New Muslim Changing Name

Should a new Muslim change his name after coming into Islam?

If your given name or first name is an expression of shirk, then you need to change it after coming into Islam. If your name, for example, was Apollo or Diana, then these names should be changed. Apollo was the Roman sun god and Diana was the Greek goddess of love. As a Muslim you cannot have these kinds of names. As a general rule, changing name is not a requirement to become a Muslim. Some Muslims may say out of ignorance that the one who accepts Islam must have a Muslim name. Actually Islam doesn’t require this at all. In fact, some of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) came into Islam and their names were unchanged. The Prophet (ﷺ) didn’t change their names. In some cases he (ﷺ) did but these were cases where the names were expressions of shirk. So, if your first name is an expression of shirk, then it should be changed but if it’s the name of your family, then you don’t change that because your name should be followed by your father’s name first and then family name and that represents your genealogy. So, even if your father’s name has shirk in it, you don’t change it. What you must change or correct is your given name or first name, that is, if it has elements of shirk in it. If you are attached to your name and do not want to change it, or you are afraid to change because your family may become upset with you, if you keep this name unchanged and die with it, it doesn’t mean you are going to Hell for that because you don’t believe in what it represents. However, the Prophet (ﷺ) had said,

Name your children well, because you’ll be called by those names on the Day of Judgment.”[1]

So, if this name is not one that you would like to hear yourself called by on the Day of Judgment, then know you need to change it as soon as you can. If you need to give yourself some time and allow your family to accept things, then you can be known amongst the Muslims by another name. For example, you can call yourself Fatima amongst the Muslims while your mother still calls you Diana. That is okay.

Reference:

[1] [Sunan Abi Dawood, hadeeth number 4948.]

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