Salma

Salma Agha

Origin: Arabic
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Safe"
Pronunciation: SAHL-mah
Other Forms: Salima, Shulammite, Shlomit, Selma, Salamatu; Salim, Saleem, Salman

*This post is dedicated to my Dad's Boss who has kindly provided me some interesting family names to work with! Thanks Randa.

Beautiful, short and sweet, with a surprising Biblical connection and a wealth of interesting (and inspiring!) namesakes -- today's name is the Arabic Salma.

Derived from سَلِمَ (salima), which means "to be safe", Salma is best known for being the first name of the sultry Ms. Hayek, who is of mixed Lebanese, Mexican, and Spanish heritage, lending it a bit of familiarity for those worried it might be too unusual. It actually ranked in the US in 2019, though down towards the end at #909, but has seen popularity in Spain (where its cracked the top 100) and the Netherlands, which has a large Arabic diaspora.

Other namesakes include Pakistan born Indian-British Bollywood star Salma Agha, who was popular in the 80's and 90's (and is completely gorgeous), Tanzanian women's rights activist Salma Maolidi, Palestinian poet and writer Salma Khadra Jaayusi, Twenty-year-old Princess Salma bint Abdullah of Jordan, and possibly, a connection to the Bible...

"The Shulammite Maiden" by Gustave Moreau

The Song of Songs is an anomaly in the Hebrew Bible, being a scroll that deals with neither Law, Covenant, the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom; it simply gives voice to two lovers, who praise and yearn for each other with passionate and loving language. The female protagonist of The Song of Songs is called Shulammite. Now scholars argue whether it is simply an epithet to describe her place of origin, which could be the village Shunem or Jerusalem, while others think it is indeed her name, and is a female version of her husband, Solomon's, name. Solomon is oftentimes conflated with Salim, of which Salma is a feminine offshoot.

Overall, I think this is a lovely name with such a fascinating history, and one I wouldn't mind seeing used more often! What are your thoughts regarding Salma? Please let me know below in the comments.

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