ask a muslim

Ask A Muslim: Conversion and Changing Names

Ask A Muslim: Conversion and Changing Names

What do you want to Ask a Muslim? Submit your questions online or fill out the form below.

By Maimoona Harrington

When you join Islam, why do you have to change from mother-given names to Arabic?

I am answering this question from my own personal experience. My husband is a revert — someone who converted to the Islamic faith — so some of my close relatives raised the concern that his name should be changed. 

This notion of name change is strongly believed and practiced in most Muslim cultures. Because this question was raised for my husband, I researched and found that, from a religious point of view, simply changing someone’s name after they accepted Islam is not mandatory. It’s not an obligation and is permissible, if desired.

However, there are a few exceptions to this. Name change is only required and recommended if it conflicts with Islamic teachings and has an inappropriate meaning. If the name is one of the attributes of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala (God), then it should also be changed. For example, a person can’t be named and called Al-Rahman only because Al-Rahman (Most Gracious) is an attribute of God. However, if the word Abdul (slave of) is added before Al-Rahman, then it’s acceptable to name someone Abdul Rahman, meaning “Slave of the Most Gracious.”

Check Also

ask an eastern orthodox Christian

Ask and Eastern Orthodox Christian: What Is Hell?

What can you tell me about hell, because I am a convert from the Baptist church where they taught that was a literal lake of fire?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x