A Muslim Woman’s Surname after Marriage

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Naba Basar

Naba Basar is a class teacher and teacher trainer at Fajr Academy, Karachi.

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Sheikh Saud Al-Funaysan, former professor at Imam University:

A woman has to keep the name of her father and not her husband after marriage. Ahadeeth give a severe warning for the person, who attributes himself to other than his or her father.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers; that is more just with Allah (swt). But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith, Mawalikum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Azhab 33:5)

Due to the seriousness of the matter, if a woman has her legal documentation, such as her passport, in her husband’s family name, then she has to change her official documents back to her father’s family name if she can, even if she in her daily practice abides by the legal ruling and people call her by her father’s name and not her husband’s.

Fatwah Department Research Committee of “IslamToday”, chaired by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri:

To understand this matter, consider the fact that a woman does not rightfully belong to her husband’s family by way of lineage. Her lineage stays as it always was. Consider this: if her husband were to divorce her, who would be her guardians? Also, from whom does she inherit?

The above mentioned verse in the Quran (Al-Ahzab 33:5) commands us to attribute children to their true biological fathers even after adoption. The most it allows is that the child casually refers to his guardian as ‘father’, or the man to the child as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ out of affection or absentmindedly; however, it forbids the change of the child’s name or a formal claim of attribution.

This is a general rule. All Muslims must carry their fathers’ names. There is no evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah that a woman, upon marriage, is exempted from the general rule of attribution to her own father and her own family. All women from the time of the Prophet (sa) onwards continued to be attributed to their own fathers after marriage, regardless of whether their fathers were Muslims or non-Muslims.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever attributes his lineage to other than his father or claims other than his master as his master, then he has upon him the curse of Allah (swt), His angels and all humanity.” (Abu Dawood) Also: “Whoever claims as his father other than his father knowingly, then Paradise is forbidden him.” (Abu Dawood) These Ahadeeth are authentic. The matter is serious.

Those, who claim that there is contrary evidence allowing women upon marriage to attribute themselves to another person’s lineage, must produce their evidence for such a serious matter.

Allah (swt) knows best.

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