Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh listens to the speech of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud in 2008 / Getty

Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh made the remarks in his television show

A powerful Saudi Arabian cleric has warned Twitter users that use of the social media site is the “source of all evil and devastation”.

Saudi Arabia has the highest number of Twitter users in the Arab world and many of its citizens use the site as a platform to freely discuss ideas in a country ranked 164 out of 180 for freedom of the press earlier this year.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said Twitter use promotes “evil and harm” and accused users of using the website for “trivial matters” in remarks on Monday during his television show Fatwa.

“If it were used correctly, it could be of real benefit, but unfortunately it’s exploited for trivial matters,” he claimed of the social media site.

As the most senior religious Saudi Arabian authority, Sheikh al-Sheikh advises on legislation and social affairs and holds a top government position.

Sheikh al-Sheikh said: “They think that whatever is tweeted or written about is reliable information and news, but it is all lies and falsehoods.”

He also condemned the use of Twitter in a sermon last year, claiming some users of the social media site sought to spread discord and chaos in the country by inciting people to rise up against the leaders of the nation.

More than 50 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population is believed to use Twitter, according to data from the Global Web Index in 2012.

Many credit the explosion of the site’s popularity in the Middle East to the Arab Spring, which saw an unprecedented dissemination of grass-roots information from the scenes of many of the uprisings.