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Bright Star
01-24-2009, 05:34 PM
Asalaamu 'Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabaraktuh,

I have heard many arguments and explanations in regards to Muslim women changing their name after marriage. I have heard many people say that a child always carries on the legacy of his/her father and that taking the husband's name is a sign of subordination. On the other hand, I have heard that it is okay to be identified as the wife of so-and-so. Considering living in the West, people say it is better to change the name because let's say a woman's name is Fatima Mohammad (Fatima bint Muhammad), and she marries 'Ali, but she keeps her name Fatima Mohammad. In the West, people would call her "Mrs. Mohammad" which is incorrect because she is not the wife of Mohammad.

Both explanations seem logical to me, and I was wondering what the ruling on this is. Can a woman legally change her surname to her husband's name after marriage?

iss ME! zahweee!
01-24-2009, 08:12 PM
wa'alaykum as-salaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

i can't say which is right or better than the other.. although i can see why someone would be torn with either decision
what i have heard from the scholars is that in dunya one takes their father's name, and so i don't mind being called mrs. my-dad's-last-name

i think another thing which you can take into account is what your husband will think of it.. ask his opinion but since it's your name, you should ultimately make the decision on your own

the thing which always occurred to me was if i ever went to my child's school and they see my name is different than my child's they'll be like >>:confused:<< but then i thought to myself..... well my children are never going to a public school insha-Allah, so then that worry was over with lol ;)

ultimately my husband left the decision up to me, and i chose to stick with my maiden name.. sometimes he calls me "mrs. his-last-name".. in those cases sometimes i just pretend i don't hear him until he says my name right :p

HalaTayybah
01-24-2009, 09:30 PM
Wa alaikum alsalaam w arahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I am not sure exactly where but I remember in an AlMaghrib class (maybe RoE?) where we were told about this situation. The instructor was of the opinion that it is not permissable but beyond that, he told us the history of it.
"Mrs" comes from the word "mistress" and "Mr" comes from the word "master."

Sh. Wiki says:
"Anyone who could afford a mistress could have one (or more), regardless of social position. A wealthy merchant or a young noble might have a kept woman. Being a mistress was typically an occupation for a younger woman who, if she was fortunate, might go on to marry her lover or another man of rank."

Basically the owner of the house or "Master" owned the "mistress" as well, like she was his "property". So when people would see a woman around, they'd say "She's the mistress of so-and-so's house." "Mistress of" got shortened to being "Mrs. of" so today the woman of the household is called the "Mrs."
As you can see, the origins of this tradition are really not the most favorable and definitely not Islamic (more like jahiliyah days) so it was not recommended.

I also think the point was made that if you take your husband's name, you wipe out your family from history. The sahabiyyahs didn't practice this and none of the mothers of the believers (radhi Allahu anhum.)

For example, we never say, "Aisha Abdullah" we always say "Aisha bint Abu Bakr" etc. (Radhi Allahu 'anha)

As for the last part, the Westerners have completely adopted this tradition so it's only natural that they use the words they know. I don't think they mean to imply that she's married to "Mohammed." I think they call her "Mrs." cuz she's married and "Mohammed" cuz that's her last name.
But even then I don't see the problem. If it bugs the sister, maybe she can try and explain it a bit to them but if not, I don't think (or at least I hope) it makes no significant difference. Plus it's not uncommon to keep your maiden name.
Wa Allahu A'lam.

Sorry for the lengthyness but I myself thought about this a bit too much a while back so......sharing is caring?
:)

P.S.
I am not issuing a fatwa. Just some info to take as you wish.

Lunah
01-24-2009, 09:41 PM
I am from the west and prefer to take my husband's last name. But I've read it's ok both ways, and don't see a problem with either. JMO

Memoona
01-24-2009, 09:42 PM
I believe in Love Notes Sh Yaser mentioned it is NOT permissible for a women to change her last name to that of her husbands. (Now if I could only remember the daleel)

Memoona
01-24-2009, 09:51 PM
Ok so did some quick research and this is what I came up with (meaning not me personally what the scholars used to say it is not permissible):

1) Based on the Hadith:

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).

