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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

The social and cultural practices of Saudi Arabia are highly controlled by the values and norms of Islam. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rich in culture and its customs and beliefs are dominated by the Muslim religion. It is an Islamic theocratic monarchy that has a tightly controlled government. The kingdom is the origin of Islam and this has great influence on Saudi Arabia’s culture. The religion of Islam is dominant in Saudi Arabian society and about 95% of the people are Sunni Muslims. Almost all of the Saudi Arabian life is influenced by Islam including the architectural designs. The art and the calligraphy are impacted by Islam and most of the patterns used follow the style as depicted in the Quran. The dress code of Saudi Arabian men and women gives preference to traditional clothes over modern styles of dressing. Decorations and jewelry are used for adornment and to symbolize the social and economic status depicted by Islam. The form of entertainment is folk music whose popularity is high among the Saudi Arabian people. The culture of Saudi Arabia is distinctive and makes it to stand out as unique in the Muslim world.

First, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest in the Arabian Peninsula. The republic has extensive coastlines with the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Persian Gulf. According to the 2012 estimates the republic of Saudi Arabia has more than 26.5 million people (CIA – The World Factbook). The kingdom has a monarch-type government led by King Abdullah. However, the kingdom adopted a law that was based on Sharia law. The country is the homeland of the Arabs and the birthplace of Islam. The kingdom is home to the famous two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king has the official title of the custodian of the two most pious Holy Mosques, namely Mecca and Medina. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 after a campaign by Abd Al-Aziz Bin Abd Al-Rahman Al Saud to unify the Arabian Peninsula.

10 Reasons to Visit Saudi Arabia

Aspect/Advantage Argumentation
Rich in Oil Reserves Saudi Arabia is known to have one of the largest oil reserves in the world, which has contributed significantly to the country’s economy and global influence.
Strategic Location The country is located at the crossroads of three continents, making it a vital hub for trade and commerce, particularly for the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Religious Significance As the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia holds immense religious significance for Muslims around the world, attracting millions of visitors each year for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Stable Political Environment Despite being an absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia has maintained a stable political environment and is considered one of the most politically stable countries in the Middle East.
Modern Infrastructure The country has invested heavily in its infrastructure, with world-class airports, modern highways, and advanced telecommunications systems, making it an attractive destination for businesses and tourists.
High Standard of Living Saudi Arabia has one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East, with modern healthcare facilities, quality education, and a high per capita income.
Low Tax Rates The country has no income tax or sales tax, and businesses are only required to pay a relatively low corporate tax rate, making it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
Cultural Diversity Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, Saudi Arabia is home to a diverse population that includes expatriates from all over the world, contributing to a vibrant and cosmopolitan culture.
Focus on Innovation The government has launched several initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the establishment of research and development centers and investment funds for startups.
Natural Wonders Saudi Arabia is home to several natural wonders, such as the Red Sea coast, the Empty Quarter desert, and the Al-Hijr archaeological site, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Moreover, the social interaction of the society is not influenced by the interaction with other societies. The way of life of the natives is not influenced by the immigrants despite their integration with other groups. The immigration factor in Saudi Arabia rarely affects the culture or the social interaction and marriage issues in the republic. Social interaction is defined by strong gender segregation and respect for different ages. The freedom of speech is limited in the kingdom and there are limitations to behaviors and lifestyle.

The Saudi Arabians use the Arabic language and almost all the immigrants use the same language for communication purposes. The Arabic language is widely used during prayers, religious rituals, poetry, lectures, speeches, broadcasts, written communications, and other formal purposes. In the conversations, the Saudis useTamiyaa Arabic, which is a sub-dialect that has internal variants. The Saudi Arabian culture is influenced by both the Islamic heritage and the Bedouin traditions.

