The interior ministry of Saudi Arabia has banned 50 names including ‘foreign’ names, related to royalty that it considers blasphemous, according to local media.
Quoting Saudi news sites, Gulf News reported that Saudis will no longer be able to give their children names such as Amir (prince), Linda or Abdul Nabi (Slave of the Prophet) after the ministry’s civil affairs department issued the list.
Parents in the Kingdom will also no longer be able to call their children by names such as Alice, Elaine or Binyamin (Arabic for Benjamin).Some names on the list are banned because they are considered ‘blasphemous’ and non-Arabic or non-Islamic.
The ban was also allegedly justified by the interior ministry because some of the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or ‘inappropriate’, said the Gulf News report.
Some on the list do not fit into any of these categories, however, leaving the reason for banning them open to speculation. Names such as Abdul Naser and Binyamin are not found to be particularly offensive to Muslims.
Binyamin is believed in Islam to be the son of Prophet Jacob (Yaqoub) (PBUH) and the full brother of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), but is also the name of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abdul Naser, similarly, is the name of the famous Arab nationalist ruler of Egypt, who was at odds with Saudi Arabia.
Names such as Abdul Nabi and Abdul Hussain, common among Shiites and some Sunni Arabs, are controversial because of the multiple ways in which they can be interpreted. Abdul in Arabic means “worshipper of” or “slave of”, while Nabi means “prophet” and Rasool means “messenger”.
Those who oppose such names argue that Abdul means “worshipper of’ and is, therefore, forbidden as only God can be worshipped. Most Muslim names with Abdul carry one of God’s 99 Islamic names.
Another set of names that is banned includes those that have to do with royalty, especially titles such as Sumuw (highness), Malek (king) and Malika (Queen) and other royal terms such as Al Mamlaka (the kingdom).
Some of the names on the list are not uncommon among Arabs, including Malak (angel), Amir (prince), Abdul Naser and Jibreel (Gabriel).
The full list of forbidden names as reported in Gulf News is listed below: Malaak (angel), Abdul Aati, Abdul Naser, Abdul Musleh, Binyamin (Arabic for Benjamin), Naris, Yara, Sitav, Loland, Tilaj, Barrah, Abdul Nabi, Abdul Rasool.Sumuw (highness),Al Mamlaka (the kingdom), Malika (queen), Mamlaka (kingdom), Tabarak (blessed), Nardeen, Sandy, Rama (Hindu god), Maline,
Elaine, Inar, Maliktina, Maya, Linda, Randa, Basmala (utterance of the name of God), Jibreel (angel Gabriel), Abdul Mu’een, Abrar, Iman, Bayan, Baseel, Wireelam, Nabi (prophet), Nabiyya (female prophet), Amir (prince), Taline, Aram, Nareej, Rital, Alice, Lareen, Kibrial, Lauren,