Can a Wife Take Her Husband’s Surname?
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Can a Wife Take Her Husband’s Surname?



Reply Date

Mar 11, 2018


As-salamu `alaykum. Concerning names, is a woman supposed to change her family name to her husband's name after marriage as it is in the West?



Can a Wife Take Her Husband’s Surname

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

There is nothing wrong if the wife uses or be referred to with the surname of her husband.

With regard to your question, the adoption by a woman of her husband’s family name is a purely cultural practice that has nothing to do with Islam.

It should be known that, “the adoption by a woman of her husband’s family name when she marries him is a token of her being subordinate to him. Historically speaking, a woman was in a position of total subordination to her husband.

In Islam, she suffers nothing of the sort. She retains her own family name because she is allowed to act independently of him. If divorce takes place, she returns to her own family. In Western countries, even after divorce, she continues to be known by her husband’s family name. This is strange indeed.”


In this context, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:

There is no specific tradition of the last name among Muslims. Sometimes the people take the last name of the family (Qurashi, Hashimi), sometimes they take their last name from their profession (Qassab, Najjar), sometimes they take their last name from the city in which they are born (Makki, Madani, Shami, Masri) and many other ways.

The proper way in Islam is that the person should be known by his/her name and the name of his/her biological father. It is not required for a woman to take the name of her husband, but it is also not forbidden if she is recognized as the wife of so-and-so.

It is permissible for a woman to change her last name after marriage. A woman can introduce herself or others can introduce her as the wife of so and so. In the ahadith, we see that the Prophet’s wives were sometimes referred to with the names of their fathers and sometimes as “wife of the Prophet”.

These things are more based on cultural practices and whatever is convenient can be done. What is forbidden in Islam is that a person refers to him/herself as the son or daughter of someone other than the real biological father. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Proclaim their parentage; that is more equitable in the sight of Allah.”(Al-Ahzab 33:5)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whosoever will claim the name of anyone other than his father will not even get the smell of Paradise.”(Ibn Majah)

Allah Almighty knows best.

Source: Excerpted, with slight modifications, from:

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America

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