Section 1: History and Overview of Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the earliest civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula (Royal Embassy 2013). The Arabian Peninsula historically represents an ancient center of trade and commerce and is the birthplace of Islam, one of the world’s major monotheistic religions (Royal Embassy 2013). The religion of Islam was based upon the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad during the 7th century (Religious Facts 2013). Islam is the world’s second largest, and fasting growing religion in the world. The definition of the Arabic word Islam is “submission” denoting the religions central tenet of submitting to the will of God (Religious Facts 2013). A Muslim is a person who engages in the act of submission or surrender to the will of God, consequently, a Muslim is a follower of Islam. All Saudi Arabian citizens are by law, Muslim. Islamic practices are defined by the Five Pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms. Muslim doctrine is integral to the beliefs in one God, the angels of God, the books of God (especially the Qur’an), the prophets of God (especially Muhammad), the Day of Judgment (the afterlife), and the supremacy of God’s will (predestination).
Evidence of humans in the Arabian Peninsula can be dated as long ago as 15,00 to 20,00 years ago when bands of hunter-gatherers roamed the land, living off wild animals and plants. After the melting of the European ice cap over 15,000 years ago, the climate in the Arabian Peninsula became dry, succumbing to desserts, and scrubland. The river systems vanished, creating dry river beds (Royal Embassy 2013). This climate change forced the inhabitants to relocate to the mountain valleys and oasis. Hunter-gathering was now unviable, giving way to agronomy as a means of subsistence and survival (Royal Embassy 2013). The conversion to civilization included the development of pottery enabling the storage of food stuffs, and the domestication of animals, livestock, horses, and camels. Soon hunting was abandoned, giving way to intensive farming, Intensive farming enabled the developments of permanent settlements leading to the foundation of language, writing, political systems, art and architecture, which formulate the tenets of civilization (Saudi Embassy 2013).
The location of the Arabian Peninsula, located between the Nile River Valley and Mesopotamia fortuitously provided trade capabilities that enabled the development of caravan routes in an otherwise sparsely populated area (Saudi Embassy 2013). While the Arabian Peninsula provided a natural geographic barrier against invasion, the need for its trade capabilities insulated it from the political unrest existing in other world powers including Egypt, Greece, and Rome (Royal Embassy 2013). Further providing an influx of cultural identity to the Arabian Peninsula was the pilgrimage of other civilizations of the Arab and Muslin worlds. The cultural development of the Arabian...