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Does a new Muslim have to change his/her name?
How important is it for a convert to change his name?
Because names have a profound impact on people’s behaviors and personalities as today’s science agree with, it is important to have a name with a good meaning as our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advices:
"You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names." (Abu Dawud; Adab; 69)
It is stated in the hadiths that the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) changed names with bad and ugly meanings of not only people but also places, things and even animals to good names.
The Prophet's wife `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said about the Prophet, "He used to change bad names." (Tirmidhi)
Ibn 'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, changed a woman's name from 'Asiya (rebellious), saying, "You are Jamila (beautiful)." (Al Adab Al Mufrad; Imam Bukhari)
'Ali said, "When al-Husayn was born, I named him Harb (war). The Prophet came and said, 'Show me your son. What have you named him?' 'Harb,' we replied. He said, "He is Hasan.' (Al Adab Al Mufrad; Imam Bukhari)
“Hasan” means “beautiful, handsome, good”.
It is reported that al-Harith ibn Abza said, "I was present at Hunayn with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he asked me, 'What is your name?' 'Ghurab (meaning "crow"),' I replied. He said, 'No, your name is Muslim.'" (Al Adab Al Mufrad; Imam Bukhari)
'A'isha said, "A man called Shihab (flame) was mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Rather you are Hisham.'" (Al Adab Al Mufrad; Imam Bukhari)
For a new Muslim, as long as his name has a good meaning that is not opposite to Islamic belief, he is not required to change it. However, it is sunnah to change a name that is not proper to Islamic doctrine. Instead, he may choose a name that refers to servitude to Allah (swt), that is proper to human dignity and Islam and that has a good meaning and sounds well.
Some of the most popular Muslim names and their meanings
Fatimah, Fatima (Female): Accustom; daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Aisha (Female): Life, Vivaciousness, Living Prosperous, Youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Khadijah (Female): First wife of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
Zainab, Zaynab (Female): an ornamented tree; name of the daughter of the Prophet (pbuh)
Ruqayyah (Female): name of the daughter of the Prophet (pbuh)
Mariam, Maryam (Female): Arabic form of "Mary"; Mother of Jesus
Sumayya (Female): one of the first Muslims an done of the first martyrs in Islam
Muhammad (Male): Praiseworthy - name of the LAST Prophet (pbuh).
Ahmad, Ahmed (Male): Most highly adored, or most praised; one of the names of our Blessed Prophet (pbuh)
Mustafa (Male): Chosen; one of the names of our Blessed Prophet (pbuh)
Usman (Male): Name of the third Caliph.
Ali (Male): Noble, sublime. Name of the fourth caliph, who is also son-inilaw of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Bilal (Male): Satisfies thirst; name of the Prophets Muezzin (one who calls for prayer)
Abdullah (Male): Servant of God
Yusuf (Male): A Prophets name (Joseph) Kaynak: http://askaquestionto.us - Does a new Muslim have to change his/her name?