which you had Aquiqa and your maktab.
You still hold legal and religious rights to change your first and last names. If you want to continue or if you cannot come back then go ahead without any feeling of guilt but please clean your mind in the light of all above justifications I gave you that your original complete name is the perfectly valid and absolutely correct name with no need of modification.