Name Structures:
Male Names:
1. Names of Allah can be preceded with Abdul.
  • Abdul Aziz
    Abdus if a name starts with 'S' eg Abdus Saboor
2. Ahmad and Muhammad are often used before and after the names of Allah, Muhammad or others.
  • Muhammad Ali
    Basheer Ahmad
3. Biblical names in Arabic may be combined with names of Allah, Muhammad or others.
  • Muhammad Ali
    Haroon Ghaffar
4. Abu added to the name of a Married man indicated that he is father of the child of the same name.
  • Abu Haroon means father of Haroon.
5. Ibn or Bin Mean "Son of"
  • Adam bin Qurban-Ali means Adam son of Qurban-Ali
Female Names:
1. A single woman can use the name of the father after the chosen name.
  • Maryaam Ahmad.
2. The chosen name may be followed by Aaraa, Jahaan, Khaanam, Khaatoon etc
  • Nasim Akthar
    Zubaida Begum.
3. Prefixing Umm means "Mother of".
  • Umm Hanifa means mother of Hanifa.
4. Bint after female name indicates that she is the "Daugther of"
  • Salma Bint Hanifa means salma daughter of Hanifa

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) recommended that Muslims should be selective in the names of their children as part of the identity of a Muslim. He recommended that the most beautiful names are those which give servitude or praise to Allah.

Combinations of various names is a matter of personal liking and choice. Names of Allah should never be used alone. These should always be preceded by Abdul or should be combined with another name in such a way that the final name does not remain a specific attribute of Allah.


Arab Names:

For those familiar with the European tradition of using just a forename, optional middle name and surname, names in the Arab world can seem perplexing, not least because they can run to enormous length.

However, there is a logical structure to the Arab naming convention that, once seen, makes it simple to decipher a person's recent ancestry.

For example...

A man's name is Ali bin Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Fulani.

He is called Ali by his friends and family.

His family name is Al-Fulani

What does bin Ahmed bin Saleh mean? This simply means that he is the son of Ahmed who is in turn the son of Saleh.

Bin means son of.

So we have the man's given name, his father's name and his grandfather's name, plus the family name.

As a matter of fact, many Gulf Arabs and Saudis can give their ancestors' names for at least five or six generations, and often many more.

Let's look now at the names of the present rulers of Gulf states.

  • The ruler of Bahrain is Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.
    His father's name was Salman and his grandfather's name was Hamad.
    The family name is Al-Khalifa.


  • The ruler of Oman is Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur Al-Busaid.
    His father's name was Said and his grandfather's name was Taimur.
    The family name is Al-Busaid.


  • The ruler of Qatar is Hamad bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani.
    His father's name is Khalifa and his grandfather's name was Hamad.
    The family name is Al-Thani.


  • What about the The Crown Prince of the UAE? His name is Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
    His father's name is Zayed and his grandfather's name was Sultan.
    The family name is Al-Nahyan.

What about womens names?

Our friend Ali (in the first example above) has a sister. Her name is Nura bint Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Fulani.

Bint means daughter of.

She is named Nura, the daughter of Ahmed who is the son of Saleh.

So we have her given name, her father's name, her grandfather's name and the family name.

It is interesting to note that when a Saudi or Gulf Arab woman marries, she does not change her name. When the above mentioned Nura marries, her name remains exactly the same. Her children, however, take their father's name.

In other words, Nura bint Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Fulani is born with this name and she dies with it. Let us say she marries a man with the name of Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Faisal Al-Hijazi.

Their sons are (Name) bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Faisal Al-Hijazi, and their daughters are (Name) bint Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Faisal Al-Hijazi.