Guests wanting to sign-up as members MUST first introduce themselves in detail at Zainab's Lounge, accessible from Muslim Villa's Guestbook Board (top sticky post titled "Zainab's Lounge"). Approval of members is at the discretion of the MV Team. You have arrived at a place of serious learning through mutual consultation where we have zero tolerance for trouble-makers, narcissists and needless disputants. We simply stand for what is compatible with the Sublime Quran regardless of titles such as "traditionalism" or "modernism."
Muslim Villa
November 14, 2019, 03:31:35 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
  Home Help Search Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Origin of the name "Khan"


+-
Shoutbox
May 30, 2019, 06:15:49 am Zeynab: Alhudulilah, yes sister Ruhi.  Time flies in this fleeting world.  May Allah The Almighty accept our hard work in the permanent world.  That's the real success.
May 30, 2019, 03:43:58 am Ruhi_Rose: Jumaa-tul-widaa (farewell to Ramadan) tomorrow Friday 31.  How time flies!  Ya Allah, keep us close to Your mercy.
March 16, 2019, 02:21:19 am N. Truth Seeker: We at MV express our deepest sympathy for our sisters & brothers who became victims of terror attacks while offering their Jumma prayers in the Masjids in NZ.
Our post in this regard @ Zainab's Lounge.
October 09, 2018, 09:50:31 pm Ruhi_Rose: Salam brother.  Very easy. First click on the board title you wish to post in.  You'll find main board topics below and sub-boards (default label "child boards") above.  If you wish to post in main board click "new topic" button on top left.  If you wish to post in any of the sub-boards, click on that sub board title and then click "new topic" button on above left side.  You'll get the format for typing your post, then click "post" button below.
October 06, 2018, 12:46:27 pm momin: how can i post things here if i have something to post. Smiley
 Smiley
September 14, 2018, 12:33:22 am Ruhi_Rose: Yes br. TS, that's a very important article to read.
September 14, 2018, 12:08:22 am N. Truth Seeker: Thank u.  Allah bless u for remembering, sister.   Also reminding our guests to read: The traditional declaration of fasting on the 10th of Muharram .... the real story behind it. Same article in the blog too.
September 13, 2018, 11:09:22 pm Zeynab: Muharram 1440 A.H.
Please read why our Islamic new year is full of tragic memories.
View Shout History
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Send this topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: Origin of the name "Khan"  (Read 88 times)
Ruhi_Rose
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3102



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« on: November 02, 2019, 11:53:41 pm »



Sister Zeynab .... Salam Sis!   Would you know how this very common name, "Khan," spread among the Muslims in South Asia?  Is it really a Muslim word?  Does it have any kind of Muslim origin?   It's certainly NOT a Quranic term, we know that for sure.   So, what's the meaning of the name 'Khan?'  Any details would be informative for me and everyone I guess.   
Report Spam   Logged

N. Truth Seeker
Quiet guy technology nerd | TEAM MUSLIM VILLA
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2204



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2019, 11:56:51 pm »



In the Middle-East it's a common noun, like in old Arabic and Farsi 'khan' is the synonym of a serai.    I wouldn't know about South Asia.  If Sister Zeynab has some details, I would like to know too.
Report Spam   Logged

Ruhi_Rose
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3102



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 12:00:07 am »



A serai?  That means a small residential hotel, right?   

In South Asia I think it comes a different path so it's used as a proper noun, probably the commonest name in the region, mostly for Muslims of the region as I presume.


Report Spam   Logged

N. Truth Seeker
Quiet guy technology nerd | TEAM MUSLIM VILLA
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2204



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 12:03:36 am »




A serai?  That means a small residential hotel, right?   ......

 

Yeah, more like a rest house or inn used as transit by travelers.

Report Spam   Logged

Zeynab
TEAM MV Founder
Admin
Hero Member
*
Posts: 4630



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 12:14:41 am »



Wa'salaam sister and brother.   That's a thought provoking question.  Give me just one day and I'll be back, InshAllah, with some properly researched facts.  That name certainly does have a history and no, it doesn't have an Islamic origin.

Brother TS, absolutely right about it's interpretation in the Middle-East.  InshAllah, will elaborate a bit on that too in my write-up response.


 
Report Spam   Logged

Heba E. Husseyn
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA Villa Artisan
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3625



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 12:49:51 am »



I too would be keen to learn why that name is so, so common among Pak, Ind, and BD Muslims.   There are about 20 or 25 folks from South Asia at our neighborhood Islamic Center & Masjid, rest are from ME.  Out of those 20 or so SA folks, about half of them carry the surname 'khan.'

Right brother TS about serai.


Report Spam   Logged

Zeynab
TEAM MV Founder
Admin
Hero Member
*
Posts: 4630



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 09:52:19 pm »



Salaams again dear folks.  Alhumdulilah, I'm back with some info I compiled from the most authentic and impartial of historical sources I could find.  So let me piece them together so the readers can understand.

