Saudi Arabia Religion
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Religion is of the utmost priority to Saudi Arabian residents. It is the most valued aspect of their culture. In terms of Saudi culture, the foundation for the idea of justice is "provided by the coherence and consonance (tawafug) that marks all the Universe, arranges the parts of our body and makes everything agree with itself". Anybody or anything falters from this rule should be rejected or punished because digression from the law is abnormal. The idea of "clarity" is a theme that appears repeatedly in the Qur'an. Truth, in terms of Sharia law, is eternal because it is unchanging through time, while the actions of humans in a single moment are merely a "snapshot of existence".
Sharia law is the Muslim code of behavior for both individuals and society. Elements of Sharia include the following:
- Sharia is meant as a guiding light for reaching harmonious society.
- The only entity in Islam that is sacred is God.
- Neither religion nor Sharia are sacred, in Islamic terms.
- Sharia must always be questioned, and judges must seek to follow the objectives of the law, but not the letter of the law.
- Because Sharia law is not thought to be sacred, it is often incorporated into secular law, especially in family issues, such as divorce or inheritance. It is less commonly associated with criminal law.
Strict Religious Code
Most Islamic countries have left behind the severe punishments previously associated with Sharia Law, such as chopping off the hand for stealing, or capital punishment for adultery. An author notes that, "the great majority of the 50 countries which are members of the Organization of Islamic Conference have systems of civil law that are very far from the severe punishments of yesteryear."
Saudi Arabia is an exception, along with Sudan and Afghanistan, to the trend against traditional Sharia punishments. These countries continue to use the criminal provisions of Sharia, leading to amputations or floggings. Amnesty International reports that most Saudi Arabian executions are conducted by a public beheading with a sword.
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