The Quran about self-names

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

From birth to the end of life, a person is linked with such concepts as name and title. Parents try to give a name to a child with a certain meaning, wishing that this meaning will come true. In the period of growing a person gets acquainted with the world around him and tries to classify everything around him, giving names and “shortcuts”, so that they differ from each other. These are all natural things coming from the time of our forefather Adam.

And He taught Adam all the names. Then He showed them to the maintainers and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful!”

They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”

He said, “O Adam! Inform their names!” And when he had called their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the hidden of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (2:31-33)


In the passage, the word “ismun” is used, which translates as: “name, title”. And that’s what the explanatory dictionary says:


1) The name of the person given to him at birth and distinguishing him from others.

2) Personal name of the person with his middle name, and also his surname.

3) The nickname of a person or name of an animal.

4) Verbal designation of the object, concept, phenomenon, title, name.

Firmly believing that the path to God can be passed only with the help of (through) theologians – guides, a person gives them (to his own paths) names, tries to approach to the Creator of all things. At the same time, neither the message brought by the messenger nor the elementary logic is perceived by them.

Unquestionably, for God is the pure duty!

And those who take patrons besides Him, say, “We only serve them that they may bring us nearer to God in position.” Indeed, God will judge between them concerning that over which they differ! Indeed, God does not guide he who is a liar and closed himself! (39:3)


If we take a look at the representatives of all religions, many names of ideologies and groupings are revealed, each claiming to have a correct understanding of the truth from God. This situation is not new. At the time of the revelation of the Quran, the followers of the faith in the One God, as now, identified themselves with a certain name.

They say, “Be Jews or Christians, and you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, to be the community of Ibrahim (Abraham), inclining toward truth! And he was not of those who associate with God!” (2:135)


From the ancient times, people put sacred meaning in names and titles, because faith in God has always existed. And today they (names and titles) serve as the personification of the right path. Unfortunately, there are many names, doctrines and movements among the followers of all religions without exception.

He said, “Already have abomination and discontentment fallen upon you from your Lord. Do you dispute with me concerning names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which God has not sent down any authority? Then wait; indeed, I am with you among those who wait.” (7:71)

 “You serve not besides Him except mere names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which God has sent down no authority. Judgement is not but for God! He has commanded that you serve not except Him. That is the correct duty, but most of the people do not know! (12:40)

They are not but [mere] names you have named them – you and your forefathers – for which God has sent down no authority. They follow not except assumption and what [their] personality desire, and there has already come to them from their Lord guidance. (53:23)


Sometimes in the vocabulary of believing people the name of a certain direction becomes nominal and even abusive. Contrary to all what is happening, the Prescription of God does not give to believing people any reason to label each other.

O you who have believed! Let not a people ridicule people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by offensive nicknames. Wretched is the name of apostasy after one’s faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the obscurantists! (49:11)


God’s Word clearly shows that names which do not come from God, but from people have no solid foundation. In the service to God, people have the right to operate only by His terms.

And strive for God with the striving due to Him!

He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the duty any difficulty as well as in the community of your father, Ibrahim (Abraham). He named you humble before and in this that the messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people.

So establish prayer and give purifying expenditure and hold fast to God!

He is your Patron!

And excellent is the Patron, and excellent is the Helper! (22:78)


If we ask representatives of all directions in Islam whether they want unity, the answer will be obvious – yes, but on one condition: unification must occur around their ideology, naturally with the preservation of their name. None of them will give up self-identification, despite the Divine criticism expressed in the Quran. Is it the reason behind the backwardness of the so-called “single ummah” in all spheres: political, economic, military, etc? After all, there is a God’s warning.

And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of God upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers! And you were on the edge of a pit of the fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make clear to you His signs that you may be guided. (3:103)


Despite this fact, we, who call themselves Muslims, persistently follow our ideologies, for each of them there is some person or group of “wise men” united by one worldview. Although on that point there is the command of the Almighty.

Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow other than Him any patron. Little do you remember! (7:3)

Speculating on the authority of Muhammad, the “ideologists” of any directions try to direct their adherents to the “right path”, however God in the Prescription made a remark to the messenger on this issue.

Not upon you is their guidance, but God guides whom He wills. And whatever good you spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of God. And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. (2:272)


How then can people who are contrary to the position of the messenger of God guide others?! For them and for all people there is a specific message:

And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Prescription which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe! (29:51)