A Muslim Woman’s Surname After Marriage

It is haraam for a wife to take her husband’s name

As-salamu Alaikum,
Many sisters in our community have taken the names of their husbands without realizing that they should have kept their father’s name. Should they change their name back to the father’s name or is it allowed to keep the husband’s name?

It is a common custom in the west and also among muslims that after marriage, women drop their father’s name and take up their husband’s surname. However in Islam this is haraam and is not allowed in sharee’ah, because it is not permissible for anyone to claim to belong to anyone other than his or her father.

Allaah says: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allaah…” [al-Ahzaab 33:5].

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has cursed the one who claims to belong to someone other than his father.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad and others).

Why a woman should not take her husband’s surname

Source:http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/6241/surname

I have read your responses to the following questions 2537 and 4362 concerning a wife retaining her father’s name upon marriage. The Ayaat mentioned from Surah Al-Ahzaab states that adopted sons (and hence daughters?) should not be called as sons of the step-fathers. However, how exactly does this apply to a wife simply changing her name for marriage; as she is not actually claiming to belong to her husband, but just taking his name. If it is a question of lineage, I would appreciate specific references from the Qur’an and hadith.
Thank you for your help and clarification.
Jazak’Allah Khayr.

Praise be to Allaah.

The effects of imitating the west in naming ourselves are many. One of them is the way in which people have got 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. May Allaah help us.

Another effect is the habit of women taking their husband’s surnames.

Originally, the woman is So and so the Daughter of So and so, not So and so the wife of So and so! Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allaah…” [al-Ahzaab 33:5].

As it is in this world, so it will also be in the Hereafter, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

On the Day of Resurrection, each betrayer will have a banner raised beside him, and it will be said, this is the betrayer of So and so the son of So and so.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5709, and Muslim, 3265).

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may Allaah 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 Allaah commanded (interpretation of the meaning):

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

(Tasmiyat al-Mawlood, 30, 31).

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.

Hence everyone who has gone against this and taken her husband’s name should put matters right. We ask Allaah to put all the affairs of the Muslims right.


Woman taking her husband’s surname after marriage

i was just browsing this site and I came across ur answer to the question 2537 which deals with changing surnames of womens.. as u said it is haraam… can u plz gimme a refrence from quran on that or a hadith if possilbe..?

Praise be to Allaah.

It seems that what is meant in the question is a woman changing her family name to that of her husband after she gets married. This is haraam and is not allowed in sharee’ah, because it is not permissible for anyone to claim to belong to anyone other than his or her father. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allaah…” [al-Ahzaab 33:5]. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has cursed the one who claims to belong to someone other than his father.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad and others). And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Updated: 25th Nov,08

Further Reading:

Why a Woman Should not take her husband’s surname?

12 thoughts on “A Muslim Woman’s Surname After Marriage

  1. First of all, how can a human being “belong” to another human being, whether parent or spouse? Unless we’re talking slavery here (which is as immoral as it gets), then this nonsense of who belongs to whom is moot.

    Secondly, if a woman wants to take her husbands name, as per western traditions, and she is a Muslim woman living in the west, we call that assimilation to cultural norms.

    In the middle eastern countries, non-Muslim women are generally expected to adapt to the shariah and other
    norms of whichever country they’re in. Christian women,
    for example, must wear a hijjab in Iran.

    If the middle eastern countries can levy (often by law)
    the norms of their nation on to women who are not
    native, why cannot a Muslim woman adapt to the cultural
    norms of her country?

    I do not see where this is such a big deal. It’s a woman’s
    choice in the west.

  2. hey where did my comment go??

    Javeria, Haram is a strong word. The verse you have mentioned is for adopted kids. The site you referred. It’s preferred to keep father’s name but no where It gave message that changing of names is haram. rest, Allah knows the best.

  3. @ Adnan

    AoA.
    Sorry it is my mistake for not citing the reference properly. These are not my words but a fatwa from Islam QA which is a very authentic site.

    It is haram to change the surname of the adopted son, so how can it be allowed for a woman to change her surname after marriage

    The verse is no doubt about adopted children, but the the point is that it is not allowed for anyone to change their surname as the surname denotes the parentage – the identify of the father.

    Why do you think Aisha (r) is called Aisha binte Abu Bakr and NOT Aisha Muhammad ? or why is it Fatimah(r) binte Muhammad and not Fatima Ali(r)?

    None of the Sahabias were called by their husbands name after marriage…Don’t you think Aisha (r) would have loved to have her surname as Muhammad?

