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Khoja Naming Customs

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Since their advent as a distinct Indian community almost 700 years ago, most Khojas have used a unique personal identification protocol.


Firstly, most will have at least three or four individual names as part of their full name.


Secondly, the second name is the first name of the father, whilst the third name (if used) is the first name of the grandfather.


Thirdly, in keeping with the Gujarati tradition of retaining one's "attak", the surname or family name of a person has remained the same throughout the generations. Hence, most Khojas continue to have ancient Lohana surnames such as Lalani or Kanani or Patidar ones such Patel etc. Most other Indo-Pak Muslim communities do not use "attak" and may only have the father's first name as a surname.


And finally, the first name of a Khoja person has either been an Arabic,Persian or Indian word for a desirable attribute or a popular name taken from the local society where they live.


So, a typical name in Gujarat could be Geeta Karim Hussien Kanji and in Africa, Zarina Karim Kanji.


However, in the West, where names are generally limited to two word only, most have dropped their father's and grandfather's first names, so a typical name (unfortunately) would be Adam Kanji.


The advantage in the traditional Khoja naming protocol is that the surname retains links with ancestry (which is important to prevent rootlessness), the fathers/grandfathers name (or mothers, if so inclined) would give social recognition and access. The first name of course, allows for easy integration.


In migration, some of these benefits were not immediately available but once the community is permanently established and stable in a place, recognition and familiarity could lead to friendship and mutual help.


With the Internet creating a global village, connections due to recognition and familiarity are bound to generate benefits.

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TYPICAL KHOJA FIRST NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS

Compiled from Salim Vellani’s “Special Edition”

ISMEX 1980

___________________________________________________

ABDALLAH: slave or servant of Allah; an epithet of Prophet Mohammed

ABDUL: devotee, religious person

ABID: adorer, worshipper

ABIDAH: worshipper, adorer

ADIL: just, equitable, dispenser of justice. Al-Adil, an attribute of Allah

AFROZA: igniting, kindling, enlightening

AFTABUDDIN: the sun of religion

AFZAL: most excellent, prominent

AHAD: one, unit, singular, unique

AHMED: more and most recommendable, name of Prophet Mohammed

AISHA/ AYSHA: way of life, mode of living

AKBAR: great, greatest, opposite of Asghar, Al-Akber an attribute to Allah

AKHTAR: star, constellation, good luck

ALI: the most high, exalted, lofty, sublime. Al-Ali, an attribute of Allah

ALIM: learned, erudite. Singular of Ulema

ALIYA: loftiness, exaltedness, sublimity

ALMAS: diamond

ALNOOR: pronounced An-noor, light, divine light. Singular of Anwar

ALTAF: kindness, grace, plural of Latif

AL-Nar: pronounced An-nar, fire, hell fire

AMAN: safety, peace, safeguard

AMIN: faithful, constant, trustworthy, safe

AMIR: nobleman, singular of UMAR

AMJAD: more glorious, more distinguished

ANAB: grapes

ANAR: pomegranate

ANIL: air, wind

ANJUM: stars

ANWAR: light, rays, brightness, gleam, shine, plural of Nur

ARIF: wise, holy, discerning

ASAD: lion, a man of courage

ASA- DULLAH: Lion of God, one of the epithets Hazrat Aii

ASGHAR: very little, lesser, smallest, opposite of Akber

ASHIQ: Lover

ASHRAF: noblest, most distinguished, most eminent Plural of Sharif

ASIFA: violent wind, gale, tempest, storm, hurricane

ASLAM: safer, freer, sounder, healthier

ASMAT: chastity, honour

AZAD: free, independent, ease, liberated

AZIM: large, tremendous, mighty, great, Ai-Azim, an attribute of

AZIZ: dear, beloved, darling, respected,

AZMINA: time, duration, fortune,

B

BABU: Respectable sir

BABUL-BABOOL: term for father indicating a daughter's affection

BADRU: full moon

BAHADUR: brave, bold, courageous

BAKSHI: paymaster, commander, in chief

BARAKAT/BARKAT: blessing, benediction, charisma

BASHARAT: humanity, mankind

BASHIR: bringer of glad tidings, messenger,

BEGUM: lady, queen, title of royal ladies

BHIMJI: Lord Krishn

BUSHARA: breaking good news

D

DARVESH: Persian for Faquir, poor in a sufi

DAULAT: wealth, riches, fortune, felicity

DAYA: Kindness; mercy; pity.

