Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia
You only have to look at the queue going into Bahrain or the number of Saudis heading into Dubai every weekend to see how many are going to drink and chase girls.. I am a female and have a male friend living in Dubai, would they be allowed to visit me? A minority of citizens are Shia Muslims. Hi Maryam It is not always easy for a single woman in Saudi.
Where Is Saudi Arabia?
It is not always easy for a single woman in Saudi. Hi LeanMan, I read you article, thank you so much for sharing this information. It can lead to having children out of web-lock. Hi Layla How are you i am 34 single would u opt for a pakistani guy who would be interested in meeting and talking to you if you are interested add me on BBM Messenger DA Daily Prayer Muslims pray 5 times per day.
You will be asked to leave smaller shops, but large supermarkets will allow you to wander and fill your trolleys during prayer although I once witnessed a group of matawa, or religious police, drive everyone out of a Riyadh supermarket at prayer time, but that was only once. When working in Saudi Arabia you have to dress respectfully.
For men this means no vests or shorts in public. Most foreign women do not cover their hair; however, it is good practice to always carry a headscarf. If asked to cover your hair, do so without argument. Pornography is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and "pornography" can cover a surprising range of items. Even glossy magazines with scantily clad women will be classed under this category.
Remember, this is a country that is concerned about the naked flesh on cereal boxes and other items in the supermarket and uses black marker pen to cover it up! I often get asked about whether your laptop and other devices will be searched when you come into the country. I have yet to meet or hear of anyone who has ever experienced this.
Although a laptop search is not likely to happen to you, it is probably best to ensure that anything out of the ordinary is hidden away from the usual directories on your computer.
I have, however, known several women who have had cell phones snatched and searched by religious police, or mutawa. Quite frankly, most of these guys are just looking for an excuse to take away women from less well-off countries and abuse them.
If you are a woman, be very careful with what you have on your cell phone, especially if you are in an area known for predatory mutawa. You won't find any bacon sandwiches in Saudi Arabia. Not only do they not eat pork, all pork products are actually illegal. If you are caught with pork, the police will throw you in the slammer!
If you know someone, however, who is able to open a tin can without leaving any evidence you can easily smuggle in bacon in a can disguised as fruit or something else. Not that I have ever done this too often! Forget banning alcohol, for me this is the biggest problem about living in Saudi Arabia. Unless you are married or a direct blood relative, you are not allowed to mix in private with someone of the opposite sex.
This is generally extended to the public sphere, as well, so walking and talking to someone of the opposite sex is likely to get you into very hot water—perhaps even jailed or deported. Again, your origin will also affect how you are treated here. As a westerner I have never been stopped or questioned with any woman, nor have any of my friends—but it does happen, so beware I hasten to add that I am actually married.
On the other hand, I have both seen and heard frequent reports of Filipinos and Indians, as well as others, being stopped and arrested. If you want some additional information about dating in Saudi Arabia you can have a look at my article about this subject using this link.
Segregation of the sexes is strictly upheld. Even within the family section there are often screens arranged so that one table cannot see another, so that everyone is isolated. When working in this country you will find that the sexes rarely mix in the workplace. The women are required to have their own areas within the workplace. If you have an affair, be warned. When Saudi men meet they will often kiss each other on the cheek.
Women will do this when they meet one another, as well. However, do not think that this gives you the right to kiss your wife in public! Affection between men and women is not tolerated in public.
It is okay to walk hand in hand with your wife—but no kissing and cuddling, even if meeting at the airport for the first time in a year. Control yourself until you get somewhere private.
If someone tells you to stop doing something, stop straight away and do not try to argue the right or wrong of it. It is best to remove yourself from the area as quickly as possible in these situations. You do not want the people telling you to stop deciding that further action is required. Do not swear or make obscene gestures. People are easily offended or choose to be offended just to give you trouble , and things can escalate out of control.
If someone takes a dislike to you, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. The general rule here is that a Saudi is always right. Otherwise the decision tends to follow a hierarchy of origins: There is a very definite pecking order here in Saudi Arabia.
Do not give the finger when you are driving, no matter how bad the Saudi is driving. This is not your country, and you will be in the wrong. Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia; therefore they must have a driver. However, a problem arises because a woman cannot be alone with a man who is not her direct blood relative or her husband. Some men will not allow their wives to have a driver for this reason. There is a very real danger that a woman can be accused of having an improper relationship with her driver if the police want to cause a problem.
