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In the Name of God بسم الله
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BintAlHoda

When People Ask "Did You Change Your Name?"

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(salam) all

it is not uncommon knowledge that many converts/reverts change their names (particularly if they have akward names such as "christian" or "krishna"). my question is, how do you deal with people who feel the need to pry into this matter? no non-muslim has ever asked me whether i changed my name. they take me as i am. however, many muslims - particularly overseas, but also here - upon hearing my name, have asked me what my "real" name is. to me, this is a deep affront to identity. i mean, you asked me my name, i told you, and you're not accepting that answer and asking me AGAIN. i would never ask someone of korean descent, for example, who told me his name was "john" what his "real" name was, nor do i expect people to ask that of me. i consider a name to be a serious subject, not something to be taken lightly, and something worthy of respect. "and We taught adam the names"

nevertheless, they do ask. so today, a muslim but non-practicing lady who i just met decided to ask me in front of a group of people (non-muslims) whether or not i changed my name. now, i consider this subject personal and not something i want to discuss with the average joe let alone in front of the average joes and janes. others may have no qualms about discussing it with strangers, but i do, because i feel like it is hard enough maintaining your identity as a convert/revert muslim in western society without having your colleagues think that you're not "really" a muslim. (for example, as a non-muslim relative said about a friend of mine, "her name's not really fatimah, but they call her that anyway") it was not a question that i wanted to answer, particularly in front of others.

so... how do you deflect that sort of question? how do you let people know they are out of line to question who you are? i thought about just saying "no" and letting her puzzle it out (after all, it was a pretty stupid question to begin with). but of course lying is haraam. i did not want to answer "yes" either and open that topic of discussion. so i just said "it's a long story" and left it at that.

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I would take it as offensive to ask ur real name. Maybe if u get close to someone, then maybe u can ask but not otherwise. I wud tell them I just told u my name and I dont have fake names becuz I am not a wussie and is somethingw rong with u? I mean who has fake nanmes?

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:) Just smile, and repeat the name you have told her before.

^ That's probably what I would do as well :).

Regarding the question in the topic title: No, I did not legally change my name when I reverted .... nor do I plan to, Allahu alim.

(salam)

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I didn't and won't change my name, so that isn't a problem. However, I'm the only Muslim I know personally with a non-arabic name, so I feel kind of weird about that. I've even had some Muslims tell me I absolutely had to change my name (even though the name isn't haram, offensive, or awkward).

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Very nice post macisaac. I agree with you. I don't see a need to change the name unless the meaning conflicts with Islam, either. I don't know why people think it's "islamic" to have an arabic name, and less "islamic" if it's non-arabic but with a good or the same meaning. I guess it's cultural/historical.

However, it's up to the individual if he or she wants to change it and people should respect it.

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My name has a rather Christian meaning, but isn't offensive. I use it anyway, but I've also chosen a "Muslim" name which I offer to any Muslim friends who are uncomfortable calling me my given name. I'm ok with either name. My "Christian" name is my grandmother's name, and I have very little connection to my grandmother besides her name, so I'd like to keep it. On the other hand, I understand why a Muslim might be uncomfortable calling another Muslim a name that means essentially "Christmas child", and I do frequently find myself explaining to Muslims that my given name is my grandmother's name.

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(salam)

I haven´t changed my name legally and I´m not planning to do that at the moment.

If you happen to love the name you already have I see there is no point changing it. Only a few people call me on my "real" name and I am like "ohh whos that" when I hear that name bcos people call me on my nickname or muslim-name or kuniyah name or mom. So I have many names.

That is a good advice to repeat the name you have said earlier. I try to remember that the next time people ask me my name or start to guess what my name really is, quite irritating, happened to me also many times.

Same thing happens with the surname also if it happens to be something plain common "ohh you are not married" "are you married with a non-muslim?" etc etc.

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No no ur REAL name! @) :) I think smiley is the best cuz I get bleeped up in school for following the Prophet (as) Sunnah. The teachers think I am upto something ALL te time which I am anyways and some think that I am mad.

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(salam)

Smile and repeat your name :!!!: again..and again. You don't need to tell her your personal information. If she is not happy so be it. :Hijabi: What will she gain by knowing ur offcial name?? If you want to be known by a certain name, then no point telling them other name.

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I think one of the things, in sha Allah, we as converts in the West can do here is to correct the misperception that Islam in an exclusively Middle Eastern religion, and that if you ever converted you'd need to be replacing your cultural heritage and identity with a foreign one.

true... however, that will probably several years

still, there is something to be said for being recognized by your own people... if meet someone who is named muhammad, i can instantly guess that he is a muslim, but if he tells me his name is ted, i would have no way of knowing unless he volunteered the information and we started a conversation about it. in addition, i like for people in this society to recognize me immediately as a muslim by my name instead of assuming i'm a conservative christian or a jew (which is what many people thought beforehand many many years ago).

