Ali (name)

Ali (Arabic: علي, ʿAlī) is a male Arabic name derived from the Arabic root ʕ-l-w, which literally means "high", "elevated" or "champion". Islamic traditional use of the name goes back to the Islamic leader Ali ibn Abi Talib but the name is also present among some pre-Islamic Arabs (e.g. Banu Hanifa, some rulers of Saba and Himyar) and identical in form and meaning to the Hebrew: עֵלִי, Eli, which goes back to the High Priest Eli in the biblical Books of Samuel.

Calligraphic representation of Ali name
PronunciationArabic: [ˈʕalijj]
Persian: [ʔæˈliː]
Turkish: [ˈali]
Urdu: [ʔəˈliː]
Finnish: [ɑli]
MeaningArabic: High, exalted, champion, noble
Finnish: Diminutive of Alexander (other languages) Originated from: Arabia
Region of originArabia (Middle East)
Other names
Variant form(s)Aly, Alli, Alley, Allie, Ally

The name Ali also arises in other traditions. Among English-speakers as short for male and female names starting with "Al-" such as Alice, Alisha, Alistair, Alexander, or Alexandra. In Old Norse, Áli and Åle are alternate forms of Onela. Ali is also a Finnish male given name, derived from Aleksanteri.[1]

Ali also as a last name has become very popular on a global scale due to the spread of Islamic culture throughout the globe. This is especially so in the Caribbean where indentured laborers from South Asia were brought to replace African slave labour at the end of slavery in countries such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.[2]


  • Al-Ali (The Sublimely Exalted), one of the 99 names of God in Islam
  • Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib) (601-661), cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the fourth Caliph in Sunni Islam, and the first Imam in most schools of Shia Islam.
  • Ali ibn Husayn (Zayn al-Abidin) (с. 659 - c. 713), grandson of Ali ibn Abi Talib, fourth infallible Imam in Isma'ili and Twelver Shia Islam.
  • Ali ibn Musa (ar-Reza) (c. 766–818), eighth infallible Imam in Shia Islam.
  • Ali ibn Muhammad (al-Hadi) (c. 829 - c. 868), tenth infallible Imam in Shia Islam.
  • Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari, a Persian Muslim scholar, physician and psychologist

Given male name

Arts and entertainment

Given female name

Arts and entertainment

Middle name


Arts and entertainment
  • Abdulaziz Ali (born 1980), Qatari footballer
  • Hameen Ali (born 1977), American football player
  • Imtiaz Ali (born 1954), former West Indian cricketer
  • Imtiaz Ali, Trinidadian cricketer
  • Jusif Ali (born 2000), Finnish footballer
  • Laila Ali (born 1977), American television personality and former professional boxer who competed from 1999 to 2007, daughter of Muhammad Ali
  • Meral Yıldız Ali (born 1987), Romanian-Turkish female table tennis player
  • Moeen Ali – English cricket player
  • Muhammad Ali (1942–2016; born Cassius Clay), American boxer, activist and philanthropist
  • Mohamed Ali (born 1992), Indian professional footballer
  • Rahman Ali (born 1944; born Rudolph Valentino Clay), American boxer, brother of Muhammad Ali
  • Ahmadu Ali (born 1936), Nigerian politician
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 1969), writer and politician
  • Altab Ali, factory garment worker murdered by three teenagers in a racist attack in East London
  • Ayub Ali Master, founder of the Shah Jalal Restaurant in London, which became a hub for the British Asian community
  • Azad Ali, IT worker and civil servant for the HM Treasury. He is also the Islamic Forum of Europe spokesman, founding chair of the Muslim Safety Forum and vice-chair of Unite Against Fascism
  • Dina Ali, an Indian activist
  • Enam Ali, founder of the British Curry Awards, Spice Business Magazine and Ion TV
  • Hassan Al-Ali, former General Secretary of the Kuwait Boy Scouts Association
  • Ilias Ali, Bangladeshi politician, Organising Secretary of the Bangladesh National Party
  • Jobeda Ali, social entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker and Chief Executive of Three Sisters Care
  • Kazim Ali (born 1971), American poet, novelist, essayist, and professor
  • Mahbub Ali, Bangladeshi politician and Member of Parliament
  • Mahmud Ali (statesman), Indian Freedom Movement leader, statesman
  • Mockbul Ali, British diplomat and former Islamic Issues Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Munsur Ali – British film producer, screenwriter and director
  • Muhammad Shamsi Ali (born 1967), Indonesian-American Muslim scholar
  • Siraj Ali – British Bangladeshi restaurateur and philanthropist
  • Nasim Ali, UK Labour Party politician, councillor and former Mayor of Camden
  • Noble Drew Ali (1886–1929), founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America
  • Ragib Ali, industrialist, pioneer tea-planter, educationalist, philanthropist and banker
  • Rushanara Ali (born 1975), British politician
  • Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948), Turkish novelist and journalist
  • Safiye Ali (1891–1952), Turkish physician
  • Saleem Ali (born 1973), Pakistani-American scholar
  • Salim Ali (1896–1987), Indian ornithologist and naturalist
  • Samina Ali, Indian-American author and activist
  • Sarfraz Ali (born c. 1977), convicted of the racially motivated murder of Ross Parker
  • Shohid Ali, Bengali advocate
  • Sonni Ali (died 1492), first king of the West African Songhai empire
  • Syed Mohammad Ali (1928–1993), Bangladeshi journalist, founder of Bangladesh The Daily Star
  • Syed Mohsin Ali, former Minister of Social Welfare
  • Syed Mujtaba Ali, author, journalist, travel enthusiast, academician, scholar and linguist

Derived names




Stage name or pseudonym

Fictional characters

  • Ali (character), a Chinese cartoon character
  • Ali (House), a character in the television series House
  • Ali Baba, a character in the folk tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
  • Ali Bombay, a character in the television series M.A.S.K.
  • Ali Osman, a character in the soap opera EastEnders
  • Ali Al-Saachez, a character in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam 00
  • Ali, a character in The Land Before Time IV: Journey to the Mists

See also


  1. Kustaa Vilkuna, Marketta Huitu and Pirjo Mikkonen. Etunimet, published in Joka kodin suuri nimikirja. Suuri Suomalainen Kirjakerho, 1990.
  2. ">Top 25 Surnames in T&T".
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