In order to get around this problem, I have seen boys as young as 10 or 11 driving their mothers around. Women in Saudi Arabia who travel and walk alone are generally regarded with suspicion. Many people may think that she is a prostitute and will treat her as such. On one occasion in the past several years ago , she was grabbed and dragged into a car by a man who tried to hold something over her nose and mouth to knock her out. Luckily she carries a knife, and the man stopped and let her out when she started to stab his seats and threaten him.
My wife is a Filipina, not western. I have not heard of western women being treated in this way, but I have heard several similar reports regarding Filipina and Indonesian women, which have ended horrifically in rape and beatings. Alcohol is not allowed at all—not even in mouthwash and perfumes—so be careful what you bring into the country. Making your own alcohol is not exactly hard; it is easily made when sugar is fermented by yeast ordinary baking yeast is sufficient.
So sugar and yeast added to nonalcoholic beers or to fruit juices will quickly ferment to produce an alcoholic version. Fermentation normally takes weeks, and it takes another weeks for the cloudiness to clear.
Or so I am told, as this is strictly illegal. Finding alcohol on the compound is very easy—some compounds have their own residents' bar. Non-homemade quality stuff is harder to come by but not impossible. If you are caught you are likely to get sent home unless you are very lucky and someone manages to smooth-talk the police for you.
If you have Saudi friends let them transport the alcohol—they will only get their wrists slapped if they are caught. Most Saudis I know drink and have supplies of many types.
Whatever you do, do not sell booze under any circumstances. If you are caught you will be so deep in excrement you will not see the light of day for a long time. Drugs are a big problem in Saudi Arabia. Hashish is a major problem here; many Saudis smoke far too much of it as well as other drugs. I am not in any way, shape, or form someone who uses drugs, but I know that they are freely available. The kissing scene where the hero steals a little peck from the heroine?
I am not talking about a sex scene here; I am talking a peck on the cheek. Even when you read the newspapers, you might notice that there is just too much good news about how wonderful everything is in Saudi Arabia! Basically, if you think it is fun then there is a good chance that it will be illegal here in Saudi. Working in Saudi Arabia may seem very restrictive, but at the end of the day we are here for the money and the lack of taxes. But remember, if it goes on behind closed doors, quietly without disturbing anyone, no one will stop you.
If you are still considering working in Saudi Arabia, then my full guide to working as an expat in Saudi Arabia will tell you everything you need to know. Saudi Arabia is not somewhere to visit or work in unless you have done your homework. There are just too many things that you could do wrong and too many ways to easily offend the Saudis. Always do your research, and understand what it is that you are letting yourself in for.
Punishment in Saudi Arabia can be severe. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. It is not always easy for a single woman in Saudi. However you will likely be safe if you don't do anything stupid like mixing with guys or walking the street alone.
Usually the accommodation that is offered is fine and you should get a reasonable quality of life living there. You are welcome to your own opinion. However I stick by my comments calling the society hypocritical. You only have to look at the queue going into Bahrain or the number of Saudis heading into Dubai every weekend to see how many are going to drink and chase girls.. Then look at the way people drive, or treat expats from third world countries. It will all depend on the attitude of your wife and daughter.
If you are living and being schooled on compound then they may be fine with the lifestyle that they can gain there. However in my experience many women simply do not enjoy living there with the restrictions placed upon them. I was just curious out of the job I am offered. Is it easier for a widow lady with two kids work and live alone in Saudi Arabia? Are there any chances of moving about the places like malls and Markets in cabs like uber and careem etc along with the kids of course?
I am from Pakistan, and I need a good advise whether or not to take up this job as a dermatologist at a hospital which will also provide accommodation. A lot of your comments you've written in the beginning sounded really generalized and biased which could be easily misunderstood. I feel like you generalized Saudi Arabia as a whole for only a part of the population who does things that you said as a part of the "hypocrital society".
I absolutely disagree with that term. I am travelling with my coworkers to KSA, is it illegal to have sex with her in hotel. Its a great read. Im just curious really if you have any knowledge of obtaining a work visa with a criminal record? And if so what are the likely outcomes of an application? Yes it is always difficult to be with a girl in Saudi and the penalties if caught are severe. I hope that you are able to resolve things with your husband, especially for your son.
