What’s In a Muslim Name?

Names help us form our identities and our personalities. A name is the first label we will ever have, the first to describe who we are. A Muslim name must do more than just sound nice; it has to have a beautiful meaning, as well. In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) would often instruct his followers to change their names to names more fitting believers.

[h]Should New Muslims Change Their Names?[/h]
While it is not a requirement for new Muslims to change their names, many choose to do so. Some change their name because their original name has a negative connotation. For example, alcohol is not allowed in Islam, so a new Muslim named Margarita or Brandy would probably change her name. Some change because their name is associated with a religion other than Islam. You won’t see many Muslims named Christian! Still others change to a more recognizably “Muslim” name as a sort of announcement of their new religion.

With the ever growing interest in Islam comes a need for understanding of Muslim names. American Muslims also need ideas for naming their babies.

[h]Requirements for Muslim Names[/h]
Muslim names do not have to be of any particular origin or language. They simply must have a nice meaning. Still, many Muslims do have Arabic names.

  • Names must not imply partnership or competition with Allah.
  • Names of Prophets are encouraged. Examples are Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), Ibrahim (Abraham), Nuh (Noah), Adam, and Mohammed.
  • Names of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), including Abu Bakr and Aisha, are encouraged.
  • Names must be complete. For example, many people mistakenly believe that “Abu” is a Muslim name. “Abu” means “father” and is not a name. “Abu” must be combined with something else to form a complete name.
  • Names should not have negative meanings. Names meaning war, rebel, or others of that sort are not allowed.
  • Do not choose names that could cause ridicule or embarrassment in later life.

Choosing a Muslim name does not have to be complicated. Simply pick a name with a noble meaning and you will be fine. The next entries will give some examples of Muslim names and their meanings, en sha Allah (God willing).