In the UK, USA, KSA etc., a newborn is named before the mother is discharged from the hospital. This I reliably gathered from friends scattered all over diaspora. They said for every child born, the country’s demographic data is statutorily updated, and one of the ways this is done is before the departure of the parent(s) from the hospital.
Our people in Nigeria, the Yorùbás especially, who accuse whoever names his child before birth ceremony of fanaticism may need to do same to the developed countries aforementioned. It perturbs that some of these accusers have travelled wide, and have seen it all, yet they label Nigerian Muslims toeing same line with unprintable tags. Why? Because theirs has its root from the Sunnah. What do we call this other than hypocrisy?
What was preponderant in the days of our forefathers was to have the newborn named the day his birth was celebrated. That was sunnatically correct though, but it was just one out of the many options we were at liberty to choose from. The fact that one was the commonest didn’t make others abominable. This is one area Yorùbá Muslims should work on: they are usually hasty to label people when things uncommon or unknown to them are done. Rather than ask, they go vindictive against the doers.
A child may be predictively named before pregnancy, or even marriage. Our mother, Aishah – wife of the prophet – had no child, yet she was addressed as Ummu AbdiLlāh (mother of AbduLlāh). Peradventure she later had a boy, there would be no need searching for a name. Such was the practice during the time of the prophet and the sahābah. Therefore, if anyone does same today, will it be appropriate to tag him a fanatic? Oh! The prophet and his sahābah were fanatics too, right? It pains that some people are arrogantly ignorant.
A child may be named immediately after birth – before the seventh day. Once the prophet had a boy overnight and while announcing the joy to his sahābah the next day, he told them he had named him Ibrāhīm. This if done by anyone today, the arrogant ignorant would label him with extremism. Sometimes I wonder with what parameters people determine who an extremist is.
A child’s name may equally be held unannounced until the day his birth is celebrated. Therefore, if a child is born and the parents refuse to give him a name until the seventh day, it will be inappropriate to assume that such parents aren’t religiously serious. Even if they aren’t aware of the other options, after all, this one is also in tandem with the practice of the holy prophet.
Our parents, relations, friends, colleagues, neighbours, alfas should take caution and live by the Qur’ān and Sunnah. Where they don’t want to, they should allow those who want to do so.