When I became a muslim, and later with the birth of my daughter, I was presented with the problem: how do you transliterate عبد الحقّ and تقى   ?

As for my name  عبد الحقّ I decided on Abdulhaq but other options were Abdalhaqq, AbdelHaque and combinations thereof. For my daughter my wife and I selected Tuqa.

So what factors were involved in my decision?

  • It should indicate the approximate pronounciation of the name even to non-arabic speakers
  • Abdulhaqq is a closer transliteration in terms of letter-by-letter and hence is better than AbdelHaque

I chose not to put the doubled-q because it seemed confusing to non-arabic speakers. I chose Abdulhaq over Abdalhaq but we cannot say that one is more correct than the other. From the point of view of arabic grammar both an ‘a’ and a ‘u’ are possible for vowels on the d.

Arabic speakers will note that the initial letter `ayn is omitted in the transliteration. Traditionally the word `abd is transliterated as Abd when in a name, as non-arabic speakers cannot pronounce and usually do not even hear the `ayn anyway.

For Tuqa there was less choice and the other alternative was to use a k instead of the more scholarly q. We chose q and we have found that her teachers, for instance, have no problem reading the name.

By the way, humorously, when I travelled to Syria to get married (which was 4 years after becoming a muslim) my wife’s family asked her: Why did you choose a name for him that is so difficult to pronounce !?

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