Ruling on changing one’s name and being circumcised after converting to Islam – Fatwas of Nur Ala Al-Darb

Q: Is it necessary for new converts to Islam to change their names? Should an adult convert be circumcised?

A: It is permissible for new Muslims to change their names if they carry wrong or bad meanings, as this is a sign of conversion to Islam. If one asks the reason for a convert having changed their name, in most cases, their names before converting to Islam were not suitable, thus they felt it necessary to change them to Islamic names such as Saleh, Ahmad, `Abdullah, `Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad, etc. Names which suggest slavery to other than Allah such as `Abdul- Messiah, `Abdul-Zahra, or `Abd-Musa must be changed to `Abdullah, `Abdul-Rahman and the like, as servitude is to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone. Therefore, it is best to change names which express servitude to other than Allah and which are familiar and used by the Kuffar (disbelievers) to Islamic names.

It is better for new Muslims to get circumcised by highly-skilled, experienced doctors, even when accepting Islam as adults. A group of scholars hold that it is Wajib (obligatory) upon new converts be circumcised unless there is fear of harm. If a doctor feels that circumcision may harm them, it is waived in this case. However, if a doctor know that it will not cause them any harm, they should be circumcised.

Circumcision is a stressed Sunnah and Wajib according to a group of scholars. Therefore, if it is feasible for an adult to be circumcised without suffering any harm, it is better and safer to undergo such procedure, otherwise they do not have to do it.

If getting circumcised will drive a person away from Islam, it should not be mentioned to them. It can also be abandoned, for embracing Islam is a great bounty even without being circumcised. Therefore, a new convert need not be informed of this if it will turn them away from Islam.

When a new convert becomes steadfast in Islam, they should be circumcised, if it would not pose any risk to their health; otherwise they should not undergo this procedure.

Fatwas of Nur `Ala Al-Darb>Volume 1>Chapter on `Aqidah>

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