Can I Choose a Meaningless Name for My Daughter?

06 April, 2021
Q Assalamualaikum,

I am strongly inclined to choose a name for my daughter based on a name that I heard and like. The name I have selected is “Kehara” or “Kihara” (كِهارة).

To the best of my knowledge, there is no negative meaning associated with it or any meaning whatsoever. Is it permitted to give a name that has no meaning and only because the word sounds beautiful to the parents? Thank you for your time.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•I will kindly suggest that in addition to the research and inquiry you had made regarding the meaning, that you also go to the original source of where you heard the word.

•Please do ask the person who said the word or name what it means to them. This is rather important because it could be a slang term.


As salamu alaykum sister,

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Shokran for writing to our live session.  As I understand your question, you are choosing a name for your daughter. You are wondering if it is okay to name her this name.

An Unknown Name

The name that you have selected is a name that you heard, and you liked it. You stated that to the best of your knowledge, there is no negative meaning associated with it or any meaning whatsoever. I am wondering, first of all, where did you hear the name? In what context was the name spoken?

Meanings of Words

In order to decide whether a name has a meaning or not, perhaps by identifying where and when you heard it and how it was said, you can infer a meaning from it.

For instance, if it was stated in regards to something beautiful and nice, then that word or name would have that kind of connotation. On the other hand, if the name or the word was spoken in a negative context, then that would not be a name you would want to use, even if it sounded nice.

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Further Research & Exploration

As you stated, to the best of your knowledge there is not a negative meaning associated with it the name. I gather that you have researched this name or word to clarify that there is no negativity surrounding it. I will kindly suggest that in addition to the research and inquiry you had made regarding the meaning, that you also go to the original source of where you heard the word.

Perhaps it was in a conversation with a friend, perhaps it was in a book you read, perhaps it was in a conversation with coworkers or sisters at the Masjid. In any event, if you can recall where you did hear this name and in what context, please do ask the person who said the word or name what it means to them. This is rather important because it could be a slang term.

If this is the case you would not want to name your child this. I did look for the name and found several references to it. One was a Japanese name (no meaning), one was a last name in the US (no meaning), and one was on a Muslim Children’s name site (1). There it meant “Precious”.  With so many different associations and unknowns, however, it is best to get a clearer meaning.

Conclusion

When we name our children, it is very important that we pick out a name that is good, righteous, and in accordance with Islamic guidelines. For instance, I knew of a family who had a beautiful daughter with a lovely name “Ginger”. Her nickname was GinGin. After their reversion to Islam and learning about the Jinn, Ginger and her mom did decide to change her name because of the negative connotation.

This is just a small example, however the name you give your child is one that they may have to deal with all of their lives unless they choose to change it. Please do try to seek out the source of where you heard this name or word, please continue to search the name in other languages to see if it comes up there.

Sister, I am not an Islamic scholar, therefore I would kindly suggest that if further research and inquiry does not find a definitive meaning for this name, that you do ask your local imam or our “Ask the Scholar” section. I would not want to lead you in the wrong direction.

We wish you the best.

  1. https://muslimnames.com/kehara

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

Read more:

Should I Choose A Muslim Name For My Baby?

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-parenting/single-parenting/im-a-christian-mother-and-my-baby-will-be-a-muslim/

How Should I Welcome My Baby?

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.