What is the one genuine perception of any man who first hears about Saudi Arabia? The most widely accepted and general answer is that it is the land of the Muslims. The holy land that holds the history and culture of Islam, its Prophets, its Books and other stories that are repeatedly told and every Muslim is told while growing up. So, if this was the answer it should be also accepted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should make any Muslim closer to Islam than they were at any other country around the world? Perhaps, that’s not the ideal answer that one would give especially if they’ve moved to the Kingdom from either the United Kingdom or the United States.
Since the Kingdom holds many people who come from different countries as expats or as a spouse to the Saudi Nationals, they have to go through many changes. It’s true to accept that the laws and regulations within the Kingdom can be a bit extreme, especially if their intention is to bind the people to Islam and its norms. After interviewing several expats, who are now married to Saudi men we came to know how much they think they were better Muslims back in the United States of America. That’s genuinely not an answer we were expecting, but there point of views can make anyone think whether what they are saying is true or not.
One of these interviewees was a Muslim woman originally from the city of Kansas, America. According to her she feels that she’s become less Muslim since she’s entered the Kingdom. The biggest factor that she accounts for is not being able to drive. She recalls that when she was back in the States, she used to visit the local mosque every once in a week. That time gave her the chance to meet and greet different Muslims and gave them a chance to socialize as well and bond over Islam. Since she’s been in the Kingdom, she hasn’t visited a single mosque and apparently she feels scared because her brother in law has scared her of how the mosque stinks with feet.
On another instance, she again talked about how people in the Kingdom judge you as a Muslim. At one time, she started a conversation in a group on Facebook made for the Saudi Women saying, Ramadan Kareem. The very next second, a woman comments saying that saying Ramadan Kareem is haram and she should say Ramadan Mubarak. The very next minute she left the group. Back in the states, there weren’t people who would judge her for sleeping with her dog, or being madly addicted to music. Here, she wears an Abaya and headwear not because she wants to, but because it’s compulsory.
Back in the United States, she chose to cover her head. Things in the Kingdom, sometimes make them feel as if they were better Muslims, always interested to fulfill the rituals on time than they do them here.
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