Q: A sister, revert to Islam, has no known father. Her current surname is of a maternal family member not closely related by blood. May she choose an Islamic surname in this case, or use (her name)bint(mother's name)? She knows name change is not obligatory, but wishes to be identified as a Muslimah.
A: It is necessary for Islamic identification that this sister adopts an Islamic name. Given the background she comes from it will be permissible for her to take an Islamic surname and also permissible to use the term “bint” between her first name and the name of her mother, as indicated in the question. The latter is better, in our opinion.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best
Mufti Siraj Desai