Arabic baby names are inspired by history, the elements and nature. Yes, nature. 

In fact, many Arab men and women are named after strong and graceful wild animals. This method of choosing names has its roots in the history of ancient Arab and Middle Eastern culture, where the influence of the surrounding environment and nature extended to the process of choosing a meaningful and powerful name. 

Here are 10 of the most popular Arabic names, inspired by nature. 

1. Laith ليث

A very popular name for a baby boy. The origin of this name is Arabic and it means 'the powerful lion'; 'the strongest in the pride'. In the Arabic language there are more than 300 names that are inspired by the king of the jungle and Laith is probably the most popular of them all.

2. Fahed فهد

Another name inspired by a jungle animal, Fahed - meaning leopard - denotes power and supremacy. In Arabic, Fahed refers to the 'short tempered and angry leopard that loves to sleep for long hours'.

3. Rasha رشا

The meaning of the name Rasha is 'gazelle'. Another meaning for it is 'small tree'.

4. Shaheen شاهين

Wild birds have significant status in the Arab culture, that’s why there are many male names inspired by these animals. One of them is Shaheen, meaning ‘royal white falcon’.  It also means 'hot-tempered falcon with long, strong wings'. The name is especially popular in GCC countries, Iraq, Iran and Egypt.

5. Daysam ديسم

It is quite a rare name for a boy, but it carries strength and valor. In Arabic, Daysam has more than one meaning. It either refers a baby bear, or a baby fox. In addition to that, Daysam also refers to the extremely dark and black night. So, which meaning would you choose if your name were Daysam?

6. Mahra مهرة

A not-so-common name for a girl, Mahra (meaning: filly) is inspired by one of the most important animals in Arab culture and history: the horse. Mahra, meaning female baby horse, denotes grace, elegance and beauty. Probably the most famous person who bears the name is Mahra, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Ruler of Dubai.

7. Uqab عُقاب

Uqab comes from the verb عَقَبَ, and denotes strength, grace, keenness of vision, and extraordinary flight. In Islam, this name holds significant status because the war flag that was flown by Prophet Muhammad was referred to as “Rayat al Uqab”.

8. Shaden شادن

A poetic and charming name for a female, it means 'baby gazelle strong enough to be on her own in the wild'. Talk about independence! The name comes from the verb شَدَنَ, which denotes strength and grace. Shaden is also a name of an area in Yemen.

9. Maha مها

An ancient and popular name for a girl in many Arab countries, it refers to the shape and color of the eyes of a wild cow. Arab tribes would call their newborn baby girls Maha if they appeared to have big black eyes. In Arabic, Maha also refers to the 'rare jewel' and the 'small spring with crystal clear water'.

10. Yamama يمامة

This name mean 'wild dove', and denotes agility and speed. It’s rather an unusual name for a girl, but there is an ancient myth about a woman named “Zarqa’a al Yamama” who lived in Yemen and had incredible eyesight that allowed her to see as far as the next town!