2) Based on the interpretation of the ayah:

“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allaah…” [al-Ahzaab 33:5].

3) It is considered imitation of the kuffar

4) Logical Evidence:

"On the basis of the above, there is no blood tie between the husband and wife, so how can she take his surname as if she is part of the same lineage? Moreover, she may get divorced, or her husband may die, and she may marry another man. Will she keep changing her surname every time she marries another man? Furthermore, there are rulings attached to her being named after her father, which have to do with inheritance, spending and who is a mahram, etc. Taking her husband’s surname overlooks all that. The husband is named after his own father, and what does she have to do with the lineage of her husband’s father? This goes against common sense and true facts. The husband has nothing that makes him better than his wife so that she should take his surname, whilst he takes his father’s name."

And all of this is take from various fatawaa on Islam Q and A

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/6241

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/1942

though the links will probaly be deleted so the quesiton number are 6241 and 1942

Bright Star
01-25-2009, 01:26 AM
Jazakumallah khair for all the answers... I'm with the opinion that a woman should keep her father's name. I honestly don't think it's fair or logical that for your whole life, your Fatima Mohammad (lol, sorry for the examples) and then you change it all of a sudden for someone else, and he doesn't have to change anything. Furthermore, your children get your husband's name too!
Islam is such a beautiful religion! So practical and just!

UmmIbraheem
01-25-2009, 04:39 PM
I have kept my father's name and MashaAllah when I am in school, hospital, doctors etc with the kids its a real dawah tool. I am asked why my kids don't have the same surname as me and i explain that I am married to their dad but in Islam we keep our fathers' name to be able to trace the geneology.
I go on further to explain that taking on the husbands' surname is a medieval Christian practice which originated from the time when wives were a 'possession' of their husband and had no right to own anything. So in this so called age of 'liberation' of women, why are they still taking on their husbands' surnames? What I find even stranger is that even after divorce many non muslim women still keep their Exs surname.

The interest this has sparked in Islam for Non Muslim women has been amazing.......

However at times when I want to be identified as married, i'e when ringing up for a cab or ordering something etc, I will call myself Mrs.... adding in my husband's surname. It just means that I am the wife of so and so, but officially my surname is still my father's.

Lunah
01-26-2009, 04:14 PM
I go on further to explain that taking on the husbands' surname is a medieval Christian practice which originated from the time when wives were a 'possession' of their husband and had no right to own anything. So in this so called age of 'liberation' of women, why are they still taking on their husbands' surnames? What I find even stranger is that even after divorce many non muslim women still keep their Exs surname.
A lot of women take their husbands names because they are proud to. Proud to be the wife of so and so. It has nothing to do with women's lib, but everything to do with just wanting to take his name and have the whole family share the same name.

A lot of divorced women still keep their husbands surname, because they have kids with that name. But when the woman marries again, if she does, she takes her new husbands name. If she had a different name than her kids in the period after divorce, and before she married again, then a lot of people wonder if the kids are legitimate. At least that is the general concensus where I am from. The US.

Sally Mahmoud
01-26-2009, 05:41 PM
i always wanted a cool last name that started with "El-"...lol!! If my husband's last name was like that i woulda changed it asap ;) j/k

i keep my last name b/c i believe that's the correct opinion..

Basil
01-26-2009, 08:31 PM
The evidence that has been shown to me leads me to believe that the woman should not take the man's last name. I have heard tales of visa problems when going to hajj when the woman does not have the man's last name though (when husband and wife go for hajj).

When I get married (inshaAllah), it will be up to my wife what she wants to do but I will encourage her to keep her name.

Abdullah~
01-26-2009, 09:43 PM
i've talked to a number of shuyookh on the matter of having the father's name and all of them agreed that you must have your father's last name, without question, they just did not all agree on when to change it(sometimes personal circumstance can delay), and if you had to do it legally (Allah does not put a burden on a person greater than they can bear).

and only in rare circumstances is the child not called by the father's name, please see Bilal Philips' article below. the evidences from the Islam QA post previously posted, are also there, Alhamdullilah. Wallahu Allam.

