📖 Discovering YŪḤANNĀ (يوحنا‎): The Interfaith Name of John

Dive into the name YŪḤANNĀ (يوحنا‎) with rich interfaith significance. Understand its applications in both Christianity and Islam and explore its cultural and theological dimensions.


Yūḥannā (يوحنا‎) is an Arabic name equivalent to ‘John’ in English. It holds profound significance in both Christian and Islamic traditions, representing John the Baptist and John the Apostle.


The name Yūḥannā derives from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yokhanan), which means “Yahweh is gracious.” The name was modified to its Greek form Ἰωάννης (Iōánnēs) and later to its Arabic version, Yūḥannā.


In Christian doctrine, Yūḥannā refers to:

  • John the Baptist: A vital prophetic figure who baptized Jesus Christ.
  • John the Apostle: One of Jesus’ twelve apostles, believed to be the author of the Fourth Gospel, the Book of Revelation, and three Epistles.

In Islamic tradition, the Quran refers to John the Baptist as Yaḥyā (يحيى), underlining his role as a prophet and the son of Zakariya (Zechariah). Yaḥyā’s life reflects virtues of righteousness, piety, and devotion.

Cultural Differences and Similarities


  • Reverence: Both in Islam and Christianity, John/Yāḥyā is revered as a prophet.
  • Human Virtues: Embodies high moral standards such as chastity, devotion, and compassion.


  • Title Interpretation: In Christianity, John is seen as a precursor to Jesus, paving the way for Christ’s ministry. In Islam, Yaḥyā is acknowledged for his unique role but not as a precursor.


  • John: The English rendering.
  • Yahya: The corresponding Islamic name.


There isn’t a direct antonym for a name; however, in theological contexts, figures opposed to prophets might be considered contrasts (e.g., antagonists from religious texts).

  • Jesus (Isa in Islam): Both John (Yaḥyā) and Jesus (Isa) share close spiritual bonds.
  • Zechariah (Zakariya): The father of John/Yaḥyā and also regarded as a prophet in both religions.

Exciting Facts

  • Dual Authorship: The New Testament attributes multiple works to John the Apostle — the Gospel of John, three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.
  • Name Survival: Despite its ancient origins, Yūḥannā remains a common given name in Arabic-speaking Christian communities.


  • Bible: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” — John 1:6
  • Quran: “So We responded to him, and We gave him John, and cured his wife for him.” — Surah Al-Anbiya (21:90)

References and Suggested Literature

  1. The New Testament of the Bible: Especially the Gospel of John for profound insights into John the Apostle’s teachings.
  2. The Quran: Moments highlighting Yaḥyā’s prophecy and virtues.
  3. “John the Baptist in History and Theology” by Joan Taylor: A comprehensive look at John’s life and role in Biblical history.
  4. “Comparative Religion: Exploring Commonalities between Christianity and Islam” by Abdul Hakim: To understand intersecting figures like John and Yaḥyā.


### In which religious traditions is Yūḥannā a significant figure? - [x] Christianity and Islam - [ ] Hinduism and Buddhism - [ ] Judaism and Sikhism - [ ] Zoroastrianism and Jainism > **Explanation:** Yūḥannā is noteworthy in both Christianity (John) and Islam (Yaḥyā). ### True or False: Yūḥannā refers solely to John the Baptist. - [ ] True - [x] False > **Explanation:** Yūḥannā can refer to both John the Baptist and John the Apostle in Christian tradition.

May your journey of understanding connect hearts across faiths and embrace the shared heritage that enriches humanity.

Warm regards, Hassan El-Masry

Sunday, June 16, 2024

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