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Islam as a Way of Life in Saudi Arabia Essay
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As keepers of the holy cites of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia plays an important role in Islam. Islam is the basis of Saudi Arabia's national identity, society, law, and politics. This becomes apparent simply by looking at the Saudi flag, which combines the Muslim confession of faith ("There is no god but God and Mohammed is His Prophet") and the crossed swords of the House of Saud that reflect the union of faith and politics. Although Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, they have been criticized for being un-Islamic and have been denounced from other Islamic countries such as Iran. Despite Saudi Arabia's creation as an Islamic state and its deliberate Islamic profile, The Saudi government have not been immune to challenges to its legitimacy and leadership. A visitor to Saudi Arabia would immediately notice how Islam is the basis of Saudi Arabia's national identity and society. One would notice the amount of images that seem to confirm its Islamic state. A visitor would notice the seemingly endless number of mosques. A visitor would notice how society seems to stop at prayer time as shops close and the faithful face Mecca to pray. A visitor would also notice the prohibition of alcohol and woman veiled and segregated in public life. These are amongst a list of characteristics that a visitor would notice when visiting Saudi Arabia. Islam is the basis of law and politics in Saudi Arabia. The political aspect of Saudi Arabia is controlled by a monarchy. The royal family controls what is known as the House of Saud. Although Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, the country is governed by Islamic Law. The Koran is its constitution, and the law is governed by a Sharia court system whose judges and legal advisors are ulama. The House of Saud and the ulama keep a close relationship with each other, in correspondence that the monarchy itself is subject to the Sharia. An example of this would be the removal of an inept ruler, King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz in 1964, and the transfer of power to his brother, King Faisal, which was legitimized by a ruling from the ulama because of the "public interest." In order to ensure proper "Islamic" public behavior, the Saudis have utilized "religious police" known as the Committees for the Enforcement of Good and the Prohibition of Evil that monitor the public, making sure that shops close during prayer times, the fast of Ramadan is observed, alcohol is not consumed, and that men and women dress and act modestly. In the past few decades, religious interpretations and justifications have been used to justify the infusion of modern technology and social change. These interpretations have justified using foreign workers and to gain acceptance of everything from television and automobiles to women's education. Although these modernizations have benefited Saudi Arabia as a country, they have caused troubles with radical Islamic viewers who strongly oppose the modernization program. A demonstration by critics of the modernization program took place in 1979 when the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized for two weeks by several hundred militants who denounced the Saudi monarchy, and condemned the ulama for collaborating with the government because of the modernization program. A week later another demonstration took place by 250,000 Shii which was provoked from the Iranian leader Khomeini, who denounced Saudi Arabia as un-Islamic, and for their military and economic ties with the United States as "American Islam." As a result of all the criticisms the Saudi government was receiving, the Saudi monarchy became even more attentive to its Islamic image in the 1980s. King Fahd went as far as replacing his title from "Royal Majesty" with "Servant of the Holy Places". The influx of foreigners was more strictly controlled, as was the observance of the prohibition of alcohol and modest dress and behavior in public. During the Gulf War of 1991, the monarchy was brought upon more criticism's for being un-Islamic because of the presence of American forces on Saudi soil. Although criticized by Islamic extremists for their alliance with the United States, the House of Saud were careful to legitimize the royal decisions by providing legal opinions by Islamic scholars. After the Gulf War, militants increasingly challenged the House of Saud for straying from or betraying Saudi Arabia's Islamic identity and heritage. The government quickly responded to these militants by arresting dissidents and others who were believed to be sympathetic to its critics. By the mid-1990s the government seemed to have rid themselves of its opposition, but were quickly reminded that the opposition still existed when bombs targeting the American military were used as a warning to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to end their ties and dependency upon America and the West. Islam in Saudi Arabia is not just a religion, it is a way of life. Islamic extremists view Saudi Arabia's modernization program as a threat to Islam itself and to Saudi Arabia's image as an Islamic state. Although the House of Saud and the ulama are working together to maintain its Islamic state and modernize itself to keep up with the rest of the world, there continues to be critics who are inept to accepting the combination of an Islamic state and modernization.
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Islam as a Way of Life in Saudi Arabia Essay
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Islam As A Way Of Life In Saudi Arabia Essay

