In the bible, many (most?) of the major characters are given meaningful names. For example, the name of the prophet Ishmael literally means "God has heard" in Hebrew, and is derived from the following Biblical revelation (from Genesis 16):

11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

Similarly, in Islam, the name of the prophet Muhammad also has the clear meaning of "Praised one" in Arabic.

Given that the languages of Arabic and Hebrew are so closely related, do the Arabic names of the Biblical prophets in the Qur'an (or any of the major Biblical persons) maintain such meaning to their names, or were these simply transliterations?

2 Answers 2


No, absolutely not. The Quranic names are direct Syriac transliteration, so they lose the meaning. The Quran doesn't use the genius of the 2 languages to connect words.

Some names do have archaic connections, but no Arab can tell today. For example, Adam means dark/dirt in early Arabic and Hebrew, but no one knows that today. Talut is Saul, and everyone knows that Tawl means 'Tall' in Arabic, which matches the Biblical description of him.

Ibraheem is connected to Hebrew Ab-RaHam (Father of Nations). Ibraheem means nothing close. For Isma'il, The root word Sama'(Hear) is there, but it is not a translation and no Arab could easily pick that up. No other names have these type of connections.

Only Muhammad, Ahmad, Iblees and Zaid are Arabic names, the rest are just meaningless translations, like English.


Of course every single name in the Quran has a meaning for e.g Ibrahim name has a Hebrew origin and if u translate it in Arabic it's will be ab raheem meaning merciful father and Musa means saved from the water and e.t.c. Every single word in the Quran of course has meaning but huroof muqattat like alif lam meem have a meaning but we haven't been given knowledge about what their meaning is. EVERY SINGLE WORD IN THE NOBLE QURAN HAS A MEANING l. Jazakallahkhair

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .