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Should I Change My Name If It Is Not Arabic?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My name is Marc and have been muslim my entire life. Do I have to change this name?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

You do not have to change your name. However, if you would like to then there is no problem with this.

The Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) advised his community to keep good names and even changed the names of some of his Companions when they had negative meanings. The best of names that he suggested were the names of prophets, as well as Abd Allah and Abd al-Rahman. The sunna practice, however, is to generally choose a name that has a sound meaning. [Muslim, Sahih; Abu Dawud, Sunan]

Please see also: Can a Man Change His Last Name?

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Can I Change My Last Name Because It Reminds Me of Severe Childhood Abuse?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have undergone extensive trauma therapy to recover from a childhood that has scarred me for life. I have confronted my father about my painful experiences and it was a disaster. Since this confrontation,  my last name has triggered anger and resentment because it is associated with my father.

Can I change my last name given the above situation?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, I am so sorry to hear about your severe childhood abuse. Wounds like yours run deep, and I applaud you for choosing the path of healing. I pray that when you marry and have children, you will be a wonderful mother and loving wife. May Allah grant you complete healing, and help you stop the cycle of abuse.

Last name

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani has concluded that in exceptional circumstances such as yours, it is permissible for you to change your last name.

May Allah continue to bless your journey of healing. Please keep in touch.

Please refer to the following link:

Can a Woman Take Her Husband’s Surname?
Is it Necessary to Change One’s Name after Becoming Muslim?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Randy

Can a Woman Take Her Husband’s Non Islamic Surname?

Answered by SeekersGuidance Answers Service

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

1) Is there any ruling on changing or not changing one’s surname to one’s husband’s after marriage?

2) My husband is a revert and has a Scottish surname and my dad says that it’s wrong to change my Islamic surname which to a non Islamic name. Is this view correct?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

(1) It is permitted for the wife to take her husband’s surname. This is simply a customary practice adopted by many.

Please see: Can a Woman Take Her Husband’s Surname?

(2) No, it is not necessary for someone to change his name after becoming Muslim.

However, it is a recommended sunna to do so if one’s name has an undignified or unbefitting meaning. [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih, quoting Nawawi; al-Mawsu`ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

`Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to change bad names. [Tirmidhi]

Brief Guidelines on Names

[1] In general, it is permitted to take any name which doesn’t have a negative or problematic meaning or connotation.

[2] There is no obligation to change your name, particularly if the name doesn’t have a bad primary meaning.

[3] There is benefit in choosing a “Muslim” name, and this is generally a highly recommended sunna. For example, taking the names of Prophets, the great righteous men and women of Islamic history, and names indicating one’s belief in God such as `Abdullah and `Abd al-Rahman.

[4] It is permitted without dislike to take the names of angels.

[5] It is permitted to take the names of Allah, such as Karim or Hasib, except for those which exclusively belong to Allah, like Rahman, for example.

[6] Taking ugly names, like Shaitan and Zalim, or names with bad meanings or connotations is highly disliked.

[7] You can use both names [birth name & ‘new’ name], whether in different contexts (such as keeping your birth name in dealings with parents, family, and perhaps even professional situations), or interchangeably–as there is nothing wrong with having multiple names you are referred to by.

Please see: Is it Necessary to Change One’s Name after Becoming Muslim?

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

SeekersHub Answers Service

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Are There Any Rules of Taking an Agnomen (kunya)?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatoh,
How do kunyas (e.g. Abu Muhammad) work in Islam? Is it religious or cultural practice for one to change their kunya if they have a daughter, then later have a son?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that this finds you in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.
Taking an agnomen (kunya) is permitted. (e.g. Abu Ibrahim)
It is a recommended sunna to use the name of your eldest child for the kunya. Though, it is permitted to take any kunya you wish, even if you do not have any children. There is much leeway in this as long as the chosen name is not undignified or unbefitting in any way.
[Ibn `Allan/Nawawi, al-Futuhat al-Rabbaniyya `ala al-Adhkar al-Nawawiyya; al-Mawsu`ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is it Necessary to Change One’s Name after Becoming Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Assalam Alaikum,
An aquaintance of mine has recenlty accepted Islam. He was a Hindu before he came to Islam and wants to know if it is neccessary for him to change his name.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, it is not necessary to change your name after becoming Muslim.
However, it is a recommended sunna to do so if your name has an undignified or unbefitting meaning. [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih, quoting Nawawi; al-Mawsu`ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]
`Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to change bad names. [Tirmidhi]
Brief Guidelines on Names
[1] In general, it is permitted to take any name which doesn’t have a negative or problematic meaning or connotation.
[2] There is no obligation to change your name, particularly if the name doesn’t have a bad primary meaning.
[3] There is benefit in choosing a “Muslim” name, and this is generally a highly recommended sunna. For example, taking the names of Prophets, the great righteous men and women of Islamic history, and names indicating one’s belief in God such as `Abdullah and `Abd al-Rahman.
[4] It is permitted without dislike to take the names of angels.
[5] It is permitted to take the names of Allah, such as Karim or Hasib, except for those which exclusively belong to Allah, like Rahman, for example.
[6] Taking ugly names, like Shaitan and Zalim, or names with bad meanings or connotations is highly disliked.
[7] You can use both names [birth name & ‘new’ name], whether in different contexts (such as keeping your birth name in dealings with parents, family, and perhaps even professional situations), or interchangeably–as there is nothing wrong with having multiple names you are referred to by.
A useful book is: Islamic Names by Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani
Please also see the following resources:
(a) Is it Permissible to Name Children with Names of Angels?
(b) Naming Children with the Names of Allah
(c) Giving an Adopted Child Your Family Name
(d) Can a Man Change His Last Name?
(e) Naming Children with the Names of Allah
(f) Can a Woman Take Her Husband’s Surname?
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam & Faraz Rabbani