Likewise, Islam is a state religion in Saudi Arabia and almost all people are Sunni except the small minority of Shia. There are rarely any other religions practiced there because of the restrictions. The Saudi Arabian traditions are based on Islamic teachings and rooted in Arab customs. The Saudis are taught the teachings and the customs at tender ages at the family level and in schools. The culture of Saudi Arabia is solely defined by the Islamic heritage and the Bedouin traditions. Any person who professes to any other faith may be arrested, imprisoned, or may even be sentenced to death because they are not allowed to practice in Saudi Arabia (Brown 2009). The majority ofSunnisi follow the Handbali School of Islamic law.

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The Islamic religion followed by the Saudis has rituals and Holy places. The rituals are related to the five pillars of Islam. The Holy place of Islam religion is the mosque. Among the most important pillarsthe  of Muslim religion is the pilgrimage (haj) performed at least once in a lifetime. The other four pillars of the Muslim religion are five daily prayers, fasting, giving alms, and professing that there is only one God and Muhammad is His Messenger.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabians take the family unit and the extended family to be very important and form the basis of their society. Islamic law requires the Saudis to take family obligations and responsibilities seriously. The family unit is large and goes to the extent of the extended families.  The Arabs honor and respect their families and take them as a key social unit to the society. The Arabs value large families. The Saudi Arabian communities value family groups, and value family honor than individual honor. In any family setting the man is considered as the head of the family.

The Saudi men and women must seek consent to marry a non-Saudi before consummating their marriage. There are different rules for men and another set of rules for women. The rules for women marrying a non-Saudi are tougher than for men and make it hard to proceed with the marriage.

In a family unit, the male offspring is more favorethanto the female offspring. The males are expected to provide care for the parents in their old age. Islamic families are patriarchal.

Also, Saudi Arabians follow strict dietary restrictions imposed by the religion of Islam. Some foods and drinks are strictly not allowed. The same dietary restrictioapplyble to the natives and the foreigners living or visiting the Republic of Saudi Arabia. For example, pork and alcohol are not allowed and import, purch,ase or consumption of the two attracts punishment. The Islam religion allows rice staple and grilled chicken or lamb. Islamic law prohibits the use of alcohol and Saudi Arabia has no alcohol. The available drinks are tea and coffee served the in form of Arabian or Turkish coffee.

Additionally, music and dance are highly regarded in the Arab culture in Saudi Arabia. Saudi entertainment is defined by the Sharia court which determines the principles of Sunni Islam. The music and dance have to agree with the interpretations of the Quran. In Saudi Arabia, poetry has more preference since it is an Arab cultural way of life. Poetry has been used as an art that used oral tradition since the nomadic days of Bedouins. Poetry was used to preserve history, traditions, and Saudi social values. The field of entertainment is influenced by traditional oral poetry. To date, poetry is still popular among Saudis as it is inherited from the Islamic and Arabic ways of life.

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The Saudi Arabian dress follows the principles of hijab, which is an Islamic principle of modesty in dressing. The culture requires men to have ankle-length shirts. The culture has great valuejewelry aslryas an essential part of the Arabian dressing. The culture uses jewelry to reveal and identify with social and economic status rather than for decoration. The traditional Bedouins used it as a form of wealth and security. The dress code of the Saudi Arabian people is the traditional hijab. The Muslim men are expected to wear an ankle-length shirt that covers their entire body known as thawb. They are also expected to wear a checkered headcloth known as a keffiyeh. Muslim women are required to wear an abaya, full-body and black clothing. They are also required to use the niqab, a black headpiece to cover the face and head leaving only a slit for the eyes. The Muslim dress code is not as strict for foreigners, but they are expected to dress modestly in public.

Last, the Islam law has strict gender segregation that authorized bydby both the state and societFemalesles have fewer rights in comparison to their male counterparts and play limited roles in public. Women may work outside the home in settings where they do not have contact with unrelated men. The Saudi women are prohibited by Sharia law frtravelinging without the escort of a male guardian (mahram). The women are forced to be dependent on men to conduct their private and public businesses. Howevehe Islamic laws do not prohibit men from owning property using their names ainvestingest their own money in businesses. The status of women is low he public but high in the family (Brown 2009). The Islamic laws hinder development since significant numbers of women with high levels of success in academia, and other fields are not recognized. The achievements of these women often go unnoticed since they are barred frhe public life.

