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Bad nicknames are forbidden in Islam.

And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. Qur'an 49:11

Though good nicknames prevail, Just like the one of great Sahabee Abu Hurayrah [pbuh].

Some people keep their own nicknames. If they are good, let them prevail but some keep bad ones like Serial Kisser, etc. Some people including women give themselves very hateful and vulgar nicknames. This practice is too common on the internet and when asked they cite the reason as anonymity.

Good or bad, are muslims allowed to choose nicknames for themselves in this way?

References to scriptures would be highly enlightening to all.

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    It's important to avoid bad names and nicknames. Names are your identity, and they really do affect your psychology. – ashes999 Jun 20 '12 at 8:33
  • You said "Bad nicknames are forbidden in Islam" in the beginning and asked if they are allowed afterwards. Didn't you answer your own question somehow? – Gigili Jun 20 '12 at 8:50
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    @Gigili, I meant giving themselves (not others) bad nicknames. – Tabrez Ahmed Jun 20 '12 at 8:57
  • Well, then the Ayah isn't relevant to what you're asking @TabrezAhmed. As I already said in my answer. – Gigili Jun 20 '12 at 9:16
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Asalamu wa alaikum,

Here is the Ayah you gave in your question:

And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. Qur'an 49:11

Even though the Ayah has nothing to do with bad nicknames, the answer the Ayah, Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. It is not good to have bad nicknames or even that names, because as ashes999 keeps saying they affect your psychology, and trust me they realy do.

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا يَسۡخَرۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ مِّن قَوۡمٍ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَكُونُواْ خَيۡرً۬ا مِّنۡہُمۡ وَلَا نِسَآءٌ۬ مِّن نِّسَآءٍ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيۡرً۬ا مِّنۡہُنَّ‌ۖ وَلَا تَلۡمِزُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَلَا تَنَابَزُواْ بِٱلۡأَلۡقَـٰبِ‌ۖ بِئۡسَ ٱلِٱسۡمُ ٱلۡفُسُوقُ بَعۡدَ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ‌ۚ وَمَن لَّمۡ يَتُبۡ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ (١١)

O ye who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong. (11)

Narrated AbuJubayrah ibn ad-Dahhak:

This verse was revealed about us, the Banu Salimah: "Nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness (to be used of one) after he has believed." He said: When the apostle of Allah () came to us, every one of us had two or three names. The Apostle of Allah () began to say: O so and so! But they would say: Keep silence, Apostle of Allah! He becomes angry by this name. So this verse was revealed: "Nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames."

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا وُهَيْبٌ، عَنْ دَاوُدَ، عَنْ عَامِرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو جُبَيْرَةَ بْنُ الضَّحَّاكِ، قَالَ فِينَا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَةُ فِي بَنِي سَلِمَةَ ‏{‏ وَلاَ تَنَابَزُوا بِالأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الاِسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الإِيمَانِ ‏}‏ قَالَ قَدِمَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَيْسَ مِنَّا رَجُلٌ إِلاَّ وَلَهُ اسْمَانِ أَوْ ثَلاَثَةٌ فَجَعَلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏"‏ يَا فُلاَنُ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُونَ مَهْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ يَغْضَبُ مِنْ هَذَا الاِسْمِ فَأُنْزِلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَةُ ‏{‏ وَلاَ تَنَابَزُوا بِالأَلْقَابِ ‏}‏

‏.

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As someone pointed out in comments, there's a strong reason to avoid choosing inappropriate nicknames. When you choose a name which is not what you believe by heart and people used to call you so, After a while your mind might be affected by it. It makes your mind to be occupied by inappropriate or forbidden thoughts which you don't normally think about. So it's highly recommended to choose a good name since it will affect your mind and soul in a positive way.

As for the reference you mentioned in your question, it's not really relevant. Insulting other people and calling them by offensive nicknames is obviously forbidden. This doesn't have anything to do with bad nicknames you choose for your own.

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As you see, it does not say anything about who have been applyed the nickname and just advice you to do not. So you may call them Dear Friend, Dear Mr/s, Hi there etc but if you had to reference them, use their applyed nicknames or change them if changing them does not have any effect in the identity and the underlying system allows you (no choice). Then, you can also after more deep friendship ask them to provide a solution for your desired issue and they will provide because now, you're friends :)

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In my opinion, if someone keeps a nickname just to hide his identity on internet then it there is no arm in that. But I think there is always a motto to have some nick name. If your nick name goes like Serial Kisser then it is bad and at the same time if your nick name is something like Slave OF ALLAH, then it is good. so you can choose nick name that should please Allah.

  • I think this goes against the spirit of Islam; your nickname becomes your identity. – ashes999 Jun 20 '12 at 8:32
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    This makes sense, but "are muslims allowed" needs a strong recourse to be answered. I don't agree that "slave of Allah" is a good display name, nor it should please Allah. – Gigili Jun 20 '12 at 8:36
  • @Gigili Yeah. 'Slave' carries negative connotations in this day; this might turn people (non-Muslims) away from Islam. – Mateen Ulhaq Jun 24 '12 at 18:44

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