Female Revealing Her Name on Social Media
Is the name of a female Awrah? Is it impermissible for a female to reveal her name?
Does a girl have to conceal her name? Is it against modesty for a female to mention her name? Is it a step closer to Haya for a woman to hide and conceal her name?
Can a female reveal her name on Twitter? Or, is it from the highest levels of modesty for a female to block her name
Wa ʿAlaykumus Salām Wa Raḥmatullāhi Wa Barakātuhu,
The name of a female is not ‘Awrah and there is no reason for it to be concealed.
No boy will develop an interest or get any feelings for a girl just due to her name.
Hence, the Prophet (ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) would mention the names of his noble wives and daughters in public, and he addressed and referred to many females by name. The companions would do the same. It is due to this that the names of many female companions are well-known.
Hadhrat Fāṭimah (may Allāh Ta’ālā be pleased with her) was the epitome of Ḥāyā (bashfulness and modesty), yet her name is taken before millions of males every Friday in the sermon (Khuṭba).
This practice then continued, and scholars of Aḥādīth had no qualms in mentioning the names of females when quoting from them, or if their names were cited in any chain of transmission.
In the Muwaṭṭa of Imam Mālik (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him, for example, there are no less than seventy four female names that are clearly mentioned (in the chain and text).
After the six canonical books (aṣ-Ṣiḥāḥ as-Sitta) and other books of Aḥādīth were written, the chains of transmission were quoted merely to continue with the unique methodology of this Ummah. Aḥādīth could be referenced to a book. After the year 300 AH, there was no need to quote chains with females, since it would not have any impact on the status of the narration. Yet, scholars of Aḥādīth continued to mention the names of the females in the chains of transmission in all the subsequent centuries thereafter.
Furthermore, there is no mention in any of the books of Fiqh that a female should conceal her name. Rather, the names of the wives and the daughters of many of the authoritative and very senior Fuqahā are well known.
In fact, all the leading female scholars of Ḥadīth and Fiqh themselves always revealed their names. Surely, they knew better. The male experts in these fields also found no problem with them revealing their names.
Even when it comes to scholars of Tafsīr, they made sure to disclose the names of females who were being referred to in the various verses of the noble Qur’ān. Despite obtaining so much insight and knowledge of the holy Qur’ān, they never claimed or assumed that Allāh Ta’ālā concealed the names of these females due to their names being ‘Awrah. These scholars who dedicated their lives to the service of the Qur’ān would definitely not disclose something that was concealed for a particular reason. They would not dedicate so much time and go into such detail in revealing what Allāh Ta’ālā wanted to be concealed.
Many scholars gathered the names of their teachers. They clearly mentioned the names of their female teachers along with the names of the males from whom they acquired ‘Ilm (knowledge).
Other scholars who wrote about their teachers were not hesitant to mention the names of the female family members of their respected teachers. For example, in al-Jawāhir wad-Durar, ‘Allāmah as-Sakhāwi (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on them) mentions the names of the female members in the family of his illustrious teacher, Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him). He really did not have to inform the readers of the names of the females in the family of his teacher!
To cite one example from a Ḥanafi Deobandi scholar, Hadhrat Mawlānā Aāshiq Ilāhi (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him) cited the names of the females in household of his teacher in his: Tadhkiratul Khalīl.
In Aap Beti, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Hadhrat Mawlānā Zakariyyā Kāndhlawi (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him) continuously quotes the names of females in his family, and in the families of his elders. No one can ever claim that an erudite scholar like Hadhrat Shaykh (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him) lacked Ḥāyā or was ignorant of the ruling that the name has to be concealed. The context, sentences and message would have been perfectly complete without their names being revealed. Yet, since there is no issue, Hadhrat Shaykh Mawlānā Zakariyya Kāndhlawi (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on him) very freely mentioned all their names.
Scholars continue to mention about Rābiyya al-Baṣriyya (may Allāh Ta’ālā have mercy on her) in their discourses, lectures and publications. No one ever feels the need to conceal her name.
