A Saudi cleric's remarks about the Earth being a stationary object while the Sun orbits around it has prompted a wave of social media mockery and discussion.

Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari is believed to have been speaking at a university lecture in the United Arab Emirates when a student asked him whether the Earth rotates or is stationary, Al Arabiya News reported.

"Stationary and does not move," the Islamic scholar said, before launching into a long-winded and confusing explanation that appears to suggest that if the Earth was spinning, airplanes would never be able to reach their destination.

Initially attempting to back up his argument with selected religious statements and quotes from other Islamic clerics, the religious lecturer then uses a controversial method to further debunk the rotation theory by illustrating it with a visual aid.

"First of all, where are we now? We go to Sharjah airport [in the United Arab Emirates] to travel to China by plane, clear? Focus with me, this is Earth," he said, holding a sealed water cup.

If the Earth rotates in one direction and the plane stops still in mid-air, then "China would be coming towards the plane." But if the Earth was rotating in an opposite direction, the plane would never reach China, because "China is also rotating," he argued.

In other words, according to al-Khaibari's baffling theory, if the Earth truly was rotating, then airliners could just stop in the air and wait for the country to arrive beneath them, rather than waste time actually flying, UK MailOnliine reported.

Additionally, al-Khaibari also claimed that human beings had never been to the moon, rejecting NASA's lunar excursion video as Hollywood fabrication.

Naturally, the video sparked a wave of controversial remarks on social media, with Twitter users trending "Cleric Rejects Rotation of Earth."

"What a coincidence that this would occur on Galileo's birthday!" one user tweeted under the Arab-language hashtag, pointing out that the footage first appeared February 15 - the 451th anniversary of Galileo Galilei's birth. He was accused twice of heresy by the church for his beliefs, including his support for the Copernican theory that the earth and planets revolved around the sun.

Meanwhile some twitter users ridiculed the preacher, but others said the viral hashtag could be used to educate and share knowledge of the universe.