Best of luck with everything. Thank you so much, Tony for taking some time to reply. Recently, I made an effort and tried fixing things again with my husband. At first, he was too hard that it seems that he did not want to put everything back to normal but then few minutes after, we began being okay again.
After all, this has been our routine every time we had an argument. My 6yr old son unintentionally made it a joke when he said that his father has a new wife in Saudi. Guess what my husband reaction was? He laughed so hard. Is this reverse psychology not to be too obvious?
Or if guilty, he could have denied and explained? What do you think? I asked him who that girl was, he said that she's just a friend and they go out always as a group. Probably, they just have some pictures together since they usually sit beside each other and that would be during those days when we were not talking. Again, my jealousy started to arise again. I immediately asked him if it's a girl, if that's the same girl. He first laughed but became a bit irritated probably because of me being immature.
He said that it's not easy there to just be with a girl especially that it's Ramadan today. Is it more strict there for unmarried couple to be together when Ramadan than those ordinary days?
Should I start trusting my husband again and avoid thinking too much negativity? Hope to read your response once I open this page again. Many people take the risk of hanging out with people of the opposite sex, after all they get lonely when they are separated from their families for so long.
If this is a group and some of the people are married then often that will be OK. But being alone together if not married is a problem and they could be arrested if caught together.
You are not however going to be able to report them from the Philippines. As to your actions, you are understandably angry and your choice of action is down to you; personally I would concentrate on building a better life and forget revenge.
My husband works as an OWF in Riyadh. We usually fight and because of the distance, things always end up worse. He recently posted pictures with a woman who is also a Filipina. There was also this picture where they were a group of 3 men, 3 women, seems that they are all partners. I am planning to sue the girl. How do you think it is possible?
My husband converted to Islam few years ago but he was a Christian when we got married here. No; to live together or even just be together alone you must be married. That being said, if no one notices that you have moved someone in then you may just get away with it. My wife was usually able to go around in Saudi without a scarf, or if one was required worn very loosely. Sometimes they even told her to cover her face. Very very sad but true.
My husband and I worked as Intensive Care Nurses and saw the very best, and the very worst of humanity in those countries. It is only now that I realise that I have been suffering from PTSD because of some of the things we saw and the stress we lived under and can only now talk about some of my experiences. I am more grateful for my freedom and safe society I live in as a result of my travels throughout the Middle East. Your accounts are frank and honest, nobody should ever work in the KSA without doing their homework first and I can vouch for the truth in your writing.
There is no one that you can complain to apart from your husband. He is taking a big risk and should be very careful with what he is doing there. You need to work with him to sort our your relationship.
I know many that work there in Saudi end up with new relationships due to being alone in a strange country; some of these relationships become permanent destroying the families that they had back home while others are dissolved as soon as the participants return back to their countries of origin.
My husband is currently working in Riyadh as engineer and to my surprised they were dating single nurses without our knowledge.
I'm here in the Philippine taking care of my daughters and yet they're doing a shit behind my back. How can I complain them to KSA government. I want to stop those bad deeds before our family will be destroyed..
Why are you so intent on trying to ruin another persons life. Being arrested with a man that is not your husband in Saudi could see her jailed, lashed and likely deported with Prostitute stamped in her passport. There are many expat men and women there that have taken another partner while they are there.
Most are there separated from friends and family for many years in an inhospitable country so it really is not surprising that so many will pair up for the time that they are there in Saudi Arabia. Stop worrying about what she is doing and concentrate on your own life. The only rule that you have to be careful of is if the bachelor is left alone with a woman without a married couple there to chaperon him. So if he is left alone in the flat and the wife of the married couple is there alone with him then that is potentially a problem if anyone knows.
Were staying in a Family Flat here in Riyadh KSA as a sharing flat we allowed a Bachelor to also share in our Flat by occupying a room good for him for us to save more for the rent. Is it allowed for a Bachelor to bring always a group of Bachelors in a Family flat consisting of more than 5 persons.
You are entitled to your opinion, but in my personal experience there are times when westerners are treated very poorly. If you look at my hub about how expats are treated there is a poll there that tells a very different story to the one that you are suggesting. I believe you have exaggerated big time. Westerns in the kingdom are treated better than the citizens and no one touches them even when they cross the line.
Charlie, the rules in Saudi are very clear. You cannot socialize with a man unless your are a direct blood relative or you are married. So you risk imprisonment if you are found alone with him. Your compound would also not allow him access as they will be stopping any men from coming in if your compound is for single women. In addition to this it will be very difficult for him to get a visa to enter the country.
