Abu Dhabi On the World map, where is Saudi Arabia ?
Islam is the official religion in Saudi Arabia, and Freedom of religion is severely limited.
Under the law, children born to Muslim fathers are also Muslim, regardless of the country or the religious tradition in which they have been raised.
Saudi Arabia prohibits public non-Muslim religious activities. Non-Muslim worshipers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity that attracts official attention.
Under Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death.
The country has the two holiest cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina
Makkah and Medinah
Makkah (or Mecca)- the Birthplace of Prophet Muhammad. It is where Muslims make their pilgrimage during the Hajj, It is home to The Holy Mosque, which houses the Ka’abah, Islam’s most sacred shrine. This is the shrine to which Muslims around the world turn in prayer five times a day.
Medinah - This is where the Prophet Muhammad spent the last several years of his life. Upon hearing of an assassination plot against him in 622 AD, he led his followers here. It is home to the burial sites of him and many of his companions, and home as well to the famous Prophet’s Mosque (another of Islam’s holiest sites).
Makkah and Medinah are open only to Muslim visitors.
The politics of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, although, the king must comply with Sharia (that is, Islamic law) and the Qur'an, the King of Saudi Arabia is both head of state and the head of government.
The Basic Law was adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the male descendants of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud, and that the Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law
No political parties or national elections are permitted . The Saudi government is the seventh most authoritarian regime from among the 167 countries rated.
King: Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic.
The three main regional variants spoken by Saudis are Hejazi Arabic, Nejdi Arabic and Gulf Arabic. The large deportee communities also speak their own languages, the most numerous Being Tagalog, Urdu and Egyptian Arabic.
Saudi Arabia is a very conservative country with centuries-old attitudes and traditions, often derived from Arab tribal culture.. The many limitations on behaviour and dress are strictly enforced both legally and socially. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for example, and there is no theatre or public exhibition of films. Public expression of opinion about domestic political or social matters is discouraged. There are no organizations such as political parties or labour unions to provide public forums.
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques scattered throughout the country. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend begins on Thursday.
Saudis typically dress in traditional apparel. This includes loose garments which help in preserving their moral code of modesty while keeping them cool as well in the hot Arab climate.
Jewellery- Jewellery is important because it symbolizes socioeconomic status. Saudi women today will often receive jewellery as gifts when they marry or have children, and solid gold bracelets are considered a traditional gift for girls.
Men- typically wear a thawb (an ankle-length shirt, often made of wool or cotton)
Women- typically wear the abaya, which is a black outer cloak the covers the dress. Some Saudi wear a veil, which serves to protect the face from exposure to sun while signifying Islamic modesty.
Women must cover the parts of the body that are awrah (not meant to be exposed).
In much of Islam, a women's face is not considered awrah. In Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states, all of the body is considered awrah except the hands and eyes. Accordingly, women in most of the country must wear the niqab (veil), as well as a hijab (head covering), and full black cloak called an abaya.
In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by a range of penalties, including corporal punishment and the death penalty
Saudi Arabia does not permit religious freedom and bans all visible forms of non-Muslim worship. Non-Muslims, as well as Muslims who do not adhere to the Sunni Islam, are advised by Mutawwa'in (the religious police) for acts considered offensive to state ideology. Citizenship is restricted to Muslims, but non-Muslims are allowed in many jobs across the country. However, persons with evidence of travel to Israel in their passport are not permitted to enter the kingdom.
The government maintains 50 Call and Guidance centres to encourage foreigners to convert to Islam. Religious police enforce a modest code of dress and many institutions, from schools to ministries, are not co-educational.
Temperament Saudi Arabia has a patriarchal society which refers to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men, and in which men oppress, exploit and dominate women.
Food / drink
Cuisine in Saudi Arabia is similar to that of the surrounding Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, and has been heavily influenced by Turkish, Persian, and African food. Islamic dietary laws are enforced: pork is not consumed and other animals are slaughtered in accordance with halal. A dish consisting of a stuffed lamb, known as khūzī, is the traditional national dish. Kebabs are popular, as is shāwarmā (shawarma), a marinated grilled meat dish of lamb, mutton, or chicken. As in the countries of the Gulf, machbūs (kabsa), a rice dish with fish or shrimp, is popular. Flat, unleavened bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as is dates and fresh fruit. Coffee, served in the Turkish style, is the traditional beverage
Attitudes to women
All women, regardless of age, are required to have a male guardian. Women cannot vote or be elected to high political positions.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving
The quality of education is lower for females than males. Curricula and textbooks are updated less frequently, and teachers tend to be less qualified. At the higher levels, males have better research facilities.
In 2005, the country’s religious authority banned the practice of forced marriage. However, practically, females are not involved in making decisions surrounding their own marriages. The marriage contract is officially between the husband-to-be and the father of the bride.
There are no laws defining the minimum age for marriage in Saudi Arabia. Most religious authorities have justified the marriage of girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15. However, they believe a father can marry off his daughter at any age as long as sexual intercourse is delayed until she reaches puberty
However... most women in Saudi Arabia do not want to change this because this is their culture and how they are used to living.
Attitudes to women
Girls are taught that their primary role is to raise children and take care of the household. According to Saudi culture, a woman's place is at home and a man's place is at the workplace. Saudi sharia (Islamic law) allows women to work, provided it does not lead to her neglecting her essential duties of homemaking. Women may also work if it is necessary for their support, such as a widow with children.
Predatory males Polygamy is legal in Saudi Arabia. Saudi men may take as many as four wives, provided that they can support all wives equally. Polygamy has been reported to be widespread throughout the country. Males also prefer teenage virgin brides. The Way men greet each other in Saudi, if the other male is older they tend to kiss them on the forehead
Sex tourism Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes. Female sex tourism also exists when a female travels abroad for sex with foreign males, this however is not as common as male sex tourism. Child Sex tourism- child sex tourism is illegal in most countries and is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Some people travel to other countries to engage in sex with children. Child sex tourism has been closely linked to poverty. Prostitution is illegal in Saudi Arabia.