I'm a converted Muslimah who is looking to change my name legally. My first name (American) has a bad meaning, so I want to definitely change that. However, I also want to change my American last name to my husband's name. My American last name has a neutral meaning (not good, not bad), but I would really like a Muslim last name. I know that we are not supposed to claim that we are the offspring of somebody who is not our father, however I was told that a woman can change her last name to the name of her husband. Can I legally change my last name, or is this Haram?


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. There is no harm in changing a name, especially if there is any necessity such as the name is a bad. Changing a bad name to a good name is an obligation. Therefore, your decision of changing a bad name to a good one is praiseworthy. Since the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) changed the bad names to good ones. Know that tracing back to other than the real father is forbidden. Taking the husband's name as the last name is as tracing back to other than the father, which is forbidden. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allâh. But if you know not their father's (names, call them) your brothers in faith …}[33: 5]. Allah knows best.