IslamQA.org Logo

I am a new muslim, my name is Nita which means ‘pure,modest’. I’ll get married very soon. But the muslim marriage registrars over here aren’t agreeing to solemnize the nikah until and unless I change my name and take a so-called islamic name. As far as I have studied, I found that it is not mandatory to change the name as the meaning is good. It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names.” (Reported by Abu Dawud). During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when people used to accept Islam, he would not require all people to change their names. He used to change only those names that carried wrong meanings or un-Islamic ideas and concepts. The Prophet’s wife `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said about the Prophet, “He used to change bad names.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi). I also came across an article which states that “One can only change one’s own name, but one cannot change the family name or name of one’s parents, unless they are alive and accept the change. So the new Muslims should change their first names, if they contain wrong or bad meanings. As far as their last names are concerned they should not be changed, because it is also forbidden in Islam to take the name of someone other than one’s own biological father. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brothers in the faith.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33: 5)” My question is- 1) Is it obligatory (farz) for a new muslim to change her name even if it has a good meaning? 2) If yes, then kindly give me the references from the Holy Quran or any authentic Hadith or Sharia which state that it’s absolutely mandatory to change the name. N.B. The marriage registrar’s office demanded a lot of money from me to quote the references. As he was writing the reply in urdu(I don’t know urdu) I did not pay him. Then he told me of Darul Uloom Deoband where I would get an English reply. Kindly help as I feel that people around me are misguiding me and misbehaving just because I am a new muslim with very limited knowledge.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta-Deoband.com
I am a new muslim, my name is Nita which means ‘pure,modest’. I’ll get married very soon. But the muslim marriage registrars over here aren’t agreeing to solemnize the nikah until and unless I change my name and take a so-called islamic name. As far as I have studied, I found that it is not mandatory to change the name as the meaning is good. It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names.” (Reported by Abu Dawud). During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when people used to accept Islam, he would not require all people to change their names. He used to change only those names that carried wrong meanings or un-Islamic ideas and concepts. The Prophet’s wife `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said about the Prophet, “He used to change bad names.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi). I also came across an article which states that “One can only change one’s own name, but one cannot change the family name or name of one’s parents, unless they are alive and accept the change. So the new Muslims should change their first names, if they contain wrong or bad meanings. As far as their last names are concerned they should not be changed, because it is also forbidden in Islam to take the name of someone other than one’s own biological father. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brothers in the faith.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33: 5)” My question is- 1) Is it obligatory (farz) for a new muslim to change her name even if it has a good meaning? 2) If yes, then kindly give me the references from the Holy Quran or any authentic Hadith or Sharia which state that it’s absolutely mandatory to change the name. N.B. The marriage registrar’s office demanded a lot of money from me to quote the references. As he was writing the reply in urdu(I don’t know urdu) I did not pay him. Then he told me of Darul Uloom Deoband where I would get an English reply. Kindly help as I feel that people around me are misguiding me and misbehaving just because I am a new muslim with very limited knowledge.

Answer

(Fatwa: 678/D=152/file/D=1432)

The holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to change the name of those who embraced Islam if they were improper or carry wrong meaning. This is right, but if the name represents any other religion or culture it should be changed, since at present time name is a major identity. The holy Quran says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً . [البقرة : 208]
O you who believe, enter Islam completely. [2:208]
Hence it is not better to insist on your previous name, you should pick up an Islamic name. However, it is not necessary to change the name of your parents or family, rather it is not lawful for you to change their names. If the Muslim marriage registrar is behaving improperly you should consult the local Ulama.

Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband

This answer was collected from the official ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband in India.

Find more answers indexed from: Darulifta-Deoband.com