Arabic name

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Tughra of Mahmud II , Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Classic Arabic personal names usually consist of several parts:

  • The ism (اسم) is the personal name . In addition to Koranic names , the names of Muhammad or his companions (for example Muhammad, Ahmad, Mahmud, Abd Allah, Umar, Uthman, Ibrahim) any words of the Arabic language with a good meaning can be chosen as a name.
  • The kunya (كنية) is a personal, honorable epithet with which Muslims in Arab countries are addressed in daily life: "Father" ( Abu ) or "Mother" ( Umm ) of ...
  • The nasab (نسب) denotes the descent , often over three generations: "son" ( Ibn ) or "daughter" ( Bint ) of ... The word for son is ibn , but if it is used in the chain of descent, the alif is omitted and ibn (ابن) becomes to am (بن).
  • The nisba (نسبة), also Nisbe , is an adjective formed with the suffix -i, which denotes membership of a tribe, origin from a place (e.g. at-Tabari , "the one from Tabaristan"), or the denomination or job title ( al-Māwardī , "the rose water merchant").
  • Furthermore, one or more laqab (لقب = "nickname, nickname / pseudonym, honorary title") can be added; this can be a (preceding) honorary name (e.g. Saif ad-Dīn , "sword of religion") or a (subsequent) nickname (e.g. at-Tawīl , "the tall one").

Structure of Arabic names

The name is arranged in (laqab -) kunya - ism - nasab - nisba (- laqab)

Some historical personalities are known by their nisba , others by their kunya (e.g. Abu Tammam ) or their nasab ( Ibn Chaldūn ).

In the 20th century, a family name based on the Western model was introduced in many Arab countries .

Transcription of the Arabic names

The spelling of the names in Latin letters is often based on the former colonial power . For example, the first name Hischam in the Maghreb is mostly written according to the French Hichem model , and in Jordan according to the English model Hisham . Especially with well-known personalities from the Maghreb, the French romanization has generally prevailed in the West, e.g. Habib Bourguiba , based on the phonetic model of the dialect pronunciation, and not the romanization according to the classical Arabic pronunciation, that for Bourguiba Abu Ruqaiba would be.

When spelling Arabic names, it should be noted that in the Arabic language there are only the vowel phonemes a, i and u and in Arabic only these are designated, if at all. The vowels "o" and "e" often found in books and newspapers are based on the actual pronunciation of these phonemes. This depends, among other things, on the adjacent consonantic phonemes. The vowel-phoneme “a” can be pronounced to an open “e” (or “ä”), the phoneme “i” to a closed “e” and the phoneme “u” to “o” (or “ö ") become. In the case of compound names, it should also be noted that the displacement of the vowel of the article by the ending of the preceding name component and the assimilation of the ending of the article with sun letters is partly taken over into the transcription and partly ignored.

The regional debates are also important. This is how the letter Djim (ج, Ǧīm ) pronounced like a German “g” in Egypt, but as “dsch” in other countries. The name of the former Egyptian president is used in German, English, French and other western languages ​​in the form " Gamal Abdel Nasser ", whereas in Turkish, which has adopted these individual names from other Arabic dialects into its own language, in the form " Cemal Abdül Nasır ”reproduced.

Names and their meanings

Female names
Surname Arabic meaning
A'isha (Aisha) عائشة Living
Amal أمل hope
Amana أمانة trust
Amina آمنة Trustworthy / woman of peace and harmony
Alya علياء high / sublime
Basma بسمة Smile / the smiling one
Jamila جميلة (the beautiful
Fadia فادية Savior
Fadwa فدوة Victim
Fatima , Fatime, Fatma فاطمة Weaned / weaned / weaned
Shakira (Shakira) شاكرة Grateful
Siham سهام Arrows
Tariqa (Tareqa, Tarika, Tareka) طارقة Small bed (possibly also: Die Knpfende, as a counterpart to Tarek) (not very common first name)
Male names
Surname Arabic meaning
Abd al- (Abdul) عبد الـ ... Servant of ...
Adil عادل Someone who obeys the law, just
Ahmad أحمد The more praiseworthy / praiseworthy
Ala 'ad-Din (Aladin) علاء الدين Nobility / sublimity of faith
Ali علي Sublime
Amine الأمين Conscientious, trustworthy
Atif عاطف The friendly one
Khalid (Khalid) خالد infinite, immortal
Jafar جعفر electricity
Jamal جمال beauty
Fadi فادي savior
Faisal فیصل Judge, arbitrator
Halil حليل A close friend
Hisham هشام The bread distributor
Ibrahim إبراهيم Leader (= Abraham)
Karim كريم generous
Muhammad (Mohammed) محمد Praised
Mustafa (Mustapha, Moustafa) مصطفى Chosen
Nasir ad-Din (Nasiruddin, Nasreddin) ناصر الدين Protector of Faith
Nizar نزار possibly from نزير (small, little)
Only ad-Din (Nureddin) نور الدين Light of faith
Ridwan ﺭﺿﻭﺍﻥ Guardian of Paradise
Salah ad-Din (Saladin) صلاح الدين Honor of Faith, Righteousness of Religion
Salih صالح Pious, according to the rules of religion
Salman سلمان the peaceful one
Shuʿaib شعيب Prophet, corresponds to the biblical Jitro
Tamer تامر date
Tarek (Tareq, Tarık, Tariq, Tarik) طارق The knocking; the hammering one
Umar (Omar) عمر Long-lived
Uthman (Osman) عثمان Cub / young animal
Walid وليد Newborn
Yahya يحيى John


Yasir ياسر rich
Yusuf (Yusif) يوسف Joseph


  • Wolfdietrich Fischer: name research . An international handbook of onomastics / An International Handbook of Onomastics / Manuel international d'onomastique. Ed .: Ernst Eichler , Gerold Hilty , Heinrich Löffler, Hugo Steger, Ladislav Zgusta. Volume 1. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1995, ISBN 978-3-11-011426-3 , 128. Arabic personal names , p. 873-875 (e-book ISBN 978-3-11-020342-4 ).

Individual evidence

  1. Eric Geoffroy and Néfissa Geoffroy: Le grand livre des prénoms arabes. Plus de 5500 prénoms classés par thèmes avec leurs correspondances en français . Albin Michel, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-226-18299-9 .
  2. See H. Wehr: Arabic dictionary for the written language of the present , Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1968, p. 778.