Authored by Linda Tyler

The True Values of Religious Laws in the Modern Case of Saudi Arabia

A set of historical traditions that people believe in and adhere to is known as religion. The Islamic faith is not just a religion but also a way of life for Muslims, and they have a strong attachment to their religion and culture. Some Muslims prefer their religion to be an issue which is private while others prefer it to be their social interaction basis. They also consider Islam as a structure that takes in the social and personal aspect of life. Muslims have a legal system that governs legal dress and cleanliness, ethics, family, law and order matters, and they observe their religious practices. This paper discusses how Islamic laws no longer truly reflect the values of the people to whom they apply but with respect to Saudi Arabia. The religion within a society has been part of defining all that is relevant and fitting. The same scenario is with the Islam based societies hence portraying religion as an essential component of a Muslim community. However, a distinguishing element between the followers of Islam and those of other religions is that Quran dictates a lifestyle for Muslims. In Saudi Arabia 99% of the population is constituted of Sunni Muslims. Religiousness of Saudi Arabia people forces the Saudi government to instill strict Islamic codes in the political and social platform thereby eroding the values of the people. The failure of Islamic laws in reflecting the values of people represented can be attributed to Islam itself. In this consideration, Islam dictates the way of life for Muslims in aspects such as punishment for criminals, the number of wives one should marry and even the hand to use in toilet duties. Having developed these rules in 7th century in the medieval desert, they have become less applicable in the modern society. It is true that religious ideologies duly impact on the economic growth as well as cultural drawbacks. The Koran has duly embedded sharia law which at times is conflicting with the state laws. For this reason, since the 1990s, there has been a slow-down of political liberation despite the adoption of a well-written constitution and consultative council comprising of Saudi scholars who provide advice to the king. There is a ban on political parties along with trade unions which deny the residents democracy to establish channels for articulating their needs. The offenders within every society must be punished in accordance with their offense but also with respect to human dignity and after according a right to representation. The religious practices (Islam) in Saudi Arabia have though failed to instill such disciplines. For instance, there is the engagement of corporal and capital punishments with the public taking the law into their own hands. Indeed, the nature of Islam is violence affiliated as founded by Prophet Mohammed, who was a military commander. His use of words of violence is still in records of the Koran and Hadith. For instance, "if you don't go to war, He will punish you sternly and replace you with other men" in Surah 9:39. Even though there are many peaceful Muslims, some interpret the Koran to justify violence and hence declared jihad as a holy war taken against the enemies of the Islamic religion. The values of humanity dictate equality for all irrespective of gender, color or race. In Saudi Arabia, the Islamic religion has failed to protect its people even in the justice system as seen in the discrimination against women. This has led to the rise of international women groups in a bid to push for a just system which religion is reluctant to do. Instead, the Islam laws suppress women as they are perceived as inferior and mentally deficient. In fact the Koran in Surah 4: 34 approves wife beating. According to researchers, poverty and distress are persistent because women are treated as domestic animals or plants just for the need of gratification rather than in production of intellectual wealth. As a result, there is high birth rate amidst the limited resources. The per capita GDP of Saudi Arabia has been on the decline due to the rising population and not the oil reserves. If a woman marries, she is incorporated into the house of her husband but not to the family. She should not take the name of her husband but remain with the name of the father mainly because according to their tradition, they belong to the family where they were born throughout their lives. This indeed undermines the values of persons. According to a study by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) the people here attribute Islamic laws to the influence on their lives and the entire Gulf society. The strict interpretation associated with Islamic laws makes the Saudis less likely to adapt social mores of a connected generation. In a marriage setting, when a woman is divorced or widowed the brother or the father of the woman should support her. Women in Saudi Arabia are at a considerable disadvantage in their marriage because they lay custody of child, polygamy and divorce prerogatives on the husband. These disadvantages are offset by some factors such as children being attached to their mothers especially sons when they grow. The state religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam. Therefore, according to the law, all the citizens are supposed to become Muslims. Not only the citizens of Saudi Arabia but also the guest workers do not have the freedom of religion. This is against the values and freedom of worship for all. Saudi Arabia is among the few countries with police of religion, who patrol the street forbidding the wrong and other Islamic law aspects. To give permission to innovations such as the abolition of slavery, female education and paper money, the resistance of fierce religion should be overcome. Besides, between the year 2001 and 2004, several terrorist attacks were targeting foreigners though it has been brought under control. Also, Saudi Arabia has failed to reflect human values by becoming the destination of trafficked persons to serve in the slave labor as well as sexual exploitation. Here, people are drawn from Africa and Asian countries to work as low-skilled workers but consequently, end up in involuntary servitude. Apart from that, the prohibition of usury is a major impediment to economic progress against the requirements of a growing economy. This comes despite the world becoming dynamic in the corporate businesses and hence greatly undermining development of the followers of this religion. For this reason, the west was fast towards development of banks than the Ottoman Turks. However, even with the development of Islamic banks, they are not allowed to charge interests though making profits is no offense. This along with other impediments indicates how difficult it is for banking operations in the 21st century among the Muslims. Finally, Islamic teachings stifle scientific research. Advancement in science requires tolerance for ideas and there is a lack of such tolerance in Islam. It requires both scientific and philosophical ideas to be debated so as to pick on the good ones. There are not so many Muslim poets, scientists, and philosophers because Islam causes an impediment to the progress of Muslims. From the discussion, it is evident that certain Islamic beliefs and laws in the Koran and Hadith have impeded on the values bestowed upon the society. The minority within the Islam have adopted defense from the Holy Scriptures against their violent acts. The modern society requires religions to shun some practices and adopt peace, harmony, equality and respect for all people irrespective of their color, gender, nationality or religion.

About author Linda works as an editor and she is working on article critique example now. She has always enjoyed working with a variety of literature and being interested in new facts. In addition, she easily finds common ground with many people. She also received her master's degree from American University Washington

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