Abdullah Al Mane'e

Earlier this week, Saudi cleric Abdullah Al Mane'e sparked controversy online for saying that giving children foreign, non-Islamic names is unacceptable in Islam. 

In a video that has now gone viral, Al Mane'e is seen responding to a question on the matter during a live television appearance. 

"A viewer is asking about the position of religion regarding people who give their children foreign names," the TV show's host said, to which Al Mane'e responded: 

"This is absolutely unacceptable in Islam and is a direct consequence of people feeling inadequate or inferior." 

"Muslims should name their children after people who benefitted our religion like abu Baker, Omar, Othman, Ali, Ayesha, Zaynab, Ruqaya and many others. It's also permissible for them to give their children Muslim names that are acceptable or known in their own countries," he explained. 

"If parents give a child a foreign name, this will have detrimental effects on him/her and they'll have to change it later on in their lives," he added. 

The statements sparked controversy

Soon after the video of the cleric started to make the rounds online, it sparked controversy among social media users. 

While many agreed with the cleric's statements, others thought his religious edict was based on his personal opinion rather than scripture.

"You're right, parents do this because they feel inferior"

Many hailed the cleric's position

"Your words represent me; may God bless you."  

"I admire Gulf countries that still favor Arabic names like Fatima, Ayesha and Sheikha"

Not everyone is happy with the cleric's comments though

"The only thing that's destroying us is this allowed/not allowed debate. You've forbidden everything already, we just want to know whether something is halal (acceptable) or not according to scripture." 

"They (clerics) only speak of trivial matters"

Many raised this point

"Is Islam only confined to Arabs? What about non-Arab Muslims? Are their names unacceptable?"  

"This is personal freedom if it doesn't go against God's holy book and scripture"

Saudi authorities already ban some foreign names

In a statement he previously made on names that are forbidden in the kingdom, Mohammad Al Jasser, spokesman for the country's Civil Status Department explained the authority does ban names deemed unacceptable under Islamic Sharia.

"We do not register names that are forbidden in Islam or that aren't socially acceptable in the kingdom," he said.  

Earlier this year, the authority forbid a father from naming his daughter Ivanka (after U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter) because they deemed the name foreign. 

In a statement he made at the time, the newborn's father Salem Amer Salem Al-Ayashi Al-Anzi said:

"The civil status department informed me that the name could not be approved because it was foreign. I pleaded with them to accept the name, but they said that the law does not permit it."