Names and Dates


Schimmel, Annemarie. Islamic Names. Edinburgh, 1989. (RFA 79.58.79)

A guide to the structure and uses of personal names in Arab & non-Arab Islamic cultures.

Beeston, A.F.L. Arabic Nomenclature: A Summary Guide for Beginners. Oxford, 1971 – online

A brief (8 pp.) guide to classical Arabic names. This guide will help determine how to locate names in biographical & bio-bibliographical works, such as Brockelmann and Sezgin, and in library catalogs.

Bosworth, C. E. The New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Handbook. rev. ed. New York, 1996. (RFA ; also at wid, div)

Names and dates of Muslim rulers from the Prophet Muhammad to the 20th c., from Islamic Spain and the Maghreb to Central Asia and India; names not in Bosworth can often be found in The Encyclopaedia of Islam  or in the French or Arabic editions of Zambaur:

Zambaur, E. von. Manuel de généalogie et de chronologie pour l'histoire de l'Islam. Hannover, 1927; reprt. 1955. (wid: Asia 1540.20F)

For the difficult cases, there's also a substantially revised & enlarged Arabic edition of Zambaur:

Mu‘jam al-ansāb wa-al-‘usrāt al-ḥākimah fī-al-ta'rīkh al-Islāmī. Rev. & enl. by Zaki Muhammad Hasan and Hasan Ahmad Mahmud. Beirut, 1980. (RFA 79.48.200F)


There are a number of websites for converting dates between the various Christian calendars (Gregorian, Julian, Coptic, etc.) and Islamic calendars (lunar Hijri, Persian/Afghan solar Hijri, Ottoman Rumi solar Hijri, etc.) used in the Middle East and the Islamic world.

Gregorian (AD) ↔ lunar Hijri (AH) ↔ Julian (AD)

Gregorian (AD) ↔ lunar Hijri (AH) ↔ Ottoman Rumi solar Hijri

Persian/Afghan solar Hijri ↔ lunar Hijri (AH) ↔ Gregorian (AD)

Coptic calendar ↔ Julian calendar

You may encounter other calendar systems, such as the 12-year Uighur-Chinese animal zodiac cycle (in wide use in the Iranian and Turkic world), the French Revolutionary calendar (in use at the time of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt), the Hebrew calendar, the Bahá'í calendar, etc.  For many of these one can convert dates here.

Unat, Faik Reṣit. Hicrî tarihleri Milâdî tarihe çevirme kılavuzu. 5th ed. Ankara, 1984. (RFA 79.12.3); also available online (pdf).

An easy-to-use, inexpensive paperback (still in print), with tables for converting AD / AH dates. Unat's tables can be used even by those who can't read Turkish. In addition to the usual AH-AD conversion tables, Unat also has conversion tables for the Ottoman solar Hijri calendar (Mali/Rumi), needed for converting dates from the late-Ottoman period.

Spuler, B. & J. Mayr (eds.) Wüstenfeld-Mahlersche Vergleichungs-Tabellen zur muslimischen und iranischen Zeitrechnung. 3rd revised ed. Wiesbaden, 1961. (RFA 79.12.1)

This is to Unat what Zambaur is to Bosworth: a comprehensive series of calendar conversion tables, covering almost every conceivable conversion conundrum (Julian-Gregorian-lunar Hijri-solar Hijri-Coptic-Syriac, etc.); instructions for use, in English, are found in a pocket in back of the book.