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25-Apr-2019 08:49

Following the principle of "enjoining good and forbidding wrong", there are many limitations and prohibitions on behaviour and dress which are strictly enforced both legally and socially, often more so than in other Muslim countries.Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for example, and there is no theatre or public exhibition of films. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques scattered throughout the country.Saudi is one of the few countries that have "religious police" (also known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets "enjoining good and forbidding wrong" by enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law) or behavior it believes to be commanded by Islam.Cinema theatres were shut down in 1980, for example.In contrast, assigned readings over twelve years of primary and secondary schooling devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world comes to a total of about 40 pages.

(Modest dress is compulsory for women in Islam but the color black for women and white for men is apparently based on tradition not religious scripture.) Saudi women also normally wear a full face veil, such as a niqāb.A man's headdress consists of three things: the tagia, a small white cap that keeps the gutra from slipping off the head; the gutra itself, which is a large square of cloth; and the igal, a doubled black cord that holds the gutra in place. The gutra is usually made of cotton and traditionally is either all white or a red and white checked.The gutra is worn folded into a triangle and centred on the head.Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Friday-Saturday.

In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, only two religious holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, were publicly recognized, until 2006 when a non-religious holiday, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the kingdom) was reintroduced.

Even the small minority of Westernized and liberal Saudis expressed "a desire for the kingdom to remain a Muslim society ruled by an overtly Muslim state." Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression or buildings but annual festivals such as the Janadriah Festival which celebrates Saudi Culture, custom and handicraft held in a specialized arena just north of Riyadh and public events such as The Annual Book Fair are open to the public and are very popular although policed by the religious police. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad's birthday and the Day of Ashura, (an important holiday for Shiites), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale.



Another fast-disappearing traditional practice is the bridegroom's slaughtering a cat as the bride enters the bridal chamber before they have sexual intercourse. The idea that women's sexuality and passionate nature, once aroused, will prove too strong to control, and could threaten the whole of the social system, is still a powerful force behind the treatment of women and the behaviour of men But I'm starting to think dating is perceived different with different generations. She will wear very little or no make-up and restrict her activities, in order to be imraa wa koora, wa razima'a respectable woman. She got US passports for herself and her kid and they escaped to the US. … continue reading »


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