Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
If somebody possesses the middle name “Khaliq,” would they be obliged to change it?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Some of the names of Allah are permissible for people to take as their own names, and some are not. Those names that describe qualities shared between Allah and His creation (Ar. mushtarak), such as Kareem, Raheem, or Rasheed, are permissible to use (though the realities of how they apply are, of course, utterly different between Allah and creation).
Examples of those which are not allowed are those which describe Allah in ways exclusive to Him and have not been used for created beings in our tradition, such as “al-Rahman” and “al-Quddus.” “Khaliq” is also said to be one of those names which should be avoided as a singular name for a person. [Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]
Following the proper Islamic naming etiquette, these names were usually initially given attached to the word “Abd al-” (Servant of…). Then in later generations or due to paperwork, the prefix was cut off, leaving only the name of Allah. In this case, one can simply add a word like “Abdul-” and thereby retain the original name.
One is not necessarily obliged to go back and change all of one’s documentation and identification to correct this if it implies undue hardship, time, and money to do so. But if there is an opportunity moving forward to write the correct version, it would be good to do so. And Allah knows best.
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[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.