The way of living in Saudi Arabia has been greatly influenced by Islam beliefs and culture through the holy Quran which serves to provide the Sharia laws which guide the people. In addition, the King is the supreme head under which all other administrative bodies such as government agencies and ministries operate.
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The conservative nature of Saudi Arabia as a nation has had a great impact on the Islamic culture. Most of these conservations such as public behavior and dressing code are enforced not only enforced from the cultural point of view, but also through the law. For instance, alcoholic drinks are not acceptable in society as well as in legal concerns of the country. Other prohibitions are on a public exhibition of certain films whose content is against the Islam culture. Political and social organizations are not allowed to hold public meetings either. (Long, 2005).
Every day-to-day life of the Saudi people is based on the Islamic observance of their culture. For example, every day the Muslims have to gather in the various mosques around the country to pray. Weekends for Muslims start on Thursdays in preparation for Friday which they consider the holiest day of the week. Similarly, Muslims have only two public holidays which are religious namely, ”Eid al-Fiṭr and Eid al-Aḍḥa”. The most commonly known religious practice of the Muslims is Ramadan which the Muslims consider a holy month and during which time they fast and work for only a limited period which should be six hours a day. However, expatriates are only required to avoid eating or drinking in public (Hofested 2008).
Dressing in Saudi Arabia is strictly modesty as demonstrated by the hijab. Men are required to dress in long white thobes and avoid jewelry as much as possible. Women, on the other side, are expected to dress in traditional wear called an abaya. In addition, the close association between males and females is strongly discouraged. Unnecessary conversations between the two sexes are equally discouraged with Saudi women being prohibited from driving vehicles (Long, 2005).
Surprisingly, Saudis converse while they are so close to one another, unlike many western people who require personal space during conversations. However, unlike westernized people, Saudis prefer to take time in knowing people and building a relationship with them before engaging in any commitments with them. They are, therefore, said to be patient. On a different note, Saudis judge people based on their physical appearances such as dressing codes hence it is important for one to be presentable from them.
Similarly, when it comes to business matters, meetings are not held privately until the involved parties build each others’ complete trust. This would also mean that business interruptions are to be expected in Saudi Arabia. Even during such meetings, the appearance of a new individual in the room means that the topic being discussed should estop until they leave since the Arabians do not trust so easily. More so, such business meetings can only be made possible after thorough inquiries of the health and families of the people involved.
The Saudi Arabian society is a bureaucratic state and its decision-making process takes quite some time since most of the decisions made have to get approval from different parties. Hence, the accomplishment of various projects even the simple ones takes a while. Generally, Saudis are known for being tough when it comes to negotiations, especially in business. Decision-making revolves around the most powerful people in society.