Recorded in several spellings including Aasaf, Asaaf, Assaf,and Asif, this is an early Muslim name, possibly from a time of at least three thousand years ago. It is probably of Persian origins. Originally it was a given name but now can be either a surname or a first name. It is a descriptive form of endearment, and the meaning is 'pure or genuine'. It is said that traditions of Muslim names and and name giving are a gift from Allah, who demanded that they be pleasant and reflect the glories of life and nature. Historically Muslim names have upheld the ancient hereditary tradition of adding the fathers name or sometimes the grandfathers, to that of the child. This tradition though like many others, is under threat by such influences as taxation, and the telephone. The telephone, particularly in areas of western influence, demands a 'fixed' spelling for its directories. This in effect creates a 'locked in' surname, which is required for administrative purposes, but is causing some distortion to Muslim culture. It is not clear what the long term effect will be. Muslim names were originally recorded in sanscript, which still remains the most popular form.
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