Talk:Arabic name

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Section on Arabic Christian Names[edit]

Doesn't seem to be good Arabic. Eg, Abdul Yasu is given as "servant of Jesus" but elsewhere in the article it's explained that Abu is "servant of" and Abdul is "servant of the." "Servant of the Jesus" doesn't seem correct, although Arabic grammar may be different here. Similarly, Yasu isn't Jesus: Isa is. Perhaps this section is written in some dialect like Egyptian or Lebanese Arabic? -LlywelynII (talk) 05:46, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Also the current edit says that Christian Arabs do not use the name Muhammad. This isn't true, I have met Christian Arabs named Muhammad before. I suggest that the sentence should be changed to say that Islamic names are rare among Christian Arabs, rather than saying they do not exist. DruidODurham (talk) 16:07, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

LlywelynII, Abu means "father of", and Abdul means "servant of". Ratibgreat (talk) 08:20, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

I was thinking that the name "George" is actually Arabic (or at least Semitic) in origin. Certainly, St. George was born in the Levant and my understanding is that he has been much revered since pre-Islamic times, and the wikipedia entry on him suggests that he is highly regarded even among the Muslims in the Middle East as well. Can someone who has more authoritative knowledge on this matter provide some input on this? (talk) 05:42, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


I added an "Other names" section describing some aspects of Arabic names, as I understand them. I'm not sure if what I have is entirely correct, so if anyone knows anything about this, please correct it and flesh out some of the details.

One particular question about the "Abu" thing: Is this actually used in the literal "Father of" sense, or is it more of a nickname, or descriptive aspect, sort of like the Roman cognomen? I ask because the two "Abu" names that come to mind when I think of this are Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Abu Nidal, and these are both actually aliases that those people adopted. I don't know what "Musab" means, but "Abu Nidal" means the "Father of the Struggle," as the Wiki article points out.

So, is "Father of x" just some sort of common alias technique Arabs use, or is it also used in a literal sense sometimes?

Abu is commonly used among Arabs in everyday usage. First of all, you can of course use it to say that X is the father of Y. However, when it is used generally, it is used as a kind of way to talk to a person respectfully. Even people with no sons will be sometimes called "Abu something"; this something is their father name (If my father is Abdulaziz, and someone does not know my son's name or the name I would choose for my son if I had one, he'll just call me Abu Abdulaziz). Sometimes it is out of similarity to others; for instance, a known Arabic figure (Say Ali Bin Abu Talib) had a Son called Hassan, so if your name is Ali, people would start calling you Hassan.
When the person actually has a son, the eldest son's name (And in rare cases, the eldest daughter's name) is used. I do not know a similar usage to it in English, or the roman cognomen you're refering to, but you can say it is some sort of a nickname used to avoid using the actual name, which is, when people are not close enough, might not be considered very respectful.
Just an interesting thing to note; women also have such naming convention, and it is used as much as it is used with men. You'd find my mother, for instance, referred to as Um Khalid (or mother of Khalid).
I hope that was meaningful; I find it hard to explain concepts I usually take for granted. --Khalid 16:44, Sep 27, 2004 (UTC)
Re the contention that Abdul by itself just means "servant of...", and is not a complete name, I understand that sometimes the actual name being referred to is the general Semitic name Abdel, which is abd+el, "servant of God". As such it is identical with the Old Testament Obadiah=obed+yah.
Nuttyskin 06:32, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

A Few changes[edit]

I've edited a few things in this article; most of my edits were slight changes to make the information more accurate. However, I think I need to explain my edits to the last section:

