Preach Islamic Feminism; I’m my father’s daughter not my husband’s

Some years ago, I visited my senior sister who was living in Accra, and whilst I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, I heard a loud exclamation by my sister “Koi Koi” in the local Dagbani dialect which can be literally translated as “What” in the English language.

I ran as fast as I could to the living room where, she and her friend were seated, very frightened and I was thinking something bad had happened only to realize that she was looking through her phone whilst making that big exclamation.

She called to her friend’s name and said, what kind of name are you using on your Facebook profile? Surprised at first, her friend also asked, what name? I love am using my name or?

Not allowing her friend to complete her statement, she asked, again, when did you start using Fareeda Ibrahim, because I have been with you in school and your father’s name is Abdul Rahman! With a loud laugh, her friend chuckled and asked; is this why you are shouting as if you have just sighted a pregnant lion?

Why should I not use Ibrahim instead of Abdul Rahman? It is my sweetheart’s name, and don’t you see that many girls tend to use their husbands’ name instead of their fathers’ when they are married? I belong to my husband now and not my father.

T he Psychology today.com also terms marriage as the process whereby two people make their relationship public, official and permanent until death, but can also be cut short by divorce.

Although marriage to some people is just the union between a man and a woman, some argue that it goes beyond just being a union between the two, but a socially or ritually recognized union between a man and a woman that establishes rights and obligation between those two as well as between them any resulting offspring or adopted children.

Haven’t  looked through the above definitions of marriage so far, there is a common understanding amongst the three, which is the word “union or coming together” but different religions across the world practice marriage differently, from Islam, Christianity, Traditionalist, Buddhist, Hindus, etc just to mention a few.

Now back to my sister, her friend and I in the living room. For a while, my sister nodded her head and said she had heard someone say that it was not permissible for a woman to do that in Islam.

This brought forth a heated argument until they both could not contain it, because my sister thought it was not permissible, and her friend on the other hand, thought my sister was old fashioned and needed to spice up herself to fit the new era.

Does the fastest growing religion permits a woman to use her husband’s name instead of her father’s after marriage? Since curiosity is destined to kill the cat, why hide from it.
According to the islamicinsights.com, marriage in Islam is a necessity for every human being so that they can benefit from its good side like the creation of a family, natural sexual desire and reproduction. (Quran 30:21)
The question is what Islam says about using one’s husband’s name after marriage, as it is practiced by most women including Muslims in the world? (Quran 4:1)
Imam Zihad Ismail, a young Muslim cleric in an interview with ( Tiyumba), argues that a wife adopting her husband’s name upon marriage is not required in Shari’ah. According to him, it is unlawful and a major sin to change one’s lineage and ascribe one’s self to other than one’s biological father.

According to him, Allah Most High says in (Quran 33:4-5), “And he (Allah) did not make your adopted sons your (real) sons.

That is (merely) a word uttered by your mouths. And Allah says the truth and He shows the (right) way. Call them by (the name of their (real) fathers; it is more equitable in the sight of Allah.

And you do not know their father’s then they are your brothers in faith and your friends”.

Imam Ismail said this verse was revealed following the story of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], who adopted a young boy called Zayd Ibn Haritha after he married his first wife Khadija. To lay down the principles of the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] who referred to the adopted young man as “ Zayds Ibn Muhammad instead of Zayd Ibn Haritha” .

He referred to the practice of taking one’s husband’s name after marriage as a practice of the disbelievers and added that logically, it was not the right way saying ” when a woman uses her husband’s name and later divorces him, would that mean she would use the same man’s name attached to her name when she is to marry another man,”?

So here you see that it doesn’t make sense!

He added further, that Ibn Maajah in the Book of Punishments, Hadith no; 2707 and Saheeh Al-Jaami hadith no; 6104, the holy Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] is reported to have said;

“Whoever attributes him/herself to someone other than his/her father will be cursed by Allah and the angels and all humankind.”

He called on Muslim women to desist from the practice, since it was not an acceptable practice in the religion.

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid in Islam Question and Answer also says there is nothing in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad that indicates that a woman should take her husband’s name, and that it is rather an innovative matter that is not approved of by sharee’ah.
Shaykh Al-Munajji indicates that even the wives of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], who are believed to be Mothers of the Believers never took his name, but rather each of them kept their father’s name their names after marrying him.
Although some men have argued that ladies who insist on not using their husband’s names after marriage all boils down to feminism and arrogance, Ibrahim Ayisha, a third year student of the University for Development Studies(UDS) says even if the Quran hadn’t preached against that, she would never have used her husband’s name instead of her father.
“… Most of the guys in my class say I am so proud and arrogant when I say this, but the fact is that I am my father’s offspring, he brought me up, took me through all the struggles, the good and bad times and I will always belong to him. I know I should respect my husband, but taking after his name is a no no for me,” she said.
It’s not old fashioned or arrogance when a woman refuses to use her husband’s name, but rather respect to the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Allah [S.W.T].

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