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(salam) all

it is not uncommon knowledge that many converts/reverts change their names (particularly if they have akward names such as "christian" or "krishna"). my question is, how do you deal with people who feel the need to pry into this matter? no non-muslim has ever asked me whether i changed my name. they take me as i am. however, many muslims - particularly overseas, but also here - upon hearing my name, have asked me what my "real" name is. to me, this is a deep affront to identity. i mean, you asked me my name, i told you, and you're not accepting that answer and asking me AGAIN. i would never ask someone of korean descent, for example, who told me his name was "john" what his "real" name was, nor do i expect people to ask that of me. i consider a name to be a serious subject, not something to be taken lightly, and something worthy of respect. "and We taught adam the names"

nevertheless, they do ask. so today, a muslim but non-practicing lady who i just met decided to ask me in front of a group of people (non-muslims) whether or not i changed my name. now, i consider this subject personal and not something i want to discuss with the average joe let alone in front of the average joes and janes. others may have no qualms about discussing it with strangers, but i do, because i feel like it is hard enough maintaining your identity as a convert/revert muslim in western society without having your colleagues think that you're not "really" a muslim. (for example, as a non-muslim relative said about a friend of mine, "her name's not really fatimah, but they call her that anyway") it was not a question that i wanted to answer, particularly in front of others.

so... how do you deflect that sort of question? how do you let people know they are out of line to question who you are? i thought about just saying "no" and letting her puzzle it out (after all, it was a pretty stupid question to begin with). but of course lying is haraam. i did not want to answer "yes" either and open that topic of discussion. so i just said "it's a long story" and left it at that.

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i don't think it should be a big deal to worry about names as our names were given primarily by our parents. i don't think that changing our names to sound Islamic will make us a better Muslim nor do I think a convert with a Christian name will be a lesser Muslim as long as he or she is practicing. The name Fatima as it is, is also a Christian name and so what's the point of changing? I used to be a Catholic and my first, middle and last name are Christian names. Lucky for me though that my first name has an Arabic meaning which means "moon". If I marry, then, I can adopt my husband's last name which will definitely be a Muslim one. Then that will make my first and last name sound Islamic and I will be "in". But honestly, this is the least of my worries. Others I know didn't change their last name upon marriage for practical reasons. That way when they divorce, they won't have problems with their legal docs. Anyway, I would recommend to be contented with your current names. If other Muslims frown at you for having a Christian name, don't let them affect you as that attitude in itself is not Islamic.

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i think it's whatever you are comfortable with sis. i'd guess many people don't even realize that is a sensitive question to some.

but i chose a new name yes, my birth name is carla. depends on who is speaking to me by what they call me. those who have always known me as carla still call me that but muslims call me asha.....though i did not legally change my name.

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As a muslim changing your name is a personal choice what is wajid is that your heart and behaviour must be islamic, your demeanour and behaviour determine what you are much more than a name

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lol i meant the topic title to be about people asking u whether u changed ur name or not, not to ask people whether or not they changed their names

interesting replies though :)

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(salam) all

it is not uncommon knowledge that many converts/reverts change their names (particularly if they have akward names such as "christian" or "krishna"). my question is, how do you deal with people who feel the need to pry into this matter? no non-muslim has ever asked me whether i changed my name. they take me as i am. however, many muslims - particularly overseas, but also here - upon hearing my name, have asked me what my "real" name is. to me, this is a deep affront to identity. i mean, you asked me my name, i told you, and you're not accepting that answer and asking me AGAIN. i would never ask someone of korean descent, for example, who told me his name was "john" what his "real" name was, nor do i expect people to ask that of me. i consider a name to be a serious subject, not something to be taken lightly, and something worthy of respect. "and We taught adam the names"

nevertheless, they do ask. so today, a muslim but non-practicing lady who i just met decided to ask me in front of a group of people (non-muslims) whether or not i changed my name. now, i consider this subject personal and not something i want to discuss with the average joe let alone in front of the average joes and janes. others may have no qualms about discussing it with strangers, but i do, because i feel like it is hard enough maintaining your identity as a convert/revert muslim in western society without having your colleagues think that you're not "really" a muslim. (for example, as a non-muslim relative said about a friend of mine, "her name's not really fatimah, but they call her that anyway") it was not a question that i wanted to answer, particularly in front of others.

so... how do you deflect that sort of question? how do you let people know they are out of line to question who you are? i thought about just saying "no" and letting her puzzle it out (after all, it was a pretty stupid question to begin with). but of course lying is haraam. i did not want to answer "yes" either and open that topic of discussion. so i just said "it's a long story" and left it at that.

(salam)

Call me inconsiderate, but I never knew it was an issue.

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