Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country located in the Middle East. It covers a vast area of the Arabian Peninsula and is the second-largest country in the Middle East. Various countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, and others neighboring countries.
Saudi Arabia is popularly known as one the largest producer and exporter of oil and petroleum. The discovery of crude oil has made this country extensively rich. However, it also has a very rich history of culture, art, literature, architecture, religion, culture, and many more.
Rich culture and religion
Most citizens of Saudi Arabia are Muslim popularly the Sunni sect of the religion. The city of Mecca and Medina which is a holy place for Muslims is also located here. The religious leader and founder of Islam the Prophet Muhammad was born here in 571 CE. After his death, his followers began to capture North Africa, Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, and other regions.
In this way, the Islam religion was able to expand and become the second-largest religion in the world. Various civilizations and cultures have emerged from Saudi Arabia. Now, the country comprises four main regions- Najid, Hejaz, some parts of Eastern and Southern Arabia.
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The Pre-Islamic Era of Saudi Arabia
Even before the rise of Islamic religion and other civilizations, the culture of Saudi Arabia can be traced to the Ubaid era. The Ubaid is the prehistoric era of the Mesopotamian civilization. This civilization covers the southern region of Mesopotamia which was established at the alluvial plains.
It is speculated that due to some drastic climatic change, the Mesopotamian civilization slowly moved away. Various artifacts such as imported woods, pottery, copper utensils, statues, etc. were excavated from there.
Law of Saudi Arabia
The law of Saudi Arabia is directly linked with the Quran’s teachings. Along with the teachings of the Prophet which is known as “Sunnah” is also followed in the judicial system. The law of Saudi Arabia is not codified. Hence, the judges are allowed to take any decision according to their conscience and independent logic.
Also, the law strictly needs to follow the religious principles of Hanbali School which is among four vital Islamic schools. It obtains the rules of sharia extensively from the teachings of the Quran. Hence, Sharia law is predominantly applied to the basic judicial system of Saudi Arabia.
Art and Culture
There were various cinema halls and theatres in Saudi Arabia during the 1970s. But later in the 1980s, during the Islamic revival, all cinema halls were shut down in order to increase Islamic activism. However, after the reforms made by King Salman and King Abdullah, the cinemas were re-opened.
The Wahhabi movement also restricted the depiction of humans. As a result, the visual art of Saudi Arabia is largely covered with abstract, geometric designs and flowers.
Dance and Music of Saudi Arabia
The traditional music of Saudi Arabia is linked with the art of poetry. In the past, people used to travel and recite poetry. People used to gather around a storyteller and learn about historic events, tales, etc. in the form of poetry.
The musical instruments of the culture of Saudi Arabia include tar (tambourine), Rabbah, and tabl. One of the traditional dance forms of Saudi Arabia is called “ardah.” In this form, the men hold swords and rifles in their hands and dance on the drum beats.
Traditional Food of Saudi Arabia
Some traditional foods of Saudi Arabia include goat, camel and cows, dates, cheese, clarified butter of cow, etc. The vegetables include pumpkin beans, eggplant, onions, coriander, mint, etc.
Dates are fruits in the Middle Eastern countries. However, several foods are prohibited in Islam such as pork and alcohol. Traditionally, during weddings, religious occasions, and other events, sheep or goats are slaughtered for preparing meals for the family.
Architecture and Urbanisation
During the 1950s, around 40% of the Saudi Arabia population were nomads and they used to live in tents. They used to travel on camels along with herbs such as goats and sheep according to season and water availability. The remaining population used to live in rural areas and cities such as Jiddah, Medina, Unayzah, Medina, Mecca, etc.
After the rapid growth of the oil industry, the older cities expanded and new cities were evolving rapidly. People started to live in houses with open spaces and the construction of freeways eased their transportation.
Islamic and Arab Customs
The traditions of Saudi Arabia are interlinked with the Islamic religions. After the establishment of Islam, Medina and Mecca was ruled by an Arab ruler which was called the Sharif of Mecca. In the Najid region, Wahhabism which is an official form of following Islam in the kingdom escalated during the 18th century.
The Arabs later established caliphates of Umayyad (661-750), Fatimid (909-1171), Abbasid (750-1517), and Rashidun (632-661). Later, it expanded its rule to other Islamic countries such as Istanbul and Baghdad.
The dresses worn by citizens of Saudi Arabia rigidly follow the principles and tradition of modesty in Islam. Men wear a garment covering their whole body up to their ankles made of cotton or wool. Along with that, they wear “guthra” which is made of white cotton cloth and placed upon the head.
For women, women need to wear a black “abaya” that fully covers their body from head to toe apart from their feet and hands. The clothes for women are embroidered with metallic threads, sequins, etc. to make them more beautiful.
Rise of Saudi Arabia royal family
Previously, Arabia was ruled by various groups of tribal people. The dynasty of the royal family of Saudi Arabia known as “Al Saud” dates back to 1744. The dynasty was established by Muhammad bin Saud along with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab, the founder of the Wahhabi movement and a religious leader.
The king of Saudi Arabia is also the Prime Minister and the political system is predominated by the royal family. A king comprises three functions- the executive of legislation, judicial functions, and other royal positions.
The above-mentioned points of Saudi Arabia are enough to compel you to visit this country. Visit this country once to experience its richness.