Saudis

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Saudis Arabians • سعوديون
Total population
20,408,362Increase
62,69% of the population of Saudi Arabia
2017 Saudi estimate[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia 20,408,362 (2017)[2]
 Egypt 1,771,894 (2016)[2]
 United States 567,511 (2013)[2]
 Kuwait 540,773[2]
 Lebanon 108,842[2]
 United Kingdom 98,604[2]
 Australia 91,900[2]
 Turkey 90,878[2]
 United Arab Emirates 150,247 (2015)[2]
 Jordan 86,622
 Syria 83,560 (2010)
 Iran 82,314 (2016)[3]
 Colombia 200,000 (2016)

Saudi Arabians (Arabic: سعوديونSuʿūdiyyūn), or Saudis are a nation composed mainly of various regional ethnic groups who are native to the Arabian Peninsula including Hejazis, Najdis, Hassawis, Southern Arabs and others including non-Arabs, who share a common general Saudi culture and a Saudi nationality. Saudis speak one of the accents and dialects of the Peninsular Arabic, including the Hejazi, Najdi, Gulf and Southern Arabic dialects (which includes Bareqi), as a mother tongue. According to the 2010 census, Saudi nationals represented approximately 19,335,377 making up 74.1% of the total population. Saudi Arabia is a state governed by absolute monarchy, with the king as its head of state.

Census[edit]

The ethnic Saudi population as of the 2010 census was 19,335,377 making up 74.1% of the total population. The remaining population has 6,755,178 non-nationals representing 25.9%. Saudis by region:

Total: - 19,335,377 (74.1%)

Until the 1960s, most of the population was nomadic or seminomadic; due to rapid economic and urban growth, more than 95% of the population now is settled. 80% of Saudis live in three major urban centers—Riyadh, Jeddah, or Dammam.[4] Some cities and oases have densities of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer (2,600/mile²). Saudi Arabia's population is characterized by rapid growth and a large cohort of youths.

Genetics[edit]

DNA tests of Y chromosomes from representative sample of Saudis were analyzed for composition and frequencies of haplogroups, a plurality (42%) belong to Haplogroup J-M267 (Y-DNA). Other frequent haplogroups are J-M172 (14%), E1-M2 (8%), R1-M17 (5%) and T-M184 (5%).[5]

As for MtDNA, Haplogroup N (mtDNA) were found at (5%) while Haplogroup R is a descendant of the macro-haplogroup N. Among the R descendant haplogroups are U (3%), K (4%), R0 (21%), HV, H, V (3%) also J (15%) and T (7%).[6]

Most Saudis are ethnically Arab of whom they immigrated as pilgrims and reside in the Hijaz region along the Red Sea coast such as Jeddah, Mecca and Medina. According to a random survey, most would-be Saudis come from the Subcontinent and Arab countries.[7] Many Arabs from nearby countries are employed in the kingdom. There also are significant numbers of Asian expatriates mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.[citation needed] In the 1970s and 1980s, there was also a significant community of South Korean migrant labourers, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, but most have since returned home; the South Korean government's statistics showed only 1,200 of their nationals living in the kingdom as of 2005.[8][9] There are more than 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in private compounds in the major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. The government prohibits non-Muslims from entering the cities of Mecca and Medinah.

Culture[edit]

The cultural setting of Saudi Arabia is Arab and Islam, and is deeply religious, conservative, traditional, and family oriented. Many attitudes and traditions are centuries-old, derived from Arab civilization. The Salafi Islamic movement, which arose in the 18th century and is sometimes described as austerely puritanical, now predominates in the country. Following the principle of "enjoining good and forbidding wrong", there are many limitations on behaviour and dress 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.

Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques scattered throughout the country. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Friday-Saturday.[10] In accordance with Salafi 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.[11]

Social life and customs[edit]

Bedouin[edit]

A large portion of the original inhabitants of the area that is now Saudi were desert nomads known as Bedouin. They remain a significant and very influential minority of the indigenous Saudi population, though many who call themselves "bedou" no longer engage in "traditional tribal activities of herding sheep and riding camels."[12] According to authors Harvey Tripp and Peter North, Bedouin make up most of the judiciary, religious leaders and National Guard (which protects the throne) of the country. Bedouin culture is "actively" preserved by the government.[12]

Greetings[edit]

Greetings in Saudi Arabia have been called "formal and proscribed" and lengthy. Saudis (men) tend "to take their time and converse for a bit when meeting". Inquiries "about health and family" are customary, but never about a man's wife, as this "is considered disrespectful."[13][14]

Dress[edit]

A Red and white keffiyeh commonly worn in the desert and on the right a White keffiyeh held with a black agal is more common in cities.[15][15]

The religion and customs of Saudi Arabia dictate not only conservative dress for men and women, but a uniformity of dress unique to most of the Middle East.[16] Traditionally, the different regions of Saudi have had different dress, but since the re-establishment of Saudi rule these have been reserved for festive occasions, and "altered if not entirely displaced" by the dress of the homeland of their rulers (i.e. Najd). [17]

All women are required to wear an abaya a long black cloak that covers all, but the hands and face in public. (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.[18]) Saudi women also normally wear a full face veil, such as a niqāb. Women's clothes are often decorated with tribal motifs, coins, sequins, metallic thread, and appliques. Foreign women are required to wear an abaya, but don't need to cover their hair.

