All praise is due and belongs to Allah. May His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, and his households and his companions.
There are many agnomens mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an to confirm habits or states of the addressees. These given agnomens show the important of the addressees as regards their habits.
In this article we will mention the most famous of these agnomens, with a brief clarification of their meanings:
1 . Abu Lahab, (Father of the flame). He was prophet Muhammad's paternal uncle. He is condemned in Surah al-Massad/Lahab, for being an enemy to Islam.
2 . Isra'eel: Israel refers to the name of Prophet Yaqoub (peace be upon him). In the Qur'an it refers to Banu Israel (children/descendants of Israel). According to Quran and Islam Israel means 'the servant of Allah (Abdullah)'. This name was given to prophet Yaqoub (Jacob ) because of his dedication and belief in Allah, the Exalted. He got this name when he said 'I surrender to you my Creator'.
3 . Al-Masi'h: It is a nickname given to Jesus, and is derived from the root "MSH". According to Ibn Abbas, Jesus was given this name because he touched various ill people and cured them by the permission of Allah. (See Tafseer al-Qurtubi, IV/89).
The expression in verse 49 of the chapter Aal-i-Imran, "I heal those born blind, and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave" supports the view of Ibn Abbas. Some scholars state that Masih means spotlessly clean and it indicates that Jesus is free from sins. (See Tafseer at-Tabari, IV/35.)
The statement in verse 19 of the chapter of Maryam,
قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا
“The angel said to Maryam, ‘I am only a messenger from thy Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son’ " denotes this meaning.
There are some scholars who say that this word derives from the same root as ‘musamaha’ (tolerance) and it denotes tolerance, if it is taken into consideration that Jesus relieved some hard decrees that were present in the Old Testament and legitimized some forbidden things (see Tafseer az-Zamakhshari, I/365).
4 . Ilyas: It is a nickname given to Idrees as said by some scholars. It was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim that Ibn Mas'ood (may Allah be pleased on him) said: Ilyas is Idrees and Israeel is Yaqoub.
5 . Dhul-Kifl: It literally means "possessor of something, or giving a double requital or portion". Some scholars said it is a nickname for Ilyas, while some others said it is for Al-Yasa'. It was also reported that it is Yusha'. Allah says:
وَاذْكُرْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ ۖ وَكُلٌّ مِّنَ الْأَخْيَارِ
" And commemorate Isma´il, Elisha, and Dhul-Kifl: Each of them was of the Company of the Good." (Q38: 48).
It is obvious from his being mentioned and praised in the Glorious Quran along with those other prophets that Dhul - Kifl was also a prophet.
However, some of the Quranic commentators assumed that he was not a prophet but that he was righteous and strictly just.
Ibn Jarir narrated that he was not a prophet but he was a righteous man. He supported his people to suffice their needs and administered justice among them. That is why he was called Dhul-Kifl.
6 . Dhul-Qarnayn: Dhul-Qarnayn is a nickname. The word lexically means "the owner of two qarns". Its basic meanings are horn and century. It also means the forelock of a man, the ear lock of a woman, the side of the sun disk and the leader of a nation. Some Quranic commentators say he was given the nickname because he had two locks of hair on his head and according to others, because he had two horns decorated with jewels on his head. It is unanimously agreed that this person was given the name Dhul-Qarnayn because he ruled the east and west of the earth. The strongest evidence showing that Dhul-Qarnayn was from Yemen is the fact that names starting with Dhi and Dhu are common in Yemen. Although the name Dhul-Qarnayn is mentioned in the Quran, it is disputable whether he was a prophet or not.
7. Nuh: It is a nickname of prophet Nuh (peace be upon him). Nuh literally means "frequent devotion" It is given to prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) due to his frequent devotion and worship to Allah.
8 . Fir'aun (Pharaoh): It is a title for the rulers of the Coptic nation. That is the ruler of the coptics. The most famous of them being the one mentioned in the Qur'an in several places in the stories of the Isrealites.