Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Validity of My Name According to Islam

Muslim names

Assalamu 'alaikum, everyone. I have a question regarding my own name which has been bothering me for quite some time. I don't know if this is the right platform to ask such a question. I've tried looking for an answer on the Internet but can't seem to find a suitable one. Hence I hope someone will try to answer my question as it's very important.


I know that in Islam, one of the rules of naming a person is that his or her last name/surname must be that of the father, and it would be Haram keep the surname after anyone other than that person's own biological father. The problem is that my surname is 'Rahim', which is also one of the names of Allah. It's also the last name of my father, brother, paternal uncle and a cousin. So, 'Rahim' is kind of like our family name.


However, it is Haram in Islam to have a name of Allah unless a prefix is added to it, which is 'Abd. So, it would Haram to name a person 'Malik', but 'Abdul Malik' would be permissible I think. Unfortunately, my surname is 'Rahim' as it's my father's last name. My parents apparently didn't know about this Islamic naming rule, and kept my name as simply 'Rahim'.


Now I'm very confused about what I'm supposed to do. I can't change my surname into 'Abdur Rahim' as that is not my father's last name. What is more, my surname is also recorded as just 'Rahim' in my official documents, such as my passport. Thus, changing my last name means that I would also have to change my last name in those documents, which can be a hassle.


Therefore, please advise me about what I should do right now in this situation. Rahim is one of the ninety-nine names of Allah; can I keep my surname as 'Rahim' or do I have to either change or remove it? Please help by answering this question soon as it has been bothering me for at least a year.


One more aspect regarding this question: if it's permissible to have my last name as 'Rahim', then do I also have to keep my children's last name as 'Rahim' too in future? Please also answer this question.


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4 Responses »

  1. Assalamaulaikum

    Can you please state your full name and your father's so that I could understand the situation better?

    If changing one's name in official documents and records poses a great inconvenience, it would suffice to change it among the people. In this case, he or she is called by his or her new name by friends, acquaintances, and the general public, while official documents would retain the original given name.

    • I'm sorry, but I refuse to write down my full name here due to reasons of privacy. And I really don't think it is necessary for you to know my full name with regards to this situation. I just can't seem to find a proper solution to this problem regarding my name, which is very frustrating for me.

      • Assalamaulaikum.

        Mashallah. Rahim is not one of the names of God. Al-Rahim, on the other hand, is. People calling your name thus, with the definite article Al-, would be problematic; in such cases you would appropriately go with Abdul-Rahim.

        Without the definite article, Rahim is just an adjective, and one not unique to God. As long as it's an attribute that is not unique to God (e.g. Muhyi or Mumit), using it as a name is fine.

        • Thank you brother for the answer. I guess I understand the matter a bit better now. However, I still have one more question. I learned that one of the rules of naming children in Islam is that their surnames must be that of the father. So, when I have my own children in future, then do I have to keep their surname as 'Rahim'? Would it be permissible to not keep 'Rahim' in their names?

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