Unlike Wikipedia referring to Khan as "a title of unknown origin,"  it's origin is certainly very much known.

The word 'Khan' meaning "king or leader or lord"' is said to be of Turkic origin from the languages of Central Asia (or Mongolia).  But just about no one ever used it in the Turkish peninsula (Anatolia) as a surname nor as a title.  More on that later.  Focusing on its use in Central Asia or Mongolia, Genghis Khan for instance, can be translated to King Genghis.  And  'Khan' as a personal surname can be viewed as the English equivalent of the surname 'King' (as in Martin Luther King Jr.).  

Khan originated as an honorific title  among the nomadic tribes of Central and Eastern steppes of Mongolia in ancient times.  The common natives of Mongolia were, and still are, pagans - Buddhists and Shamans.   Mongolia lies east of Kazakhstan and just north of China.  The entire area from Mongolia to Kazakhstan including the countries to the south - Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan - is known as Central Asia.  Kazakhstan and those smaller states to its south are Muslim majority at present, but not during the times of the early Mongols.  Refer to Map 1 below to get an idea of the geographical layout under discussion. 

The title of 'Khan' was initially used in the Rouran Khaganate (ancient nomadic people/tribe that descended from the Mongols of northern China), followers of Buddhism, and later across Afghanistan and South Asia (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh).  The Chinese Rourans are noted for being the first community to use the title of "khan" and "khagan" describing their leadership or empire.  Rouran Khaganate existed from the 4th to the 6th centuries.   At present, Khan is a common personal surname among Muslims in Afghanistan and South Asia.



The name 'Khan' does not have an Islamic root as the names 'Muhammed' or 'Ahmed' for example.  The title and name 'Khan' is of Buddhist origin that gradually got linked with Muslims after conversion to Islam of the much later generation of Mongols, and then it spread into South Asia through the various conquerors and as a surname after the conversion of many Indians to Islam.  That's in a nutshell. 

Let us examine this part of history more closely.  

Afghanistan was ruled by the Mongol Khaganate in the early 1200s.  That makes it quite obvious that the Afghan locals picked up the tribal title 'khan' from the Mongol warlords.  However Buddhism came to ancient Afghanistan way back in 300 BC, brought by the Greek Seleucid empire.  In this era, Afghanistan was known as Ariana.  Buddhism in Afghanistan started to fade with the arrival of Islam in the 7th century.  It finally ended completely after the coming of the Ghaznavids in the 10th century. 

Historians presume Buddhism penetrated into Mongolia from Nepal in ancient times.

Also take a look at the old Khazaria empire (Map 2 below), north of the Black Sea, practicing the pagan Shamanism religion and converting to Judasim in the 7th century.  Khazaria empire existed across southern Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, western Kazakhstan, and northwestern Uzbekistan.  Thus, a portion of Khazaria was located in Central Asia consisting of the similar Turkic ethnic groups.   The entire Khazar empire was also known as the Khazar 'Khanate,' the same terminology coming from the Mongols of Central Asia.  Just for your information,  those Khazars (who later became Jews) belonging to the western part of the Khazar empire which included southern Russia, Ukraine and Crimea (also known as the northern Caucasus) began migrating to eastern Europe (viz Spain and Italy) in the 8th century and then to western Europe (mainly Germany, Austria, Poland) and Britain after the Spanish inquisition in 1492 that ended Muslim rule in Spain.   In western Europe they were known as the 'Ashkenazis' alluding to European Jews.  These are the people occupying Palestine at present, falsely claiming to be descendants of "Semite Arab Jews" of the Middle-East after their 'diaspora' ... not from the Middle-East but from the northern Caucasus!   Hilarious!! 



Back to the topic .. ..

Contrary to the flagrant misconception that 'Khan' is an Arabic, Persian or Turkish word, it's neither.  As already discussed, it started as a hereditary (honorific) title among Tartar and Mongolian tribesmen (e.g. Genghis Khan, Chaughtai Khan, Halagu Khan etc. who were the staunchest enemies of Islam). They were all pagans.  Most of them were followers of Buddhism, some also followed Shamanism and Tengrism.   Khan is basically derived from the term 'Khaqan' (Khanate), honorific title of Mongols and their empire.  This was also the title of the Khazaria empire.   Thus, the title Khan crept into Afghanistan and the South Asian belt from the same region and with the same connotation.

But in Persia, the Arab world and the Turkish peninsula (Analolia), the term 'khan' carries a totally different definition from a different origin, and the definition is very simple - a traveler's inn or a serai (also known as caravan-serai).  These were roadside inns where wayfarers and caravaners stopped and took a break.  These inns were places for resting and recovering from the fatigue of the journey.  Apart from the brief period during which in Persia  'Khan' was a title only for Safavid governors, it's neither been taken as a name nor a title anywhere in the Middle East.  It simply refers to a serai or wayfarers' inn.  