F

FAHMIDA: intelligent, understood

FAIROUZ: turquoise

FAISAL: arbitrator, decisive criterion

FAIZ: outpouring, emanation, divine grace

FANI: transitory, perishable

FAQUIR: poor in spirit, a person who has renounced the world, darvesh

FARAH: joy, cheerful, glad, happy

FARID: alone, lone, solitary, lonely, unique matchless

FARIDA: precious pearl, gem

FAROOQ: brightness, splendor, glory, fame, honour

FARZANA: wise, intelligent, distinguished, blest

FARZAND: child, son

FATEH: conqueror

FATEHALI: the great conqueror

FATIMA: to wean a child or an animal, a dyer

FAYYAZ: munificent, bountiful, liberal, generous

FAZAL: confer benefit, kindness, favour, obliged, bestow, grant, award

FIDA: ransom, consecration, sacrifice

FIRDAUS: paradise

G

GITA: song of God

GHAFOOR: forgiver. AI-Ghafoor...an attribute of Allah

GHULAM: boy, youth, lad, slave, servant

GHUL-AFROZ: sunflower

GOKAL/GOKAR Village where Lord Krishna was born

GULBANU: lady of rose, rose-checked lady

GULNAR: scarlet, the flower of the pomegranate

GUL.SHAN: a rose garden

GULZAR: well populated town

H

HABIB: favorite, friend, lover, dear one

HABIBAH: beloved, sweetheart

HADI: one who guides. Al-Hadi, an attribute of Allah

HAFIZ: keeper, protective, guardian, preserver, one who has memorized the whole Quran

