Saudi Arabia: Perspectives from a Saudi Man

Perspectives from a Saudi Man…

It is not easy as a woman to have an opportunity to speak candidly and openly with a Saudi man (within the Kingdom) let alone have his permission to share his views. Therefore I do wish to thank him for allowing me to interview him on a multitude of topics which I believe will be of interest to readers…

Let’s begin by telling a little bit about yourself…where were you born and what is your age? What kind of work are you doing now?


I was born in Al Farsha village; south of Riyadh in 1981, but my documented birth date is 31 August 1979. My family moved to Riyadh, where I studied until I finished high school in 1998. My mania about programming pushed me to establish a small company for computer networks with my brother, and beside this new business I decided to continue my study. I did my Bachelor in Computer Engineering and I graduated in 2004.

How do you like working in a multi-cultural environment? What have been the advantages as well as the disadvantages?

I always love to learn new things, and working in such an environment taught me and is still teaching me a lot; I interact daily with more than 7 different cultures, and every culture is rich by its habits and traditions. I see different ways of thinking, and I was able to benefit from these differences.

The only disadvantage was that I frequently needed to justify some Saudi habits and regulations and explain

Do you feel that the expats whom you encounter through your work are well-versed of the Kingdom and its culture?

The majority of them don’t know; they might know the policies or regulations, but this kind of knowledge does not represent the culture.


Do you have much interaction with expats outside of the work place? Please share some details such as what kinds of interaction or why you do not have interaction.

Yes I do. I work as an IT professional and this occupation presented me to many service providers in the field with whom I usually share work issues. This relationship developed over the years, and transformed into a friendship. Now they always ask for my help in anything related to the system here, the culture and customs, or the good places for shopping and touring.

As a Saudi man, how do you feel about the Saudi women in the workforce? Do you think it is better for them to pursue employment in a women-only or mixed environment and why?

I think it’s better for the woman to work in a women-only environment, if possible of course, whether she is Saudi or not! This is my opinion and the majority of Saudis, even the women themselves.

Moreover, we are not the only nation who believes in this, there are many of the Eastern nations do, even if they don’t practice, and there are practical environments running today in China, India, Japan and Korea.

What do you believe is the greatest misperception Westerners have of the Kingdom? And how can such misperceptions be corrected?

I believe that westerns have two great misperceptions about the kingdom.

First, Saudis are the tardiness and wealthy people before 9/11, and secondly Saudis are the world terrorist generator after 9/11.

And I would like to comment on this, we cannot judge the whole Germans as terrorists for what Hitler and his companion did!

We need significant effort to correct this misperception, and we need to talk to the westerners in their language which they understand and think, and this is the Saudi media duty to do so.

Have you had opportunities to travel outside of the Kingdom? If so, what has been your favorite place? And all factors being equal, if you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to go and why?

I have traveled to many places, Arab and non-Arab countries, Muslim and non-Muslim countries, but my favorite place was Yemen!

Last year, I and my cousin changed our plan of the vacation just at the last minute, we decided to travel to Yemen by car instead of flying to Malaysia, and we did! We drove more than 1,600 km around the country; I learned many lessons which I’ll never forget!


About the second part of question, if I could travel in the world right now, I will visit Baghdad, the only place that one day – 9 centuries ago – assembled all of us (The Arabs) as the sciences candles.

But what about travel in the Kingdom…what are some of the best places to go in Riyadh? What are the must-see places within the Kingdom?

In Riyadh, the best place to visit is Riyadh J.

Riyadh word itself in the Arabic language is a plural for Rawdha, which is the beautiful green place (especially in the desert), where the birds usually gather around it because of the water availability. In the seasonal rains of Riyadh, many places in the desert outside of Riyadh convert into green and grassy areas, like Rawdhat Khraim, Rawdhat Tenhat. I mentioned this different place because I know that non-Saudis would like to visit someplace different, a place which they never see.


The must-see places within Kingdom are:

<!-[if !supportLists]->1. <!-[endif]->In the eastern region, King Fahad Bridge in the way to Bahrain.

<!-[if !supportLists]->2. <!-[endif]->In the western region, Jeddah Fountain.

<!-[if !supportLists]->3. <!-[endif]->In the Southern region, Dhelá Aqaba, the bridges network that connect Saraat Mountains with Tehama.

<!-[if !supportLists]->4. <!-[endif]->In the North, Mdayen Saleh.

<!-[if !supportLists]->5. <!-[endif]->In Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Museum.



It’s a fact that my blog has viewers from all around the world. What message do you wish to share with them about Saudi Arabia and its people?

I would like to invite them to visit the kingdom, and to do a tour all over the country, see the habits, and watch the Saudi people life closely.

