The name could either be derived from the Arabic ṣafā (صَفا) meaning, “pure” or the Arabic, ṣūf (صُوف), meaning, “wool.”
The name was borne by Abu Sufyan, originally a staunch opponent to the Prophet Mohammed, he later became a devout Muslim. It was also borne by Sufyan ath-Thawri ibn Said (716–778), a notable Islamic scholar who is credited for putting together many of the hadiths.
A modern notable bearer is American musician, Sufjan Stevens (b.1975).
As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Sofiane was the 106th most popular male name in France.
Other forms of the name include:
- Sufyan (Albanian/Arabic)
- Sofiane (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
- Sufian (Arabic/Persian)
- Süfyan (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
- Sufjan Суфьян (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
- Sufyaan (Somalian)