HAFIZA: one with a good memory

HAKIM: philosopher, sage, physician, wise man

HALIM: mild, gentle, humane

HAUAM: mild, humane, humble

HANIF: true, believer, follower of religion

HASINA: comely, beautiful,

HASSAN: handsome, handsome

HATIM: generous, from a generous king called HATIMTAI

HIKMAT: wisdom, sagacity, rationale, philosophy

HUSSEIN: virtuous

I

IMTIYAZ: distinction, mark of honour, special right

INAYAT: favor, kindness, bounty, support, aid

IQBAL: drawing near, advance, approach, arrival, advent, response

IZZAT: honour, respect

J

JAMAL: most beautiful

JAMEEL: more and most beautiful

JAMI one who gathers, Al-Jami, an attribute of Allah

JAUHAR: jewel, gem, skill, merit, virtue

JAVID: eternal, everlasting

JEHAN: world, universe

JINA/JINNAH Lord Vishnu

JIVRAJ: Lord of life

JUMA: gathering, congregation, collecting, Friday

K

KABIR: great, large, opposite of Saghir

KAMAL: perfect, complete, and excellent

KARIM: generous, magnanimous. At-Karim, an attribute of Allah

KAUSAR: a stream of nectar in paradise

KHALIQ: creator, Al-Khaliq, an attribute

KHANOOM: wife of a Khan, a lady, a woman of rank

KHATOON: lady, matron

KULSUM: to kiss, strike or wound

L

LATIF: kindness, grace, singular of Altaf

LEILA: night

LUTFU- LLAH: grace of God


M

MAHABANU: moon-faced lady, beloved, beautiful

MAHBOOB: friend, beloved, sweetheart

MAHMUD: praiseworthy, recommendable qualities, virtues

MAIMUNA: made secure or safe

MAJID: honorable, the glorious, Ai-Majid, an attribute of Allah

MANSOOR: aided, supported (by God), victorious triumphant

MANZOOR: seen, visible, foreseen

MAQSOOD: intent, design, object, aim, view

MEHBOOBA: sweetheart, beloved

MEHDI: guide, one who is ted in the right way messiah

MEHRUN: kindness, favour affection, prosperity

MIRZA: son of a nobleman, title used by the Persians

MOHAMMED: praiseworthy

MUBARAK: blessed

MUBEEN: manifest, evident, dear

MUJIB: cause, reason, motive, one who accepts prayers, an epithet of God

MUKHTAR: chosen, selected, invested with authority autonomous

MUMTAZ: distinguished, exceptional, top-notch, superior, rare

MANAWAR: brilliant, illuminated, enlightened,

MUNAZAR: similar, like, equal, rival

MUNIR: luminous, radiant, brilliant, illuminative

MUNIRA: luminous, radiant

MURAD: desire, will, inclination, end, purport

MURTAZA: chosen, approved, one of the epithets of Hadhrat

MUSHTAQ: longing, yearning, craving

MUSTAPHA: the chosen one, an epithet of Prophet Mohammed

MUZAFFAR: victorious, successful, triumphant

N

NAAZ: blandishment, coquetry, whims

NABAT: vegetation, plant, grass, vegetable

NADIA: moist, damp, tender, delicate

NADIM: friend, intimate, confident

NADIR: rare, wonderful, uncommon, precious

NAFISA: pure, delicate, precious, refined,

NAHID: active, rising or getting up, energetic

NAIMA: pleasures, benefits

NAIMET: favour, blessings, gracious, delight, ease, comfort, delicacy

NAJMA: star, constellation

NAJMUDDIN: star of the religion

NARGIS: narcissus

NARMIN: softness, mildness, delicacy, fluency

NASEEM: breeze, gate, fragrant. Zephyr

NASEH: sincere, friend, sympathizer

NASHILA: inebriant, intoxicating

NASIR: friend, assistant, helper, defender, Ai-Nasir- an attribute of Allah

NASRIN: wild rose

NAUSHAD: to seek, took or search for, implore, adjure

NAVAZ: cherisher, musician

NAVROZ: New Years Day March 21st

NAZAHAT: exemption from anything bad, purity (Of life)

NAZIM: governor, poet, composer

NAZIR: example, inspector, supervisor, precedent

NAZIRA: eye, sight, vision, headmistress, matron

NAZMA: order, arrangement, institution, organization, verse, string of pearls, poetry

NAZNIN: a delicate woman, sweetheart

NIGAR: painting, picture, portrait, idol, belle

NILUFAR: lotus, water, lily

NISARA: helper, aider, assistant

NIYAZ: petition, prayer, an offering, a thing dedicate

NIZAM: order, custom, governor, string of pearls

NIZAR: lookers on, gift, an offering

NOORBAND: lady of light

NURJEHAN: light of the world


O

OMAR: to live long, longevous


P

PARVEEN: duster of stars, the Pleiades

Q

QADIR:powerful, al-Qadir... an attribute of Allah

QAMAR: UDDIN:the moon of religion

QASSIM: distributor...AI-Qassim, an attribute of Ai

QAYYUM: self-subsisting, ever-living, eternal Al-Qayyum, an attribute of Allah

QUTBUDDIN: pole/pivot of religion


R


RABIA: summer, spring harvest

RAFI: high-ranking, lofty, exquisite, subtle, artistic

RAFIQ: companion, escort, friend buddy

RAHEMAN: beneficent, merciful, forgiving, Al-Ri an attribute of Allah

RAHEMAT: divine, compassion, mercy, favour

RAHIM: merciful, compassionate, AI-Rahim., an attribute of Allah

RAJAB: 7th month of the Muslim calendar

RAJANI/RAJNI: of the night(born at night-dark skinned

RAMZAN: also Ramadhan, 9th month of the Muslim calendar, the month of fasting

RASHID: Follower of the right path, one who directs. At Rashid, an attribute of Allah