----

The Islamic Naming System

Excerpted From Tafseer Surat Al-Hujuraat By Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips


Islam places great emphasis on the clear identification of family relationships. The Prophet (SAW) himself said,

"Learn enough about your lineage to know your blood relatives and treat them accordingly." (At-Tirmidhee)

That is, family lines should be known well enough to prevent marriages within the forbidden degrees and to determine blood and family obligations.

Although it is the duty of the Islamic state to take care of its citizens, the primary responsibility lies first and foremost on family members. Therefore, according to Islamic law, blood relationships should be clearly defined and any tampering with them is strictly forbidden.

Names Imply a Genealogical Relationship

This is clearly stressed in the Islamic naming system in which each name and its sequences implies a specific genealogical relationship. For example, the name Khaalid ibn Abdullah ibn Zakee al-Harbee, which in present times is written Khaalid Abdullah Zakee al-Harbee means Khaalid the son of Abdullah, the son of Zakee, from the tribe of Harb.

This system of naming people after their fathers and forefathers has appeared in most cultures. Even in English, George the son of John in time became George, John's son and eventually became George Johnson.

In pre-Islamic times, the Arabs used to change the lineage of their adopted sons to their own lineage and this practice also occurred during the early stages of Muhammed's prophethood (SAW). However, Allah (SWT) forbade it during the Madeenan stage of prophethood in which the majority of the religious, social and economic laws of islam were revealed.

Call Them By Their Fathers

Ibn Umar (RA) reported that after the Prophet (SAW) freed Zayd ibn Harithah and adopted him, people used to refer to him as Zayd ibn Muhammed until the verse the following verse was revealed,

"Call them by (the names of) their father's, that is more just in the sight of Allah..." (Al-Ahzab 33:5)

Once this principle became part of the divine law, the Prophet (SAW) was instructed to further emphasize it by a series of warnings. For example, on one occasion he said,

"He who knowingly attributed his fatherhood to someone other than his real father will be excluded from paradise." (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood)

Abu Dharr (RA) also related that he heard the Prophet (SAW) say,

"He who deliberately lets himself be called the son of someone other than his father is guilty of disbelief (kufr)." (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood)

Islamic Law is Comprehensive

Thus, the Arabic system of naming people according to their father's names which was endorsed by the Prophet (SAW) and approved of by Allah (SWT) is considered the Islamic naming system.

Islamic law is comprehensive. It regulates all aspects of human life in order to establish a social system in which human welfare is looked after and the worship of God is enshrined. Consequently, although some facets of the Islamic naming system may be more important than other, none are so irrelevant or unimportant that whether it is done or not makes no difference.

The fact that European colonialism has managed to corrupt the application of the Islamic naming system especially among non-Arab Muslims does not in any way alter its validity. By colonial times the Western naming system had degenerated into a meaningless jumble of names followed by a family name.

Muslim Woman Keeps Her Father's Name

Influenced by the Greco-Roman culture in which women were considered to e the property of men, western society erased a woman's family name upon marriage and replaced it by that of her husband. In the Islamic naming system she retains her father's name as it indicates her true lineage.

However, both of these degenerative Western trends have been widely adopted in Muslim lands along with other un-Islamic cultural trappings of European colonialism. New Muslims, unaware of the Islamic naming system, often adopt Arabic names in the chaotic European style.

Legacy of Slavery

In fact, those of African descent often erase even their family names on the basis that these names are remnants from the days of slavery. That is, those of their ancestors who were slaves usually adopted the family name of their slave masters and it was the slave masters' name which was handed down from generations to generation. Hence, an individual who may have been called Clive Baron Williams while his father's name was George Herbert Williams may, upon entering Islamic, rename himself Faisal Umar Nkruma Mahdi. However, his name according to the Islamic naming system should have been Faisal George Williams, that is, Faisal the son of George Williams. Whether "Williams" was the name of his ancestors plantation owner or not is not of any consequence. Since his father's name was George Williams, he is, according to the Islamic naming system, the son of George Williams. That much of his father's name is necessary to determine who his relatives are in order to avoid incestuous marriages, discharge inheritance rights and fulfill general responsibilities to blood relations.

