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Question: I was wondering if it is important to have a Muslim name. I am Muslim and was born Muslim but my father left me with a European name?

Let me first commend you for your zeal to practice Islam; I pray to Allah to help us all to remain steadfast in our faith.

Now coming to your question, let me state: There is no need for you to change your name unless it carries meanings contrary to the teachings of Islam.

If, however, your name carries any meaning that is contrary to the Islamic concepts and beliefs, then you must change it; otherwise there is no need to do so. It is a well known fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, approved the names of people which were given to them by their pagan parents or ancestors; he allowed them to keep them; he only changed such of their names which had a un-Islamic bearings or unpalatable connotations: Hence we are told that the Prophet, peace be upon him, changed the name of Abd al-Ka’bah (servant of Ka’bah) to Abd Allah (servant of Allah); he also changed names such as sa’ab (difficult to deal with) to sahl (easy to deal with); harb (war) to salaam (peace), etc.

Having said this, I must also point out: It is definitely a good idea for you to add a distinctly Islamic name, if you so wish, to your name in order to indicate your newly acquired identity as a Muslim, while keeping the name given to you by your parents, if it does not fall in the forbidden or undesirable categories that we have mentioned above.

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