Are New Muslims Required to Change Their Names?

22 August, 2021
Q Do new Muslims need to change their names after they convert to Islam?

Answer

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:

1- There is no specific injunction which requires new Muslims to change their names after accepting Islam.

2- The vast majority of the Prophet’s companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) did not change their names after accepting Islam.

3- However, it is recommended if a name contradicts Islamic principles or values it should be changed to a better meaning name. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised one of the companions, whose name was “Harb” which means “war” in English, to change his name to a better meaning name.


Suppport AboutIslam.net

Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

It is not absolutely necessary for you to change your name if you are converting to Islam as long as your name does not have any taint of shirk, or as long as it does not suggest ideas that are repugnant to Islam.

If your name, however, contains or implies shirk (associating partners with Allah) as is the case with names such as servant of Muhammad, servant of Jesus, or servant of Abraham, servant of Kabah, and so on, you must change them.

Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam, and the Prophet’s closest companion, before his conversion to Islam was called Abd al-Kabah (servant of the Kabah) and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) changed his name to Abdullah (servant of Allah).

Likewise, if your name contains ideas that are repugnant to Islam, then again, you ought to change it; hence the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) changed or objected to names suggesting unsavory ideas such as: Flame of Fire, War, Bitter, Hard to deal with, King of kings, and so on.

He also discouraged names implying: prosperity, success, profit-making and so on; for bearers of these names may likely be taunted for not living up to their names.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) loved names such as peaceful, lenient, gracious, noble, bearer of good news, fair, pure, and so on.

While prohibiting or discouraging people from naming with the above names, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged them to use names that have good meanings or are inspirational; thus he loved names that are indicative of servitude to Allah (as is the case with names like Abdullah (servant of Allah) or Abd al-Rahman (servant of the Beneficent); he also loved naming children after the true role models of humanity such as prophets and righteous people. So he called his son Ibrahim.

Once the above considerations are taken into account, there is nothing wrong with keeping your previous name, as you are not obligated to change your name in order to become a Muslim.

In conclusion, in the Western context, names such as Devil’s angel, Wolf, and so on, are considered un-Islamic.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Source: www.islam.ca