Due to these reasons, senior Asātidha (teachers) in female Dār al-Ulūms and even teachers of the Maktabs are well aware of all the names of the females studying under them. Likewise, many Mashāyikh are aware of the females who take advice from them. The names of female teachers are also known to the principal and committee members. Had the name of a female been something that needed to be concealed, these respected scholars would have all lost their credibility. At the very least, they would have been guilty of something that is wrong. The female teachers (Aapas) would be regarded as ‘immodest’ to inform others of their names.
The mere claim that there is more Ḥāyā in concealing the name implies that all the great and illustrious scholars of the past did not possess Ḥāyā at the optimum level. Did the Prophet (ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam), his companions, and scholars of one thousand four hundred years consider it to be a higher level of modesty for a female to hide her name? If a female conceals her name now, will she be ‘a step closer to Ḥāyā’ compared to all the scholars of the past?
For something to be ruled as Ḥarām (impermissible), there has to be concrete evidence in the noble Qur’ān or from the blessed Aḥādīth of the Prophet (ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam). Regarding a female revealing her name, there is absolutely no prohibition in the divine sources. The practice of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam), the companions, and the Muslims of the past fourteen centuries proves the opposite of impermissibility.
Even though immodesty has become so common, we still cannot rule that it is prohibited for a female to reveal her name due to ‘Urf (social climate in our current times). Issuing the verdict that it is compulsory for a female to hide her name in this era would lead to lots of complications. It would mean that a female cannot open a bank account, apply for a visa for a voluntary ‘Umrah, or fill in any application form that is not extremely necessary.
In this era when the vast majority of Muslims are finding it difficult to uphold the tenants of faith and practice on the basic injunctions of their religion, it will not be wise to impose even more obligations upon a female. The spirit of Islām is to create ease. We should not create unnecessary difficulty and be a means of turning people even further away from their religion.
Most scholars mention the name of the bride in the Masjid in the presence of men. Likewise, when a female passes away, her name is broadcasted. Would anyone say that it is forbidden to forward a funeral message that has the name of the deceased exposed?
In many cemeteries, the name of the female is written on the grave. Insisting that a females name has to be concealed will mean that all the boards in various graveyards have to be removed, and Nikāḥ files in the Masjids should all be discarded.
The truth is that a name is simply for identification purposes. It cannot arouse any desires in a male.
At most, a scholar can suggest that it is preferable for a female to conceal her name. If he views it as only preferable, then that essentially means that it is permissible for a female to reveal her name. If a person views something as preferable, he cannot impose it on others.
Hence, no one can refute those who clearly say that it is permissible. Likewise, it will not be correct to look down upon those females who disclose their names.
As for social media, ‘the highest level of modesty’ is for a female to delete her account. However, if she wants to have an account, then she should ensure that she maintains modesty by not interacting freely with males.
It is better for a female to make her entire account hidden. Instead of feeling attracted due to the name, a male could feel attracted based on tweets that generally indicate to the intelligence and humour of the female account holder. Hence, it is more important to conceal tweets, compared to a name.
A revealed name with a private account that does not accept non-married males is much better than a concealed name with a public account. It is even worse if a female is commenting on every post of a male, but she is keeping a name concealed, in the name of Ḥāyā.
We tend to prioritize what is not necessary, but then we are so lax in what really matters. It is better for a female to reveal her name and not interact with males, rather than to be anonymous but comment on the tweets of non-married boys.
Having said that, if a female knows that she is responsible, and she is just there to retweet/like/quote other scholars, then she does not have to reveal her name.
Just as a female is not obliged to conceal her name, she is also not instructed to reveal her name. It is permissible for her to reveal her name, and it is not compulsory that she has to make her name public. She may conceal her name in her own capacity as her personal preference, but she should not look down upon those females who reveal their names, and neither should she impose her preference on others.
But if a female is posting her own thoughts and opinions, her identity must be revealed.
A great benefit of revealing her name on social media is that the girl will know that her reputation is at stake, and therefore she will have to maintain caution in all that she writes. She will not be abusive, display bad character, and comment or respond in an unethical manner.
She will even maintain caution in the way she interacts with the opposite gender since she knows that she is easily accountable for all that she does.
By revealing her name, she will also be sure to only post that which is appropriate.
If not with her full name, she can put the first letter of her name, and her surname. In that way, her Maḥārim will be known. The argument of concealing her identity due to Ḥāyā then falls away.