Question 182: What is the ruling on changing one’s name like most of the Indonesian pilgrims do? Indonesians usually change their names when they go to Makkah Al-Mukarramah or Al-Madeenah Al-Munawwarah. Is this Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) or not?
Answer: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to change bad names to good ones. If the Indonesian pilgrims are changing their names for this purpose, and not for finishing the rituals of Hajj or their visiting Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madeenah) and offering Salaah (Prayer) therein, then this is permissible. On the other hand, if they are changing their names because they are in Makkah or Al-Madeenah or for finishing the rituals of Hajj, for example, then this is a Bidd‘ah (innovation in religion) and not an act of Sunnah... read more here.