    The surname is the identity of the father – the blood tie.It has always been that way, it is only the western culture which supports the changing of surname after marriage.

    So if this was so appropriate, what do you think women should do who get divorced and and married lets say 2/3 times.. should they keep changing their names? This is very illogical and difficult to maintain records and identity.

    There are many verses in the Quran about specific issues, but they are applied in general if the situation is the same, so we can not say that adopted sons can not change their name while married woman can – this creates a discrepancy and then there is no explanation that why adopted sons can not change their names.

    And Allah knows best, I am just spreading the message which i have come across on different platforms – not just Islam QA as i feel this is the right thing to do.

    I have updated the post with proper references and also added two more fatwas regarding the same issue. Please do read.

  4. Don’t confuse surname with father’s name, please. Javeria your examples are simply absurd. You completely intermingling to different customs/cultures. Nobody have ever changed the name after ‘binte’, how can one. You completely omitted the word “binte” from your examples, because you have to, otherwise you can’t simply make it like that. And after omitting ‘binte’, the name is hardly telling you anything about the father.

    Surname is not always the father’s name. I agree its not recommended or encouraged to change the name of a woman after marriage, to include husbands name. That is a nonsense too. One may say that its haram, I agree. Actually, it doesn’t really need my agreement, its a self-evident in the light of Quran and Ahadith.

    My wife doesn’t have, or ever had, her fathers name as a part of her name. But even then why should it be changed after marriage. My daughter doesn’t have any surname, I just used Arabic custom of including ‘Binte’ in her name. Thats fine, and I am sure no one would ever gonna change it, because you can’t in this case.

    Thanks.


  5. Why do you think Aisha (r) is called Aisha binte Abu Bakr and NOT Aisha Muhammad ? or why is it Fatimah(r) binte Muhammad and not Fatima Ali(r)?
    None of the Sahabias were called by their husbands name after marriage…Don’t you think Aisha (r) would have loved to have her surname as Muhammad?

    Walikum Salam Javeria,

    A valid point which didn’t come in my mind. Really Ayesha(RA) could have changed her surname ,the surname which iis most beautiful.

    Jazak Allah Javeria. I have no confusion anymore.

    Take care🙂

  6. AFAIK, Saudia recently added a condition that any umrah visitor having full name less than 3 words is not acceptable anymore that is there should be a middle name anyway. For instance, “Adnan Siddiqi” is not acceptable anymore unless and until i add Ahmad as middle name .

    What do you say in this regard?

  7. ASA

    This is absurd extrapolation and logical leaps. The quran speaks nothing to this. Furthermore, you are completely understanding surnames in an inappropriate and false way. Surnames can be many things. ‘Mother of the Believers’ is a form of surname. Surnames in the west are not the father’s name, they are the father’s FAMILY name, which is akin to a clan association. It says nothing about lineage. For instance, the name Adnan Siddiqi tells us nothing other than the person is associated with the ‘Siddiqi’ family. If someone’s LINEAL name were Ahmed ibn Rushd ibn Mohammed ibn Ahmed, and the wife were to changer her name to THAT, then that would MOST LIKELY be wrong. But it is SUCH a stretch to say that a wife changing her SURNAME is wrong.

  8. Adm /ASA 27/02/2011

    You actually make the point. Because based on your own statement , “Surnames in the west are not the father’s name, they are the father’s FAMILY name, which is akin to a clan association.”

    That is all the more reason why a woman should not change her surname. She is technically not part of that clan. She is however a blood relative and part of her parents clan. So I would agree she should maintain the bound with her parents.

    But like replier “thewomenofislam” points out with one key word in the post above “assimilation”. It’s almost imperative for people to assimilate to the environment and customs of the host nation and its laws as much as possible. Otherwise you may run the risk of incarceration or even worse death e.g. in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and others.

    So it’s a tough discussion and tough decision to make.

  9. I think ppl here have mixed 2 three concepts here…
    As the fatwa is given by aalim he must be knowing it better but I am unable to understand.
    I think if they just have said that it is haram to change the surname it would have been easier to digest but the examples that are given are out of context.
    The ayah mentioned here expalining the case is for the adoption cases. Because it is simply haram to change the name of FATHER. But many a times we dont use the name of father as surname. What to do with that case? lets forget about using the name of husband here…
    Secondly, the example of the name of Hazrat Ayesha(RA) that is given here shows the arab culture they use binte Abu bakr(RA) or Um-e-Saleem. She must have loved the name of Rasoolullah(SAW) if that was their culture I guess. It was not in arab tradition to use the name of husbands with their name. Do not mix the culture with Islam.

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