The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - an introduction.

Geography and Climate

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, located in the southwest of Asia, covers an area of 2,250,000 square km and occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered to the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, to the east by the Arabian Gulf, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, to the south by Yemen and to the west by the Red Sea.

The common perception of Saudi Arabia is of a hot, arid, barren land with a few oases. While this is true for the greater part of the country, the mountainous Asir Region in the South-west is refreshingly verdant and cooler. In contrast the Rub' Al-Khali Desert (The Empty Quarter) is the largest sand desert in the world and covers an area greater than France.

A Brief History

The Arabian Peninsula has been conquered and re-conquered by many tribes and empires during the past. The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came into being in September 1932 when the late King Abdul Aziz ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud re-united the various emirates within the country.

Through his leadership Islam was established as the only religion in Saudi Arabia and paved the way for unprecedented social and economic changes. During the late 1930's oil was discovered in the Saudi desert. This laid the foundations for the rapid expansion of the infrastructure in the 1970's and 1980's.
The current monarch is King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud who succeeded to the throne in June 1982.

Under King Fahd's guidance, Saudi Arabia has made rapid progress on all fronts.

Religion

The only recognised religion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is Islam. Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life for over 1 billion Muslims worldwide. There are five pillars to which Muslims must agree or carry out:
1. There is only one God. Muslims bear witness to the existence of God and the oneness of God by pronouncing the Shahadah or profession of faith; this is central to Islam.
2. Prayer or Salah. Five daily prayers at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and at night are obligatory for Muslims.
3. Almsgiving or Zakat. Annually at the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims distribute 1/40th or 2.5% of their total net worth, less certain allowed items, to the neediest members of the community.
4. Fasting or Sawm. During the month of Ramadan Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from dawn till sunset. There are exemptions for those who are unable to fast due to age or medical condition.
5. Hajj or the greater Pilgrimage. Muslims who are financially and physically capable of performing the pilgrimage to Makkah must do so at least once during their life.

Islam treats all people as equal irrespective of skin colour, nationality or other distinguishing features. Wealth, intelligence or physical beauty are not the basis of status in Islam. Muslims can excel one another only in their piety or duty to God.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, is the word of God. It was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad approximately 1,400 years ago. During the life of the Prophet Muhammad, his words and actions, that which he allowed or forbade, have become known as the Sunnah of the Prophet. The Quran and the Sunnah are the basis of the Islamic way of life. Islam lays down a framework regulating individuals, groups of people, even countries and governments. By offering a framework for civilisation and recommendations that promote fairness and equal opportunity for all, it covers every aspect of human life and endeavor.

The following three sections are taken from the booklet 'This is Our Country' published by the Ministry of Information, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Constitution

The constitution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the Quran, the book revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). The Quran and the Sunnah or Traditions of the Prophet, embody laws laid down by God on religious and worldly matters. They govern every field of human activity and worship.

The Flag of Saudi Arabia

The Arabic text on the flag is the Shahadah or Creed, which is the cornerstone of Islam. It translates as "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah".

The Emblem

The emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consists of two crossed curved Arabian swords surmounted by a date palm.

For more detailed information on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia please visit
www.saudiembassy.net, then click "Profile of Saudi Arabia".

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For more information please contact Infokfafh@kfafh.org