Osama Bin Laden - Name

Name

There is no universally accepted standard for transliterating Arabic words and Arabic names into English; bin Laden's name is most frequently rendered "Osama bin Laden". The FBI and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as well as other U.S. governmental agencies, have used either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin". Less common renderings include "Ussamah bin Ladin" and, in the French-language media, "Oussama ben Laden". Other spellings include "Binladen" or, as used by his family in the West, "Binladin". The decapitalization of bin is based on the convention of leaving short prepositions and articles uncapitalized in surnames; however, bin means "son of" and is not, strictly speaking, a preposition or article. The spellings with o and e come from a Persian-influenced pronunciation also used in Afghanistan, where bin Laden spent many years.

Osama bin Laden's full name, Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, means "Osama, son of Mohammed, son of Awad, son of Laden". "Mohammed" refers to bin Laden's father Mohammed bin Laden; "Awad" refers to his grandfather, Awad bin Aboud bin Laden, a Kindite Hadhrami tribesman; "Laden" refers not to bin Laden's great-grandfather, who was named Aboud, but to a more distant ancestor.

The Arabic linguistic convention would be to refer to him as "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", not "bin Laden" alone, as "bin Laden" is a patronymic, not a surname in the Western manner. According to bin Laden's son Omar bin Laden, the family's hereditary surname is "al-Qahtani" (Arabic: القحطاني‎, āl-Qaḥṭānī), but bin Laden's father Mohammed bin Laden never officially registered the name.

Osama bin Laden had also assumed the kunyah "Abū ʿAbdāllāh" ("father of Abdallah"). His admirers have referred to him by several nicknames, including the "Prince" or "Emir" (الأمير, al-Amīr), the "Sheik" (الشيخ, aš-Šayḫ), the "Jihadist Sheik" or "Sheik al-Mujahid" (شيخ المجاهد, al-Muǧāhid Šayḫ), "Hajj" (حج, Ḥaǧǧ), and the "Director". The word ʾusāmah (أسامة) means "lion", earning him the nicknames "Lion" and "Lion Sheik".

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