Arabic Names

Arabic or Muslim names are names used in the Arabic-speaking and Muslim worlds, which closely coincide. However there are some Muslim names which are not Arabic: see Persian names and Turkish names.

The full Arabic name can be quite long. It can consist of a given name (called the ism), nicknames (laqab), and patronyms (nasab) and/or a family name (nisba). Sometimes these names are preceded by a kunya, which refers to the person's first born son.

The majority of Arabic given names are derived from vocabulary words, equivalent to an English vocabulary name such as Faith or Willow. The 99 attributes of Allah, as listed in the Quran, are frequently used as names, for example Rashid and 'Aziz. Sometimes the attributes are prefixed with Abd al meaning "servant of the ..." (such as Abd al-Aziz and Abd al-Karim).

The historical figures from Islam are also a major influence on naming practices. The multiple forms of Muhammad are extremely popular, as are the names of his family and descendants, such as Umar, Ali, Bakr and Fatima. Military leaders are often honoured as well; for example Tariq and Amir. The names of prophets and other figures from the Quran are also used - Ibrahim and Mariam are two examples that have English biblical equivalents (Abraham and Mary).

On this site

List of Arabic names and meanings