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Arab and Islamic Names

Most Arab names really mean something in Arabic--many are pleasant or desirable qualities--they are real words in Arabic and so can be used as names or adjectives--for example....

Amad--most praiseworthy
Widaad--love, friendship

Arab names also found in the Bible and their English equivalents

Old  Testament


New  Testament


Prophet Muhammad's family and early leaders of Islam:

Muammad--means praised, commendable
Khadiija--Prophet's first wife
cAli--Prophet's son-in-law--means lofty or exalted
Faaima--Prophet's daughter, married to cAli
cAa'isha--one of Prophet's wives--means prosperous
asan--Prophet's grandson, son of cAli --beautiful, handsome
usayn--Prophet's grandson, son of cAli --little beauty
cUmar--second Caliph-(succeeder to Prophet Muammad
  as leader of Islamic community)
cUthmaan--third Caliph
Bilaal--first Muezzin (caller of Muslims to daily prayers)



Peoples' names based on Names of God

Another class of Muslim names is based on the names of God in Arabic.    Allah means The God--The same God whom Jews and Christians worship

The 99 Names of God--called The Most Beautiful Names--have to do with God's many attributes:   such as,  All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Powerful
We do this as well--example we say "The Almighty" to refer to God

cAbd--is an Arabic word meaning servant or slave

Not all of the 99 names of God are used as names for people.
Some of the most popular ones are:

cAbd Allah  --Servant of God
cAbd al-cAziiz  --Servant of The Almighty
cAbd al-Ramaan --Servant of The Merciful
cAbd al-Raiim --Servant of The Compassionate
cAbd al-akiim --Servant of The Wise
cAbd al-Kariim --Servant of The Generous
cAbd al-Jabbaar --Servant of The Compeller
cAbd al-Majiid --Servant of The Glorious
cAbd al-Malik  --Servant of The King, The Ruler of All
cAbd al-Qaadir --Servant of The All-Powerful

There is no such name as "Abdul" by itself--it would mean "servant of the.....", that is, "Abdul" would be only half a name...

As first names, these are all for males, but they can be used as last names for anyone.  In fact, many Arab names can be used as both first and last names.  This is partly because many Arabs take their father's first name as their own last name.

You may also hear the words Abu, Umm, Ibn, or Bint in people's names.  Abu means father, Umm means mother, Ibn means son, and Bint means daughter.  So if a man is named Muammad, you would call his father Abu Muammad and his mother Umm Muammad.  You would call his son Ibn Muammad, and his daughter is Bint Muammad.

When Arab women get married, they usually keep their own family name.





This information was provided by: The University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center for educational purposes only


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Text/Research by Dominic Marks. Editing/html page design by April Ingram