The Saudi Arabian law imposes strict on the behaviors and activities of Saudi women. Men and women have segregated places of work and they do not socialize in public with men. Women are supposed to interact only with meinof their family.

Saudi Arabia is a country that most strictly applies Sharia law, and it does not have a parallel civil legal code. This law is enforced Muttawaawa, the religious police that hunts for and arrests its violators to be whipped, put in prison, or beheaded. Foreigners have no protection in Saudi Arabia as more foreigners are beheaded than itn citizens annually. Non-Muslims are prohibited from practicing their faith in Saudi Arabia, where Islam is the only creed permitted. While Muslim collections rage about even the smallest identified slight against Islam in non-Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia defeats all non-Muslim religions within its borders. There are no church structures, and even a congregation of Christians only to pray or to commemorate Christmas or Easter is not permitted. Non-Muslims like Christians are compelled to eat halal foods that have been surrendered to a pagan idol, respect Rama,dan and are not allowed to set foot in Mecca, which attracts 2 million Muslim visitors on hajj yearly (Schaffer, Filiberto, and Earle 368).

Sharia standsas  the path to a watering hole, and it signifies the Islamic way of life that is more than a structure of criminal justice. Sharia law is a religious code of living in Saudi Arabia iahe similar way that the Bible offers a moral system to Christians. It is instituted as law and enforced by courts in the country. Sharia law shapes the culture of Saudi Arabia as it puts forward a code for living, leading all the elements of life – prayers, fasting, and contributions to the poor. It governs the lives of people in ways that are not governed by the law (Edwards).

The sole constitution used in Saudi Arabia is the Qur’an, and there are no specific statutes. Citizens follow Sharia law which has created a culture over time that is unique and disciplined. These laws prohiseveralr of everyday things that would otherwise be allowed in non-Muslim countries around the world. In Saudi Arabia’s culture, the religious police, which operates under Sharia law, does not allow gyms and sports for women. In girls’ schools, there are no gym classes sportsort teams. Therefore, the country has no professional women’s teams. Celebrating Valentine’s Day is banned for the reason of discouraging people from dating or having any contact outsof ide marriage

WithShariaria law, there is an explicit set of offenses referred to as Hadd offenses. These crimes are punishable by specific penalties, such as lashes, stoning, or severing of a hand. Saudi Arabia lives under pure Sharia laws and enforces penalties for Hadd offenses. The specific penalties carriedout  by these offenses are put in place by the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed. They are very strict and are responsible for the unique culture of Saudi Arabia. The offenses include unlawful sexual encounters, false accusations of sexual encounters, alcohol intake, theft, and highway robbery among others. Sexual offenses attract a penalty of stoning to death or flogging while theft is punishable by cutting off a hand. Penalties are severe enough to keep people from committing these offenses, leading to amuch-disciplinedd culture (Abiad 23).

The Saudi government believes that thsome limitations on human rights areare derived from Sharia law. Women and other minorities are forced to live in a culture that oppresses them. Some of the restrictions in the Saudi Arabian culture that are considered oppressive as a result of following Sharia law are mostly directat to women. They have almost no say in marriage or divorce as these things are decided for them by their husbands and fathers. They have minimal ability to petition for any change in marital status based he public desires. Women are also forbidden to go out in public without at least wearing a hijab, but usually they must wear more coverigarmentsent, such as a niqab or burqa. They should also be accompanied by a male guardian who is a relative, and they are not allowed to drive. Working women do not receive equivalent pay for the same work and are treated discriminatorily concerning job benefits, raises, and advances. In most cases, they might be forced to work in a diffesetupet up to be segregated from their male counterparts (Abiad 68).