In recent years it is common to wear Western dress underneath the abaya. (Foreign women in Saudi Arabia are "encouraged" by the religious police to wear an abaya, or at least cover their hair according to the New York Times.[19] Authors Harvey Tripp and Peter North encourage women to wear an abaya in "more conservative" areas of the kingdom, i.e. in the interior.[20])

Saudi woman wearing a niqāb in Riyadh. Under Saudi law, women are required to wear a abaya but niqab and hijab is optional.
A local Hijazi man wearing a traditional dress of Madinah

Saudi men and boys, whatever their job or social status, wear the traditional dress called a thobe or thawb, which has been called the "Arabic dress".[21] During warm and hot weather, Saudi men and boys wear white thobes. During the cool weather, wool thobes in dark colors are not uncommon. At special times, men often wear a bisht or mishlah over the thobe. These are long white, brown or black cloaks trimmed in gold. 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. Not wearing an igal is considered a sign of piety. 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.

  • Ghutrah (Arabic: غتره‎) is a traditional keffiyeh headdress worn by men in the Arabian peninsula. It is made of a square of usually finer cotton cloth ("scarf"), folded and wrapped in various styles (usually a triangle) around the head. It is commonly worn in areas with an arid climate, to provide protection from direct sun exposure, and also protection of the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand.
  • Agal (Arabic: عقال‎) is an item of Arab headgear constructed of cord which is fastened around the keffiyeh to hold it in place. The agal is usually black in colour.
  • Thawb (Arabic: ثوب‎) is the standard Arabic word for garment. It is ankle length, woven from wool or cotton, usually with long sleeves similar to a robe.
  • Bisht (Arabic: بشت‎) is a traditional long, white, brown or black Arabic cloak trimmed in gold worn by men. It is usually only worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings, or in chilly weather.
  • Abaya (Arabic: عباءة‎) is a women's garment. It is a black cloak which loosely covers the entire body except the head, although some Abayas cover the top of the head as well.

More recently, Western dress, particularly T-shirts and jeans have become quite common leisure wear, particularly in Jeddah and the Eastern Province.[22] Traditional footwear has been leather sandals but most footwear is now imported.[17]

Religion[edit]

Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims.[23] The government does not legally protect the freedom of religion.[23] Any overseas national attempting to acquire Saudi nationality must convert to Islam.[24] Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its implementation of Islamic law and its poor human rights record.[25][26]

Islam[edit]

The official form of Islam is Sunni of the Hanbali school, in its Salafi version. According to official statistics, 85-90% of Saudi citizens are Sunni Muslims, 10-15% are Shia.[27] (More than 30% of the population is made up of foreign workers[27] who are predominantly but not entirely Muslim.) It is unknown how many Ahmadi there are in the country.[28] The two holiest cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, are in Saudi Arabia. For many reasons, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the holy cities although some Western non-Muslims have been able to enter, disguised as Muslims.[29][30]

Non-Muslims[edit]

The large number of foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia (8 million expatriates out of a total population of 27 million[31]) includes non-Muslims. Irreligious population also exists in Saudi Arabia. Although there is no official published statistics by the Saudi government, according to a Gallup poll, 5% of Saudi Arabians are atheists.[32][33][34]

Policy of exclusion[edit]

According to scholar Bernard Lewis, the Saudi Arabian policy of excluding non-Muslims from permanent residence in the country is a continuation of an old and widely accepted Muslim policy.

The classical Arabic historians tell us that in the year 20 after the hijra (Muhammad's move from Mecca to Medina), corresponding to 641 of the Christian calendar, the Caliph Umar decreed that Jews and Christians should be removed from Arabia to fulfill an injunction the Prophet uttered on his deathbed: "Let there not be two religions in Arabia." The people in question were the Jews of the oasis of Khaybar in the north and the Christians of Najran in the south.

[The hadith] was generally accepted as authentic, and Umar put it into effect. ... Compared with European expulsions, Umar's decree was both limited and compassionate. It did not include southern and southeastern Arabia, which were not seen as part of Islam's holy land. ... the Jews and Christians of Arabia were resettled on lands assigned to them -- the Jews in Syria, the Christians in Iraq. The process was also gradual rather than sudden, and there are reports of Jews and Christians remaining in Khaybar and Najran for some time after Umar's edict.

