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100 Unique Arabic Last Names: From Ancient to Modern

Explore the mystical beginnings of famous Arabic last names that have stood the test of time.

Arabic last names are some of the oldest in existence. Whether based on the Muslim religion or other obscure sources, there’s a lot to learn about them. Where do you best begin your journey into these thoughtful, often strong names?

Our clear and concise guide to Arabic surnames has everything you need to know. It covers the sometimes tricky pronunciations and the origins of these distinctive names and brings them to light.

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100 Popular Arabic Surnames

Go on an adventure filled with the best Arabic last names and their meanings.


Adabi refers to the ancestors of the “Abbād tribe.” It’s also an occupational surname for someone in an Abbot or monastery. Abadi uses the Syrian root “abba,” meaning “father.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Syrian
  • Meaning: Father
  • Pronunciation: Ah-BAA-Diy
  • Variations: Abad, Abbad, Abade
  • Namesakes: Arbaiyah Manan (known as Abby Abadi), a Malaysian member of the girl group Elite. Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
  • Popularity: Abadi is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Yemen, where it ranked 131st in 2014.
Patronymic, Occupational


Abdallah is made up of the Arabic “abd,” meaning “servant,” and Allah. Like many Middle Eastern last names, Abdallah was the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s father.

  • Origin: Arabic, Turkish
  • Meaning: Servant of God
  • Pronunciation: Aeb-DAAL-Ah
  • Variations: Abdullah, Abdalla
  • Namesakes: Ali al-Abdallah, a Syrian prisoner of conscience. Gene Abdallah, an American politician in the U.S. Senate from 2002 to 2010.
  • Popularity: Abdallah ranked 604th worldwide, is mainly used in Sudan and ranked 8th in Comoros in 2014.
Religious, Popular


Abood is one of many Christian Arabic names that Jews and Muslims also use. When spelled Abboud, it’s an Arabic nickname for given names like Abdul, Abdel, and Abdal.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Worship
  • Pronunciation: Ah-BUHD
  • Variations: Abboud, Abbud
  • Namesakes: Matthew Abood, an Australian swimmer and bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics.
  • Popularity: Abood is rare worldwide and primarily used in Saudi Arabia, ranking 823rd in 2014.
Unique, Religious


Ahmad has various meanings, including “thanks be to God.” It was used for the prophet Mohammed and means “the richly praised one.” Ahmad is also an Arabic personal name based on ̣”hamid,” meaning “one who praises.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Highly praised
  • Pronunciation: Ah-MAAD
  • Variations: Ahmed, Amad
  • Namesakes: Khondaker Ahmad, the President of Bangladesh from August to November 1975. Ricky Subagja, an Indonesian badminton player and winner of the men’s doubles at the 1993 IBF World Championships.
  • Popularity: Ahmad ranked 57th worldwide, is mostly used in Pakistan, and ranked 720th in the U.S. in 2010.
Traditional, Popular

Al Amin

Al Amin uses the surname Amin, with the “al” prefix, meaning “the.” It also appears as the personal name Ālamīn. 51% of those named Al Amin occur in Africa, with 47% located in North Africa.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Truthful
  • Pronunciation: Ahl-ah-MIYN
  • Variations: Amin
  • Namesakes: Abu Musa Muhammad (known as Al-Amin), the sixth Arab Abbasid caliph to succeed the Isalmic prophet Muhammed from 809 to 813.
  • Popularity: Al Amin ranked 1,137th worldwide and is mainly used in Bangladesh, where it ranked 40th in 2014.
Common, Unique

Al Tajir

Al-Tajir uses the Arabic Tajir, meaning “merchant” and “trader.” It’s one of several Arabic family names that use the “al” prefix to mean “the,” as in “the merchant.” Al Tajir often appears in Dubai, where there may have once been multitudes of merchants.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: The merchant
  • Pronunciation: Taa-JHEER
  • Variations: Tajir
  • Namesakes: Mahdi Al Tajir, a Bahrana-Emirati businessman and the first United Arab Emirates ambassador to the UK. Mohammed al-Tajer, a Bahraini human rights lawyer imprisoned in 2011 for defending Arab Spring protesters.
  • Popularity: Al Tajir is extremely rare worldwide, with only four known occurrences in 2014, primarily used in the United Arab Emirates.
Occupational, Unusual


Ali also means “high” and “elevated.” It refers to everything from a person “in a superior place” to “a cousin of the prophet of Islam.” Ali is best known as the surname taken by Cassius Clay, the boxer known as Muhammed Ali.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Champion
  • Pronunciation: Ah-LIY
  • Variations: Alia
  • Namesakes: Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay), an American boxer called the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Filiz Ali, a Turkish pianist who produced music programs for the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation from 1962 to 1995.
  • Popularity: Ali ranked 38th worldwide and is mostly used in India, where over 1.1 million people were named Ali in 2019.
Strong, Popular


Alwan comes from the Arabic personal name Alwān, a plural of “laun,” meaning “color tint.” Alwan is also a Gaelic name based on Mac Gille Bheathain. In Arabic, Alwan refers to the “combination of colors in the spectrum.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Color
  • Pronunciation: Ael-WAHN
  • Namesakes: Amer Alwan, an Iraqi-French film director of Zaman, The Man From The Reeds in 2003. Yahya Alwan, an Iraqi football coach for Al-Naft.
  • Popularity: Alwan ranked 1,616th worldwide and is mainly used in Iraq, ranking 22nd in 2014.
Common, Unique


Amir is associated with the Arabic “emir,” meaning “prince.” It originally referred to the “commander-in-chief” and was used as a title for leaders in the Arabic world. As a first name, Amir ranked 123rd for boys in the U.S. in 2021.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Prince
  • Pronunciation: Ah-MIHR
  • Variations: Ameer, Ameir
  • Namesakes: Menashe Amir, a Persian language broadcaster on Israel Radio International. Nina Amir, the youngest member of the Israeli sailing team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Amir ranked 760th worldwide and is primarily used in Afghanistan, where it ranked 18th in 2014.
Royal, Title


Aswad was used by Muslims and Christians for those with a dark complexion. It’s more common in Iraq and Syria but is one of the less common Arabic surnames.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Black
  • Pronunciation: Ahz-WAAD
  • Variations: Aswald
  • Namesakes: Ziad Abdulrazzaq Mohammed Aswad, the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education, in September 2003.
  • Popularity: Aswad is rare worldwide, mostly used in Iraq, and ranked 188th in Syria in 2014.
Unusual, Ancient
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Ayad also means “benefit” and “powerful.” It’s a variation of the personal name Iyad, meaning “recurrence” and “the hands with power.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Blessings
  • Pronunciation: Ah-YAAD
  • Variations: Ayyad
  • Namesakes: Ahmed Ayad, an Iraqi footballer with the Iraq national football team. Mohammed Ali Ayad, a Qatari judoka who finished fifth at the 2006 Asian Games.
  • Popularity: Ayad is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Egypt, and ranked 34th in Palestine in 2014.
Religious, Unique