  • The dropping "bin" prefix issue is very true, but it is not only present in Iraq; actually I think it is more prsent in Iraq (despite Saddam Hussian's name) than in other places. It is just considered old form to use "bin" nowadays.
  • The "Abu" usage is not restricted to Palestians, and is in no way an indication to them. It just happens that people in groups like Hamas try to use aliases rather than real names, originally for their security. Other parts of the Arab world use this kind of aliases as much as Palestians, but in less official circumstances.
As an aside, bint was originally a British Forces slang word for a girl, which has now passed into general English usage. The word is not obscene, merely perhaps a little reproving, and quite charmingly old-fashioned.
Nuttyskin 06:36, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
It might depend on where you are in the world but in my experience in the UK bint is definitely obscene. It may not be the worst thing you could call a woman but it's still insulting. Which is annoying because I came here to find the female equivalent of ibn for an MMO character I'm creating and now I have to choose between historical accuracy and risking getting banned for an offensive name. Danikat (talk) 10:14, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Help needed with spelling[edit]

Which one is the correct or preferred spelling in English: Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi or Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi? From this article, it seems the latter is better. I'll request to move the page if necessary. Cheers. --Edcolins 20:39, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Please reply on Talk:Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi, not here. The discussion is taking place there. --Edcolins 07:47, Jun 16, 2005 (UTC)

Also look at Arabic naming conventions. -Fsotrain09 17:05, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

You can spell it either way. You can spell it Hussayn Hanoon Alsaadi if you want, just so long as the name isn't usually spelt in Roman lettering. The capitalised definite article looks a bit old-fashioned; then again, Hanoun always looks too French colonial for my taste, but it's quite standard.
Nuttyskin 06:41, 13 August 2006 (UTC)


A Kunya is the Arabic equivalent to a roman cognomen, not the father's name.

An Arabic name project[edit]

I'd like to start a project, and I'm not sure where, but I thought I'd bring it up here.

As many of you know, there is no one standard way of transliterating from Arabic to Roman letters. So "Mohammed", "Mohammad", and "Mohamed", and "Muhammad" are all quasi-correct ways of spelling the prophet's name in English language texts. This can be quite a hassle on Wikipedia.

It seems to me that three things are needed.

  1. We need people to provide the names in for Arab figures. For instance, Abu Sayyaf (organization), Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (poet), and Taif (city) are lacking their names written out in Arabic. If I can get some volunteers, I'll try to collect a list of articles that need this.
  2. We need to see if we can agree on some sort of standard spelling for Arabic articles on Wikipedia. For instance the "El" in Mohamed ElBaradei and the "al" in Mohammed Atta al Sayed are spelled the same in Arabic letters, but are translated differently in English. Is there a reason for this? (Both people are Egyptian.) If we can agree on a standard, then we can move articles to standard names (with redirects, of course).
  3. We need to make sure we have proper redirects for alternate spellings for Arabic articles. For instance, if someone looks up Muhammad Atta, this needs to redirect to Mohammed Atta al Sayed. This can be confusing. Doing a little Googling, I found that the most common spellings for Mohammed are "Mohammed", "Mohammad", "Muhammad", and "Mohamed". (This applies to the Prophet as well as other people with this name.) The common spellings for Abdullah are "Abdullah", "Abdallah", and "Abdulla". "Mohammad Naif", and "Muhammad Nayef" (Sultan Nayef of Gandamatto), Etc.

If I can get some volunteers, I'll try to organize a project. Who's in? – Quadell (talk) (sleuth) 15:24, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

  1. Me. – Quadell (talk) (sleuth) 15:24, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
  2. I was going to start making the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Arabic) policy, so I think I have a lot to contribute and many ideas that could help. 500LL 21:11, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Okay, looks like it's just us. Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Arabic). – Quadell (talk) (sleuth) 16:58, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

None of this is necessary. You can spell any Arabic name anyway you want in English, so establishing a "right" way to spell it is counter-productive. All that's needed are a few Disambiguation pages so people can tell Muhammad Ali from Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Ali from Muhammad Ali, and a few intelligent search pages to redirect people.
Nuttyskin 06:52, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

About maghrebi names[edit]

The article says that maghrebi names are influenced by Berber and French. That is true about Berber but definitly wrong about French I have never heard of any ethnic Arab or ethnic Berber Algerian, Morrocan or Tunisian with a French sounding name. Occasionaly you can hear a French or Spanish sounding nickname. North African Jews had French sounding first names, but they have all immigrated to France or Israel, and very few are left in the Maghreb (if any at all).

