Does a Muslim really need to have a Muslim name? Is it all right if he does not have one? If it is necessary, why?

Details of the Question
Does a Muslim really need to have a Muslim name? Is it all right if he does not have one? If it is necessary, why?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

To give a newborn child a nice name as soon as possible is one of the most important duties of the parents. The name given to the child is valid both in this world and in the hereafter. The Messenger of Allah was interested in the names of not only children but also adults. The Prophet changed some names that he regarded as bad. He gave information about the names that need to be given to babies; he sometimes gave names to children himself.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explains the importance of giving nice names as follows: “On the Day of Judgment, you will be called by your names and your fathers’ names. Thus, give your children nice names.” (1)

The act of calling will be carried out by an angel appointed by Allah with the permission of Allah. Nobody would like to go to the presence of Allah with a name that Allah will not like. Therefore, it is necessary not to give bad names to babies.

If the children were given the names of non-Muslims or unpleasant names, it is necessary to change them.

According to the explanations made by the Messenger of Allah, the best names are as follows: As boys’ names; Abdullah, Abdurrahman, Muhammad, the names of prophets, Hasan, Husayn and the names of other great people of Islam are recommended. For girls’ names, the following names and the like are nice: Aisha, Fatima, Zaynab, Khadijah, Jamilah, Zahra.

In the Gathering Place (mahshar) every child will be called by the name given to him. If the name of the child is a non-Muslim name, the child will be embarrassed due to his name and will complain about the person who gave him that name by saying,

'Allah created me as a Muslim by birth; why did you give me such a bad name?’ Due to the importance of the meanings of the names, our Prophet changed the foreign names that had bad meanings with good Muslim names; for instance, he changed the name Abdul-Uzza (the slave of Uzza: an idol) with Abdullah (the slave of Allah). He changed the name Jamrah (piece of fire) with Jamilah (beautiful girl) and the name Harb (war) with Hasan (handsome, beautiful, good). That is, what is meant by a Muslim name is that the meaning should not be bad.

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