Glossary

‘Abaya (‘Aba’)—A black cloak worn by women in Saudi Arabia that covers the entire body and the clothing worn underneath.

Abu Bakr—The first caliph who led the Muslim community after the Prophet Muhammad’s death.

Abu Sufyan—Originally an enemy of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca; killed many early Muslims but converted to Islam following the capture of Mecca in 630. Abu Sufyan’s descendants would become the Ummayyad dynasty of 661–750 CE.

Adhan—Call to prayer, intoned publicly five times a day.

Ahl—Family; a bilateral kin group.

Ahl al-balad—A Hijazi term, literally meaning “people of the country.” Used by Hijazis to indicate they are not foreigners, nor recent immigrants, nor from the bedouin tribes (although many may originally derive from tribal groups).

Ahl al-kitab—Literally, “Peoples of the Book.” Non-Muslims with a scriptural tradition recognized by Islam: Jews, Christians, Samaritans, and the Sabeans.

Alfiyya—A poem in which each set of hemistiches begins with the successive letter of the Arabic alphabet.

‘Alim (singular form of ‘ulama)—A religious scholar.

Apostate—Apostasy is the act of denying Islam by a Muslim; and one of the most serious crimes according to Islamic law.

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Saudi Arabia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Author xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Geography 1
  • Chapter 2 - History 17
  • Chapter 3 - Government and Politics 79
  • Chapter 4 - Economy 137
  • Chapter 5 - Society 175
  • Chapter 6 - Culture 245
  • Chapter 7 - Contemporary Issues 355
  • Glossary 385
  • Facts and Figures 399
  • Major Saudi Arabian Holidays 415
  • Country-Related Organizations 419
  • Annotated Bibliography 445
  • Thematic Index 495
  • Index 519
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