Azim is one of the multiple names of Allah, meaning “great” and “magnificent.” It’s also used as a nickname for Abdolazim.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Defender
  • Pronunciation: Ah-ZIYM
  • Variations: Azeem, Azym
  • Namesakes: Tariq Azim Khan, a member of the Senate of Pakistan from 2003 to 2012. Essam Abdel-Azim, an Egyptian footballer for Egypt’s national football team.
  • Popularity: Azim is rare worldwide and primarily used in Uzbekistan, ranking 162nd in 2014.
Strong, Traditional


Badawi refers to an ethnic Bedouin. It derives from the Arabic “badawī,” meaning “of the desert.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Of the desert
  • Pronunciation: Baa-DAA-wiy
  • Variations: Badawie, Badawy
  • Namesakes: Zeinab Badawi, a Sudanese-British journalist and the first presenter of the ITV Morning News. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2003 to 2009.
  • Popularity: Badawi is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Egypt, and ranked 126th in Sudan in 2014.
Ancient, Geographical


Bakir comes from the Arabic “bākir,” meaning “coming early.” It more commonly means “copper” in Turkish. Bakir is associated with the city of Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey, meaning “land of copper.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Turkish
  • Meaning: Copper
  • Pronunciation: Bey-KIHR
  • Variations: Bakkier
  • Namesakes: Feride Bakır, a Turkish-German footballer for Turkey’s national female football team. Tursunbai Bakir, a Kyrgyz leader of the Erkin Kyrgyzstan political party.
  • Popularity: Bakir is rare worldwide and is mainly used in Turkey, where it ranked 22nd in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional


Balal closely relates to the Arabic “bilal,” meaning “saint,” “hermit,” and “mystic.” It also means “one having an intimate knowledge of God” for the most spiritual of Middle Eastern surnames.

  • Origin: Arabic, African
  • Meaning: Close to Allah
  • Pronunciation: Bah-LAAL
  • Variations: Bilal
  • Popularity: Balal is rare worldwide and mainly used in Sudan, ranking 714th in 2014.
Uncommon, Religious


Bayoumi is inspired by the Bayoum village in Egypt. Bayoum eventually became Fayoum, while Bayoumi still points to the blue waters of the Nile.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Blueness of Nile
  • Pronunciation: BAEY-uh-May
  • Namesakes: Moustafa Bayoumi, an Egyptian-American co-editor of The Edward Said Reader in 2002. Tamer Bayoumi, an Egyptian taekwondo athlete and bronze medalist at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Bayoumi is rare worldwide and primarily used in Egypt, ranking 338th in 2014.
Geographical, Rare


Bazzi is an Arabic surname often used in Lebanon, Syria, and Morocco. It also means “infant” and is used by both Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Foster brother
  • Pronunciation: BAH-zee
  • Namesakes: Gian Bazzi, a Swiss ice hockey player who competed at the 1952 Winter Olympics. Mohamad Bazzi, a Lebanese-American journalist for Newsday.
  • Popularity: Bazzi is rare worldwide and mostly used in Lebanon, where it ranked 274th in 2014.
Unusual, Uncommon


Boutros is one version of Butros, and the Arabic form of Peter. It’s associated with the Greek Petros, so it is also found among Christians in the Middle Eastern world.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Rock
  • Pronunciation: BUW-Trows
  • Variations: Botros, Butrus
  • Namesakes: Andrew S. Boutros, an American lawyer known for Chicago’s Silk Road cases.
  • Popularity: Boutros is rare worldwide, primarily used in Iraq, and ranked 162nd in Lebanon in 2014.
Ancient, Traditional


Dawoud is based on Dawood, the father of the prophet Solomon. It may correspond to the Hebrew David. In Islam, Dāwūd is regarded as a messenger of God.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Prophet of Allah, beloved
  • Pronunciation: Dah-UWD
  • Variations: Daud, Davud, Davoud
  • Namesakes: Khaled Dawoud, an Egyptian journalist for Al-Ahram Weekly since 1996. Youssef Dawoud, a Coptic-Egyptian actor appearing in Al-Nimr wal-Untha (The Tiger and the Woman).
  • Popularity: Dawoud is rare worldwide and mostly used in Egypt, where it ranked 631st in 2014.
Ancient, Religious


Ebeid may be a western spelling of the Egyptian-Arabic pronunciation of Ubayd. It’s quite rare outside a handful of places and can also appear as Obeid.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Worshiper of God
  • Pronunciation: Eh-BEHD
  • Namesakes: Atef Ebeid, Egypt’s Prime Minister from 1999 to 2004. Anis Ebeid, an Egyptian translator known for subtitling American movies into Arabic.
  • Popularity: Ebeid is rare worldwide, mainly used in Egypt, and ranked 106th in Mauritania in 2014.
Unusual, Religious
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Fadel also means “generous” and “excellent.” It derives from the Arabic “fạ̄dil,” meaning “virtuous,” and is one of the Arabic last names that describe a person’s attributes.

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Virtuous
  • Pronunciation: Fae-DAHL
  • Variations: Fadl, Fadil
  • Namesakes: Leila Fadel, a Lebanese-American co-host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Hussain Fadhel, a Kuwaiti footballer for the Kuwait national football team.
  • Popularity: Fadekl ranked 1,689th worldwide and is primarily used in Iraq, ranking 35th in 2014.
Common, Unique


Faez is based on the Arabic first name Faiḍ. It’s taken from “fā’iḍ,” meaning “bounteous generous.” Faez also means “successful” and is often a Pakistani surname.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Favorable
  • Pronunciation: FAEY-ez
  • Variations: Faiz
  • Namesakes: Ali Faez, an Iraqi footballer for the Iraq national team. Ana Faez, a Cuban fencer who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Faez is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Egypt.
Rare, Unique


Faisan is a variation of the first name Faiz. Like any good ruler, it describes a man who is “successful” and has “beneficence” and “generosity.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Ruler
  • Pronunciation: Faey-ZAEN
  • Variations: Faizan, Faizaan, Fayzan
  • Popularity: Faisan is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Strong, Rare


Faraj specifically refers to a “remedy for troubles or grief.” It’s about the “disappearance of worries” that often comes from the Islamic faith. It’s used in many countries, including Kuwait, Yemen, Egypt, and Azerbaijan.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Remedy
  • Pronunciation: Faa-RAAZH
  • Variations: Farag
  • Namesakes: Salih Faraj, an Iraqi basketball player who competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Ahmad Faraj, an Emirati swimmer who competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Faraj ranked 1,955th worldwide, is primarily used in Iraq and ranked 18th in Libya in 2014.
Common, Traditional


Farhat is based on “farha,” meaning “happiness.” It also means “good luck” and “good fortune.” Farhat is a great choice for one very lucky girl or boy.

