Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
Islamic/Muslim names. Do you need one? The short answer is no.
When you revert to Islam, there’s a nagging feeling that you want to belong to the crowd. Instead of being Katie you now want to be Khadija, instead of being Amy you want to be ‘A’isha and there’s nothing wrong with that. But do you need an Islamic name, no you don’t.
The Prophet (saw) only used to change or advise people to change their names when they came to Islam if there current name was something filthy, disrespectful or against the principles of the religion. For example, if before reverting your name was Christian, this would be a problem.
Narrated by ‘A’isha (ra) The Prophet (saw) “He used to change bad names.” [Tirmidhi]
Umar (ra) had a daughter whose name was “`Asiyah” (meaning disobedient or rude). The Prophet (saw) changed her name to “Jamilah” [Abu Dawud]
A man once brought his some to Umar (ra) to complain that he did not obey him so Umar asked the boy if he knew the rights of the parent over the child. The boy recited them and then asked “Oh Umar, do children have any rights over their fathers?” One of the rights Umar (ra) specified was that the father should give the child a righteous name.
From my own personal perspective, I have had friends that have changed their name and some that have not. Some want to escape their past and start a fresh with a new name, others like myself don’t feel the need. My name was very carefully chosen by both my mother and father and from my own perspective it would be a disrespect to them to change it especially when it’s not against Islam or its teachings.
Changing your name is an option and not an obligation and some sheikhs and imams that have actually advised some not to do it. I think its amazing and both conforting at the same time when I meet a revert and their name’s Robert, Charmaine, Derek or in my case Christal. To me, it indicates that they are comfortable with who they are and that Islam accepts people from all walks of life, all previous religions and embraces them warmly. It shows we’re not a homogeneous group of people but individuals that form a whole. When you look at a jigsaw, all the pieces are different shapes, they’re not all the same.
So Islamic names, do you need one? No, not if you don’t want one.
Did you change your name when you reverted to Islam or did you keep the name you were given at birth? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
Wasalaam – Peace Be With You