Muslim Names

Since Arabic is the religious language of Islam, it plays a central role in the lives of all Muslims, irrespective of their particular native language, such as Urdu, Swahili, or English. As a consequence, great numbers of Muslims throughout the world have Arabic first names or surnames.

Generally, the names of Muslims have positive or sublime meanings, and may serve as the basis for developing one’s identity and personality. Some Muslim students may be named after important persons in Muslim history, such as the prophets, their companions and relatives, or successful leaders, scientists, or poets. Other names may reflect an attribute of God, with the prefix Abd (servant) designating the named person, as in Abd al-Rahman, “servant of the Most Merciful”. Still other names may imply a characteristic, such as patience. Having an Arabic name, however, is not required by Muslims, nor is it a prerequisite for one who decides to become Muslim. In fact, many Muslims have non-Arabic names, such as Jennifer (English), Shabnam (Persian), and Serpil (Turkish).

Teachers should also be aware that many Muslim women retain their maiden names after marriage, invoking a right established by Islamic Law over 1400 years ago. Consequently, teachers may encounter situations in which a student’s last name differs from that of his or her mother, without any specific connotations, such as divorce.

The chart below provides a list of some common Muslim names and their meanings. Teachers can use these names for student assignments or activities related to Islam and Muslims.

Due to various transliterations, different spellings for the same name may exist. It is important for teachers to ask students with non-Western names how their names are pronounced in order to learn them, rather than encouraging students to go by nicknames selected from the English language. Many Muslims are especially sensitive to this, since the right to an honourable, designated name is seen as a basic human right in Islam.

Some Common Arabic Muslim Names

Girls’ Names and Meanings

Ameenah - Trustworthy

Asma  -Eminent

Basimah - Smiling

Farah - Joy, Cheerfulness

Haleemah - Gentle

Hibah - Gift, Present

Jameelah - Beautiful

Kareemah - Noble, Generous

Khadeejah - Precocious

Layla - Night

Najmah - Star

Sakeenah - Tranquility

Salmah - Peaceful

Sameerah - Jovial, Lively

Tasneem - Fountain of Paradise

Uzma - Greatest

Wafa - Faithfulness

Waheedah - Unique, Exclusive

Yasmeen - Jasmine flower

Zakiyyah - Pure, Chaste


Boys' Names ANd Meanings

Abd al-Baseer - Servant of the All-Seeing

Abd al-Majid - Servant of the Glorious

Anwar - More Radiant

Habeeb - Beloved

Hakeem - Ruler, Sovereign

Faysal - Decisive

Ibrahim - Abraham

Iqbal - Responsiveness

Jamal - Beauty, Grace

Khalid - Glorious, Eternal

Masood - Happy

Mustafa - Chosen

Nabeel - Noble, Generous

Saleem - Secure, Safe

Shakir - Thankful

Siraj - Heavenly Lamp

Taalib - Seeker of Knowledge

Usamah - Lion

Waleed - Newborn

Zahid - Abstinent, Ascetic