  • Origin: Arabic, Turkish
  • Meaning: Joy
  • Pronunciation: FAAR-Haeht
  • Namesakes: Hassan Farhat, an Iraqi Imam who founded Salaheddin Mosque in Toronto. Edward Farhat (known as The Original Sheik), an American wrestler and one of the founders of the hardcore wrestling style.
  • Popularity: Farhat is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Libya, and ranked 22nd in Lebanon in 2014.
Traditional, Unusual


When the “al” prefix is added, Al-Fārūq means “the one who distinguishes between right and wrong.” It’s a nickname used for Umar ibn al-Khattab, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad. Farouq was also the name of the last king of Egypt, who ruled until 1965.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Discerning truth from falsehood
  • Pronunciation: Fah-RUWK
  • Variations: Farouk, Farook, Faroeq
  • Popularity: Farouq is rare worldwide, mainly used in Egypt, and ranked 1,574th in Sudan in 2014.
Traditional, Ancient


Farsi refers to the modern Persian language written in Arabic. The term Al-Farsi means “the Persian,” so Farsi likely referred to someone of Persian descent.

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Persian
  • Pronunciation: FAHR-siy
  • Popularity: Farsi is rare worldwide, primarily used in Bangladesh, and ranked 141st in Oman in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional


Fazal comes from the Arabic “faḍl,” meaning “excellence” and “learning.” It appears as the Arabic given name Fadhel, also meaning “to have grace” and “virtuous.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Pronunciation: Feh-ZAHL
  • Variations: Faizal, Faisel
  • Namesakes: Zahid Fazal, a Pakistani cricketer who played in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Mohammed Fazal, the Governor of Maharashtra from 2002 to 2004.
  • Popularity: Fazal is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Afghanistan, where it ranked 31st in 2014.
Unique, Religious


Gaddafi also means “archer.” It’s associated with the Libyan politician Muammar Gaddafi and his extended family, but it is rich in meaning all the same.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Thrower
  • Pronunciation: Gah-DAH-fiy
  • Variations: Gadhafi, Qaddafi
  • Namesakes: Muammar Gaddafi, the de facto leader of Libya from 1969 to 2011. Wanis al-Qaddafi, the tenth Prime Minister of Libya from 1968 to 1969.
  • Popularity: Gaddafi is rare worldwide and mainly used in Libya, ranking 96th in 2014.
Unique, Strong


Gharib is based on the Arabic “ghārib,” meaning “traveler” and “stranger.” It also means “poor,” “need,” and “humble” for a weary traveler looking for a place to call home.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Foreigner
  • Pronunciation: Gaa-REEB
  • Namesakes: Susie Gharib, an American Senior Special Correspondent for Fortune magazine. Jaouad Gharib, a Moroccan long-distance runner and silver medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Gharib is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Egypt, and ranked 268th in Lebanon in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon
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Ghazzawi is an Arabic term for “someone from Gaza.” It comes from “ghazo” meaning “invade,” so it mostly refers to “invaders” from Gaza.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Invader
  • Pronunciation: Gaa-ZAAH-wiy
  • Namesakes: Abdel Hamid Al Ghazzawi, a Libyan prisoner of the Guantanamo Bay detainment camps in Cuba from 2002 to 2010. Izzat Ghazzawi, a Palestinian writer awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2001.
  • Popularity: Ghazzawi is rare worldwide and mostly used in Saudi Arabia, where it ranked 902nd in 2014.
Unusual, Uncommon


Ghulam also means “assistant,” “boy,” and “youth.” It refers to “young servants in paradise,” who also happen to have youth on their side.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Servant
  • Pronunciation: Guw-LAHM
  • Namesakes: Sara Ghulam, a Canadian model crowned Miss World Canada 2007. Ali Gholam, an Iranian footballer for Rah Ahan.
  • Popularity: Ghulam ranked 443rd worldwide and is mainly used in Afghanistan, ranking 3rd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular


Habib also means “my love” or “darling.” It’s based on the Arabic “habibi” and is used as a pet name for loved ones. Habib is also an honorary title given to a Muslim scholar of Sayyid, a descendant of Muhammad.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Pronunciation: Haa-BIYB
  • Variations: Habeeb
  • Namesakes: Ralph Habib, a French-Lebanese filmmaker who directed Hotel Clausewitz in 1967.
  • Popularity: Habib ranked 594th worldwide and is primarily used in Bangladesh, where it ranked 63rd in 2014.
Popular, Title


Hadid comes from the Arabic “ḥadīd,” meaning “iron.” Hadid is also a settlement in central Israel and a surname mostly found in Iraq.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Steel
  • Pronunciation: Haa-DEED
  • Variations: Hadeed, Al-Hadid
  • Namesakes: Mohammed Hadid, the Minister of Finance of Iraq between 1958 and 1963. Jelena “Gigi” Hadid, an American model named International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council.
  • Popularity: Hadid is rare worldwide and mostly used in Iraq, ranking 442nd in 2014.
Strong, Traditional


Hafiz originated with the Arabic “hafiz,” meaning “one who remembers.” It’s a title given to a person who’s completely memorized the Quran. Hafiza is the female form when Hafiz is used for a boy.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Keeper
  • Pronunciation: Haa-FIYZ
  • Variations: Hafez, Hafeez
  • Namesakes: Helal Hafiz, a Bangladeshi poet and winner of the Bangla Academy Literary Award (2013). Mirza Ghulam Hafiz, a Bangladeshi organizer of the Language Movement.
  • Popularity: Hafiz is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Pakistan, and ranked 371st in Sudan in 2014.
Title, Religious


Hakim means “learned” and “wise.” It was used as a title for a governor, judge, or ruler. When used on the Indian subcontinent, Hakim refers to a herbal physician. Al-Ḥakīm is a term used for Allah, meaning “the All-Wise.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Wise
  • Pronunciation: Haa-KIYM
  • Variations: Haakim, Hakym
  • Namesakes: Imani Hakim, an American actress on the Everybody Hates Chris series. Yalda Hakim, an Australian journalist who presents on BBC World News.
  • Popularity: Hakim ranked 1,037th worldwide and is primarily used in Indonesia, where it ranked 67th in 2014.
Common, Title


Hami also means “laudation of Allah” and “one who deserves praise.” 84% of Hamdis are found in Africa. Hamdi is also a derivative of the Arabic/Iranian Hamid, meaning “commendable.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Praised
  • Pronunciation: HAEM-Diy
  • Namesakes: Omar Hamdi, a Syrian-Kurdish artist and a member of the General Federation of Austrian Artists. Baligh Hamdi, an Egyptian composer for Middle Eastern singers during the 60s and 70s.
  • Popularity: Hamdi is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Egypt, and ranked 30th in Algeria in 2014.
Religious, Traditional


