Hausa Names and Meaning

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Hausa is a major cultural group located in Northern Nigeria, and they are mostly Muslims. This is a list of Hausa names and their meanings.

The Hausa ethnic is the largest ethnic group in Africa. Hausa is the second largest language after Arabic in the Afroasiatic family of languages.

The Hausa-speaking communities are scattered throughout West Africa. The Hausa people are over 70 million, with populations in Nigeria, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Gana, Senegal, the Gambia, and Gabon.

In Nigeria, most people regard the Northern part as predominantly Hausa, but this is not so, as we have some minor tribe and religion in that part of the country that are not Hausas.

In this article, we list some Hausa names and their meaning:

  1. Adamu – Adam
  2. Ali – excellent or noble
  3. Aminu – reliable and trustworthy person.
  4. Amir – A ruler, prince or commander
  5. Aisha – to live in prosperity.
  6. Amina – safe protected and secure.
  7. Asmau – loftier or eminent personality
  8. Atikah – of a pure heart
  9. Asabe – child born on Saturday.
  10. Balaraba – female child born on Wednesday
  11. Balarabe – male child born on Wednesday
  12. Bashir – someone who brings good news.
  13. Bilal – a companion of the prophet.
  14. Danasabe – child born on Saturday
  15. Danjuma – male child born on Friday
  16. Danladi – male child born on Sunday
  17. Danlami – male child born on Thursday
  18. Faidah – advantage
  19. Faiqah – someone who surpasses excellence
  20. Fatimah – daughter of the prophet
  21. Faizu – victorious
  22. Faruq – the distinguisher of truth from falsehood
  23. Faisal – decisive
  24. Fuad – heart
  25. Gambo – a child after twins
  26. Hassan – first boy in a set of twins
  27. Hassana – twin girl
  28. Hussain – second boy in a set of twins
  29. Hussaina – twin girl
  30. Habibah – beloved
  31. Hafsah – wife of the prophet
  32. Halimah – gentle heart
  33. Hamidah – appreciative
  34. Habib – beloved
  35. Hadi – calm person
  36. Hafiz a guardian or protector
  37. Hamzah – lion
  38. Imam – leader
  39. Isa – Jesus
  40. Ismaila – Ishmael
  41. Jummai – female child born on Friday
  42. Jamilah: a beautiful, elegant and graceful person.
  43. Jalil – exalted
  44. Jamal – beauty and grace
  45. Jibril – archangel
  46. Kaka – grandmother
  47. Khamees – female child born on Thursday
  48. Khamisa – female child born on Thursday
  49. Khadijah – wife of prophet Muhammad
  50. Kubra – a senior person or someone with higher authority.
  51. Kamil – complete or perfect
  52. Khalifah – a successor
  53. Ladi – female child born on Sunday
  54. Lami – female child born on Thursday
  55. Lantana – female child born on Monday
  56. Laraba – female child born on Wednesday
  57. Larai – female child born on Wednesday.
  58. Latifah – kind and gentle heart
  59. Lubabah – the innermost essence
  60. Musa – Moses
  61. Mansurah – supporter
  62. Maryam – mother of Jesus
  63. Maimuna – blessing
  64. Mahmud – praised
  65. Mansur – aided
  66. Mushin – benevolent
  67. Mustafa – chosen
  68. Nabilah – nobility
  69. Nafisah – precious, rare gem
  70. Naimah – enjoying blessing of God
  71. Rabiah – fourth
  72. Rahmah – kind and compassionate
  73. Ruqayyah – name of the prophet daughter
  74. Rahid – righteous
  75. Safiyah – pure and serene heart
  76. Sakinah –peace of mind
  77. Salimah – a jovial companion
  78. Shukriyah – thanksgivings
  79. Sumayyah – a proper name
  80. Salim – safe
  81. Talatu – female child born on Tuesday
  82. Tahir – pure
  83. Umar – lifetime
  84. Usman – companion
  85. Yakubu – Jacob
  86. Yohanna – john
  87. Yusuf – Joseph
  88. Zahrah – flower
  89. Zakiyyah – pure
  90. Zainab – name of prophet daughter
  91. Zaytum – olive
  92. Zubaydah – radiant

