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Saudi bans names deemed ‘anti-Sharia’

November 5, 2020 at 1:54 pm

A Saudi man and his daughter stroll down the seafront in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 21 June 2020 [AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi authorities have announced bans on names considered to violate Islamic Sharia law. The restrictions come amid Interior Ministry’s Civil Affairs Agency introducing new rules for registering names in the kingdom.

According to Gulf News, names such as Abd Rasul (the Slave of the Messenger) will not be registered. The common girls name Malak (angel) is also not allowed due to a related fatwa, or religious edict which prohibited it. The registration ban also extends to titles preceding names and nicknames.

Compound names such as Muhammad Saleh and Muhammad Mustafa are also no longer allowed in accordance with the new rules. It is tradition in several Arab countries to give a newborn a compound name either to commemorate two older relatives or out of custom to ward off the evil eye.

However the agency has not offered an official explanation for the move, although is likely due to religious conformity in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

This is not the first time Saudi Arabia issued a ban on names, in 2014 the Interior Ministry released a list of 51 names which contravened social and religious traditions or had Western origins, included were names such as Linda and Sandi. Abdul Nasser and Binyameen (Benjamin) were some of the prohibited Arabic names.

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