In Persia a serai was built as a large rest house in the suburbs, or as a smaller inn within the town.    This was called a khan (خان) in Persian.  Most probably it came from  خانات (khanaat) which means a 'box' or a 'space' denoting a living space, for example, as in خانا الكعبة (Khana-al-Kaaba).    In the Arab world, it means the same.   For instance, Iraq's oldest inn that was later turned into a students' hostel built by Aminuddin Murjan in 1357 (a century after the Abbasids) is called "Khan Murjan."   The term "khan" covers both definitions, a roadside inn as well as an inn inside the town.  In Turkish, the word is rendered as 'han' or more precisely, the 'Ottoman han.'  That's the Turkish pronunciation, but it's the same word, also in use in medieval Bosnia arriving via the Ottoman conquest.   This is something much larger than a wayfarers' inn.  An Ottoman Turkish han typically comprised of a residential hotel, a stable, a storehouse and a wholesale outlet.  But briefly, the term for all traditional Turkish inns is 'han.'   The history of 'han' is so interesting!

Briefly put, the term خان in the Middle-East neither has the same definition nor the same origin as the name خان  in South Asia and Afghanistan.


Image above: Art of an Ottoman han (serai) in medieval Turkey.

Here's a clarification of a widespread misbelief and miscalculation that's even more common than the title or name 'khan.'  Simply because of the traditional notion defining the title 'Khan' of "Turkic" origin doesn't mean it arises from Turkey  Grin   That would be quite a crassy and comical mistake.  "Turkic"  refers to the entire Central Asian region, and ethnicity-wise there's a vast difference between 'Turks' and 'Turkics.'   Turkic people are a big bunch of ethno linguistic community speaking languages of the Turkic language family.  Turkish people, on the other hand, are a Turkic group that is specifically native to Anatolia (the Turkish peninsula) and speak Turkish.   That makes them hugely different.  Also, to presume that Turks in Turkey are related to the Turkic people or originate from the Turkic race holds little or no truth.   Turks from Turkey are mainly a mixture of West-Asians (NOT Central Asian) and Europeans.  Turkish belongs to the Altay branch languages, same as Finnish and Hungarian.  I suppose one can refer to the Turks and the Turkish language as the western-most of the 'Turkic' segment.  That's as far as the comparison goes.  Turkish is certainly not the same as Turkic.

One may wonder how the name 'Khan' got so damn common in the Indian subcontinent?   Initially in Mughul India the title of 'khan' was mostly restricted to courtiers.  According to some bits of history, it was introduced in India via  the Timurid dynasty in 1398, who were Muslims.  Timur (also known as Tamerlane) was a descendant of the Mongols from his father's side, but by his time, they had converted to Islam.  As a result, the personal surname 'Khan' got associated with the Islamic ethnic identity in South Asia, but as a surname it wasn't linked to any titles.  Some authors and travelers claim that some segments of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians also had/have the surname 'Khan.'

Certain other sources of history are of the opinion that the name came to South Asia much prior to Timur.   Qutbud Din Aibak or the Sultan of Delhi, initially a   Turkic slave belonging to the Central Asian region presently known as Turkmenistan, was the first Turkic king of India from 1206 to 1210.  This was nearly 200 years prior to Timur and over 300 years before Babur.  That's the earliest historical data confirming the introduction of 'khan' in South Asia.  Later, it was also used as a title by the Mughuls.  The Mughul King, Akber, gave the title of 'khan' to many of his Muslim and non-Muslim courtiers.  After the Mughuls,  the British continued the traditional practice to proffer titles such as "Khan bahadur" and "Khan sahab" to their favorite puppets.   With the passage of time, it was left only as as a surname in urban areas of the region as we see today. 

Report Spam   Logged

Ruhi_Rose
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3102



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 11:23:06 pm »



Dear Sis!   Wa'salaam.    This is sooooo informative.   Forwarded it to my husband and older son, they were so interested, read it slowly and thoroughly.

My husband says some friend of his mentioned quoting some sources that the name 'Khan' is the Asian version of the Jewish name 'Cohen.'  I never heard of this.  Have you?   Any truth in this? 



 
Report Spam   Logged

N. Truth Seeker
Quiet guy technology nerd | TEAM MUSLIM VILLA
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2204



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 11:43:37 pm »



I really learned a lot reading this very comprehensive piece.  A big thanks Sister.