How Hausas name their children

  • The Hausas, like many other ethnic groups in Nigeria, may pick a name based on events (which can be good or bad) surrounding the birth of the child. For instance, the Hausa Ajuji meaning ‘born on a rubbish heap’ is given to a child who is ‘born to die’ so as to deceive evil spirits.
  • Hausas may name their child according to the order of birth. For instance, ‘Hassan’ is given to the first child of a Hausa family.
  • Hausas may also name their children according to how their birth corresponds with the days of the week. For instance, ‘Danjuma’ is a name given to a child born on Friday.
  • Most Hausas’ names reflect the Islamic belief or faith. ‘Isa’ is the Islamic name for Jesus and ‘Musa’ is for Moses.

See: Yoruba Names And Their Meanings

Before you leave… help us build the most extensive list of Hausa names and their meanings. Use the comment box below to drop any name we missed. Please??

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,
    Well done on making an effort. But only 13 of these names are Hausa. All the rest are actually Arabic. Heres an excerpt from an interesting post on kanoonline.com that explains this phenomenon in Hausa land.

    ''It is true that authentic Hausa names are disappearing, and being replaced with more "stylistic" modern ones, some based on Arabic (rather than Islamic) practices, while others are reflections of a new dynamism of nomenclature. I argue, however, that such transformations are essentially urban; and even within urban settings, elitist. Somehow I don't see the daughter of a Dan Achaba (motor cycle taxi driver) calling him "Daddy", which is a common parental referent for the DSTV generation of parents; nor the ground-nut-selling-at-motor-park daughter of a village woman calling her mother "Mommy".

    I am guilty of such stylized naming myself. My children are Ibtihal, Intissar, Munzir and Ifrah. The first two — female — are words (piety, victory) but used within an Islamic context. Munzir is Muhammad, while Ifrah is a straightforward word which means happiness. She was given name after we lost Mutahhar (another Muhammad) and we see her as a joy-bringer. Now imagine if we had called her "Madadi" or "Farin Ciki"! Ethnic psychology is at work here. For instance, a niece of mine is called Mahjubah — veil/curtain. Imagine her being called "Labule" Mahjubah gives here a stylistic distinction — being lost in meaning — that somehow gives the impression of ultra-coolness, even though it has no spiritual connotation to Islam. Give a typical Hausa urbanite a choice between Yassar and Maikudi, he'd probably chose Yassar — yet the mean the same thing! The traditional Hausa names, despite being unfashionable, ARE reflections of Hausa identity, for they are unique to the Hausa, no one else. Adopting the stylized names is not necessarily a reflection of being modern, it simply a denial of identity. So why do we shift away from the traditional Hausa names? I think the main answer is a desire to cleanse our collective memory of the antecedent Maguzanci (Hausa paganistic totemism) and reaffirm either a more Islamic, or more neutral globalized identity, especially among urban elites.The Muslim Hausa of Nigeria is unique in this process by shifting away from the ancestral naming. Yoruba Muslims, for instance, often retain their totemistic traditional names (e.g. Abdulganiyyu Adekunle); not the Muslim Hausa. For the Hausa, "suna linzami" (your name leads you) and as Qur'an reveals the name is a critical referent to your own personality. The Ethnic Psychology I referred to gives modern Muslim Hausa a window of opportunity of adopting Arabic-sounding names that give them a psychological affinity with Islam, even if the Arabic names themselves have no meaning superior to their Hausa equivalents — for not all Arabs are Muslim (something which many Hausa find difficult to understand).Thus giving your child a more traditional name (whose meaning is often lost) might be seen as harking back to Maguzanci status — as I said, it is really psychological, not cultural''

    What names do the Hausa give themselves BEFORE the advent of Islam

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