- English Fatwa Department
Fatwa Number: 44683
Sender: Anon Female.
Assalamu Allikum, I hope inshaAllah someone may be able to answer my very sensitive question and put my mind at rest.
Have i commited sin by changing my last name to that of my husbands, considering i dont have a 'father'. Am i cursed for doing this? When i converted i changed my complete name, i have since read that changing the surname is Haraam, and would seem 'ungratefull' as the surname is a 'blessing'. and 'cursed is she/he who changes it'.
Qoute: "In hadiths it is reported that on judgement day you will be called by your family name. It is forbidden in Islam to take the name of someone who is not your father. Even when you adopt a child you would not change the childs name to yours.
Quran 33:5 and also Dawud hadiths speak of changing the name..
Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5956
"We were in the habit of calling Zaid B. Harith as Zaid B.Muhammad until it was revealed in the Quran;" Call them by the names of their fathers. This is more equitable with Allah"
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever calls himself by other than his father’s name (or attributes himself to someone other than his father), will be cursed by Allaah, the angels and all the people." (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2599; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6104).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Allaah has cursed the one who claims to belong to someone other than his father." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad and others). "
I wont lie to say that i was HAPPY to get rid of the name which made me feel dirty with full INTENTION of forgetting and having nothing more associated with him.
I was subjected to child abuse by my father when i was aged 8 and 9 years old.
I have not had contact with him since.
I have had counselling and after 16 years forgiven him, but this does not mean i want to re-establish any lineage.
I feel proud as a muslim, but do not feel good if i am going to be punished on judgement day because i changed my last name in order to "move on" and not be associated with a peadaphille.
On Judgment day will i really be called upon as " ______ daughter of ______ ( fathers name ) the convicted peadaphille ?
I know i cant make the rules but surely in all due respect my lineage lies on my mothers side ( and unfortunatly her maiden name is un-islamic ) so hence i took on my husbands surname, this doesnt mean i see his father as my father, i simply see myself as father-less. Information and advice much appriciated. Waalikum Assalam.
Answer: Dear questioner:
Al-Salâm `Alaykum wa Rahmah Allah wa Barakâtuh.
There cannot possibly be a hadîth that curses someone for changing his or her "surname". This is because the very idea of a "surname" is something that came much later in history. There were no last names at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and for centuries later.
The names like "al-Shâfi`î"or "al-Bukhârî" "al-Samarqnadî" and the like may seem to us like surnames. However, in truth they were added on to a person's name as en extra identifying term. Sometimes they indicated a person's tribe or clan. But more often they indicated his country, region, town of origin, or profession. Such names were not necessarily passed down from generation to generation.
As for the person's name, it was given as so-and-so the son of so-and-so the son of so-and-so…
This does not mean we should adopt this system today. Especially since tacking on such attributes will be misunderstood in a modern context. What matters is that we attribute ourselves to our true lineage according to the customs in the country which are understood in that country. The important thing is that the child is properly attributed to his or her father’s family. You should follow the local custom in this matter.
The surname is how lineage is indicated today. Therefore, you should keep your father's name if you were born in wedlock or if your father otherwise claimed paternity. Otherwise, you should retain your mother's family name.
As for your mother's maiden name being "un-Islamic", this is not a problem. The Prophet declared: "I am the son of `Abd al-Muttalib" referring to his grandfather. That name in and of itself is "un-Islamic" as a Muslim's name, since it attributes servitude to other than one of Allah's names. Nevertheless, it was the true lineage of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Un-Islamic names should not be our personal names. They can be our family names. Please also know that a name is only "un-Islamic" if it has a bad meaning. It has nothing to do with the language or ethnic background of the name.
In any event, if you have already legally changed your name, it is not necessary to go back and change it back again on paper. keep your name as it is if you like. What matters, however, is that you do not deny your true lineage or deny your parentage. The worst thing is to deny your parentage or lie about it and claim to be the child of someone you are not. You cannot deny the biological fact of your lineage through which Allah created you.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever attributes his lineage to other than his father or claims other than his master as his master, then he has upon him the curse of Allah, His angels, and all humanity.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (5115) from Anas and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (2609) from Sa`îd b. Jubayr – the wording is that of Ibn Mâjah]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever claims as his father other than his father knowingly, then Paradise is forbidden him.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (5113)]
As for the mere customary use of a name on official paperwork, this is not really that important, especially if changing your name all over again will cause you administrative difficulties or emotional pain.
And Allah knows best.
Fatwâ Department Research Committee of IslamToday Chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî