Ansari (nisbat)

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Ansari (Arabic: انصاری) is a Nesbat used in the Middle East and South Asia. It originates from Ansar (Arabic: انصار), the Medinan people that helped Islamic prophet Muhammad when he migrated from Mecca to Medina. The literal meaning of Ansar is "supporters".

Arabic usage[edit]

The name itself is not used as a surname among Arabs; patronymics are used instead. The word is added as a title to the end of the name, if one has an ancestor who was an Ansar. This use of a name is called "Nesbat" in Arabic, meaning "relation". In modern times, however, the surname Al-Ansari is widely used in many Persian Gulf and Arab nations.

Iranian usage[edit]

In contrast to Arabic usage, Iranians use surnames instead of patronymics. In Iran, Ansari has become a surname. This has also happened with the "Tabatabai", also originally a Nesbat.

Pakistani and Indian usage[edit]

The Ansari surname is used in Pakistan, northern India and Bangladesh, to show a lineage or ancestral link to the Ansar of Medina. Through the various waves of migration from the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Central Asia, and Afghanistan, descendants of the Ansar tribes arrived in the Indian subcontinent. These families mainly came either as scholars, government administrators and functionaries, soldiers or officers. Ansaris in the Indian Subcontinent may belong to either the Shi'a or the Sunni Muslim school of thought.

The main original settlements and concentrations of Ansaris on the Indian subcontinent, were in Multan, Sindh province, and Lilla, in western Punjab, Pakistan; and in Panipat, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur and Lucknow, in India.

Over a period of time, others, and many of the new Muslim converts, in India also identified themselves as Ansari, to show reverence to their Islamic faith. Many of these in northern India and Pakistan were involved in fabric manufacturing as weavers (Urdu: julahay). Often, but not necessarily, Ansari is used to identify a caste, as well. In the Indian Hindu caste system and in the Muslim baradari) system, different castes were traditionally associated with different trades or professions.

Notable Ansari people[edit]

See also[edit]