Veiled Lives: the Women of Saudi Arabia


By the time of this posting, I will have been living halfway across the world for exactly one month. This being just my third entry in four weeks, it can safely be said that I have been slacking and have not lived up to my aforementioned goal of one posting per week. This entry however, must be forgiven its’ tardiness – teacher, I swear I have a good excuse – due to its’ sensitive nature. It will deal with the status of women here inside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is important for reasons of avoiding legal misunderstandings to note that the following is not in any way designed to be a criticism of the policies of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia nor is it a criticism of Islamic law. The intention is of this blog, as is with those before and all those to come, is merely to satisfy the cultural curiosity of those reading. It would also be important for all reading this to understand that due to the delicacy of the chosen topic, I will need to screen any and all comments before they are posted. I contemplated going the Seinfeld route and writing “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” after each paragraph but decided against it because that may not hold up in a court of law. This blog and the next will offer no editorial on my part, simply information.


Some general background information on the Saudi Arabian legal situation will be necessary in order to fully grasp the current position held by women here.


  • First, for those not in the know, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy (ruled by a king). This should be obvious by the fact that on numerous occasions I refer to it as the Kingdom, but as a wise woman once said “we can’t all sit on the college steps”. The current King’s name is King Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud.


  • The law of the land is called Sharia (Islamic Law) and is dictated by interpretation of the Koran, the Islamic holy book.



The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud issued a Royal Decree embodying the Basic Law of Governance. The following is the text of the Decree.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion is Islam. Its constitution is Almighty God’s Book, The Holy Qur’an, and the Sunna (Traditions) of the Prophet