New Muslims Should Keep Family Name

This becomes especially important in the West where premarital and extra-marital relations are common leading to generations of illegitimate inter-related children. Consequently, when some of these half-brothers and sisters enter Islam under different assumed family names, there exists a very real possibility that some of them may unintentionally contract incestuous marriage. The practice among new Muslims of deleting their family names has frequently created deep resentment among their non-Muslim families which could have been easily avoided if the Islamic naming system had been adopted.

Actually, the new Muslim is under no obligation to change even his or her "Christian name" unless it contains an un-Islamic meaning. Thus, the given name "Clive", which means cliff-dweller need not have been changed whereas "Dennis", a variation of Dionysus (which was the Greek god of wine and fertility who was worshipped with orgiastic rites), would have to be changed. Similarly female names like "Lois" which means desirable or "Ann" (or its diminutive forms Annie and Nancy) which means grace, need not be changed while names like "Ingrid" which means daughter of Ing (a god in Germanic mythology) or "Laverne" taken from the name of the Roman goddess of spring and grain would also have to be changed.

However,. it is perfectly acceptable for a Muslim, whether a recent convert or not, to change his or her first name if he/she chooses. It was the Prophet's (SAW) practice to change peoples first names if they were too arrogant, negative or un-Islamic. One of the Prophet's (SAW) wives was originally named "Barrah" (pious) and he changed it to "Zaynab" (collected by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood) as Allah (SWT) had said in the Quran,

"Do not claim piety for yourselves for He knows best who is God-fearing."(An-Najm 53:32)

Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that another of the Prophet's (SAW) wives was also named Barrah and he changed it to Juwayriyah (collected by Muslim).

Ibn Umar (RA) reported that his father, Umar, had a daughter named "Aasiyah" (disobedient) whom the Prophet (SAW) renamed "Jameelah" (beautiful ). (collected by Muslim).

Jabir ibn Abdullah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) decided to forbid names like Ya'laa (elevated), Barakah (blessing), Aflah (successful), Yasaar (wealth) and Naafi (beneficial). (collected by Muslim).

The Prophet (SAW) Never Changed the Names of the Fathers

However, Allah's Messenger (SAW) never changed the names of people's fathers, no matter how un-Islamic they may have been. For example, when the Sahabi Abdu Shams ibn Sakhr accepted Islam, the Prophet (SAW) cancelled his given nam, Abdu-Shams (slave of a sun), and renamed him Abdur-Rahman ibn Sakhr (collect by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaanee). His father's name, Sakhr (rock), was left untouched.

Likewise, the Sahabi, Abu Salamah's name was changed to Abdullah ibn Abdul-Asad leaving his father's name Abdul-Asad (slave of the lion) unchanged. (collected by Ibn al-Jawzee).

Thus, it can be concluded that erasing one's family name is against both the letter and the spirit of Islamic law. The father's first and last name should be retained and if the father is unknown, the mother's first and last name should follow the Muslim's given or chosen name.

Kunyah Can Be Added

However, it should be noted, that there are other titles and descriptive names which may be added to either or both the beginning and the end of a person's actual name. According to the Islamic naming system, prefixed names known as Kunyah consist of Abu (the father/owner of) in the case of males and Umm (the mother of) in the case of women, followed by the name of the person's oldest child or male child, a child wished for or a trait the person is noted for.

Some people became so well known by their Kunya that their actual names are almost forgotten.

For example, among the Sahabah:




Abu Bakr (Abdullah ibn Uthman)
Abu Hurayrah (Abdur Rahman ibn Sakhr)
Abu Laylaa (Bilal al-Ansari)
And among the fuqahaa (legislators): Abu Haneefah (Nu'maan ibn Tahabit).

The suffixed tittles are of two types:



The Laqab, a descriptive trait, for example, Abu Bakr was titled by the Prophet (SAW) "as-Siddeeq" (the truthful) and Umar, "al-Farooq" (the discerner).
The second type is known as Nisbah which refers to the place or tribe with which one is associated. For example, the Sahabi, Abu Dharr "al-Ghifaaree" (from the tribe of Ghifaar) and Hadith scholars such as al-Bukhari (Muhammad ibn Ismaa'eel), from the city Bukhara and at-Tirmidhee (Muhammad ibn Eesaa) from the city of Tirmidh. The Nisabah suffix may also refer to a profession.
Naming Girls

Care should also be taken in naming girls, as the practice of giving girls two or three female names before the family name is a fairly recent Western practice which is inconsistent with the Islamic naming system. For example, a girl named Asmaa Jameelah Zaynab Abdullah whose father's name was Zayd Abdullah should really be called Asmaa Zayd Abdullah, that is, Asmaa the daughter of Zayd Abdullah.