What would you like to know from Westerners? Here is your opportunity to also ask your own questions. I’m confident you’ll receive answers within comments from readers.

I have many concerns,

Why the westerners listen to non-Muslims about Islam religion, to non-Saudi about Saudi Arabia? Why do they ask Larry King or CNN about how does a Muslim woman feel! Instead of spending a minute to listen to a Saudi Muslim woman about how does she feel! And why I have never found a western media which was just and fair when talking about my religion and my country? And finally, why especially the Americans are media-driven people.

Naturally I have to ask, what are your views on women driving? Will they drive? Should they drive? Would you endorse your mom or sister or wife driving?

This question is like what are your views on men driving! I don’t see any difference!

Women drove since the first day cars entered Saudi Arabia. Just travel outside cities and you will see the countries’ women fueling their cars in the petrol stations and bringing their children from the schools.


But when you come to this issue in the cities, the issue becomes complex! The government restricts women driving for some social reasons, raised by those who resisted one day the women would be educated in my country.

Anyhow, women will drive soon, and it’s a matter of time.

For my mom, I am asking her now, during this writing, and she told me she does not want to drive, because the car is dangerous, and before asking my mother, I have asked my two sisters. Aisha (22 years old) said that she does not want to drive, because she thinks that whenever she needs to go anywhere, Sami (My younger brother) will not refuse to take her there, and in the future, the task will be the husband’s.

Nora said she will like to think about driving, but after having public women driving schools, and after the car accidents rate becomes normal.

When I asked my wife, she answered why you are asking me this stupid question.

(Carol please don’t get mad on me, this is real answers)

How about covering…do you believe it is necessary for a muslim woman to cover her hair? What kind of message as a Saudi man, do you believe a woman is sending in the Kingdom when she chooses not to cover?


It is necessary for the Muslim woman to cover her hair, this is a direct instruction mentioned in the holy Quran that every Muslim woman knows.

By the way, I came to know that Christians and Jewish women also are required to do the same, but Islam is the only religion in which most of its people follow its directives, and one of these directives is to cover the women hair.

For the second part of the question, and according to the Saudi civil department, Muslims are 100% of the Saudi population, and whenever a Saudi woman choose not to cover, she is simply sending a message that she does not follow the Islamic instructions, and this is normal, followers of a specific religion do not represent the religion itself, but their religious personality, as the bad attitude and deeds of some Christians Cardinals do not represent the real religion of the Jesus peace be upon him.

As a Saudi man, what are your views on the men who have chosen to have more than one wife. And, how would you explain polygamy and its practice to a non-muslim?

First, I think that the word polygamy does not describe the real situation in Islam, what I know – this is according OXFORD dictionary definition and please correct me Carol if I am mistaken, that polygamy is the practice of having more than one wife for man, and more than one husband for women. In Islam, Muslim woman cannot have more than one husband a time.


Second, polygamy is an option, not a duty, and it has special circumstances and conditions where the man should fulfill, the Muslim man is expected to fulfill all his duties toward his first wife, offering her good living conditions, emotional and sexual satisfaction, and prior to him thinking of a second wife, he should be capable to satisfy all these needs for both the current and the wife to be.


Third, It’s true allowed in Islam for men to have more than one wife, but it is also the wife’s right to stipulate before she get married that the husband must not have another wife during her lifetime.


Fourth, having more than one wife has its functional advantages in some cases, and most obvious example of this occurs in times of war when there are inevitably large numbers of widows and girls whose fiancées and husbands have been killed in the fighting. One has only to recall the figures of the dead in the first and second world wars to be aware that literally millions of women and girls lost their husbands and fiancées and were left alone without any income or care or protection for themselves or their children.


Finally, in Islam the wife has the right to include monogamy as a condition in her marriage treaty, plus any other conditions related to place of living, quality of living …etc. as far as she does not ask for unlawful act, the husband once accepted her marriage shall abide by all the conditions, including monogamy, Muslim women know this very well.


What advise would you like to give to the expats who come to the Kingdom for work? How can they make the best of their time in the Kingdom? How can they get to know and become friends with other Saudis rather than only have them as a work colleague?

I advise every expat to buy a good quality umbrella, and whenever he finishes passport stamping, he needs to be so careful during riding the camel from the airport to the accommodation place, Finally believe me the best way to become friend with other Saudis, is to say Hello and share a Kabsa meal

And in closing, are there any other comments you’d like to add?

I would like to thank you for giving me the chance, and extend my thanking for brothers and sisters, who read this, and I invite them to comment and interact, I need to read their opinions.

Again, thank you very much for allowing a Saudi man’s perspective to be shared!

You’re most welcome.


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