In Saudi Arabia, women and religious minorities are forced to live in a culture where Sharia law forbids them from carrying weapons for self-defense. They are not allowed to join any military. Women are also not given the right to vote, and, in case they get such an opportunity, they cannot do it alone. They vote in the presence of a male guardian, and it prevents them from expressing their desires. Sharia law ensures that women are politically silenced in Arab culture. When a woman is allowed to hold a political position, some of her opinions are modified to allow her to continue holding the post. Minorities are not represented in the government. According to Sharia law, reporting domestic abuse is close to impossible for any woman as such things are usually legal. Culture, shaped by Sharia law, does not allow women and minorities to assemble freely or petition for better treatment (Abiad 21).

Sharia law has unified the country that was initially made up of dispersed tribes. Saudi Arabia is currently in a very distinguished position among Muslim-majority countries. The country has created a culture that cooperates with other Muslim-majority countriesies and offers support to them. A culture of giving is maintained as the country offers a tremendous amount of meat coming from sacrifice during Hajj to poor countries. The law ensures that people have the basics of food, shelter, and clothing provided by the Islamic state, and it is presented with an opportunity to prosper as human beings. It has significantly helped in poverty eradication in the society. Charity is something that every Muslim must practice by necessity (Korteweg and Selby 174).

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Sharia law in Saudi Arabia has created a culture where discipline is highly valued as it covers a wide range of categories of laws that are not implemented in most countries around the world. The punishment system is superior to any other man-made system. The injustice that is too apparent in other countries where man-made law is dominant does not exist in the culture of Saudi Arabia. For example, some countries have seen cases where a rapist receives a lower sentence than someone who was convicted of robbery. Through this comparison, it is evident that the justice of Sharia law is higher than that of any man-made law. Islamic punishments are carried out without impediment or uncertainty, and torture is outlawed and haraam for any Muslim to apply. The only problem is that the penalties are so inconsiderate and severe, and not entirely justified (Bassiouni).

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The values of Saudi society and culture are guided by Sharia law. Members of each family are brought up in the Islamic faith, which demands commitment and obedience to God (Allah) and his prophets and respect and obedience to the laws. All the members are required to have a love for and delight in the homeland and its magnificent history. The state aspires to promote family bonds and Arab-Islamic values. The law takes care of all individuals and provides the right conditions for the growth of their skills and talents. Saudi culture is founded on full devotion to God’s guidance, and the members are required to cooperate amongst themselves in charity, cohesion, and piety. The consolidation of national harmony is an obligation, and the law forbids all activities that can lead to division, partition, and disorder. The purpose of education in Saudi Arabia is to establish the Islamic doctrine in the hearts of young people. It is intended to help them acquire skills and understanding that will steer them into becoming useful members of society, loving the homeland, and taking pride in the records of the land (Bassiouni).

In Saudi Arabia’s culture, Sharia law prohibits diseases pushed under the declaration of freedom, such as pornography, gambling, bestiality, and drugs and alcohol, which seek to manipulate and enslave people to their instincts and desires. These issues result in intensifying crime rates and the disorder that is widespread todayWesterntern society. The way of life in the country ensures the implementation of everyone’s entitlement to basic food which will avert people from resorting to unlawful acts. Unlike capitaliShariaaria law prohibits laying bets and interest rates which exploit the poor for the benefit of the rich. Sharia law aimss to preserve Saudi Arabian society in a form that is healthy and fruitful for the inhabitants. It helps individuals live the way their creator decreed them to live aneasesse the worship of Allah. Nothing comes closeShariaaria law, and it should be implemented in its totality to work and receive the blessings of Allah. Saudi Arabia is an example of a nation that implements this law, although not as entirely as it claims. Some man-made systems are also practiced in the country, Shariaaria law has a significant influence on the culture of Saudi Arabia, even with its changing nature.