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While it's not obligatory to change a non-inappropriate name (Changing my name upon conversion), it can still be desirable for the purposes of fitting in.

Question: How should a convert go about choosing a Muslim-appropriate name?

In my case, Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible, and being a Muslim named Rebecca seems to puzzle both Muslims and Jews, so I'm considering adopting a new name (even if just informally). I have some ideas, e.g., I like "Jannah" (جنّة) or maybe "Becca" which is short for "Rebecca" anyway (Are Mecca and Becca the same places?), but I have no idea if these names are any good.

Since the Prophet chose some of his wives' names, a possible option is to wait until I get married and let my husband choose mine.

  • "Since the Prophet chose some of his wives names" doesnt make a tradition to follow that you have to wait for your husband to chose ,prophet Muhammad peace be upon him has changed names of different people due to their bad meanings as it has impact on the personality so you could ask a scholar or an Imam of a masjid for some good name too.Jazakillah. – Faqirah Feb 8 '17 at 18:47
  • Since it's not obligatory I would recommend you to keep your name due to several factors that could make your life harder. And islam is not meant to make it harder but rather easier. Then again There are names like Sara or Mona which are used by arabs, muslims and non arabs and non-muslims. – Kilise Feb 8 '17 at 20:46
  • While you yourself acknowledge that changing name is not obligatory and a conversion is definitely not about fitting, why change it. Islam doesn't ask to change your attire, traditions, festivals, etc. unless in appropriate. Muslims have reduced themselves to be defined as having names from a specific language, having similar outward appearances. Conforming to the pressures of the community has been eroding the universal appeal of Islam for quite sometime. – Tom Marvolo Riddle Feb 10 '17 at 6:50
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Just to re-iterate, its not required to change your name unless your name is associated with a false god or diety.

There are no sanctioned guidelines in Islam for how to choose a name, any name that has a good meaning is ok. So what I will do is to just list some of the most common names used in Muslim communities and why people choose them:

Muslims attach a lot of importance to the Quran, the only lady specifically named in the Quran is "Maryam" (p.b.u.h) mother of Isa/Jesus (p.b.u.h) ... and that is a very popular name in society. Alternatively a lot of people just randomly open the Quran, start reciting it and choose a feminine word that comes up: (http://quranicnames.com/direct-quranic-names-with-counts/).

Secondly, muslims attach importance to the actions of the Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h) and try to copy him. The Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h) had four daughters whom he named: Fatimah, Umm-e-Kulthum (might not be the name given by the Prophet), Ruqayyah and Zainab.

Finally muslims prefer the names of those closest to the Prophet. These include the Prophet's mother Aminah and his first wife Khadijah, after Khadijah the next most prominent mother of the believers is Aisha and then Hafsah.

Here are the names of pious women referred to in the Quran and Hadith: Hawwa(Eve, wife of Prophet Adam), Hajarah (wife of Prophet Abraham), Asiyah(adoptive mother of Prophet Moses), Bilqis (Queen of Sheba, contemporary of Prophet Solomon [peace be upon them all]).

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It was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh (2132) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most beloved of your names to Allaah are ‘Abd-Allaah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.”

Abu Dawood (4950) narrated that Abu Wahb al-Jushami, who was a companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Give your children the names of Prophets, and the most beloved of names to Allaah are ‘Abd-Allaah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, and the most truthful are Haarith and Hammaam [these names both refer to one who is always doing something, whether good or bad], and the worst are Harb and Murrah [meaning ‘war’ and ‘bitterness’ respectively].” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

From the above hadiths, a good name for a female can be in this format: "The name of any female companion" + "Amatullaah" (female of ‘Abd-Allaah). For example, Haaritha Amatullah.

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