Ismail Family History
Ismail Name Meaning
Muslim: from an Arabic personal name, ’Isma?il, name of a Prophet (Biblical Ishmael), son of Ibrahim (Abraham). Ibrahim left his second wife Hajar (Hagar) and their small son Ismail in the wilderness outside Mecca with only a short supply of food and water. Allah took pity on them and caused the well of Zamzam to spurt up in that desolate place, which saved their lives. Later, Ibrahim sought out his son Ismail, and together they built the Ka‘ba in Mecca, towards which all Muslims turn when praying. Arabs believe that Ismail was the founder of the Arab peoples, and for this reason Arabs are sometimes referred to as Ishmaelites. The term Ismaeli is of much more recent origin; it refers to a sect of Shiite Muslims headed by the Aga Khan, who claim descent from the Fatimid dynasty that ruled Egypt and North Africa from 909 to 1171. They take their name from Isma?il al-?Siddiq (699–765), son of the sixth Shiite imam, because they believe that the divine spirit passed to him and not to his brother Musa.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press