15 March 2014

Saudi Names

A brief item in Gulf News claims that the civil affairs department of the Saudi Arabia interior ministry has banned 50 given names including "foreign" names, names affiliated to royalty, names that contradict the culture of the KSA and those the ministry considers to be blasphemous.

The report indicates that the blacklist includes some names that do not come within three categories, ie those that offend perceived religious sensibilities, those that are affiliated to royalty and those that are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin. Some of the names are an unexceptional usage, such as Malak (angel), Amir (prince), Abdul Naser and Jibreel (Gabriel)
Binyamin is believed in Islam to be the son of Prophet Jacob (Yaqoub) (PBUH) and the full brother of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), but it also happens to be the name of the Israeli prime minister. 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”.
The restrictions include names read as titles, eg Sumuw (highness), Malek (king) and Malika (Queen).

No Talula Does The Hula or Mr King of Ink, fortunately.

Controversies about titles such as Grand Duke of Lithuania or Cardinal & Duke of Avram are addressed outside the Birth name registration regime.