But the decree was final and irreversible, and from then until now the holy land of the Hijaz has been forbidden territory for non-Muslims. According to the Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence, accepted by both the Saudis and the declaration's signatories, for a non-Muslim even to set foot on the sacred soil is a major offense. In the rest of the kingdom, non-Muslims, while admitted as temporary visitors, were not permitted to establish residence or practice their religion.[35]

While Saudi Arabia does allow non-Muslims to live in Saudi Arabia to work, they may not practice religion publicly. According to the government of the United Kingdom:

The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal; as is an intention to convert others. However, the Saudi authorities accept the private practice of religions other than Islam, and you can bring a Bible into the country as long as it is for your personal use. Importing larger quantities than this can carry severe penalties.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] General Authority for Statistics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Migration". International Organization for Migration. 
  3. ^ "Saudi Gazette: Nov. 24, 2010 – Census shows Kingdom's population at more than 29 million" [2] Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 69. 
  5. ^ Khaled K Abu-Amero; Ali Hellani; Ana M González; Jose M Larruga; Vicente M Cabrera; Peter A Underhill (2009). "Saudi Arabian Y-Chromosome diversity and its relationship with nearby regions". BMC Genet. 10: 59. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-10-59. PMC 2759955Freely accessible. PMID 19772609. 
  6. ^ Abu-Amero, Khaled K.; Larruga, José M.; Cabrera, Vicente M.; González, Ana M. (2008-02-12). "Mitochondrial DNA structure in the Arabian Peninsula". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8: 45. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-45. ISSN 1471-2148. 
  7. ^ Siraj Wahab (30 July 2009). "It's another kind of Saudization". Arab News. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Seok, Hyunho (1991). "Korean migrant workers to the Middle East". In Gunatilleke, Godfrey (ed.). Migration to the Arab World: Experience of Returning Migrants. United Nations University Press. pp. 56–103. ISBN 9280807455. 
  9. ^ "President Roh Moo-hyun's Official Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". Cheongwadae (Office of the President), Republic of Korea. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Weekend shift: A welcome change", SaudiGazette.com.sa, 24 June 2013 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  11. ^ Lacey, Robert (2009). Inside the Kingdom : Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Viking. p. 267. "... for decades the sheikhs successfully resisted attempts to add September 23 to the short list of official conges. But with the accession of Abdullah, the battlefield changed. If the king wanted a holiday, the king could grant it, and whatever the clerics might mutter, the people approved. Since 2006 the night of September 23 has become an occasion for national mayhem in Saudi Arabia, the streets blocked with green-flag-waving cars, many of them sprayed with green foam for the night. 
  12. ^ a b Long, Culture and Customs, 2009: p.79-80
  13. ^ McLaughlin,, Elle. "Saudi Arabia Culture & Protocol". USA Today. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: p.89
  15. ^ a b Long, David E. (2005). Culture and Customs of Saudi Arabia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 58–9. 
  16. ^ Sharp, Arthur G. "What's a Wahhabi?". net places. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: pp.57-9
  18. ^ Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: pp.92-4
  19. ^ SHARKEY, JOE (March 14, 2011). "On a Visit to Saudi Arabia, Doing What the Saudis Do". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2015. [U.S.] State Department guidelines note, for example, that the religious police can "pressure women to wear" the full-length black covering known as an abaya, "and to cover their heads." 
  20. ^ Tripp, Culture Shock, 2003: p.108
  21. ^ Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. macmillan. p. 5. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: pp.60-1
  23. ^ a b "International Religious Freedom Report 2004". US Department of State. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  24. ^ Ministry of the Interior| dead link
  25. ^ Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013. Saudi Arabia.] Freedom of Expression, Belief, and Assembly.
  26. ^ Amnesty International, Annual Report 2013, Saudi Arabia, Discrimination – Shi’a minority
  27. ^ a b "The World Factbook". 2012. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation". Human Rights Watch. May 15, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  29. ^ (Sir Richard Burton in 1853) The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian world| By Dane KENNEDY, Dane Keith Kennedy| Harvard University Press|
  30. ^ (Ludovico di Barthema in 1503) The Arabian Nights: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (1001 Nights ...) edited by Richard F. Burton
  31. ^ "New plan to nab illegals revealed". Arab News. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism" (PDF). Gallup. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  33. ^ "A surprising map of where the world's atheists live". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  34. ^ "Atheism explodes in Saudi Arabia, despite state-enforced ban". Salon. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  35. ^ Lewis, Bernard (November–December 1998). "License to Kill: Usama bin Ladin's Declaration of Jihad". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "Foreign travel advice. Saudi Arabia.Local laws and customs". Gov.UK. Retrieved 23 March 2014.