I am asking this on behalf of a revert sister. Is it acceptable to use the first name of your father as your surname instead of your full family name (for example using bint Roland instead of Kilpatrick). Kilpatrick means servant of Saint Patrick and she feels uncomfortable using it. However she doesn't want to do anything unacceptable in Islam. Can you please advise. Jazak Allah Khairan.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.
Let us first congratulate this sister for the Favor which Allaah The Almighty bestowed upon her by guiding her to embrace Islam, and we ask Him The Almighty to guard her and make her firm. We advise her to be keen on acquiring beneficial knowledge, doing righteous deeds, and seeking the company of righteous Muslim sisters.
As for her belonging to her father, this is the basic rule, but there is no harm to take his name as her surname, provided that this change does not lead to the waste of rights of others in inheritance or anything like it; noting that there is no mutual inheritance between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. It is narrated on the authority of Usaamah ibn Zayd that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "No Muslim should inherit (from the property of) a disbeliever, nor should a disbeliever inherit (from the property of) a Muslim." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Let us also draw that sister’s attention to the fact that it is permissible for her to keep her original surname (Kilpatrick), and if it implies a false meaning, she bears no sin because of that. It is narrated on the authority of Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said on the day of the Battle of Hunayn: "I am the Prophet, and I do not tell a lie; I am the son of ‘Abd Al-Muttalib!" [Al-Bukhari] Al-Bukhari included this Hadeeth in a chapter that he titled: “Chapter on the one who attributes himself to his forefathers in Islam and Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance)”.
Allaah Knows best.
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