Haniff is one of the more obscure Middle Eastern last names. Like many, it refers to a “righteous person” or a “true believer” in the Islamic faith.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Righteous
  • Pronunciation: HAAN-ihf
  • Variations: Hanif
  • Namesakes: Nasrullah Haniff, a Malaysian footballer for Negeri Sembilan.
  • Popularity: Haniff is rare worldwide, mainly used in Sri Lanka, and ranked 140th in Guyana in 2014.
Religious, Unique


Hashim also means “breaker.” Its original meaning was “crusher (of bread),” making it one of the more entertaining Arabic family names. The prophet Mohammed belonged to an Arab clan named Banū Hāshim, named after his great-grandfather Hashim ibn Abd Manaf.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Crusher
  • Pronunciation: Haa-SHIYM
  • Variations: Hachem, Hashem
  • Namesakes: Michael Hashim, an American jazz saxophonist who toured with Muddy Waters.
  • Popularity: Hashim ranked 1,076th worldwide, is primarily used in Pakistan and ranked 32nd in Sudan in 2014.
Funny, Common


Hussein is a diminutive of the Arabic Hassan, meaning “good” and “beautiful.” It may be infamous due to its association with the dictator Saddam Hussein, but it’s also the name of a village in Iran.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Handsome
  • Pronunciation: Huw-SEYN
  • Variations: Hussain, Husein, Husain
  • Namesakes: Fouad Hussein, a Jordanian writer of Al-Zarqawi: The Second Generation of Al Qaeda. Youssef Hussein, an Egyptian host of the “Joe Show” on the Al Araby TV Network.
  • Popularity: Hussein ranked 88th worldwide and is mostly used in Pakistan, ranking 2nd in 2020.
Traditional, Popular
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Ibrahim is the Arab version of the Hebrew given name Avraham (Abraham). Ibrahim is an Islamic prophet and also the patriarch of the Israelites.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Father of many
  • Pronunciation: Ih-BRA-Himym
  • Variations: Ibrihim
  • Namesakes: Sarimah Ibrahim, a Malaysian TV host of The Biggest Loser Asia. Musa Ibrahim, the first Bangladeshi mountaineer to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • Popularity: Ibrahim ranked 65th worldwide and is mainly used in Nigeria, where it ranked #1 in 2014.
Ancient, Religious


Idrissi is mostly found in Morocco and sometimes in South Asia. The Idrisid was an Arab Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco from 788 to 974 CE.

  • Origin: Arabic, Moroccan
  • Meaning: One who instructs
  • Pronunciation: IH-Drihs-iy
  • Variations: Idrisse
  • Namesakes: Oussama Idrissi, a Moroccan-Dutch footballer for the Morocco national team. Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch, a Moroccan entrepreneur, called “Morocco’s Leading Lady of Luxury Goods” in 2017.
  • Popularity: Idrissi is rare worldwide and primarily used in Morocco, ranking 5th in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon


Ijaz is mainly used in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It comes from the Arabic “iʿjāz,” meaning “miracle.” Ijaz symbolizes the Quran’s miraculous quality in name form.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Miracle
  • Pronunciation: Iy-JHAHZ
  • Namesakes: Nauman Ijaz, a Pakistani actor awarded the President’s Pride of Performance in 2012. Mujaddid Ahmed Ijaz, a Pakistani-American physicist in the U.S. Atoms for Peace initiative in the 1970s.
  • Popularity: Ijaz is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Pakistan, where it ranked 131st in 2014.
Uncommon, Religious


Imam derives from the Arabic “imām,” meaning “one who leads the way.” It’s commonly used as a title for someone who leads prayers at a mosque. Imam also means “model” and is used to describe Muslim leaders in the Quran.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Leader
  • Pronunciation: Iy-MAAM
  • Popularity: Imam ranked 1,893rd worldwide and is mainly used in Afghanistan, ranking 83rd in 2014.
Title, Common


Irfan is also an Arabic/ Persian given name meaning “awareness” and “learning.” Irfan symbolizes “thankfulness” for the wisest man of all.

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Knowledge
  • Pronunciation: Ihr-FAEN
  • Namesakes: Mohammad Irfan, a Pakistani cricketer and the tallest player to play first-class international cricket. Kareem Irfan, an American Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago from 2001 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Irfan ranked 1,233rd worldwide and is primarily used in Pakistan, where it ranked 85th in 2014.
Common, Unique


Isa is the Arabic word for “Jesus” in English. It refers to Jesus in Islam since Arab Christians use the name Yeshua for Jesus.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Jesus
  • Pronunciation: IY-Saa
  • Variations: Issa
  • Namesakes: Facundo Isa, an Argentine rugby footballer for the Argentina national rugby union team. Qazi Faez Isa, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan since 2014.
  • Popularity: Isa ranked 598th worldwide and is mostly used in Nigeria, ranking 31st in 2014.
Religious, Popular


Jabbar is based on the Arabic “jabbār,” meaning “powerful” and “mighty.” When reading Al-Jabbar, it is one of the names of God in Islam.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Giant
  • Pronunciation: Jhae-BAAR
  • Variations: Jabaar
  • Namesakes: Mehreen Jabbar, a Pakistani director of the 2008 series Doraha. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Alcindor Jr.), an American basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Popularity: Jabbar ranked 1,296th worldwide and is mainly used in Iraq, where it ranked 23rd in 2014.
Strong, Common


Jabir also means “consolation” and “aid.” Referring to a healer, Jabir originally meant “bone-setter” using the root “jbr.” It means “forcing a bone back into place,” so healing isn’t easy when you’re a Jabir.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Comforter
  • Pronunciation: Jhaa-BIHR
  • Variations: Jaabir, Jabiri
  • Namesakes: Malik Jabir, a Ghanaian football technical advisor for Asante Kotoko S.C. Fathi Jabir, a Yemeni footballer and top scorer for Al-Tilal SC from 1998 to 1999.
  • Popularity: Jabir is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sudan, ranking 285th in 2014.
Funny, Unusual


Jameel means both “handsome” and “beautiful” in Arabic. As a first name, it’s popular among African-Americans. Jameel also means “beautifully hearted” to cover both inner and outer beauty.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Handsome
  • Pronunciation: Jhaa-MIYL
  • Variations: Jamil, Djamel
  • Namesakes: Yusuf Jameel, a Kashmiri journalist covering the Kashmir conflict for BBC News. Fathulla Jameel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives from 1978 to 2005.
  • Popularity: Jameel is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Pakistan, and ranked 41st in Maldives in 2014.
Traditional, Strong


Jawad also means everything from “liberal” and “magnanimous” to “merciful” and “open-handed.” Jawād was a name given to Taqi, the ninth imam of the Shiites.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Generous
  • Pronunciation: Jhaa-WAHD
  • Variations: Jawed
  • Namesakes: Kashif Jawad, a Pakistani field hockey player who competed at the 2004 Olympics. Hussain Jawad, a Bahraini founder of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights.
  • Popularity: Jawad ranked 1,970th worldwide and is mainly used in Iraq, ranking 27th in 2014.
Common, Religious
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Jaziri also means “self-confidence,” but little else is known about this mostly Tunisian name. It may mean “gift from God,” like so many other ancient Middle Eastern surnames.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Independence
  • Pronunciation: Jah-ZEER-iy
  • Namesakes: Malek Jaziri, a Tunisian tennis player who played in the final of the 2018 Istanbul Open. Ziad Jaziri, a Tunisian footballer for the Tunisian national team.
  • Popularity: Jaziri is very rare worldwide, primarily used in Egypt, and ranked 304th in Tunisia in 2014.
Rare, Unusual


Jubran uses the Arabic root “jbr,” meaning “healing” and “recompense.” Both Muslims and Christians use Jubran as a surname and a boy’s name, meaning “to create good change.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Healing
  • Pronunciation: Juh-BRAAHN
  • Namesakes: Hanna Jubran, a Palestinian Arab-Israeli sculptor with work at The International Sculpture Symposium in Quebec, Canada.
  • Popularity: Jubran is rare worldwide and mostly used in Yemen, where it ranked 230th in 2014.
Unique, Religious


Karem also means “generous” and “honorable.” It’s one of the names used for Allah in the Quran and is more popular as a boy’s first name that inspires.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-REHM
  • Variations: Kareem, Karim
  • Namesakes: Robert Karem, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Brian Karem, an American political analyst for CNN.
  • Popularity: Karem is rare worldwide and mainly used in Egypt, ranking 626th in 2014.
Traditional, Unique


Kashif refers to one “who reaches a higher level of knowledge” spiritually. With meanings like “revealer,” “discoverer,” and “explorer,” Kashif represents a spiritual quest loaded with purpose.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Pioneer
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-SHIYF
  • Variations: Kaashif, Khasif
  • Namesakes: Mohammad Kashif, a Dutch cricketer for the Dutch national cricket team. Tolga Kashif, a British-Turkish-Cypriot composer with the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Popularity: Kashif is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Pakistan, where it ranked 203rd in 2014.
Strong, Religious


Kassis is an Arabic variation of “qissīs,” meaning “priest.” It was an occupational title for clergymen or someone in the service of another. Kassis was also used to denote a “Jewish community leader” in North Africa.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Clergyman
  • Pronunciation: Kah-SEES
  • Namesakes: Randa Kassis, a Franco-Syrian founder of the Movement of the Pluralistic Society. Nabeel Kassis, the Palestinian Finance Minister from 2012 to 2013.
  • Popularity: Kassis is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 847th in Lebanon in 2014.
Occupational, Religious


Kattan is an Arabic and Jewish nickname based on the Hebrew “katan,” meaning “small.” It’s also an occupational surname made up of “qutn,” meaning “cotton.” Kattan traditionally refers to a “cotton merchant.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Cotton
  • Pronunciation: Kah-TAAN
  • Variations: Katan
  • Namesakes: Chris Kattan, an American comedian appearing on Saturday Night Live from 1996 to 2003.
  • Popularity: Kattan is rare worldwide and mainly used in Saudi Arabia, ranking 550th in 2014.
Occupational, Ancient


Kazam means “forgiving” and “having patience.” It specifically refers to someone who “controls his anger and doesn’t act on it.” Musa, the seventh imam of the Shiites, was known for his tolerance and patience.

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Tolerant
  • Pronunciation: Kah-ZAAM
  • Variations: Kazim, Kazem
  • Popularity: Kazam is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Pakistan.
Rare, Religious


Khalid points to an “immortal person,” using the meanings “eternal” and “everlasting.” It’s based on the Arabic “khalada,” meaning “to last forever.” Khalid is the name of a 7th-century Islamic military leader, Khalid ibn al-Walid.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Immortal
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-LIYD
  • Variations: Khaled, Kalid
  • Namesakes: Aisha Khalid, a Pakistani visual artist and winner of the People’s Choice Award in 2011.
  • Popularity: Khalid ranked 662nd worldwide, is mostly used in Pakistan and ranked 40th in Sudan in 2014.
Religious, Popular


Khan was an honorary title given to a military chief. It originated with the Turkish Khagan, meaning “chief” or “ruler.” Early Mongol leaders like Genghis Khan used the title, which is now quite common in the Muslim world.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Ruler
  • Pronunciation: KAAN
  • Variations: Kaan
  • Namesakes: Aamir Khan, an Indian Hindi actor with four National Film Awards. Yvette Stevens (known as Chaka Khan), an American singer called the “Queen of Funk.”
  • Popularity: Khan ranked 1,392nd in Pakistan, is mainly used in Pakistan, and ranked 427th in the U.S. in 2010.
Ancient, Title


Khoury is one of the Arabic surnames Christians use in the Middle East. It comes from the Latin “curia,” meaning “priest” or “minister.” Khoury was a title used for a new priest and is quite common in the Christian population of Lebanon.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Priest
  • Pronunciation: KHOW-riy
  • Variations: Khouri
  • Namesakes: Raymond Khoury, the Lebanese writer of the New York Times bestseller The Last Templar in 2006. Paul Khoury, a Lebanese-Australian commentator for the Crown Australian Celebrity Poker Challenge.
  • Popularity: Khoury is rare worldwide, primarily used in Lebanon, and ranked 54th in Israel in 2014.
Religious, Title
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The Islamic story of Maamoun uses the spelling variant Mamun. He was the smartest caliph (religious ruler), known for his rational view of Islam. His father founded a caliphal library in Baghdad for the same purpose of learning.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Dependable, reliable person
  • Pronunciation: Mah-MOON
  • Variations: Mamoon
  • Namesakes: Karim-Mohamed Maamoun, an Egyptian tennis player who competed at the Davis Cup. Maha Maamoun, an Egyptian artist awarded the Jury Prize for Domestic Tourism II (2009).
  • Popularity: Maamoun is rare worldwide and mostly used in Egypt, where it ranked 1,071st in 2014.
Uncommon, Traditional


Mahmud comes from the Arabic root “h-m-d,” meaning “praise.” It’s also a name for the prophet Muhammed. Mahmud also means “praiseworthy” and “the most paradise” for the ultimate religious meaning.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Praise
  • Pronunciation: Maa-MUHD
  • Variations: Mahmood, Mahmoud
  • Namesakes: Mahmud Mahmud, an Iranian Governor of Tehran. Khaled Mahmud, a Bangladeshi cricketer who captained the national team from 2003 to 2004.
  • Popularity: Mahmud ranked 574th worldwide and is mainly used in Bangladesh, ranking 25th in 2014.
Traditional, Religious


Majid means “glorious” and “magnificent.” It represents anything “abundant” in Islam. Macit is the Turkish variation of Majid.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Pronunciation: Maa-JHIYD
  • Variations: Majed
  • Namesakes: Tariq Majid, the Pakistani 13th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 2007 to 2010. Ibrahim Majid, a Qatari footballer for the Qatar national team.
  • Popularity: Majod ranked 1,199th worldwide and is primarily used in Iraq, ranking 33rd in 2014.
Strong, Common


Maroun derives from the Arabic “marwan,” meaning “granite.” It’s based on the Arabic personal name Mārūn. Maroun was a 4th-century Syrian monk and an important figure for Lebanese Christians.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Name of a Maronite saint
  • Pronunciation: Maa-ROON
  • Variations: Maroon
  • Namesakes: Julian Maroun, an Australian actor appearing in the miniseries Romper Stomper.
  • Popularity: Maroun is rare worldwide and mostly used in Lebanon, where it ranked 187th worldwide.
Ancient, Unique


Marwan comes from the Arabic “marou,” meaning “a solid stone.” It also means “a very strong lion.” The stone it references is often “quartz” or “silica.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Stone
  • Pronunciation: MAAR-Wahn
  • Variations: Marwen, Merwan
  • Namesakes: Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian billionaire and a spy for Israeli Mossad.
  • Popularity: Marwan is rare worldwide, mainly used in Egypt, and ranked 262nd in Libya in 2014.
Unusual, Strong


Masih means “Christ” in Arabic. It refers to Jesus in the Quran and is also used by Arab Christians. Masih often appears in India and Pakistan by converted Christians. Masih was also a title for Christians in Mughal India between 1526 and 1857.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Messiah
  • Pronunciation: MAH-siy
  • Variations: Maseeh
  • Namesakes: Ijaz Masih, a Pakistani member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab. Rakesh Masih, an Indian footballer for Tollygunge Agragami.
  • Popularity: Masih ranked 1,683rd worldwide, is primarily used in India, and ranked 178th in Pakistan in 2014.
Unusual, Common


Mohammed is one of many spellings meaning “messenger of Islam.” The Arabic “muḥammad” is based on “ḥamida,” meaning “praise.” Mohammed is considered the most popular name in the world, with 150 million men and boys named Mohammed in 2014.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Praiseworthy
  • Pronunciation: Mow-HAA-mehd
  • Variations: Muhammed, Mohammad, Mohamed
  • Namesakes: Amina Mohammed, the fifth Deputy Secretary-General of the UN. Nick Mohammed, an English comedian in the series Ted Lasso.
  • Popularity: Mohammed ranked 96th worldwide and is Africa’s 5th most popular surname.
Traditional, Popular


Mulla is also an Albanian honorary title. It’s based on the Arabic “mullah,” given to a person with “qualification in Islamic religious learning,” aka a “scholar.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Albanian
  • Meaning: Scholar
  • Pronunciation: MUW-Laa
  • Variations: Mullah
  • Namesakes: Anand Narain Mulla, an Indian Urdu poet and member of Parliament. Fateen Mulla, an Israeli Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2020 to 2022.
  • Popularity: Mulla ranked 1,886th worldwide, is mainly used in India and ranked 127th in Afghanistan in 2014.
Title, Common


Mustafa is a Turkish version of the Arabic Mustafah. It’s one of the Prophet Muhammad’s names and means “appointed” and “preferred.” Many Turkish people were named after Mustafa Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, along with several Ottoman sultans.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Chosen one
  • Pronunciation: Muw-STAA-faa
  • Variations: Moustafa, Moustapha, Mustafah
  • Namesakes: Fazil Mustafa, an Azerbaijani member of the National Assembly since 2005. Melton Mustafa, an American jazz musician who played with Jaco Pastorius.
  • Popularity: Mustafa ranked 358th worldwide, is primarily used in Pakistan and ranked 13th in Sudan in 2014.
Religious, Traditional


Nadir is associated with the Hebrew “nadeer,” meaning “rare.” It also means “descendant of the Banu Nadir,” a Jewish tribe of northern Arabia. Nadir also means “extraordinary” and “exceptional,” which is why it’s also used as a boy’s name.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Rare
  • Pronunciation: Nah-DIHR
  • Variations: Nader
  • Namesakes: Kerime Nadir, a Turkish novelist who wrote Yeşil Işıklar (“Green Lights”). Yitzchak Rayz (pen name Moyshe Nadir), an American Yiddish language writer for the Frayhayt (Freedom) newspaper.
  • Popularity: Nadir is rare worldwide and mostly used in Afghanistan, ranking 135th in 2014.
Ancient, Unique
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Najibullah consists of the Arabic “najib” and “Allah.” It means “distinguished (servant) of God” and is one of the less commonly long Arabic last names.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Distinguished servant of God
  • Pronunciation: NAH-jee-Bool-ah
  • Namesakes: Mohammad Najibullah, the President of Afghanistan from 1987 to 1992.
  • Popularity: Najibullah is rare worldwide and mainly used in Afghanistan, where it ranked 78th in 2014.
Religious, Unusual


Noor means “the divine light.” Noor also appears as the girl’s first name, Nura and Noora. In Norse mythology, Nór was a famous king who founded Norway.

  • Origin: Arabic, Norse
  • Meaning: Light
  • Pronunciation: NUHR
  • Variations: Nor, Nour
  • Namesakes: Viive Noor, an Estonian illustrator and curator at the Estonian Children’s Literature Center. Mohammed Noor, a Saudi Arabian footballer for Al Ittihad.
  • Popularity: Noor ranked 396th worldwide and is primarily used in Afghanistan, ranking 7th in 2014.
Popular, Traditional


Osman also means “most powerful” and “intuitive.” It’s the Turkish-inspired spelling of Uthmān, meaning “Ottoman.” Osman is also an Old English personal name meaning “God fame.”

  • Origin: Arabic, English
  • Meaning: Wise
  • Pronunciation: AHS-Maen
  • Variations: Othman
  • Namesakes: Hasbullah bin Osman, a Malaysian Member of Parliament from 2013 to 2020. Oleksandr Osman, a Ukrainian footballer for Obolon Kyiv.
  • Popularity: Osman ranked 254th worldwide and is mostly used in Sudan, where it ranked 5th in 2014.
Popular, Unique


Qadir is based on the Arabic “qadīr,” meaning “able” or “capable.” Al-Qādir means “’the all-powerful,” while “Al-Qadīr” means “the capable.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Powerful
  • Pronunciation: KAA-Dihr
  • Variations: Qaadir
  • Namesakes: Abdul Quadir, a Bangladeshi poet awarded the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1963. Abdul Qadir, a Pakistani cricketer and commentator for the Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • Popularity: Qadir ranked 1,051st worldwide and is mainly used in Pakistan, ranking 56th in 2014.
Strong, Common


Qasem means “someone separating things” and “one who divides goods among his people.” The first person, named Qasem, was the son of the prophet Muhammad, known for his generosity.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: One who distributes
  • Pronunciation: KAA-Sehm
  • Variations: Qasim, Qazeem
  • Popularity: Qasem is rare worldwide, primarily used in Iran, and ranked 459th in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
Religious, Ancient


When Rafi appears as “Al-Rafī,” it means “the exalted.” It’s made up of the Arabic “rafa,” meaning “to raise (something high),” which involves the most divine.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Exalted
  • Pronunciation: RAA-Fiy
  • Variations: Rafee, Raafi
  • Namesakes: Mohammed Rafi, an Indian playback singer who won the Padma Shri award in 1967. Mirza Mohammad rafi Sauda, an Urdu poet known for his Ghazals.
  • Popularity: Rafi is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Bangladesh, where it ranked 241st in 2014.
Strong, Religious


Rafiq also means “gentle.” It derives from the Arabic “rafīq,” meaning “intimate friend” and “companion,” as stated in the Quran.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Friend
  • Pronunciation: Raa-FIYK
  • Variations: Rafique
  • Namesakes: Azeem Rafiq, a British-Asian cricketer for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Bilal Rafiq, a Pakistani footballer for the Pakistan national football team.
  • Popularity: Rafiq is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Pakistan, ranking 196th in 2014.
Traditional, Unique


Rahim is among the Middle Eastern surnames representing Allah’s names in Islam. It’s also a male nickname for Abdu r-Raḥīm, meaning “servant of the merciful.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Merciful
  • Pronunciation: Raa-HIYM
  • Variations: Raheem
  • Namesakes: Sameer Rahim, a British journalist at the London Review of Books. Tahar Rahim, a French actor and the 2009 winner of the César Award for Best Actor.
  • Popularity: Rahim ranked 697th worldwide, is primarily used in Bangladesh and ranked 50th in Malaysia in 2014.
Popular, Religious


Ramadan uses the Arabic root “r-m-d,” meaning “scorching heat.” It’s most famous as the traditional Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The month-long observation occurs with the appearance of the crescent moon.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Scorchedness
  • Pronunciation: Raa-maa-DAHN
  • Namesakes: Ibrahim Ramadan, an Egyptian weightlifter who competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Taha Yasin Ramadan, one of Iraq’s three vice presidents from 1991 to 2003.
  • Popularity: Ramadan ranked 461st worldwide, is mostly used in Pakistan and ranked 7th in Oman in 2014.
Popular, Religious


Ramsi also means “intelligent.” The Arabic root “r-m-z” means “to give a sign” and “to be restless” when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Pronunciation: RAHM-Siy
  • Variations: Ramsy, Ramsey
  • Popularity: Ramsi is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Indonesia.
Uncommon, Unique
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Rashid is one of many Arabic family names originating from a personal name. It’s based on the Arabic “rashīd,” meaning “wise” and “judicious.” Rashid also means “having the true faith” in the Islamic religion.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Rightly guided
  • Pronunciation: Raa-SHIYD
  • Variations: Rasheed
  • Namesakes: Mamunur Rashid, a Bangladeshi winner of the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1982. Ashraf Rashid, a Pakistan Army commandant of the Special Service Group from 1995 to 1999.
  • Popularity: Rashid ranked 333rd worldwide, is primarily used in Bangladesh and ranked 11th in the United Arab Emirates in 2014.
Religious, Popular


Rasool also means “apostle” in Arabic. It refers to a “prophet” and points to Muhammad as the most special messenger of God.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Messenger
  • Pronunciation: Rah-SUWL
  • Variations: Rasoul, Resu
  • Namesakes: Akhtar Rasool, a Pakistani field hockey player and gold medalist at the 1982 World Cup. Muhib Rasool, a Pakistani volleyball player who competed at the Asian Junior Volleyball Championship in 2006.
  • Popularity: Rasool ranked 682nd worldwide and is mostly used in Pakistan, where it ranked 30th in 2014.
Religious, Popular


Saba is a unique brand of Arabic surnames with some Aramaic origin. It’s also an Arabic name for “the Queen of Sheba.” There’s evidence that it was once used by people who laundered clothing for a living, so Saba covers all bases.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: From Saba
  • Pronunciation: Saa-BAA
  • Variations: Sabah
  • Namesakes: Bassam Saba, a Lebanese musician and co-founder of the New York Arabic Orchestra. Fakhereh Saba, the first female opera singer in Iran.
  • Popularity: Saba is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Ethiopia, and ranked 159th in Lebanon in 2014.
Geographical, Unique


Sabbagh means “to dye color” and was likely occupational for dyers in North Africa, Iraq, and Syria. The Arabic “ṣabbāgh” literally means “dyer,” so this is a particularly straightforward surname.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Dyer
  • Pronunciation: SAH-Bah
  • Variations: Sebbagh
  • Namesakes: Daniel Sabbagh, a British associate editor of The Guardian since 2018. Pierre Sabbagh, a French journalist who directed the world’s first TV news in June 1949.
  • Popularity: Sabbagh is rare worldwide, primarily used in Egypt, and ranked 381st in Lebanon in 2014.
Occupational, Unique


Sader is made up of the Arabic ”sadr,” meaning “breast” and “forefront.” It’s well known among Lebanese Christians and is a non-typically amusing example of Middle Eastern last names.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Chest
  • Pronunciation: SAH-der
  • Namesakes: Alan Sader, an American actor and spokesperson for ChildFund International since 1992. Steve Sader, an American football player for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Popularity: Sader is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Funny


Saliba comes from the Arabic “salib,” meaning “crucifix.” Syrian and Lebanese people use Saliba most when practicing the Christian faith.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Crucifix
  • Pronunciation: Sah-LIY-bah
  • Variations: Saleeba
  • Namesakes: William Saliba, a French footballer for the France national team.
  • Popularity: Saliba is rare worldwide and mainly used in Lebanon, ranking 30th in 2014.
Religious, Uncommon


Samir also means “holy,” “jovial,” and “charming” in Arabic. In Sanskrit, it means “a cool breeze” or “gentle wind.” 83% of those named Samir live on the African continent.

