The naming system of Arabs is nothing like other cultures and religions. We are well aware that every religion and tradition has some values and beliefs which can be seen in everything that belongs to that particular religion and culture. And naming is one of the things that is given immense importance in almost every religion and place. The naming system that is followed among the Arabs is the same throughout the Arabic world, and people have no intentions of changing it.
Structure of Names in Arabic Countries:
In the Arab world, the name that is given to a child usually comprises two or more than two parts. You can say that the name is divided into categories, each category is explained below:
- Ism: Ism makes the first part of the name of the child. It is usually a noun or an adjective, whose meaning is beautiful yet inspiring. The common Ism, which is widely used in Arab countries, is ‘Muhammad’, people use different spellings, but the meaning remains the same. It means ‘praiseworthy’.
- Nasab: Nasab is adding the legacy of the child to his name. Ibn for Arabic boy names and bint/ibnat is added to the names of the girls. This part of the naming structure was immensely important in the older times in Arab countries, as it showed the inheritance and heritage of the child. For example, Ibn Khalid means, son of Khalid, the name itself tells the name of the father of the child. And in this way, a chain is formed which takes the child back to his ancestors.
- Laqab: Laqab is a part of the name that is added after the Ism, and shows the qualities of the person holding the name. It is like adding honorific or adding the surname to the name of the child. Though it is not a common practice these days, it was widely used in ancient times.
- Nisbah: Nisbah also comes under the category of the surname, and is used to show any kind of relevance to the name of the child. For example, a name of the country, tribe, region, city, etc. is added to show the pertinence of the person to that particular area or ethnic ancestors.
- Kunya: Kunya is expressed by adding ‘abu’ to the name. It also shows the denomination and relevance of the person to someone or something. You can also take it as a nickname that specifies some quality of a person having relevance with something or some person.
Confused by the naming structure? Well here is an example of an Arabic name, where you will see most of the structures mentioned above:
Suppose a boy has the name ‘Tariq ibn Saleh ibn Khalid al-Fulan’ so, what information does the name give about the boy? Here is what this name shows; ‘Tariq is the boy’s name, who is a son of Saleh, who is a son of Khalid (Khalid is the grandfather of the boy), and al-Fulan is the family or tribal name to which the boy belongs.
Will his friends and family call him by his full name? Well, no they will call him by just Tariq!
You can see this one name has given so much information. You can easily take out the names of three generations as well as their tribal ancestors from the name. This is why naming structure holds immense importance in the Arabic world, and the Arabs are following it to this date.
Want to name your children according to the Arabic naming system, well there are so many unique and modern Arabic boy names, you can easily pick one for your little angel.
Common Naming Practices:
One of the most common Arab Muslim names is the addition of ‘abd’ to the names of Allah, like Abdullah, Abd-Rahman, etc, and when you will filter the Top 10 Muslim Baby Names, you will find these names on the top of the list, because they are widely used in the Arab world. But one thing should be kept in mind while following the Arab naming system, that ‘abd’ is added to only names of Allah, and no other, not even the Prophets.
The Arab Christian names are no different from the common Arab names. But the names that are directly linked to Islam or Muslims are not a common practice in the Arab Christians. Most of the Christian names are extracted from the bible or the names of Jesus Christ. Different variations and spellings are used, but of course, the meaning remains the same. Top 15 Christian names are either European names or are the name of Greek, Latin, Spanish, Aramaic, Armenian, etc. origin. Most of the names of the Christian Saints are of Arab origin, which is widely used in the Christian World.
Most Common Arab Names:
Here is a list of top Arab names, which have stayed longer than anything, and are being widely used among the Arab and non-Arab countries:
Muhammad: Muhammad is also spelled as ‘Mohammad’ and this beautiful name means ‘praised one’.
Ali: Ali means ‘exalted’. This short yet beautiful name is the second most commonly used name.
Omar: Omar means ‘flourishing’ and ‘prosper’.
Ahmad: Ahmad is an Arab name that means ‘most praised’, and ‘commendable’.
Ibrahim: In Arab origin, the name Ibrahim means ‘Father of the Nations’.
Yousef: Yousef is an Arab boy name which means ‘God will increase’.
Noor: Noor is an Arab girl name that means ‘light’, and is one of the most popular girl names in Arabs.
Leila: Leila is an Arabic word for ‘night’.
Maryam: Maryam means ‘sea of bitterness’, or ‘star of the sea’.
Fatima: Fatima is the name of a woman, who is titled as one of the four ‘pious’ women in the Quran. It means ‘captivating’.
Naming children is one of the most important things that the parents need to do, after the birth of the child. And parents are always nervous and anxious while naming their children as the name puts a lot of significance on the personality of a child. Arabs follow a naming method that is second to none, and by following the Arab naming system you will be able to give a beautiful name to your child!