Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: “basil; scented herb; myrtle.”

The name is derived from the Arabic نبات من , (al-rayhan), meaning “basil.” The word itself is derived from the Arabic element,  رائحة (riha) meaning, “odor; fragrance; or myrtle.” This element has entered into several Semitic, Indo-Iranian and Central Asian languages either interchangeably meaning “basil”, “myrtle” or “scented herb.”

Its Arabic form of Rayhana was borne by one of the wives of the Prophet Mohammed. Rayhana was a Jewish woman of dubious origins. Not much is known about her, it is believed that she eventually divorced the prophet and went back to live with her people, other sources suggest that she at first stubbornly refused to convert to Islam but eventually complied.

The word also appears in the Qur’an in Sura Ar-Rahman (the “scented herb” in Ayah no 12) and Sura Al-Waqiah (Ayah no 89).

Its Bosnian form of Rejhana is currently the 91st most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010) and its Maltese form of Rihanna, which is derived from the Maltese word for the common Myrtle, Riħan, is the 10th most popular female name in Malta, (2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Rejhana (Albanian/Bosnian/Chechen/Kyrgyz/Turkmen)
  • Rihana (Amharic)
  • RahanՐահան (Armenian)
  • Rehan Ռեհան (Armenian)
  • ReyhanՐեյհան (Armenian/Azeri/Romani/Turkish)
  • Rihan Րիհան (Armenian)
  • Rhan Րհան (Armenian)
  • Rekhani რეხანი (Georgian)
  • Raihan Раихан (Kazakh/Tatar)
  • Rihanna/Riħanna (Maltese)
  • Reyhaneh (Persian)
  • Ryhona Райхонa (Tajik/Uzbek)
  • Raiha Раиха (Tatar)
  • Raihana Раихана (Tatar)
  • Mrihani (Swahili)
In Arabic, Rayḥān is used as a male name.

2 thoughts on “Rayhana

    • Thank you 🙂

      I really enjoyed writing about this one. I didn’t know there would be so much history and meaning behind this and I didn’t know that Rihanna actually is a Maltese name and not pop culture influence, though that may have helped the name’s popularity on the island.

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