38 Arabic surnames: see how they are formed and their meanings

The construction of Arabic names is quite different from what we are used to in Brazil. As it is a language that aggregates countries from the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, the composition of these names can vary a lot.

The most important thing to understand is that, in most Arabic names, especially the traditional ones, the first name comes first, followed by the father’s name plus the family name or surname last.

For example, Ahmed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, Ahamed is the first name + bin Hasher, which means he is the son of Hasher + Al Maktoum, which is the family name, refers to the tribe he belongs to.

38 Arabic surnames: see how they are formed and their meanings
38 Arabic surnames: see how they are formed and their meanings

This formation changes from society to society, in Egypt or in Lebanon it can change if the West influences a region or not.

The radical Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, for example, has his name built on the basis of patronymic names. Osama (first name) + bin Mohammed (his father) + bin Awad (his grandfather) + bin Laden (his great-grandfather).

Formation of Arabic surnames
Formation of Arabic surnames

Formation of Arabic surnames

Arabic names usually follow five parts, some compulsory and some not.

The first is the ism, relating to the first name; the kunya is a name that does not usually appear on the birth certificate, it is like a nickname or tribute to a man or woman who has become the father or mother of a child who is a blessing.

The nasb is the patronymic name which the terms bin or ibn for sons and bint for daughters may accompany. The laqab is like an epithet for the person, for example, the character in the book “The thousand and one nights” is called Harun Al-Rashid, in whose second name means “the well-guided one”.

And lastly comes the nisba, which is the surname or family name.

In Egypt and Lebanon, it is more common for the labaq to be used than the family name (nisba).

Usually, family names or surnames relate to a geographical area or even a profession, some have no specific meaning.

It is also important to clarify that the daughter receives her father’s name and not her mother’s. This does not change even after marriage.

Common Arabic surnames
Common Arabic surnames

Common Arabic surnames

In this division, we will put some more common patronymic names and family names (surnames).

  1. Khan Al-Abadi

Khan, a patronymic name, arises from Urdu and means “king” or “ruler”.

Abadi is the family name or surname.

  1. Ibrahim Al-Maktoum

Ibrahim comes from Arabic and means “father of nations” or “friend of God”.

Maktoum, on the other hand, is a surname that is associated with a royal family, which is important in both Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

  1. Mohammed Al-Kudsi

Mohammed means “praised”, and “praiseworthy”, it refers to the prophet and religious leader of the Islamic religion.

Kudsi being the family name can mean “the scholar of Euclid”. A historical personality who bore it was the politician Nazim Al-Kudsi.

  1. Hussain Al-Baghdadi

Hussain is the patronymic name that arises from the male name Hassan and means “handsome”, “beautifying”, or “nice”.

The surname Baghdadi can mean “the people of Baghdad”.

  1. Ahmad Al-Sabbah

Ahmad originates from Arabic and means “most praised”, “the most adored”, and “highly praised”.

The surname Sabbah refers to a family or tribe.

  1. Mustafa Al-Madini

Mustafa comes from the Arabic Mustafa and means “the chosen one”.

The family name Madini probably means “from Medina”, referring to the city in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Ali Al-Makki

Ali being the name by which God is called, in Arabic means “high”, “lofty”, and “noble”.

The surname Makki probably means “from Mecca”, this being a holy city in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Kumar Al-Rashidi

Kumar is a patronymic name meaning “boy”, or “son”.

Rashidi is a surname that refers to a tribe.

  1. Saleh Al-Harbi

Saleh means “virtuous” in Arabic.

The surname Harbi also comes from a tribe, becoming a family name.

  1. Omar Al-Makhzumi

Omar comes from the Arabic umar, √°mara, and means “the one who has a long life”, “a man full of life”.

Makhzumi also refers to a tribe.

  1. Nair Al-Amari

The patronymic name Nair originates from the Arabic Nayir and means “bright”, and “full of light”.

The surname Amari is also associated with a family.

  1. Jamal Al-Haroon

Jamal originates from Arabic and means “beautiful”, “handsome”, and “handsome”.

The surname Haroon may have arisen from a first name and means “high mountain” or “elevated”.

13. Samir Al-Abdulla

The patronymic name Samir originates from Arabic and means “vigorous”, “lively”, “vivacious” “eloquent” or even “good company”, or “conversation companion”.

Abdulla is a family name that probably means “servant of Allah”, or “servant of God”. A noble personality who carries it is the Queen of Jordan, Rania Al-Abdullah.

Syrian surnames

Syrian surnames

We have separated some different Syrian surnames.

  1. Mahmoud

Means “praiseworthy” in Arabic.

  1. Al-Noury

This surname is associated with the Syrian actor/director Abbas Al-Noury.

  1. Qasim

This surname means ‘one who distributes or shares’.

  1. Fadel

Derived from a person’s name, it means “honorable”.

  1. Al-Atrash

A famous personality in Syria who carries it is actress Lilia Al-Atrash.

  1. Al-Attar

This family name is linked to the first woman to hold the position of Vice President in Syria, Najah Al-Attar.

  1. Al-Numan

A well-known person in Iraq who carries this surname is Aziz Saleh Al-Numan.

  1. Khalid

Based on a person’s name, it means “eternal” or “immortal”.

Egyptian surnames

  1. Elmahdy

A very popular surname in Egypt, it arises from the Arabic mahdiyy and means “the Mahdi”, meaning “the guided”, or “the rightly guided”.

  1. Arafa

Also derived from Arabic, this Egyptian surname means “to know”, or “to know”.

  1. Cohen

This Egyptian family name arises from the Hebrew kohen and means “priest”.

A well-known historical personality is the Israeli spy Eli Cohen.

  1. Mesbah

This surname probably arises from the Arabic Misbah and means “luminary”, “light”, or “illumination”.

  1. Mubarak

This surname probably arises from the Arabic Mubarak and means ‘lucky’, and ‘blessed’.

A famous personality who carries it is the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.

  1. Badawi

A name originating from the Bedouin tribes inhabiting the desert. It means “inhabitant of the desert”.

  1. Gamal

It means “beauty”. It is a variant of the Egyptian name Jamla.

  1. Amin

It means “true” or “trustworthy”. It is usually accompanied by the prefix AI.

  1. Nabil (Nabeel)

Means “noble”.

Lebanese surnames

  1. Fakhry

This surname comes from the Arabic fakara and means “to boast, to be proud”.

A well-known personality who carries it is the Lebanese journalist Ghida Fakhry.

  1. Bazzi

This surname probably came from an Arabic word that means “adopted brothers”.

  1. Tawil

With uncertain meaning, this surname probably came from Arabic and refers to tall people.

One famous personality who possesses it is former Miss Lebanon, Rosarita Tawil.

  1. El-Din

It means “faith”.

  1. Aboud

This means “devout worshiper”.

  1. El Khoury

Means “high priest or rank”.

  1. Gibran

This means “to repair”.

  1. Saad

Means “prosperity”.

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