Funny - I always wondered about this too. It's not necessary to change ones name after one becomes Muslim.
Welcome to the forum, Always Learning.
Just from watching YouTube videos and personal stories of people who have converted to Islam, I've noticed a lot of them have changed their names (like if they were Andrew before they might become Abdullah). Do new Muslims commonly do this after taking Shahada? If you did, what were some of your reasons for it?
I did not change my name, because I felt it would be a bit two-faced for me to have one name to use among my Muslim brothers and keep my birth name for everyone else.
It took me five years after I took my shahada to change my name. I changed it because my name meant nothing at all, and it was chosen from a soap opera (novela) >_>, Also, the prophet sallalahu Aleyhi wasallam said:
So after years of thinking about it, I decided to go ahead. I don't think its two-faced at all, unless one has two personalities. From the moment I chose that name, That's what I go by and that's what I present myself as when I meet someone new. My family knows about it, but of course they opt to call me by my birth name, which is fine too. After explaining where my name came from, they agreed that the name I chose suits me well I Also prefer to have a muslim identity because I AM muslim, and I like to be recognized as such, I mean my hijab and abaya is a give away, but still As I said , it took me a long while to decide, and when I finally took the name, many aspects of my personality changed as well for the better, I feel very different. When I am adressed by my birth name, it feels like they are calling a stranger actually, I can't relate to it."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)
To each his own, if the birth name means something good, keep it then.
Last edited by cOsMiCiNtUiTiOn; 11-20-2012 at 01:46 AM.
No, I didn't change my name. I like it and the meaning of it too.
LOL and here I thought you were actually named after a soap!
Lol. Neutrogena. That seems like a girl's name.
Neutrogina doesn't sound too bad, perhaps it was named after a lady hehe.
But please don't give your kids ridiculous names
I legally changed my name 22 years after becoming a Muslim and 3 years after making a personal commitment to practice Islam. I had gone for years with on-again-off-again practicing of Islam until June 2001 when at 40 years old, I realized the certainty of my own mortality and that I would have to give an account for how I lived my life. This commitment did not mean an instantaneous change, but rather the start of a metamorphosis. Previously, I had acted (in all honesty) as if I didn't know whether I wanted to be a Muslim or not. My reasons for changing my name were primarily to be known by everyone that I was a Muslim and more importantly as a conscious decision of there-is-no-turning-back-now. It may sound foolish, but I gave up a birth name that I was proud of as a part of my personal identity to be known by a new name so that I would look like a complete idiot to have a Muslim name and not be a practicing Muslim. Now, being a Muslim is an essential part of my personal identity and I can't imagine not being one, ma shaa Allah. In shaa Allah, when I die it will be as a Muslim after having lived in some small way a life that is befitting of the blessed name I chose. I retained my Scottish family name, but everyone knows my first name is 'Mustafa' although family still calls me by my birth name.
You don't need to, and I personally think it's a bad idea. In a lot of cases it just seems fake to me, since there's really no such thing as an Islamic name... A lot of people just conflate Arabic things with Islamic things and take on Arabic names, thinking that it will make them more Muslim. As long as your name isn't something filthy, I see no reason to change it. Also consider the possible problems it could cause with family... If you were named after someone, like a grandfather, I'm sure changing your name would be like a slap to the face of your family. I know some mothers/fathers also don't take it well when their kids throw away the names they gave them, and I think they'd be right to be a little upset. In the end though, a name change is your choice, it just shouldn't be done because you think Islam encourages it.
I know someone who hasnt changed his name. He is French Canadian and his name is Christian. Its pronounced in a French way and not meant to be like the religion, since in French the religion is called Chretien.
Actually, If your name before Islam was not a good one, then changing it IS encouraged.
No, A person can very well keep is previous name even after He/She converts to Islam, it is not necessary for one to keep a Muslim or Muslim sounding name. Though it is preferable to keep a name that indicates a Muslim identity. But the family name should not be changed.
The above rule does come with some exceptions though. The name should not go against Islam and its Beliefs(Allah, The Prophets, Quran, etc) . The name should also not be offensive like containing a bad or wrong meaning.
In this regard, we’d like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America:
Islam emphasizes that Muslims should have good names and give good names to their children. 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)
For instance, `Umar had a daughter whose name was "`Asiyah" (meaning disobedient or rude). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) changed her name to "Jamilah" (the Beautiful- see Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 4301) Abu Dawud has mentioned many names of people and places that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) changed because they had bad meanings. (see Hadith no. 4305) Imam al-Bukhari mentioned that Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib said that when his grandfather came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), the Prophet asked him about his name. He said, "Hazn" (meaning Hard). The Prophet said, "You are Sahl.(meaning soft, easy)." The man said, "I do not want to change the name that my father gave me." His grandson Sa`id used to regret and say afterwards that they kept on experiencing the hardness in their family. (Reported by al-Bukhari)
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…" (Al-Ahzab: 5)
Interesting stories of how and why muslims chose to change their names, and some of why the decided against it.
As someone who was born a Muslim, and never had to change my name - or even think about it - this has been very insightful.
Thank you all for sharing your stories with us
I always feel fascinated to read the stories of new Muslims and wish to embrace Islam myself but then i come to realize im already a Muslim And i would change my name if it was one of those typical South Asian Rhyming names im sick of but Alhamdulillah,i love my name and love the way it appears in Quran