What Is the Ruling of Adopting a Muslim Name after Converting?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

Am I required to change my name, if in ancient times it had a pagan meaning which is not used today?

My name (Julia) is Roman and pagan in origin, originally thought to be related to the god of youth, meaning “daughter of the god of youth”. Though I’m not sure it still retains this original meaning in today’s society, I’ve been advised by many to change it and some to keep it. What should I do? What is most pleasing to Allah Most High?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

The names Julia (Roman), Julie (French), and Giulia (Italian) were related to the god Jupiter in pagan mythology, however, the word has been used in its many variants to mean youthful and this meaning has become widespread. Due to this, it is not obligatory or necessary for you to change your name.

If, however, you feel uncomfortable with your name, it is your discretion. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) rarely changed any of the Companions’ names. There are only a few instances, in which he did so – all of which, the names in question were clearly against the tenets of Islamic belief.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.