Hi, I have been offered a job as a radiographer in Jeddah which includes accommodation on a compound. I am a female and have a male friend living in Dubai, would they be allowed to visit me? As long as you are legally married then it is no problem to live together - however do get your marriage certificate translated so that anyone that checks will be able to understand that you are married.
What you should be aware of however is that your wife's Saudi sponsor may expect her to stay in their accommodation for female staff. This could be a problem and I have had several emails over the years from couples who have been separated by their sponsors expecting them to live in specific quarters. I also have many emails from couples where one or the other has had to move with their sponsor or been transferee to another part of Saudi away from their spouses.
You are very much under the control of your sponsor there in Saudi. That being said most sponsors are very good to married couples but just be aware of the potential for problems. Good luck and I hope that everything goes well for you both. I am working here at Riyadh and my wife is expected to come here by next week to work on a hospital.
We are legally married in the Philippines - have our Marriage Cert stamped by Saudi Royal Embassy at Phils, not yet translated though - planning to process translation here.
Thank you Leanman, your advice has been very helpful and I look forward to our trip. Hopefully our short layover will go well Long sleeved and a long skirt rather than figure hugging jeans are a better choice, while you may see women dressed less conservatively it only takes one over zealous individual to make a scene and you will have a problem there in Saudi.
I would also advise carrying a scarf or something similar to cover her hair should the need arise although you should not need to.
Good luck and safe trip. Thank you for your advice. I know that I will not be able to leave the airport; that's not a problem. I just have a few questions: Also, would a long skirt be better than slacks? Although, more recently, women have begun working as store clerks in department stores or at grocery checkout counters. Regardless of the type of employment they pursue, women are always required to cover their faces during working hours. Non-Muslims are not allowed to worship in public in Saudi Arabia, and there are not many if any non-Muslim places of worship in major cities throughout the country.
This law also includes promotion or display of personal religious items, like religious books and symbols i. Since Saudi Arabia follows the beliefs of Islam, this law attempts to prevent non-Muslims from trying to convert or share religious ideas with Muslims. Consequently, Muslims who wish to convert to other religions are not necessarily openly supported by their family members or society at large.
But, as in most cases, as time passes, more and more Saudi Arabians are becoming open to other religions. You don't have to be Muslim to teach in Saudi Arabia, but you should respect their beliefs and be willing to keep your own more private during your teaching stint. Most private gyms do not accept women members and the majority of schools do not offer gym classes or physical education activities for female students.
This is because women are not permitted to carry out physical education and sports, as these are activities believed to be reserved solely for men. It is best for foreign teachers to respect this law during their time in Saudi Arabia, and of course, don't expect to teach P. Also, music classes are not allowed in public schools, because music is considered forbidden since school curricula must follow the rules of Islam Don't expect many opportunities to teach music in Saudi Arabia to pop up!
Despite this, rock bands and music enthusiasts still find ways to express their passion for music, away from the public eye. Such lack of clarity, as well as instances of arbitrary enforcement by the authorities, obliges most non-Muslims to worship in such a manner as to avoid discovery. Those detained for non-Muslim worship almost always are deported by authorities after sometimes lengthy periods of arrest during investigation. In some cases, they also are sentenced to receive lashes prior to deportation.
The Government does not permit non-Muslim clergy to enter the country for the purpose of conducting religious services, although some come under other auspices and perform religious functions in secret.
Such restrictions make it very difficult for most non-Muslims to maintain contact with clergymen and attend services. Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who require a priest on a regular basis to receive the sacraments required by their faith, particularly are affected.
Proselytizing by non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles , is illegal. The country was reported to have passed a law recommending the death penalty for anyone caught carrying or smuggling a Bible into the country,  although the claim of the death penalty later was recalled by the original source of the information.
Under the auspices of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, approximately 50 "Call and Guidance" centers employing approximately persons work to convert foreigners to Islam. Some non-Muslim foreigners convert to Islam during their stay in the country. The press often carries articles about such conversions, including testimonials. The press as well as government officials publicized the conversion of the Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Torquato Cardilli , in late The Government requires noncitizen residents to carry a Saudi residence permit Iqama for identification in place of their passports.
The celebrations are monitored by the police. In observance of Ashura took place without incident in Qatif. Virtually all existing mosques in al-Ahsa were unable to obtain licenses and faced the threat of closure at any time and in other parts of the country were not allowed to build Shia-specific mosques.
