How To Properly Transliterate Arabic Names Into English?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan


I am a young Muslim teen at 17 yrs old, and I want to change my name soon when I get older. I want to change it to Yunus, but I am confused about how to spell the name correctly. I saw people spell it as Yoonus, Younus, Yunis, etc.

I also want to add a middle name. Is it spelled as Abd Al Qadeer, or is Abdul Qadeer the correct one spelling it? I ask that your explanation gives me an accurate understanding. Is Abdullah also correct, or is it Abd Allah? Please help me with this, as I want a good name.


There is no right or wrong way with regard to the transliteration of names. Different communities generally developed their own transliteration system that others may consider wayward. By way of example, my name is spelled as Abdurragmaan, which is very strange according to many communities, though accepted by mine. Another example would be some Arab communities that would spell Omar with an O rather than Umar with a U. They would say ben, which means son of, with an e, instead of the usual bin with an I.

However, there are standards of transliteration. The most commonly used standard by most scholars and writers would spell the names you asked about as follows:

‘Abd al-Qādir.
‘Abd Allah

It is also common to spell names without diacritical marks. See here by way of example:

Abd al-Qadir.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ‘ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.