Words: 879    Pages: 3    Paragraphs: 10    Sentences: 36    Read Time: 03:11
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              As keepers of the holy cites of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia plays an important role in Islam. Islam is the basis of Saudi Arabia's national identity, society, law, and politics. This becomes apparent simply by looking at the Saudi flag, which combines the Muslim confession of faith ("There is no god but God and Mohammed is His Prophet") and the crossed swords of the House of Saud that reflect the union of faith and politics. Although Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, they have been criticized for being un-Islamic and have been denounced from other Islamic countries such as Iran. Despite Saudi Arabia's creation as an Islamic state and its deliberate Islamic profile, The Saudi government have not been immune to challenges to its legitimacy and leadership.
             
              A visitor to Saudi Arabia would immediately notice how Islam is the basis of Saudi Arabia's national identity and society. One would notice the amount of images that seem to confirm its Islamic state. A visitor would notice the seemingly endless number of mosques. A visitor would notice how society seems to stop at prayer time as shops close and the faithful face Mecca to pray. A visitor would also notice the prohibition of alcohol and woman veiled and segregated in public life. These are amongst a list of characteristics that a visitor would notice when visiting Saudi Arabia.
             
              Islam is the basis of law and politics in Saudi Arabia. The political aspect of Saudi Arabia is controlled by a monarchy. The royal family controls what is known as the House of Saud. Although Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, the country is governed by Islamic Law. The Koran is its constitution, and the law is governed by a Sharia court system whose judges and legal advisors are ulama. The House of Saud and the ulama keep a close relationship with each other, in correspondence that the monarchy itself is subject to the Sharia. An example of this would be the removal of an inept ruler, King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz in 1964, and the transfer of power to his brother, King Faisal, which was legitimized by a ruling from the ulama because of the "public interest. "
             
              In order to ensure proper "Islamic" public behavior, the Saudis have utilized "religious police" known as the Committees for the Enforcement of Good and the Prohibition of Evil that monitor the public, making sure that shops close during prayer times, the fast of Ramadan is observed, alcohol is not consumed, and that men and women dress and act modestly.
             
              In the past few decades, religious interpretations and justifications have been used to justify the infusion of modern technology and social change. These interpretations have justified using foreign workers and to gain acceptance of everything from television and automobiles to women's education. Although these modernizations have benefited Saudi Arabia as a country, they have caused troubles with radical Islamic viewers who strongly oppose the modernization program. A demonstration by critics of the modernization program took place in 1979 when the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized for two weeks by several hundred militants who denounced the Saudi monarchy, and condemned the ulama for collaborating with the government because of the modernization program. A week later another demonstration took place by 250,000 Shii which was provoked from the Iranian leader Khomeini, who denounced Saudi Arabia as un-Islamic, and for their military and economic ties with the United States as "American Islam. "
             
              As a result of all the criticisms the Saudi government was receiving, the Saudi monarchy became even more attentive to its Islamic image in the 1980s. King Fahd went as far as replacing his title from "Royal Majesty" with "Servant of the Holy Places". The influx of foreigners was more strictly controlled, as was the observance of the prohibition of alcohol and modest dress and behavior in public.
             
              During the Gulf War of 1991, the monarchy was brought upon more criticism's for being un-Islamic because of the presence of American forces on Saudi soil. Although criticized by Islamic extremists for their alliance with the United States, the House of Saud were careful to legitimize the royal decisions by providing legal opinions by Islamic scholars.
             
              After the Gulf War, militants increasingly challenged the House of Saud for straying from or betraying Saudi Arabia's Islamic identity and heritage. The government quickly responded to these militants by arresting
             
              dissidents and others who were believed to be sympathetic to its critics. By the mid-1990s the government seemed to have rid themselves of its opposition, but were quickly reminded that the opposition still existed when bombs targeting the American military were used as a warning to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to end their ties and dependency upon America and the West.
             
              Islam in Saudi Arabia is not just a religion, it is a way of life. Islamic extremists view Saudi Arabia's modernization program as a threat to Islam itself and to Saudi Arabia's image as an Islamic state. Although the House of Saud and the ulama are working together to maintain its Islamic state and modernize itself to keep up with the rest of the world, there continues to be critics who are inept to accepting the combination of an Islamic state and modernization.
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