The name comes directly from the Persian word for “free,” and has been in usage since Pre-Islamic times. It was borne by Azad Shah Afghan (1750-1781) the founder of the Azad dynasty which had ruled most of Central Asia for the later half of the 18th-century. It was also borne by an early Christian saint and martyr who was martyred along with his companions under the Sassanid Empire of the 4th-century. In the Western calendar of Saints, his name is usally latinized as Asatus.
It is currently borne by a German rapper of Kurdish descent, known simply as Azad (b.1974)
Azad is currently the 465th most popular male name in Germany, (2011).