Is calling people by their first name considered disrespectful in Islam?

For example, I am part of 2 cultures. 1 culture considered it respectful to call people by their first name no matter who they are and what their age is. For example, in 1 of these cultures, it is perfectly respectable to call your granddad by his first name.

However, another culture I am part of would consider that disrespectful. This second culture says that a granddad should be referred to as granddad only, and should never be called by any of his names.

So in the first culture, if your granddad's name is John Smith, it is perfectly respectable to call him John, and would be considered weird to call him granddad.

And in the second culture, if would be considered disrespectful to call your granddad John, and would be considered respectful to call him granddad.

Does Islam have rules for this, is it considered disrespectful to refer to your granddad as granddad, or is it disrespectful to refer to your granddad via his real name?

Sunni view preferred with evidence from quran/hadith and/or fatwa.

1 Answer 1


As with so many other things, Islam only provides general guidelines in these matters and not a specific do or don't-do. In this case, the general guideline is to be respectful to your elders:

`Amr bin Shu`aib (May Allah be pleased with him)on the authority of his father who heard it from his father reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "He is not one of us who shows no mercy to younger ones and does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders".

[At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]

Being "respectful" is left to the cultural norms (`urf) of the time and place because it makes no sense to specify a one-size-fits-all rule for all cultures, places, and times. So in the situation you outlined, be mindful of where you are, what the other person expects, what is considered respectful and honorable, and fulfil the sunnah by following that.

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