Abdul (also transliterated as Abdal, Abdel, Abdil, Abdol, Abdool, or Abdoul; Arabic: عبد ال, ʿAbd al-) is the most frequent transliteration of the combination of the Arabic word Abd (عبد, meaning "Servant") and the definite prefix al / el (ال, meaning "the").[2]

Pronunciation/ˈæbdʊl/;[1] Arabic: [ʕæbdel, ʕabdɪl, ʕæbdʊl]
Meaningservant of
Other names
See alsoAbdu, Abdi

It is the initial component of many compound names, names made of two words. For example, عبد الحميد, ʿAbd el-Ḥamīd, usually spelled Abdel Hamid, Abdelhamid, Abd El Hamid or Abdul Hamid, which means "servant of The Praised" (God).

The most common use for Abdul by far, is as part of a male given name, written in English. When written in English, Abdul is subject to variable spacing, spelling, and hyphenation.

The meaning of Abdul literally and normally means "Slave of the", but English translations also often translate it to "Servant of the".[3][4]

Spelling variationsEdit

Variations in spelling are primarily because of the variation in pronunciation. Arabic speakers normally pronounce and transcribe their names of Arabic origin according to their spoken Arabic dialects. Therefore, it is pronounced /ʕabdel/ and written Abdel... or Abd El.... However, non-Arabic speakers or Arabic speakers may choose to transcribe the name according to the Literary Arabic pronunciation, which is the language of Quran, pronounced as /ʕabdul/ and written Abdul.... For other variations in spelling, see the Arabic grammar section.


In Arabic language, the word عبد ʿabd means "slave" or "servant", from the triliteral root ع-ب-د ʕ-B-D, which is also related to the word عبادة ʿibādah, "worshiping". Therefore, the word has the positive connotation, in an Islamic sense, of worshiping and praising God, i.e. being a servant to God rather than idols.

Theophoric namingEdit

Essentially there is no Abdul, without the second part when written in Arabic, thus it appears as a component of many Arabic and specifically Muslim names, where it is the opening of a religiously based name, meaning: "Servant of..." with the last component of the name being one of the names of God in Islam, which would form a Muslim Arabic theophoric name. Such as Abdullah simply meaning "Servant of God" while "Abdul Aziz" means "Servant of the Almighty" and so on. The name Abdul Masih, ("Servant of the Messiah") is an Arabic Christian equivalent.

In addition, Abdul is occasionally, though much more rarely, used in reference to a figure other than God. For example, the Indian name Abdul Mughal, ("Servant of the Mughal Empire").

Derived theophoric namesEdit

The most common names are listed below

Arabic grammarEdit

When followed by a sun letter, the l in al (normally pronounced colloquially el) assimilates to the initial consonant of the following noun, resulting in a doubled consonant. For example, "Abdul Rahman", would be pronounced in Literary Arabic: Abdur-Rahman [ʕæbdʊr ræħˈmæːn]. When the definite article is followed by a moon letter, no assimilation takes place.

Therefore, Abdul is not always used as the opening part of the name; if the second part starts with a sun letter, it may become forms including Abdun, Abdur, Abdus, or Abdush, the vowel in each name, similarly with Abdul, is also open to differing transliterations.

Independent namingEdit

Abdul does not appear on its own as a male given name when written in Arabic. In some cultures, the theophoric part may appear to be a stand-alone middle name, or surname, thus confusing people as to whether Abdul is an accepted given name. Often if someone shortens his/her name, he may equally choose the theophoric part or Abdul. However, Abdul by itself is sometimes used as an independent full given first name outside of Arabic-speaking societies. Sometimes Abdul is followed by a word describing Muhammad the Prophet, for example "Abd un Nabi", which means "slave/servant of the prophet".

Given nameEdit


Fictional charactersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. ^ Hanks, P. (2003). Dictionary of American Family Names: 3-Volume Set. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-508137-4. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  3. ^ Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. London: Hurst & Company.
  4. ^ S. A. Rahman (2001). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. New Delhi: Goodword Books.