Questioner: Can we give our children names like ‘Ayinde’, ‘Asamu’, ‘Ajape’, ‘Ajala’ (and so on)?
Dr Sharof: Scrutinize the meaning of the names. This is because the Yorubas (who make use of these names) do not utter empty words. What is the meaning of ‘Ayinde’? What is the meaning of ‘Ajape’? What is the meaning of ‘Ajala’? If the meanings of these names are good, then there is no harm as to their usage. If the meanings of the names do not contradict anything in Islaam, then there is no harm as to their usage. And giving your child a name that shows that he is from the Yoruba tribe does not indicate that you are a racist. However, it is wrong if you are not known with your Islaamic name. If (for example) you are named ‘Ayinde’ and your father is ‘Ajala’, you should not say your name is ‘Ayinde Ajala’ if you are asked about your name. You must mention your names in such a way that you are identified as a Muslim. This is from the evil works of the enemies of Islaam amongst the Yorubas. They do not want you to be known with your Islaamic names. This is because they want to use this as a record that you are unbelievers (like them). If such names will be used by your children, let them mention their Islaamic names before some other names, for example, ‘Umar Ayinde Khaalid’. So there is no harm about this in as much as the names have good meanings, and they do not lavish praise on your children. In as much as the names do not lavish praise on them, they are permissible.
[SOURCE: The question and answer session of the tape titled, ‘Explanation of the names and the attributes of Allaah’]
Transcribed by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey