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Updated January 30, 2024

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Muslim surnames are diverse and vary greatly across different regions and cultures. Common surnames include ones that reference an individual's lineage, such as "Hussain," "Ahmed," or "Ali," as well as surnames that indicate the family's ancestral profession or place of origin, like "Al-Baker" (the baker) or "Al-Masri" (the Egyptian). It's important to note that Muslim surnames are not uniform and can be influenced by regional practices, languages, and traditions.

Traditional Muslim Surnames and Islamic Naming Systems

Muslims are followers of the religion Islam and the Prophet Muhammad or Mohammed. Muslims will often take on Islamic last names with religious connotations or names honoring important figures in the Quran or the Muslim Bible. 

Last names are often associated with God or the Prophet. For instance, Abdullah means "servant of God", broken down into abd meaning "servant" and -ullah as a variation of Allah. But Muslim naming practices have moved beyond believers of Islam. In Egypt, for instance, a Christian might have the name Abdel-Massih, which means "servant of the Christ."

Islam places great emphasis on family relationships and lineages. In Islamic law, it is typical for a wife not to take her husband's surname. Instead, women keep their family name or the name of their father their entire life. The importance of this practice is to maintain connections with their lineage.  While most Muslim names are of Arabic origin, it is not required for those who practice or convert to Islam to choose an Arabic surname. Muslims are found all over the globe. Therefore, it's not uncommon for a practicing Muslim to have a name with Indian, Turkish, or Nigerian roots as well. 

Typically, Islamic names follow the common Arabic custom of naming a child after their father's name and indicate familial ties. Therefore for Muslim boy names, the child's name will follow the pattern of given name + "ibn" (son of) + father's given name. For example, Bilal ibn Rabah, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, would be the son of Rabah. For Muslim girl names, the same naming customs are followed but using "bint" (daughter of). For example, Ataya bint Ahmad is the daughter of Ahmad. 

Many full Muslim names also contain the prefix "al" which is the Arabic word for "the." Many popular surnames include the words "abd al" or Abdul which translates to "servant of the" or "slave of the." Therefore, the name "Abdul Hussein (slave of Hussein) refers to someone who serves the Islamic holy figure Hussein, grandson of Muhammad. 

Search Muslim Last Names

When choosing a baby name, it is also important for Muslim parents to select a name that is not considered offensive or insulting. Forbidden names or haraam names are generally terrible figures in history or represent a different religion. Some Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia have created stricter naming rules for baby names, banning names like "Alice" and "Linda" which they deem as foreign or not religiously significant.

A muslim boy with his parents

10 Common Muslim Last Names (with Meanings)

Muslim surnames are often rich in history and cultural significance. They can offer a glimpse into a person's lineage, geographic origin, or even profession. Here are the common Muslim surnames, along with their meanings:

  1. Abdullah/Abdallah - A holy name meaning "servant of God or Allah."
  2. Ahmed - This name means "praised one." As a surname, it is often written as "Al Ahmed" or "the praised one."
  3. Ali - This name means "elevated, sublime, or high." Ali was the fourth Caliph in Islam.
  4. Amin - Meaning "trustworthy" or "faithful" in Arabic.
  5. Habib - A Sephardic name used by both Muslim and Jewish people. Habib comes from the Arabic personal name for "beloved."
  6. Hadi - A variation of Hidayah, another name for the Islamic God Allah. Hadi means "guide to righteousness."
  7. Isa - Isa is the Arabic translation of Jesus. Isa is a powerful prophet in the Quran. The word Isa means "iron" or "ice."
  8. Khan - Khan is a name that means "ruler" or "leader."
  9. Mustafa - An Arabic name that means "the chosen one." For Muslims, Al-Mụṣtafā is an epithet referring to the Prophet Muhammad.
  10. Rafiq - An Arabic name meaning "close friend" or "companion."

What Are the Surnames of Muslims?

Muslim surnames are diverse and reflect the ethnic and geographical diversity of the Muslim world. These surnames often carry meanings or historical significance in Islamic culture, including the following:

  • Abad - Enduring or eternal.
  • Amir - Leader or ruler.
  • Bakir - One who is diligent and initiates in work.
  • Hakim - Wise or judicious.
  • Hasan - Good or handsome.
  • Hussain - Good or small beautiful thing.
  • Mohammad - Praised or commendable.
  • Omar - Life or long-lived.
  • Patel - Landowner or headman of a community.
  • Zahid - Pious or ascetic.

Arabic Last Names

Because Muslims are spread across the globe, there can be an overlap with Arabic surnames. Arabic last names often carry deep historical significance and are closely tied to lineage, profession, or the geographical origins of a family. These last names serve as a bridge to the rich cultural and historical tapestry of the Arab world, including:

  • Al-Khwarizmi - Paying homage to the famous mathematician and the forefather of algebra.
  • Al-Masri - Indicating Egyptian heritage, translating to "the Egyptian".
  • Al-Saud - Referring to the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
  • Bakir - This name means "early" or "premature," often indicating someone with early accomplishments.
  • El-Amir - Meaning "the prince" or "the commander".
  • Fayyad - Meaning "generous" or "exuberant," suggesting a family known for their generosity.
  • Farhat - Meaning "joy" or "happiness", potentially referring to a cheerful ancestral figure.
  • Hussein - A name that reflects respect and is also associated with the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
  • Najjar - Reflecting the profession of a carpenter, a common vocational surname.
  • Sabbagh - This name translates to "dyer," traditionally associated with those who work with dyes in textiles.

Paige Breaux

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