Saudi Arabia bans 50 ‘blasphemous’ and ‘inappropriate’ children’s names
The list of names contradicting the Kingdom’s ‘religious and cultural norms’ includes several foreign names
Binyamin is the Prophet Jacob’s son, and the brother of the Prophet Joseph. But it is also the first name of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Harry Alsop
8:22PM GMT 15 Mar 2014
Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said it had ordered a ban on the names because they contradicted the religion or the culture of the Kingdom.
Along with western names such as Sandy, Linda and Elaine, the interior ministry has forbidden Saudi parents from giving their children names with royal connotations, such as Malika (Queen) and Amir (Prince).
Some religious names have also been deemed inappropriate, or even blasphemous.
Parents will no longer be able to have a baby Malak (Angel), Nabi (Prophet) or Jibreel (Gabriel), names which are popular across the Middle East and in Islamic countries.
Popular Shi’a names such as Abdul Nabi and Abdul Hussain are controversial in strict iterations of Sunni Islam because of the multiple ways in which they can be interpreted.
Abdul in Arabic means “worshipper of” or “servant of”, while Nabi means “prophet” and Rasool means “messenger”.
Those who oppose such names argue that Abdul means “worshipper of’ and therefore is forbidden because only God can be worshipped.
Most Sunni Muslims use one of God’s 99 Islamic names with Abdul, for example Abdullah, or Abdul Rahman.
But some of the names on the list do not seem to fit any of the former three categories, leaving the reason for their banning open to speculation.
Binyamin is the Prophet Jacob’s son, and the brother of the Prophet Joseph.
But it is also the first name of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
It has been banned, along with Abdul Naser, first name of the famous Egyptian nationalist leader who was at odds with the Saudi monarchy.
The full list of forbidden names, as reported in Gulf News, is listed below:
Nabiyya (female prophet)
Al Mamlaka (the kingdom)
Basmala (utterance of the name of God)
Rama (Hindu god)
Binyamin (Arabic for Benjamin)
Jibreel (angel Gabriel)