  • Origin: Arabic, Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Loyal
  • Pronunciation: SAA-Mihr
  • Variations: Sameer
  • Namesakes: Samir Caetano de Souza, a Brazilian footballer for Tigres UANL.
  • Popularity: Samir ranked 1,084th worldwide and is primarily used in Egypt, where it ranked 13th in 2014.
Traditional, Common


Seif specifically refers to “the sword of religion,” also called a “scimitar.” It implies the “protector of something” like the Islamic faith. Seif has a very different meaning in German, defined as “soap.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Sword
  • Pronunciation: SIYF
  • Variations: Saef, Saif, Seyf
  • Namesakes: Riad Seif, a Syrian politician elected to the Parliament of Syria in 1994. Mark Seif, an American poker player and the only player to win two back-to-back events in 2005.
  • Popularity: Seif is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Tanzania, ranking 108th in 2014.
Strong, Unique


Shariq references the sun’s power in its meaning of “rising from the East.” It appears in the Quran and isn’t used as much outside of Pakistan, where it’s still uncommon.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Rising from the East, compassionate and merciful
  • Pronunciation: Sha-RIYK
  • Variations: Sharique, Sharik
  • Namesakes: Sharifuddin Shariq, an Indian member of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference.
  • Popularity: Shariq is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Pakistan.
Religious, Rare


Sultan is the title given to any Muslim sovereign or ruler. Though famously Turkish, the Arabic “sulṭān” means “strength” and “authority.” Genghis Khan was also considered one of the earliest sultans in history.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Ruler
  • Pronunciation: SUHL-Taen
  • Variations: Sultaan, Sulten, Sultun
  • Namesakes: Tipu Sultan, a Bangladeshi winner of the CPJ International Press Freedom Award in 2002. Grete Sultan, a German-American pianist known for working with composer John Cage.
  • Popularity: Sultan ranked 440th worldwide, is primarily used in Pakistan and ranked 3rd in Oman in 2014.
Strong, Royal
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Syed also means “noble one.” It was first given to descendants of the prophet Muhammad as a surname. The title Syed is another way to appreciate the most honorable and intelligent of a Muslim society.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: King
  • Pronunciation: Saa-IYD
  • Variations: Sayyid
  • Namesakes: Muhammad Syed, a Pakistani-American founder of the Ex-Muslims of North America group in 2013. Faiz Syed, an Islamic presenter on Islam in the Urdu language.
  • Popularity: Syed ranked 1,008th worldwide, is mostly used in India and ranked 62nd in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
Religious, Title


Taleb was first used for those called the “scientists of Islam,” who attempted to understand the Quran. The Arabic “ṭālib” means “seeker of knowledge” and “student of Islam.” Taleb is mainly an Algerian name with a Quranic history.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: One who seeks
  • Pronunciation: TAYL-eb
  • Variations: Talib
  • Namesakes: Nassim Taleb, a Lebanese-American writer of the 2007 book The Black Swan. Louay Taleb, a Syrian footballer for Al-Wahda.
  • Popularity: Taleb is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Algeria, where it ranked 24th in 2014.
Unique, Religious


Tannous is based on the Arabic form of the Latin Antonius (or Anthony). It’s often used by Christians and is also the Arabic term for someone from Tunisia.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Tunisian
  • Pronunciation: TAH-nuus
  • Namesakes: Ibrahim Tannous, a commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces from 1982 to 1984. Mohammad Tannous, a Jordanian footballer for Al-Jazeera.
  • Popularity: Tannous is rare worldwide and primarily used in Lebanon, ranking 112th in 2014.
Unusual, Geographical


Totah is quite rare outside of Palestine, where it’s based on the Arabic “tūtah.” Other than meaning “mulberry tree,” Totah is a mysterious name still used by Palestinians today.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Mulberry tree
  • Pronunciation: TOHT-ah
  • Namesakes: Josie Totah, an American actress on the Disney Channel series Jessie. Mary Totah, an American nun and writer of The Joy of God.
  • Popularity: Totah is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Palestine, where it ranked 800th in 2014.
Geographical, Unusual


Wahed is inspired by the first name Waḥīd, meaning “unique” and “matchless.” It also means “absolute one” as Al-Wahid, one of Allah’s 99 names.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: One
  • Pronunciation: Wah-HIYD
  • Variations: Wahid, Waheed
  • Namesakes: Mohamed Abdel Wahed, an Egyptian footballer and bronze medalist at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.
  • Popularity: Wahed is rare worldwide and mainly used in Bangladesh, ranking 915th in 2014.
Strong, Religious


Yacoub also appears as the Arabic personal name Ya‛qūb, for the Islamic prophet. It’s the Arabic version of the Hebrew names Jacob and James in the Bible.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: YAH-Kuwb
  • Variations: Yakov
  • Namesakes: Magdi Yacoub, an Egyptian professor of cardiothoracic surgery known for strides in repairing heart valves.
  • Popularity: Yacoub is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Iraq, and ranked 58th in Chad in 2014.
Ancient, Strong


Yasin derives from the Arabic “yā sīn,” a chapter of the Quran. It’s also one of many Arabic last names used for the prophet Muhammad.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Divine address
  • Pronunciation: YAA-Siyn
  • Variations: Yassin, Yassine, Yaseen
  • Namesakes: Mohammad Yasin, a British-Pakistani Member of Parliament since 2017. Yevgeny Yasin, the Russian Minister for the Economy, between 1994 and 1997.
  • Popularity: Yasin ranked 1,163rd worldwide, is mostly used in Pakistan, and ranked 43rd in Somaliland in 2014.
Religious, Common


Yusif is also Aramaic and specifically, means “’God increases in piety, power and influence” in Hebrew. It’s the Arabic version of the Hebrew Yosef and English Joseph, widely used in the Bible.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God increases
  • Pronunciation: YUW-Sihf
  • Variations: Yousef, Yousif, Youssef
  • Popularity: Yusif is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Nigeria, where it ranked 201st in 2014.
Ancient, Religious


The Arabic “zamān” means “time,” “age,” and “era.” It’s typically used in compound terms like “nūr uz-zamān,” meaning “light of the era.” Zaman is a popular name on the Indian subcontinent, especially in Pakistan.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Leadership
  • Pronunciation: Zah-MAHN
  • Namesakes: Dilara Zaman, a Bangladeshi actress who won the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2008. Dina Zaman, a Malaysian writer of the 2012 King of The Sea.
  • Popularity: Zaman ranked 444th worldwide and is primarily used in Pakistan, ranking 36th in 2014.
Strong, Popular


Zamzam is a unique Arabic name symbolizing a “miraculous source of water from God.” It uses the story of Hagar’s infant son Ishmael, whose thirst was quenched. Zamzam also means “pure water” and is the closest thing to an Arabic fountain of youth.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Arabian spring
  • Pronunciation: ZAAM-zaam
  • Variations: Zemzem
  • Popularity: Zamzam is rare worldwide and mostly used in Egypt, where it ranked 1,316th in 2014.
Unusual, Religious
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Arabic Family Names FAQs

Why Do Arabic Last Names Start with Al?

Arabic last names that include “al” usually indicate a place where one’s ancestors are from. “Al” means “the” in Arabic so that a person may be defined by their hometown. The “al” can also refer to a profession or business, such as “the scribe” or “the salesman.”

What’s the Most Common Arabic Last Name?

The most common Arabic last name is Khan. It ranked 17th worldwide and was the number-one surname in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in 2014. Khan is followed by Mohammed, Hussain, and Ahmad. They all rank in the top 100 surnames and appear in various countries throughout the Middle East.

What is the Most Famous Arabic Last Name?

Whether famous or infamous, Hussein may be the most famous Arabic surname. It ranked 161st worldwide and 2nd in Iraq. Hussein is best associated with the Iraqi president from 1979 to 2003, Saddam Hussein. It’s also the surname of Jordan’s royal family.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.