French vulcanologist Haroun Tazieff[edit]

I removed French vulcanologist Haroun Tazieff from the list of non-Muslims because his father was actually a Muslim, which is why he gave his son a Muslim name.

Last section with the family tree is totally wrong[edit]

The last section contains two major errors. One is that when an Arabic woman gets married her second (last) name is NOT changed, women keep their last names. Second is the example given where the woman's name changes to: something Abdul. Classic mistake, Abdul is not a name, it's part of a name it literally means "servant of" and must be followed by a name of God. Someone may be called Abdul-Rahman (more accurately Abd-el-Rahman). I made two adjustments, Yasmin gets to keep her name, and Abdul is renamed Adel.

Arabic Family Naming Convention[edit]

I have completly changed the paragraph under this section, because the previous section was completly wrong. I put in the actual naming conventions... so let me know if you see anything wrong.

Let me know if you have any questions 03:42, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Ayyad

the Tughra or Sultan's monogram was a specifically Turkish (Oghuz Turkic) invention, and was likely derived from the design of the "tamgha"s (brands) of the Oghuz (Turkmen) tribes, although it used arabic calligraphy. AFAIK the Tughra reads "al-muZaffar" not just "muZaffar"

see Enc. of Islam II "Tughra" 06:39, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

"The daughter also follows the same custom but after marriage she takes her husband's first name as her second part of her name"

I think there's some error here .. what I know is that women don't change their name after marriage in arabic traditions/hisory (even now in most arabic countries) ... ie she keeps her original name, this is true before and after islam .. if somebody can correct this in the original article, it would be nice .. or if it's true can some examples of famous characters be given (on the other hand, every famous woman in arabic or islamic history I am aware of, is example to support what I stated)

Thanks -- (UTC)

Your right about the fact that the woman that gets married actually keeps her name. I tried fixing that before, but apparantly someone changed it back to the old WRONG version, again if you have any issues with what is up there talk over it over here first.

03:43, 24 August 2006 (UTC)Ayyad

I'm wondering about the idea that people don't name children exactly after their relatives. I had the impression, in Syria at least, that it was common to name the first born son after his grandfather. In fact, I knew 15 year old boys who called each other "abu so-and-so" because it was just assumed that when they did have a son their son would have that name. Jennie77 (talk) 17:31, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

list of given names[edit]

I put the list of given names in table format; while I was doing that, I noticed that one of the entries ended with "[more]", suggesting that it was pasted from some other webpage. Hm. —Tamfang 17:41, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

That is a sure possibility as with many things on WP. Eric Wester 16:02, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Is this right?[edit]

So, if I'm understanding this right, in Arabic, you don't have a name (in the Western sense) so much as a title? What I mean is, my name, Robert, technically means something ("bright fame") but that meaning is basically academic at this point because the word itself has no meaning in English. This article, OTOH, seems to suggest that Arabic names are kind of long title-type names, where each word of the name still has modern, relevant meaning in Arabic. IOW, if we used such practices in the West, I would be addressed as "Bright Fame." Correct? RobertM525 (talk) 20:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying it can't be a realio trulio name unless it's unintelligible in the current language? I really don't think that would hold up well across cultures. In particular, what about the culture that coined the name Robert (or Hrothbearht or whatever it was)? —Tamfang (talk) 05:39, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Arabic names exhibit the same variety you find in English names. Not all Arabic names are intelligible to people living in 2008, although many are. Common Arabic names such as Ibrahim, Yoseph, Meriam and the like originate from proto-semitic languages that are no longer spoken and hence mean nothing in everyday life. In all Arabic countries you will come across names that are derived from the languages that were spoken thousands of year ago but mean nothing today. So in summary, there are names like "Joy", "Biff", and "Happy" but there are also names like "Robert", "John", and "Mike". But even in the "Joy" case, most people do not think of the underlying meaning of the name in their everyday life. Anyway, I'm seeing several errors in this article but I'll correct those later. - Anonymous.

