Arabic Surnames
Hey.I'm currently working on a piece of fiction, which will have a muslim woman born in Afghanistan as a main character. I'm just having some trouble with the name. Do people from Afghanistan have Arabic names? No websites have anything called afghanian names, so I assumed that was as close as I got.
How do the "rules" of Arabic names work? I've seen names with "al-" and things like that in front of the surname, are those titles? Do they have any meaning nowadays, or are they something that had bigger importance in the past?
I hope someone can help. A little guide to the translation would help, too, once I decide what the name is. :)
Tags:  Arabic
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You'll find information on Arabic names at
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Thank you, that's a great help. I should have thought of looking there first. :)
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Very few Afghans have hereditary surnames. If they use a second name it might be a father's given name (patronymic)which is likely to be Islamic, therefore probably Arabic in origin. Alternatively the Pushtun often use a tribal name or a clan name as an additional name. For example Hamid Karzai, the precarious president, belongs to the Pushtun Karzai tribe.
As there are no rules you might find members of the same family using different "surnames".
As for women, if they are still living in Afghanistan they won't need a second name, as the only people who should address them are close relatives. Such is life in free and democratic Afghanistan. If resident in a less restrictive society an Afghan women would probably use a name from a source already mentioned.
I should add that different ethnic groups have different customs. The Tajiks. for instance, will add the name of the valley in which they live if they need a second name, e.g., "Panjsheri".
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Thank you! That was very helpful. :)
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