RAZIA: to be satisfied, be content, to consent, approve

REZA contentment, satisfaction, content, assent

RIAZ: practice, exercise, spiritual exercise, relaxation, meadow, garden

RIFAT: high ranking, elevation, height

RIZWAN: consent, assent, sanction, approve, delight angel at die gate of Paradise

ROSEMIN flower

RUKHNUDDIN: the face of religion

RUKHSANA: good-cheeked face

RUSTAM:brave man,one of the heros of Persia.


S

SABIR: patience

SADIQ: just, true, sincere, faithful

SADRUDDIN: leader, commander of religion

SAFINA: ship

SAGHIR: small, petty, tiny, opposite of Kabir

SAHIR: magician, conjurer

SADIQ: just, true, sincere, faithful

SADRUDDIN: leader, commander of religion

SAFINA: ship

SAGHIR: small, petty, tiny, opposite of Kabir

SAHIR: magician, conjurer

SAHRA: a sandy desert

SAIDA: happy, blissful

SAIFUDDIN: sword of religion

SAIFULLAH: sword of Allah

SAJJAD: one who bows, prostrates in pray

SAKAR: sugar, sweet

SALIM: safe, sound, perfect, whole, peace

SALIMA: peaceful, sound, serene

SALMA: safe, secure, peaceful

SHABNAM: dew, dewdrop

SHAFIQ: affectionate, kind

SHAHBANU: royal lady, wife of a shah

SHAHBAZ: a royal falcon

SHAHIN: falcon

SHAHZADA: prince

SHAHZADI: princess

SHAIDA: madly in love

SHAKEEL: handsome, comely, well formed

SHAMIL: comprising, including, blended (with) united (to), confederated

SHAMIM: to smell, sniff, snuff, to emanate

SHAMSHER: sword

SHAMSUDDIN: the sun of religion

SHAREEF: noblest, distinguished

SHAUKAT: dignity, magnificence, grandeur,

SHIKOH: grandeur, pomp, majesty

SHIRAZ: place where books are bound

SHIRIN: sweet, pleasant

SIRAJUDDIN: lamp, light of religion

SUHAIL: Canopus (astronomy)

SULTAN: king, emperor, monarch

SURAYA: light


T


TAHER: pure, chaste

TAJ: crown, plume, crest, cap

TAJDIN: crown of religion

TAUB: searcher, questor, wisher

TAMER: building, construction, structure

TANVEER: flowering, bloom, blossoming, enlightening, efflorescence

TAQI: pious, devout, righteous, virtuous

TARIQ: path, way, road, manner, observances

TASUM: salutations, homage, greeting, turning over, presentation

TAUFIQ: divine guidance, grace, resources

TAZIM: aggrandisement, exaltation, glorification


Y

YASMIN: Jasmin


Z


ZAFAR: to be triumphant, victorious

ZAHID: monk, recluse, devotee

ZAHIR: apparent, ascendant over all.AI-Zahirl attribute of Allah

ZAHRA: glare, glow, shine, radiant, light, brightness, an epithet of Bibi Fatiml

ZAHID: increasing, growing, excessive, extra, additional

ZAIN: beautiful, pretty, nice

ZAINAB: beauty, beautiful, nice, pretty

ZAITOON: olive, olive tree

ZAKI: acute, sharp, clever, ingenious

ZAKIR: a grateful person, one who praises God

ZAMAN: time, period, era, age, world

ZAMURAD: emerald

ZARIN: golden

ZEBA: becoming, befitting, proper, graceful

ZOHRA: the planet Venus

ZUBEIDA: butter, cream, essence, elite