Some suggested wording changes[edit]

"Sometimes Muslim or otherwise Arabic names are used by people who are not Muslims or even have origins in the Middle East." Change "not Muslims or even" to "neither Muslim nor".

"...despite the fact that their families may have resided outside Egypt for several generations." Shorten it to "...even people who's families have reside outside Egypt for generations."

"spelt" is a type of wheat. Change it to "spelled".

"Abu Karim is a kunya, Muhammad..." Replace the "," with a ";" or break the run-on into two sentences with ". " Do similarly with the rest of this extreme run-on sentence.

"Most Afghans speak Iranian languages." Instead of saying that most Afghans speak Iranian languages, should you say they speak forms/variation/dialects (whatever word is appropriate) of Persian?

"In Afghanistan and, persons claiming to be related to the prophet are called Sayeds,..." You may have meant to say "In Afghanistan, persons claiming to be related to the prophet are called Sayeds,..".

Yes, I break the rule and place punctuation outside the quotation marks for good reason. If it is not part of the quoted material, it should not be inside the quotation marks. And the sentence containing the quotation needs its own punctuation. I appeal to the grammar rule makers to change the rule.

I nit-pic sentences in Wikipedia, but I am sypathetic the the authors who likely don't have proof readers until after their words are posted.

Thank you for your Wikipedia entry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:02, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

For future reference: create a new section on a Talk page by clicking "new section" at the top, and write the section title in the small box that appears above the main editing panel. —Tamfang (talk) 01:15, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Biblical names: I have always understood Ilyas to to Elias, not Elijah. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:36, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Exclusively Christian names[edit]

At this part of section, Issa is actually a name used in the Arab World, mostly in Arabian Gulf, it means Jesus and is clearly used in the Qur'an. I don't know where to put that, in the "exclusivly christian names" between brackets or the table above and remove the cell where Yassou is put (i.e. to not repeat the entry) .. I am not sure.

However, I am writing a note at the end of this section for the time being. (talk) 22:24, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it's correct to say "mostly in the Arabian Gulf", that is far from accurate. The name is used by both Christians and Muslims. Muslims do not use Yassou' but it is used by Christians; I would not consider Issa to be an exclusive Christian name, and I would not remove Yassou' from the list because this one is indeed exclusively used by Christians. --Maha Odeh (talk) 06:49, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Idris, Antun, Iskander, obviously Mustafa and Qaiser are all also Muslim Arabic names - I know family friends and relatives who self identify themselves as Muslim but have those names. This alone disproves the credibility of that completely unsoiurced table. There was also a reply above about someone who knows a Christian named Muhammed, so I believe arguably there are no exclusive names - at least not any more. Also there isn't a table for exclusively Muslim names (if there are any even) which makes me question the bias of this article also. I will remove the table until as I believe all it's information is incorrect, as per wikipedia rules for unsourced material. Please amend it and remove bias by making one for exclusive muslim names too. Here it is for anyone who wants to fix it:
Exclusively Christian names:
Arabic name English name
Andraous, Idris Andrew
Antun, Tanios Anthony
Boutrus Peter
Boulus, Baha Paul
Iskandar Alexander
Istfan, Mustafa Stephen
Girgis George
Morqos Mark
Timothaous Timothy
Qaisar Caesar
Pink Princess (talk) 01:36, 24 October 2009 (UTC)


Is it true that Iskandar is an exclusively Christian name? I thought it was used by Muslims too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It's used among muslims too --Bunifa88 (talk) 14:12, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I have a relative called Iskander who is a muslim - but then again I also know a Muslim called Michelle. Pink Princess (talk) 01:24, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Oh please! There are tons of Iskandars in my country, and they're all Muslims. Ratibgreat (talk) 08:24, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Christian-Islamic Conversion[edit]

There was a badly written, misplaced and probably unneeded version on Islamic-Christian conversion and name changes, which i deleted - especially since it is completely unsourced.

