Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia bans 50 baby names

List includes foreign names; those that ‘contradict culture and religion’

  • Gulf News Report
  • Published: 19:30 March 13, 2014
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Check out if your name is one of the 50 names banned recently by Saudis for newborn babies.

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has banned 50 given names including “foreign” names, names related to royalty and those it considers to be blasphemous.

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 civil affairs department at the ministry issued the list, according to Saudi news sites.

It justified the ban by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or “inappropriate”.

The names fit into at least three categories: those that offend perceived religious sensibilities, those that are affiliated to royalty and those that are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin.

A number of other names appear that do not necessarily fit into any category and it is therefore unclear as to why they would have been banned. 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 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”. 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. Abdul Rahman, for example, comes from the name Al Rahman.

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).

Names banned in Saudi Arabia

Malaak (angel)

Abdul Aati

Abdul Naser

Abdul Musleh

Nabi (prophet)

Nabiyya (female prophet)

Amir (prince)

Sumuw (highness)

Al Mamlaka (the kingdom)

Malika (queen)

Mamlaka (kingdom)

Tabarak (blessed)





Basmala (utterance of the name of God)







Rama (Hindu god)








Binyamin (Arabic for Benjamin)







Abdul Nabi

Abdul Rasool

Jibreel (angel Gabriel)

Abdul Mu’een






Comments (12)

  1. Added 17:20 March 14, 2014

    Good. More rules, regulations, and laws are exactly what we need in this world right now. This is the only way that our loss of liberties will be substantial enough for people to wake up. Almost every country on this planet needs to have a revolution. Not a religious centered revolt, which will only cause more trouble in future generations, but a rebirth based on freedom for all.

    John Rolfe, Jamestown, United States

  2. Added 17:09 March 14, 2014

    Its Parents decision & right....Not some Govt...

    Sonic, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:05 March 14, 2014

    Parents must think about before naming their kids, and should not give the contradictory names of their newly born ! Don't be chocked & shocked, you have many a more good names other than these mentioned !

    Idrees, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:29 March 14, 2014

    Assalamu Aliakum,it is easy to comment on anything....The rule is applicable to Saudi Arabia, if you are not agreeing then leave Saudi......There is HIjab controversy going on in countries like France, Spain, UK etc on woman wearing scarf and people there also protest as well .. So what kind of people are of UK, FRANCE etc.....Guys please read QURAN & Hadiths with meanings i am sure Allah will guide you...I request to all non Muslim brothers or else I would say I beg all you to pls read just few verses of Quran with meanings and I'm sure you will understand how great is Islam...

    MOHAMMED ISMAIL, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 14:04 March 14, 2014

    I decided not to have children any more:)

    Max, Muscat, Oman

  6. Added 13:57 March 14, 2014

    I dont see the big deal about it, a lot of other countries ban specific names, Sweden and Iceland are two examples, why is nobody reacting about it? why is it so bad that Saudi did it also?

    Bashar Saad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:46 March 14, 2014

    Sounds...Funny and ridiculous!!

    Chnradb, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:30 March 14, 2014

    What about the people who already have the name mentioned in the list? Obviously their children will also have an extention of their parent's name. So do the parents need to change their names? This is ridiculous.

    Mariakutty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:59 March 14, 2014

    This limitation only for Saudi nationals or including expats also. Wake up KSA!!!

    Asad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:50 March 14, 2014

    Freedom for ordinary man is strangulated. What is happening in Saudi Arabia?

    Abdul, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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