Saudi Arabia Overview
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The territory of the Arabian Peninsula covers an area of more than one million square miles, of which about 850,000 square miles belong to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia extends from the Arabian Gulf in the east to the Red Sea in the west. To the north it borders in Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan, to the east of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and to the south of Yemen.
The religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam, which means "submission" (to the will of God). Islam has been proclaimed to the world through the Prophet Muhammad who is the last in a succession of the prophets. Muslims recognize and revere the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ. With close to three quarters of a billion adherents throughout the world, Islam is one of the great monotheistic religions revealed to mankind. Islam is not only a religion preaching equality, tolerance of other faiths and submission to the will of God, but also, a practical legal system and a way of life, laying down rules for behaviour in private, social and business activities.
Arabic is the sacred language of Islam, one of the most widely spoken international languages in use today and one of the greatest literary languages in history, with its immense range, power and beauty. Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English and other languages are widely spoken and understood in the country.
The Saudi Arabian Monarch exercises supreme executive and legislative authority and is the country's supreme religious leader. The King's authority is tempered by the Sharia (religious law).
The monarch presides over the Council of Ministers and various autonomous non-ministerial organization such as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the heads of which have ministerial rank.
The legal system is based on the Sharia, which is the Islamic law based on the Koran. The experience of modern political and economic relationships not defined in the Sharia have required new laws enacted by administrative decree.