Arabic Names Are Going Mainstream

Arabic Names Are Going Mainstream

Arabic names are a huge, diverse treasure trove. They range from names with deep significance in Islam, like Muhammad and Khadija, to some you might not even realize are Arabic, like Layla, as well as cross-cultural choices like Adam and Sara.

Arabic baby names have never been a staple of the popular names in the US – with a few exceptions, like Jamal in the 1990s. However, in England, which has a larger Muslim population, names such as Fatima, Zainab, Ibrahim, Mustafa and five spellings of Muhammad all rank in the Top 200.

But things could be changing in the States. Many Arabic names are on the rise today, influenced not only by Arab and Islamic culture but also by pop culture.

Famous influences include celebrities like Amal Clooney, Idris Elba, DJ Khaled, and Aaliyah: over twenty years after the singer died, her name remains in the Top 100. Celebrities' children's names – such as Janet Jackson's son Eissa, and DJ Khaled's sons, Asahd and Aalam – as well as character names like Hakeem from Empire, have also made a mark on the popularity charts.

We also see Arabic influence in the spellings of modern creations like Maliyah and Kamiyah. It shows that many parents have a taste for the style and sound of Arabic names, if not for the traditional names themselves.

Here are some of the best Arabic boy names and Arabic girl names. They feature those most popular in the charts today, under-the-radar options, and culture-crossing names that are Arabic, and also used in other traditions.

Popular Arabic Names

The most popular Arabic girl names in the US are Layla and Aaliyah, which are in the Top 100. For boys, the top Arabic name is Amir, which sits just below the Top 100. It means "ruler", so fits perfectly with the current trend for baby names with a royal meaning.

The following rank in the Top 500 baby names:

These Arabic names rank in between 500-1000 in the USA, meaning they are given to about 200-600 children a year:

Rare Arabic Names

These Arabic names rank below the Top 1000 in the USA, making them unusual, distinctive choices — although several, like Tariq and Khadija, are extremely well-used in the Arabic-speaking world.

Several of the names below have seen a significant rise in America in recent years, including Amal, Bilal, and Dua.

Culture-Crossing Arabic Names

Looking for a name that slips effortlessly between Arabic and other cultures? These names are all shared by Arabic and other languages, either by coincidence (like Kamilah, which happens to sound similar to Camila), or through shared roots, like Adam.

For more inspiration, read our full list of Arabic baby names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at