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The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2

posted on: Apr 21, 2021

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2

By: Lindsey Penn/Arab America Contributing Writer

In every culture, names have significance. Understanding these names can give a lot of insight into the culture, showing what is important to them in terms of qualities, history, and more. The Arab world is no different-each name has a specific meaning. Here are a few common names and their meaning. For each of these names, there are multiple ways to spell it in English. This article is the part 2 in a series.

Karim (Arabic: كريم)

Meaning “generous” and “noble” in Arabic, Karim is a boy’s name. The female name with the same meaning is Karima. Its root (k-r-m) is the root for “to be generous”. In Islam, al-Karim is one of the 99 names of Allah. This name has spread throughout the world, especially because it is a Muslim name in addition to an Arab name.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Karim Ziani

Famous people who share this name include: Karim Benzema (a French soccer player of Algerian descent), Karim Ziani (a soccer player from Algeria), and Karim Abdel Aziz (an Egyptian actor).

Khaled (Arabic: خالد)

Khaled means “eternal” in Arabic and is a boy’s name. The root of the name is kh-l-d (or, in Arabic, خ-ل-د), meaning “to last forever”. In the 7th century, the name appeared with an Islamic military leader named Khalid ibn al-Walid, and since then, it has become a popular name.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Khaled Badra

Celebrities with the name Khalid are: Khaled El Sayed (a Lebanese actor), Khaled/Cheb Khalid (an Algerian musician), and Khaled Badra (a Tunisian basketball player).

Khalida (Arabic: خالدة)

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Khalida Toumi

This name is a girl’s name with the same meaning as Khaled. A famous person with the name is Khalida Toumi (also known as Khalida Messaoudi), an Algerian politician and activist.

Khadija (Arabic: خديجة)

Khadija is a girl’s name and it means “premature child” in Arabic. The Prophet Muhammad’s first wife was named Khadija. She was also the mother of all of his children except for one, and the first person to convert to Islam.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Khadija al-Salami

Famous people with this name include: Khadija al-Salami, a Yemeni film producer, Khadija Abbouda, a Moroccan athlete, and Khadija Qalanjo, a Somalian singer and dancer.

Laila (Arabic: ليلى)

Meaning “night”, this name is for girls. It first became popular in an old Arab story about Qays (who is Majnun in the story) and loved a girl named Laila. Since then, the name has been common around the world, not just in the Arab world.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Leila Aboulela

For famous people with this name, there are: Laila Lalami (a Moroccan-American author), Laila Soueif (an Egyptian activist), and Leila Aboulela (a Sudanese writer).

Lina (Arabic: لينا)

Lina is another girl’s name meaning “palm tree” or “tender” in Arabic. It is also immensely popular around the world and has roots in many other languages.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Lina Ben Mhenni

Celebrities with the name Lina include: Lina Hawayani al-Hasan (a journalist from Syria), Lina Ben Mhenni (an activist from Tunisia), and Lina Makhul (a singer from Palestine).

Malik (Arabic: ملك)

Meaning “king” in Arabic, this name is for boys. It is also one of the 99 names of Allah (al-Malik). A similar name is Malak, but it means “angel” instead of “king”. Malik can also be a last name.

A well-known person with the name Malik is Malik ibn Anas, or Imam Malik, who is a great Sunni scholar.

Maha (Arabic: مها)

The name Maha is for girls, and it means “oryx” or “beautiful eyes”. An oryx is a type of antelope that people believe represents beauty.

The Meaning Behind Common Arabic Names Part 2
Maha Ali, right

Famous people named Maha are: Maha Ali (a Jordanian politician) and Maha Shehata (an Egyptian soccer player).

Mahmoud (Arabic: محمود)

Mahmoud means “praised” in Arabic. It has the same roots as the names Ahmed and Muhammad. The root for all of these names is h-m-d (or ح-م-د), all having something to do with “praise”.

Mahmoud Darwish

Famous people with the name Mahmoud include: Mahmoud Abdul Razak (a soccer player from Syria), Mahmoud Darwish (a poet from Palestine), and Mahmoud Guinia (a singer from Morocco).

Mariam (Arabic: مريم)

Popular all over the world, the name Mariam is a girl’s name. It is a version of the name Mary (for Christians, it comes from the Virgin Mary). In the Old Testament, Maryam is the name of Moses’ sister. Although the exact meaning and origin of the name is unknown, some people theorize that it means “wished for child” and that the name originated in Egypt.

Myriam Fares

Some famous people with the name Mariam (or a variation) are Myriam Fares, a singer from Lebanon, and Myriam Shehab, another singer from Lebanon.

Mostafa (Arabic: مصطفى)

In Arabic, Mostafa means “the chosen one” and is a boy’s name. It is another title given to the Prophet Muhammad.

Mustafa Mahmoud

As for famous people with the name Mostafa, there are: Mustafa Mahmoud, an Egyptian scientist, Mustafa Malayekah, a Saudi soccer player, and Mostafa Matar, a Lebanese soccer player.

Muhammad (Arabic: محمد)

Muhammad is a boy’s name meaning “praised” or “commendable”. This name has been incredibly popular around the world, as it is also a Muslim name because of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mohamed Fayez

A few well-known people with the name Muhammad (or a different spelling) are: Mohamad Bazzi, a Lebanese American journalist, Mohamed Fayez, a soccer player from the Emirates, and Mohamed Mrsal, a Libyan basketball player.

Nadia (Arabic: ندية)

Nadia is a girl’s name meaning “tender” or “delicate” in Arabic. This name is now used all around the world and in many different cultures.

Nadia Fezzani

Some famous people with this name are: Nadia al-Kokabany (a Yemeni writer), Nadia Fezzani (a Libyan swimmer), and Nadia Hashem (a Jordanian politician and journalist).

Nabil (Arabic: نبيل)

Nabil means “noble” in Arabic and is a boy’s name. There is also the feminine version of the name, Nabila.

Nabeel Yasin

Famous people named Nabil include: Nabeel Yasin, an Iraqi poet, Nabil Anani, a Palestinian artist, and Nabil Ashoor, an Omani soccer player.

Noor (Arabic: نور)

Meaning “light”, this name can be for boys or girls. Al-Nur is also one of the 99 names of Allah.

Noor El-Sherif

Celebrities named Noor are Noor El-Sherif, an Egyptian actor and Princess Noor bint Asem of Jordan.

Here is a huge list of Arabic names.

Check out Part 1 here! Look out for Part 3!

Check out Arab America’s blog here!