Tuesday, July 1, 2014



The Islamic practice is not to change the surname, especially if it is her father’s name. Prophet Muhammad’s daughter was known as Fatimah bint Muhammad, not Fatimah Ali. Our mothers of the believers were all known by the names of their fathers such as Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Aa’ishah bint Abu Bakr and Zainab bint Jahsh. None of them took Allah’s Beloved Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) name but kept their father’s even if their father was a kaafir. The reason for this is that your name shows your lineage. For example if we track down Fatimah’s (radiallaahu anha) lineage, we can easily tell she is the great granddaughter of Abdul Mutallib simply by attaching names like, Fatimah bint Muhammad bint Abdullaah bint Abdul Mutallib, which can be tracked all the way back to Ibraheem (alayhi salam) and even Adam (alayhi salam).

Call them (adopted sons) by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah.

[Quran 33:5]

There is nothing in the Sunnah to indicate that a woman should take her husband’s name, rather this is an innovated matter that is not approved of by sharee’ah. This is the name Allah azza wa jal refers to His slaves as, this is the name by which one will be called on Day of Resurrection and this is the name in which we are referred to in the Lauh-al-Mahfuz. If she takes on her husband’s name, she is Nauzubillah saying that she is his daughter.

The Salafi position states,

“It is not permitted for anyone to claim to belong to anyone other than his father. Imitating the kuffaar by dropping the wife’s surname and giving her the husband’s name is haraam; it is also a form of falsehood, and humiliation of the woman. Anyone who has done this must repent to Allah and put it right by going back to her father’s name.”

Imitating the Kuffaar

The effects of imitating the west in naming ourselves are many. One of them is the way in which people have gotten used to omitting the word ‘ibn’ (son of) or ‘ibnatu’ (daughter of) between their own names and the name of their fathers. The reason for this is, firstly, because some families have adopted children and given them their surname, so that the adopted child is called Foolaan Foolan [where ‘Foolaan (=So and so)’ stands for a name] and their real children are called Foolaan ibn Foolaan (So and so the son of So and so). Now in the fourteenth century AH, people have dropped the word ‘ibn’ or ‘ibnatu’ – which is unacceptable according to linguistics, custom and sharee’ah.

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever calls himself by other than his father’s name (or attributes himself to someone other than his father), will be cursed by Allah, the angels and all the people.”

[Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2599; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6104]

This is a non-muslim tradition and a believer is not to imitate a kaafir.

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.”

[Abu Daawood]

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.

If the Husband Insists

Narrated from Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) say:

“Any man who knowingly attributes himself to someone other than his father is guilty of kufr. Whoever claims to belong to a people when he has nothing to do with them, let him take his place in Hell.”

[Al-Bukhaari (3508) and Muslim (61)]

“when he has nothing to do with them” means, when he has no lineage among them, as is highlighted in some reports.

Based on that, the husband has no right to force his wife to do that, and if he forces her to do it she should not obey him, because it is obedience to a created being which involves disobedience to the Creator. So she should persist in her refusal and explain to him that it is haraam, and look for Islamically acceptable means of establishing her rights from a legal point of view.

The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.

[Quran 33:06]

If taking your husband’s name was a sign of love or affection, then nobody must have loved their husbands as the Umm-tul-Mu’mineen loved their husband, RasulAllah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). He was not only the best example of a husband, but also Allah’s beloved and had it been a way for them to show him their love, they would have done so. We cannot claim to be better than them, or claim to know more than them as that would be crossing bounds of kufr; so [we] must adhere to their sunnah as Allah set them as the role models for the ummah.

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may Allah preserve him) said:

This is one of the beauties of sharee’ah, because calling a person by his father’s name is more appropriate for knowing who is who and telling people apart. The father is the protector and maintainer of the child and his mother both inside and outside the home. This is why the father mixes with people in the marketplaces and takes risks by travelling to earn a halaal living and strive for their sakes. So the child is given the name of the father, not of the mother who is hidden away and who is one of those whom Allah commanded (interpretation of the meaning):

“And stay in your houses…” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]

Source: Tasmiyat al-Mawlood, 30, 31


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