This principle is due to the fact that a man's or woman's given name, according to the Islamic naming system, should only be followed by the name of his or her mother if the father was unknown, or the child was illegitimate and the parents were not married. Thus, the name Asmaa Jameelah Zaynab Abdullah in the Islamic naming system means Asmaa was the illegitimate daughter of Jameelah and her mother Jameelah was also the illegitimate daughter of Zaynab, the daughter of Abdullah.

UmmIbraheem
01-27-2009, 03:33 AM
A lot of women take their husbands names because they are proud to. Proud to be the wife of so and so. It has nothing to do with women's lib, but everything to do with just wanting to take his name and have the whole family share the same name.

A lot of divorced women still keep their husbands surname, because they have kids with that name. But when the woman marries again, if she does, she takes her new husbands name. If she had a different name than her kids in the period after divorce, and before she married again, then a lot of people wonder if the kids are legitimate. At least that is the general concensus where I am from. The US.

SubhanAllah there is no pride in Islam at the expense of Allah's law and the Prophet (saw) sunnah. If these women knew the origins of how adopting the husbands surname came about i.e you were their property, then I am sure they would feel ashamed to take on their spouses name.

As with many widespread practices which are common place in society, they stem from the times of even 'ignorance' in kuffar society.

In Pakistani families, the first thing a girl does immediately after her nikkah is discard her father's s name and take on her husband's first name as her surname. I am sure their intentions are pure, they just wish to be associated with their husbands, but in Islam every action has its basis in Quran or Sunnah.

BintTariq
02-10-2009, 06:07 PM
I have kept my father's name and MashaAllah when I am in school, hospital, doctors etc with the kids its a real dawah tool. I am asked why my kids don't have the same surname as me and i explain that I am married to their dad but in Islam we keep our fathers' name to be able to trace the geneology.
I go on further to explain that taking on the husbands' surname is a medieval Christian practice which originated from the time when wives were a 'possession' of their husband and had no right to own anything. So in this so called age of 'liberation' of women, why are they still taking on their husbands' surnames? What I find even stranger is that even after divorce many non muslim women still keep their Exs surname.

The interest this has sparked in Islam for Non Muslim women has been amazing.......

However at times when I want to be identified as married, i'e when ringing up for a cab or ordering something etc, I will call myself Mrs.... adding in my husband's surname. It just means that I am the wife of so and so, but officially my surname is still my father's.
MashaAllah, this is indeed a wonderful da'wah technique! You put it all so well!

iss ME! zahweee!
02-11-2009, 05:36 PM
I once went to my friend's wedding, and it turned out her last name was the same as the guy that she was marrying. Haha, I thought that was pretty cool/funny.masha-Allah!!
i know *SOMEONE* on the forums who was so lucky too masha-Allah!!
my sister was similarly blessed.. her hubby's name was different only by one letter.. and SHE CHANGED IT! traitor :p

AZikria
02-13-2009, 08:53 AM
Masha ALLAH,

AlHamdullillah, as sister memoona mentioned the lineage is the main reason, and many others following, that it is recommended for a sister to keep her last name and not her husbands surname.

Jazaka ALLAHU khairun.

Memoona
02-15-2009, 12:35 AM
Masha ALLAH,

AlHamdullillah, as sister memoona mentioned the lineage is the main reason, and many others following, that it is recommended for a sister to keep her last name and not her husbands surname.

Jazaka ALLAHU khairun.Salamualaikum Br AZikria,

After I read your post I was thinking what did I post? I went back to look and I saw the paragraph you were referring to. Those aren't my words but the words of the shaykh from Islam QA. I edited my original post to make it more obvious.

Just wanted to give credit where credit is due :D