Saudi Arabia / Bahrain

Country Information: Saudi Arabia

General


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,commonly known as Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country of the Middle East. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south. It is also connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway. The Persian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west. The kingdom is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam.

Government

The central institution of the Saudi Arabian government is the Saudi monarchy, ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The leading members of the royal family choose the king from among themselves with the subsequent approval of religious leaders (the ulema). The Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of the Sharia (Islamic Law). The current king is King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud, who acceded in 2005.

Religion

Islam is the country's official religion and no other religions are tolerated. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. Shops will be closed during this time. The weekend begins on Thursday due to Friday being the holiest day for Muslims.