Abu Family History
Abu Name Meaning
Muslim and Jewish (Sephardic): from Arabic abu ‘father’, in Muslim names used to form the ‘kunya’ (name meaning ‘father of’) in combination with the name of a man’s child, usually his firstborn son. Thus, a man might be addressed as Abu ?Hasan ‘father of Hasan’ rather than by his personal name, say ?Ali. In traditional Muslim society, a man is generally known and addressed by his kunya, rather than by his ism (his personal name), the use of which can seem unduly familiar. Abu-Bakr, literally ‘father of the Young Camel’ is the name by which Muhammad’s son-in-law, the first of the ‘rightly guided’ khalifs (ruled 632–634) is known. Abu-?Talib ‘father of the Seeker’ was an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. Abu-Fadl, ‘father of the Virtuous one’ was the kunya of ?Abbas, another uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. A kunya may also be used to form a nickname, as in the case of Abu-Turab ?Ali ‘Ali, father of dust’, a kunya of Khalif Ali, the fourth of the ‘rightly guided’ khalifs, conferred on him by the Prophet Muhammad.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press