Sentencing under the legal system is not uniform. Information regarding government practices was generally incomplete because judicial proceedings usually were not publicized or were closed to the public, despite provisions in the criminal procedure law requiring court proceedings to be open. Customs officials regularly open postal material and cargo to search for non-Muslim materials, such as Bibles and religious videotapes. Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels.
All public school children receive religious instruction that conforms with the official version of Islam. Non-Muslim students in private schools are not required to study Islam. Private religious schools are permitted for non-Muslims or for Muslims adhering to unofficial interpretations of Islam. In , Saudi religious police detained Shiite pilgrims participating in the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, allegedly calling them " infidels in Mecca and Medina" . Ahmadis are persecuted in Saudi Arabia on an ongoing basis.
Although there are many foreign workers and Saudi citizens belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect in Saudi Arabia,     Ahmadis are officially banned from entering the country and from performing the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia has criminal statutes making it illegal for a Muslim to change religion or to renounce Islam, which is defined as apostasy and punishable by death. Sadiq Malallah, a Shi'a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, was arrested in April and charged with throwing stones at a police patrol.
He was reportedly held in solitary confinement for long periods during his first months in detention and tortured prior to his first appearance before a judge in July The judge reportedly asked him to convert from Shi'a Islam to Sunni Wahhabi Islam, and allegedly promised him a lighter sentence if he complied. After he refused to do so, he was taken to al-Mabahith al-'Amma General Intelligence Prison in Dammam where he was held until April He was then transferred to al-Mabahith al-'Amma Prison in Riyadh, where he remained until the date of his execution.
Sadiq Malallah is believed to have been involved in efforts to secure improved rights for Saudi Arabia's Shi'a Muslim minority. As of [update] , he was still in prison, had alleged physical abuse and mistreatment during his years of incarceration, and had reportedly made numerous suicide attempts. In , Saudi poet  and journalist Hamza Kashgari   became the subject of a major controversy after being accused of insulting Muslim prophet Mohammad in three short messages tweets published on the Twitter online social networking service.
Ahmad Al Shamri from the town of Hafar al-Batin , was arrested on charges of atheism and blasphemy after allegedly use social media to state that he renounced Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, he was sentenced to death in February Saudi Arabia uses the death penalty for crimes of sorcery and witchcraft and claims that it is doing so in "public interest".
Saudi Arabia's treatment of religious minorities has been described by both Saudis and non-Saudis as " apartheid " and "religious apartheid". Testifying before the U. Saudi Arabia is a glaring example of religious apartheid.
The Saudi government communized Islam, through its monopoly of both religious thoughts and practice. Wahhabi Islam is imposed and enforced on all Saudis regardless of their religious orientations.
The Wahhabi sect does not tolerate other religious or ideological beliefs, Muslim or not. Religious symbols by Muslims, Christians , Jews and other believers are all banned.
The Saudi embassy in Washington is a living example of religious apartheid. In its 50 years, there has not been a single non-Sunni Muslim diplomat in the embassy.
In , Amir Taheri quoted a Shi'ite businessman from Dhahran as saying "It is not normal that there are no Shi'ite army officers, ministers, governors, mayors and ambassadors in this kingdom. This form of religious apartheid is as intolerable as was apartheid based on race.
In , Saudi religious police detained Shiite pilgrims participating in the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, allegedly calling them " infidels in Mecca and Medina ".
Imsges: dating in saudi arabia illegal
Okay, so warnings aside, how does one start dating in Saudi Arabia and possibly find love in an exotic kingdom?
Hi LeanMan, I read you article, thank you so much for sharing this information. Do you think I could bring one or two into the country in order to protect myself? I lost USD with them.
But dating in saudi arabia illegal will see even Saudi girls wearing modest but normal clothes if they are still young. Pornography is illegal in Saudi Adabia, and "pornography" can cover a surprising range of items. If you are looking at dating in Saudi Arabiayou should set up a twitter and facebook account which clearly states dating sites in malta city you are in, and where you are dating in saudi arabia illegal. I am not talking about a sex scene here; I am talking a peck on the cheek. God in his knowledge knows this and advises us to keep from this. I want to ward off any trouble. Hi there iam welly32 years old iam looking for fwb relation ,open minded also hope to finde my best girl.
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