to my original name from the “Muslim” name I was given by someone I met on a bus that kept pestering me about when I was going to take a Muslim name. I used to defend my use of a “Muslim” name and it served me well at a certain point in my journey.
I made the switch last year and some of the sisters that I have known for a while still slip up every so often but it’s nice that other sisters remind them to call me by my birth name.
The process of re-introducing myself with my birth name and subsequently explaining why I no longer wished to be called by the “Muslim” name was not at all like I had expected.
Advice for name reverts, begin by telling your close friends (in a group is better so they can remind each other and tell others for you), introduce yourself with the name you want to be called to all new acquaintances, and just be firm but gentle about it.
From the Storehouse:
Conversion and Name Changing at Gun Point – Valid?
I really think you’ve got the process backwards. This is how it ought to go. Tell your close associates that you’re changing your name. Then, when they’ve accepted that, casually mention that the name is something that they might not expect. Something nontraditional. Then tell them its ‘Rocky’.
After that, you can call yourself whatever works for you, and they’ll be so delighted, they’ll print up new business cards for you, get you new stationery, put it on banners, whatever… just to keep it from being Rocky. Or Stud Muffin, or whatever you first laid upon them.
Though come to think of it — Rocky Apple….has a ring to it, doesn’t it? (g)
lol, Rocky Apple is not so bad. To make it a bit more complicated since I’ve joined the blogisphere I’ve come to like that people call me Apple or MA or Muslim Apple or Manzana Musulmana but I don’t like the spellings MuslimApple or Muslimapple.
Could be worse. They could call you Ma….as in, Hey,Ma, I’m Hongry,whens dinner? What’re we having? What? AGAIN? Can’t we have pizza? Oh, and you gotta drive me to…. (Drink, she thinks, grimly)…
Rats, I forgot, I wanted to ask a question. I see you using phrases all the time in a language I don’t recognize but which I’m going to guess isn’t French. Though you never know, those sneaky devils. Anyway, is there a phrase that someone who isn’t Muslim (ie, moi) could use to generally wish someone who IS, well? Kind of something thats the equivilent of ‘have a nice day’, only perhaps with a little more intensity to it, something that acknowledges their Muslim-ness (is that even a word?) as important to them?
And it would be nice if I could pronounce it without making the recipient break up laughing. Hey, guys, c’mere, listen to this! Go on, Bill, say it again!!!
I suppose most of those phrases are in Arabic, when I began this blog I had a section for commonly used Arabic terms and their meanings but I deleted it. There are some good online glossaries of Islamic terminology like this one.
In terms of greetings, Muslims usually greet each other with the phrase and prayer for peace:
Asalamu alaykum – peace be upon you
Usual response, wa alaykum salaam – and peace be upon you
Wa salaam or Ma’salaama – meaning go in peace
For Non-Muslims using common Muslim greetings, this is a bit controversial (maybe I’ll write a post about it) the usual phrases common to the shared culture and language suffice. If one wants to use common Muslim phrases:
Salaam – Peace
Wa salaam – go in peace
Ma’salaama – go in peace
Allah hafiz – May God protect you
Fe aman illah – May God protect you
I was actually going to write a post on this the other day..I hope you dont mind if I link to you. I just had this same discussion the other day as to why others expect a convert to change their name. Thanks for writng this post!
Gyasi McKenzie… a student of knowledge at Memphis, switched his name back to Gyasi, after going through a “Yasir McKenzie” phase… I don’t know if it was the fact that there were TOO many Sh. Yasirs around (Yasir Qadhi, Yasir Birjas, Yasir Fazaqa)… or he found the dichotomy too nauseating… wallahualam.
I think readers should check this out as well, where Sister Ruth had a very interesting discussion and comments (at least until curlysmom got involved): Link here
Musings of a Muslim Mind
Oh, I love it when people keep their names – otherwise the whole “Muslims are Arabs” thing gets perpetuated. However, people are developing their own identities and if they feel they need to change a name for themselves, so be it. Or if they want to change back — it’s THEIR name!
My son’s entire name sounds like he is not even a Muslim.
Okay, I promise that if I ever convert, I won’t use ‘Muslim Turkey’ as the name I go by. However appropriate it may be (g).
Thanks for the phrases. Now all I need is the pronuciation…and I can look that up, I think.
Sheryza: feel free to link away, I look forward to reading that post from you.
Amad: I didn’t know that about Shaykh Gyasi, but I did wonder about his name and I think diversity in names is a good thing that should be encouraged rather than all this pressure to arabize our names.
Koonj: I agree in not perpetuating the Muslims as Arabs stereotype, Islam is for everyone, and our names and dress and foods should reflect that.
Umm Adam: lol about your son’s name. Among people familiar with West African names, mine usually gives away my tribe so people assume that I’m Christian and then when this hijabi shows up they almost always do a double take.
Bill: my advice to anyone is to keep their name, it’s much easier than being known by two or more names especially if you only have 1 legal name. As for pronunciation, it’s best to listen to someone say them but those spellings are rather close to the sounds.
When we were in America, I was pressed for my dh and dughter to have islamic sounding names. My dh was given a muslim first name (but did not legally change it)and he is known by it by muslims and it would irk me to hear his family call him by his birth name. Now that we are in Saudi, really it makles no difference to me. The kufar at his job call him by his birth name but the muslims all call him my his muslim name.
Also, my first dd who was born in america, was given his muslim name and his last name but when I had my secend dd in Bahrain and my son in KSA than they must take the legal name so they have his complete birth name. Now it lloks like I have kids my different men…brothers at that!
Gyasi was his original Christian name. Yasir was the Arabic try-out.
i dont think there’s even a need to change your name in the first place…my friend also decided to switch back to his original name lol. And i think it is better with his original name.
It was a bit different for me because my birth name is Christian. My sister was like “our parents named you Christian and you become a muslim!!” My mother prayed for me because I rejected Jesus etc…Than I named myself Isa and my mother being Maria made things much easier for them.
My little sister is the only non muslim family member that calls me Isa and everybody else calls me Chrees (spanish)/Chris.
It’s kinda hard too for family members/friends to start calling someone by a new name. Allah knows how many time I had to stop think and then say my friends new name before calling her.
Nuqtah: You’re right most people have names that are just fine Islamically but so many Muslims put a lot of pressure on converts to change their names.
Isa: That’s interesting, Isa was a good choice for you. And none of my non-Muslim family ever called me by my Muslim name.
Muslimah: It can be hard to begin calling someone by another name after you’ve known them for a long time but if you care about them and it’s important to them, I think it’s do-able.
Very interesting post. I am still known by my birth name to everyone not on the internet lol. but if I ever were to change my name It would be Abdul At-Tawwaab. It has special meaning to me, but I don’t want to change my birth name, at least not now. I was born muslim but I wasn’t given a muslim name. My brother gets Kareem and I get …. lol. Alhamdulillah. May Allah be pleased with us and our names inshaAllah. I ponder sometimes with all this talk of names, when we meet Our Lord, what name will He call us by. Alhamdulillah, I just pray when He calls me He’s pleased with me.
The power of names is fascinating, I was just talking the other day with a colleague about the distinctness of Ibo names, which come from phrases with a good meaning.
I am in favor of people keeping their birth names but respect the decision to change if it comes from the individual and is not forced on them by pushy well-intentioned but often misinformed brothers and sisters. I agree with the last point.