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Muslim Baby Names Are Full of Meaning

Muslim Baby Names Are Full of Meaning

Eid Mubarak!

Today is the first day of the important Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha, celebrated by approximately two billion Muslims around the world. The holiday honors the devotion of the Prophet Ibrahim, who was willing to sacrifice his son Ismail in accordance with God’s command.

In the US, Islam is the third largest religion, and in the UK, it’s the second largest – which is reflected in the national baby names data. Popular Arabic names like Maryam, Aisha and Fatima for girls and Muhammad, Ibrahim and Yusuf for boys all rank in or just outside of the Top 100 baby names in England and Wales.

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Islamic Naming Customs

In the Muslim community, babies are traditionally named no more than seven days after birth, in a ceremony called Tasmiyah. It is common practice for parents to seek advice and approval from other relatives and respected community members in order to select an appropriate name.

Meaning is very important to Muslim parents, since names with positive, virtuous meanings are believed to inspire a righteous way of life and to confer blessings on the child. It is reported in the Hadith that: “On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your fathers’ names, so give yourselves good names.”

Popular choices include names belonging to Prophets of Islam or other important figures from the Quran, as well as other Arabic names with good meanings. Names associated with tyrants, demons, idols or immoral characters are forbidden, as are titles reserved only for Allah.

Although only around 15% of the world’s Muslim population is Arab by ethnicity, the Arabic language is extremely important within Islam, and it is therefore very common for Muslim parents from all over the world to select Arabic names for their children. 

Names of other origins are also sometimes used, but a good meaning remains a fundamental principle for all Muslim baby names.

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Popular Muslim Girl Names

According to the latest Social Security Administration data, which reveals the names chosen by American parents in 2020, the top Arabic girl names in the US are Layla and Aaliyah, in their various spellings. 

Other popular choices for Muslim parents across the English-speaking world include traditional Islamic girl names like Aisha, Fatima, Maryam, Noor and Zainab, as well as Arabic or Arabic-English crossover choices featuring fashionable sounds, like Imani, Kamila, Mira, Yara and Zariyah.

Below, find a selection of popular Muslim girl names in the US and UK.

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Popular Muslim Boy Names

The top Islamic boy name worldwide is Muhammad, which – when variant spellings are combined – has been the most popular boy name in the UK for several years. It’s less popular in the US, ranking below the Top 300 behind other Muslim names such as Amir, Omar and Khalil.

Muhammad is often used by Muslims as an honorific, showing reverence for the Prophet Muhammad, sometimes along with a second first name by which the child is known. Sometimes, this honorific name is shortened to Md – the official first name of 30 American-born boys and 53 boys born in England and Wales last year.

Other popular choices among Muslim parents in the English-speaking world include names belonging to Prophets and Companions of Muhammad, such as Hassan, Ibrahim, Musa, Umar and Yusuf. Arabic or Arabic-English crossover choices with fashionable sounds or celebrity connections, like Ali, Idris, Malik, Zayd and Zayn, are also popular with Muslim parents.

Here, a selection of popular Muslim boy names in the US and UK.

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Rare Muslim Names With Good Meanings

Muslim naming practices remain, on the whole, much more traditional than those in many other cultures and communities – no doubt influenced by the requirement for established names with positive meanings.

But there are plenty of options out there for parents looking for less common Muslim baby names that still conform to Islamic naming conventions.

You can find our comprehensive lists of Arabic names for boys here, and Arabic names for girls here. Alternatively, browse a selection of some of the best rare Muslim baby names for both sexes below.

About the Author

Beyza Nur and Emma Waterhouse

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