I think it shouldn't have been specifically in the Christian names section as it is unrelated, and probably warrants it's own section. Also it seems to specifically just mention Islamic-Christian conversions, which is not only a much rarer occurance worldwide but also seemed biased in mentioning that without mention of the opposite.

Also I think it is probably a no-brainer as it is the same with all religious conversions and name changes with all cultures, and if it needs to be rewritten, should be in a seperate section, refering to the more common Christian-Islamic conversions instead of/alongside Islamic-Christian conversions. Pink Princess (talk) 01:22, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Women don't take their husband's name[edit]

"Similarly, if an Arab woman marries a Westerner and applies for a passport, her new 'official' name becomes, for example, Maryam David William Smith because of the patronymic naming convention."

In the arab world women do not take the name of their husband upon marriage. So, I find this statement rather odd. I never heard of such a thing (and I know many arab-western mixed couples where most women kept their name and in case only took their husband's last name). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:28, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

"The female version is amah X, so the female version of Abdullah is Amatuallah."[edit]

shouldn't it be Amahullah, or amat X? the two doesn't fit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

The letter ta marbuta (ﺓ) is variously transliterated as h or t: see the ALA-LC (Library of Congress) and DIN 31635 transliteration standards in the Romanization_of_Arabic#Comparison_table.
The difference arises on the position of the letter in an idafa (genitive construction):
  • if the word ama(ﺓ) occurs independently or as the second element of an idafa (the X of an ama(ﺓ)), it should end with an h (X-amah);
  • if it occurs as the first element of an idafa (the ama(ﺓ) of X), it should end with a t (amat-X). In the example given, using allah, this would be amat-u-allah or, more simply, amatullah.
Note: the transformation of the a in allah to a u is an example of Arabic sandhi (here, elision) following a nominative ending damma (/u/). Likewise, Abdullah (abd-u-allah). gergis (talk) 09:00, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
yeah, now i remember i learned that ta-marbuta turns to T at some cases. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

"al" and "el"[edit]

Very helpful insights. However, I am missing an explanation of the meaning of "al" and/or "el" in Arabic names.

Arab Bias[edit]

I know this is an Arabic-based article, but in the "Common Mistake" section where it says "Even Indian Muslims commit the same error. If a person's name is Abd-ul-Rahim (Servant of the Merciful), his companions may call him as Mr Abdul (Servant of) erroneously which will sound quite odd to a native speaker of Arabic.", it is as if it's the seventh deadly sin to call someone Mr Abdul or Mr Rahman. As a subcontinental I can attest to the fact that Indian AND Bangladeshi Muslims use the Arabic naming system in the Western model - for instance, an Abdur Rahman in Bangladesh (a name as common at John Smith in the West) would say his first name is Abdur and surname Rahman, even if it makes no sense.

I mean, so what if it doesn't make sense to Arabs. Doesn't mean the subcontinentals are WRONG! Ratibgreat (talk) 08:28, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Greek weirdness[edit]

In the table in "Arabic names and their biblical equivalent" the Greek Names column is a weird mixture of the Greek and Roman alphabets. --rossb (talk) 20:37, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

I've now corrected this - but there seems to be no good reason why some of the names have Greek equivalents given and others not! --rossb (talk) 10:35, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

ibn vs. bin[edit]

'ibn' resp. 'bin' both mean the same. Is there any difference in the way of using? Arturius001 (talk) 20:26, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Muhammad Nayef[edit]

Muhammad Nayef is a Sultan of Gandamatt -present, "Moh"d Naif", "Yunus" and "Unos", "Sulayman" and "Solaiman", etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 22 January 2014 (UTC)