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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


World Muslim News

Muhammad Speaks

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


QUESTION: Why are Muslims always changing their names? — Harrisburg, Pa.

IMAM: First, it is because the Muslims you are talking about are people who have always had some identity problem. The African-American has been wrestling with an identity problem for a century or more. We have been trying to find names with which we feel comfortable.

Once a Muslim chooses a name he shouldn't change the name unless there is a very good reason for it. Very few Muslims will change a good Muslim name. If you get a good Muslim name you should keep that Muslim name. If people are changing Muslim names, I think that is a cause for us to be concerned.

Maybe they have some problem with the meaning of the name; maybe they don't understand the meaning of the name; maybe they don't understand the respect they should give to a good Muslim name once they have been given it. So they might need the kind of assistance that an Imam or someone in the Islamic Studies could give them.
It's possible that the person has taken their name lightly, and people who take their names lightly are to be treated as suspect.

If we know people who have changed names because they have some unlawful activities in which they are engaged, we wouldn't want them to come among us — those who are engaged in unlawful activities and use the name change as a cover for their identity. We have to be aware of all these things.

There are many other reasons why people may be changing their names, too. There is a lot of mental pressure on people nowadays, and with the burden that the average ghetto dweller has to carry it is a wonder if they don't forget their clothes and come outside naked sometimes.

You are changing minds, so it shouldn't shock us if some are changing their names too. But they might need help. We should really love each other and be concerned.