I've yet to hear anyone give me a good reason for changing the name my parents gave me. But in the last few days, I've had two people boggle at my insistence on keeping it. Said one, "Next time I see you, I'll call you Ameenah." My response, quite naturally I think, was, "Why?"And to that he responded, "It is the name of Rasoolullah (saws)." Mm-hmmK. I knew that. But still I asked, "Why?" and I started to get a little bit defensive about my name, and what is so wrong with calling me by my given name?
Yusuf Islam changed his name from Cat Stevens. And I still think... so what? That was the choice of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, somebody who I am not. I've actually known a lot of people (especially people who converted decades ago) to change their names to something Arabic instead of keeping their given names. But I don't really understand why--is it really better to take an Arabic name, though my given name has no error in it?
I've always been sort of defensive about keeping my name, although I know that the Prophet (saws) used to change the names of some of his companions for various reasons. One lady with a name meaning 'Righteousness' had it changed to Zaynab, and a man whose name implied submission to an idol had his name changed as well. And one of my friends shares a name with a pagan goddess, so upon embracing Islam she opted to take the name of one of the Mothers of the Believers.
I understand that sometimes it can be better to change my name. But I'd still like to know what's wrong with my name--Amy? I have noticed that some people from certain cultures are more likely than others to press for name changes in converts, but not based on any proof. Seems more like a tradition.
So I maintain my position, that there's nothing wrong with it. It's how I am known and it keeps a strong relationship with my parents as well. I have no desire to change it, I can't imagine taking a name that would mean more to me than mine currently does. So why do people keep asking me to change it?