  
Here's a clarification of a widespread misbelief and miscalculation that's even more common than the title or name 'khan.'  Simply because of the traditional notion defining the title 'Khan' of "Turkic" origin doesn't mean it arises from Turkey  Grin   That would be quite a crassy and comical mistake.  "Turkic"  refers to the entire Central Asian region, and ethnicity-wise there's a vast difference between 'Turks' and 'Turkics.'   Turkic people are a big bunch of ethno linguistic community speaking languages of the Turkic language family.  Turkish people, on the other hand, are a Turkic group that is specifically native to Anatolia (the Turkish peninsula) and speak Turkish.   That makes them hugely different.  Also, to presume that Turks in Turkey are related to the Turkic people or originate from the Turkic race holds little or no truth.   Turks from Turkey are mainly a mixture of West-Asians (NOT Central Asian) and Europeans.  Turkish belongs to the Altay branch languages, same as Finnish and Hungarian.  I suppose one can refer to the Turks and the Turkish language as the western-most of the 'Turkic' segment.  That's as far as the comparison goes.  Turkish is certainly not the same as Turkic.

Very significant clarification.  History has been purposely bungling this aspect.  It has caused lots of confusion, big time, with people ending with plenty of mixups and fallacies.    I recall when I was a kid in middle school and studying general history, there was a chapter on Mughul dynasty in India.  Baber who was an Uzbek was described in history books as a Turkic.  So I asked my dad, "was Baber from Turkey?"   And my dad replies "are you crazy?"   Grin   I hope readers take note of this point.



Just for your information,  those Khazars (who later became Jews) belonging to the western part of the Khazar empire which included southern Russia, Ukraine and Crimea (also known as the northern Caucasus) began migrating to eastern Europe (viz Spain and Italy) in the 8th century and then to western Europe (mainly Germany, Austria, Poland) and Britain after the Spanish inquisition in 1492 that ended Muslim rule in Spain.   In western Europe they were known as the 'Ashkenazis' alluding to European Jews.  These are the people occupying Palestine at present, falsely claiming to be descendants of "Semite Arab Jews" of the Middle-East after their 'diaspora' ... not from the Middle-East but from the northern Caucasus!   Hilarious!!

 LaaughingAway
Report Spam   Logged

N. Truth Seeker
Quiet guy technology nerd | TEAM MUSLIM VILLA
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2204



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2019, 11:49:12 pm »



.....
My husband says some friend of his mentioned quoting some sources that the name 'Khan' is the Asian version of the Jewish name 'Cohen.'  I never heard of this.  Have you?   Any truth in this? 

If 'Khan' in South Asia means leader or king, then it cannot be the regional version of Jewish name 'Cohen.'  The word cohen in hebrew means a Jewish priest, from what I know.   The 2 definitions seem very different. 

 
Report Spam   Logged

Zeynab
TEAM MV Founder
Admin
Hero Member
*
Posts: 4630



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2019, 11:54:43 pm »



I'm glad you guys found it helpful ... so happy about your kind appreciation.

'Cohen' the Jewish version of 'Khan?'   I really don't know.  I don't think so.  Br. TS has given a logical reason that it's unlikely.


Report Spam   Logged

Ruhi_Rose
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3102



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2019, 11:58:11 pm »



I recall when I was a kid in middle school and studying general history, there was a chapter on Mughul dynasty in India.  Baber who was an Uzbek was described in history books as a Turkic.  So I asked my dad, "was Baber from Turkey?"   And my dad replies "are you crazy?"   Grin

 Grin Cheesy Grin

Therefore, Mughuls were also of Mongol descent, right?

Report Spam   Logged

N. Truth Seeker
Quiet guy technology nerd | TEAM MUSLIM VILLA
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2204



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2019, 12:07:46 am »



O yes, Mughul dynasty was certainly of Mongol origin as were many more such as Timurid dynasty as well as the founder of the Mamluk dynasty, Qutub-udDin-Aibak, they were all from various nooks and corners of Central Asia.  Just about all of Central Asia back then was viewed as Mongol lands.

But it's interesting how Baber's dynasty got the name of Mughuls.   The Persians  found it difficult to pronounce the word "Mongols," so they mispronounced it as "Mughuls" .. and that somehow became the name of Baber's dynasty in Delhi. 

Report Spam   Logged

Ruhi_Rose
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3102



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2019, 12:11:21 am »



Ohh ....  so ..  Mughuls = Mongols    Undecided    ha!  never knew that   Cheesy

Btw, love that art of Ottoman han.
Report Spam   Logged

Heba E. Husseyn
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA Villa Artisan
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3625



WWW
Badges: (View All)
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2019, 12:15:04 am »



Subhan'Allah.  That's what I call a dynamic piece.  I never knew many of these details.   So, is there be a genetic relation between Mongol Khans and today's Khans who have it as a personal surname?
Report Spam   Logged


Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Send this topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Scammers & spammers will be reported | If you borrow MV contents you must mention our link with hypertext | MV Team is not responsible for comments by members or guests.
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum


Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy