The Name Jurayj

There seemed to be a dispute about the origin of the name Jurayj (جُرَيْج). It’s a transliteration from a Greek name, but I’ve heard two possible Greek names: Sheikh Hamza Yusuf said it came from “George” in one of his lectures, but I also saw the name “Greg” as possible source and as a translation into English on Google translate.

Google translate

Given the fact my name given at birth is “Gregory,” as is my dad, I really wanted to figure out which means which! There’s also two Jurayj mentioned in the hadith sources: one is a tabiu’ tabii’ who is a prominent hadith narrator and the other is a story of a great zahid (ascetic).

I found several clues indicating that Jurayj came from Gregory and Jurjus (جُرْجُس) came from George (Georgios in Greek). Wiktionary itself lends to the answer:


As well as the Arabic Wikipedia article for Saint George. But what about the possibility of a modern mix up? How do we know that ancient Arabs used these transliterations? The giveaway is of a mosque built in 1208 hijri by the Ottoman Empire called masjid Jerjis, supposedly built over the tomb of Saint George. Apparently it was originally a small mosque whose year of establishment is not certain, but Kufic motifs in it seem to indicate that it goes back to the 6th century hijri. This seems to be one of the strongest proofs that I’ve found so far.

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