Wednesday, October 6, 2010




By Dr Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.D                                  

Are you familiar with the meaning of names in the Arabic and Muslim cultures? If you are not  here are some knowledge for you!. This article gives you some important information about naming in the Arab cultures in which also including Islamic names. There is no Arabic name without a meaning, something impressive. I mean it's really great to have a meaning for your name, something that is related to a special even your parents went through, or something precious to the one who called you. Having a meaning to your name adds a special touch and relates you to your being in a nice way. I find it a lot better than having a name without meaning. Old Arab names usually are two types of names: one type for boys and the other for girls. For boys names should carry some sacred names or animal names to show power and dignity like Asad (Lion), Fahd or Nimr (Tiger), Laith or  Osamah, or Ghadanfer (son a lion), or some words reflect power as Saif (sword), shuja’ (brave), for girls some of the birds and small animals are good names such as Khansa’, Ghazal (dear), Asfurah (bird), or flower. like Warda, Yasmine, Zahra or Fulla; they could mean a good smell of flower, e.g. Areej or Abeer. There are names that mean the singing of birds, like Taghreed, or the voices of Pigeons like Hadeel. You find names that mean the name of a sword, e.g. Saif, Mohannad or Hosam; or ones that are the synonyms of one of the names a lion is called with (since in Arabic you can find more than one word to address one thing with the same meaning), for example: Laith, or Dorgham.  Jameel: beautiful, Latif:Nice,  lulu’ah is an Arabic name means a pearl, Masa:diamond, and Dana:pearl  or a planet, like Qamar, Shams or Kawkab,; or even a star like Najma for her and Najm for him. There are names that mean a high level like Sana'a or Ola. You can find names that express a certain feeling such as Sahar, Gharam or Hayam. There are ones that show appreciation like Shokran, Rida or Irfan, ambition like Monia, Amani, Ahlam and many other beautiful characteristics like Jamil,  Jamal, Lutfi, Karam, Jude or Baha'a. Some name express the light of stars, moon, and shining like Nour, or  Diya'a for light, or Najm ( star or  Qamar (Moon)., , or Najm (satar) or Naiem (Paradise). 
Other than that there are people who are named after prophets' names such as Mohammad, Taha, Mustafa, which means the praised,  or the selected, Ahmad: means I thank God for. Other names carry names of other Prophets such as:  Isa (Jesus), Musa (Moses), Dawod (David) and Yahya (John the Baptist). Yunus (Jonah), Ibrahim (Abraham, Zakariyya (Zachery) or Jibreel (Gabriel) .  Other names may describe the names of countries like Falasteen (Palestine) or Sorya (Syria), and there are the names of continents like Asia. Some names are actually the names of months, such as Ramadan, Sha'aban or Rajab. Or even names of days like Khamees or Joma'a. One other interesting thing about names in Arabic is the fact that there are 99 names for God. Each name has its own meaning that expresses a certain characteristic of God. Like Al Salam (peace), Al Rahman and Al Raheem (merciful), Al Mu'oti ( he who gives), Al Muhyi (he who gives life), Al Kareem (the generous), Al Mu'een (he who helps), Al Nour (the light) all these names are some of the beautiful ninety nine  names of God in Islam.

By the way, there are names found like Kareem, Mu'een or Nour, that are without the "Al" which equals "the" in English, only few names can be used as names for people without using the "Al", for the "Al" is only used for addressing names of God. Some names are considered old, some are somehow modern, but it's sad to see a lot of Arabs start to give up their great meaningful names and use ones that come from other cultures and other languages, believing it would be cooler that way. My name for example is Hasan and Hussein   which means nice (The names of Ali’s sons). It's used a lot, not a unique name, but I'm still proud of it .(The topic is a very interesting one, it needs more research and investigation) 

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