23+ Saudi Laws That Will Blow Your Mind

By Nick Hadji 11 months ago

1. Valentine's Day is FORBIDDEN

The places were celebrating Valentine's Day is banned | Metro Newsimagesource/metroThis ones a bit of a WTF? Florists in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from selling red flowers or roses on February 14th, gift shops are also forbidden from selling heart shaped gifts and girls are forbidden from wearing anything red in school. If rules are broken, these shops risk being shut down and female students would be sent home and forced to change.Original content sourced from Femanin.com

2. Women Can't Travel Anywhere Alone Under The Age of 45

Saudi Arabian Woman Gets 45 Years in Prison for Sharing Opinions Online: Human Rights Advocatesimagesource/theepochtimesAnother WTF statement. If a woman is under the age of 45, she needs a special piece of electronic authorisation signed by a male guardian. Bearing in mind, Saudi Arabia recently declared that they were a country that promotes human rights which makes this all the more baffling.

3. Making Your Own Wine Could Land You In Prison

How do you smuggle 48,000 cans of Heineken into Saudi Arabia? Disguise it as Pepsi. - The Washington Postimagesource/thewashingtonpostBack in 2015, a 74 year old man British man was imprisoned for more than a year for possessing homemade wine. He was eventually freed and returned home to the UK after a year of hell in a Saudi prison where he feared being subjected to public lashings which is a traditional form of punishment in Saudi Arabia.

4. Birthdays Are Banned

Birthday Cupcakes and Candy Canes Banned from School - And Parents are Mad as Hell - Mumsloungeimagesource/mumsloungeThe ban on birthdays “is in line with the strict interpretation of Islam followed by the conservative Wahhabi sect adhered to in the kingdom”, says the LA Times. Celebrating religious or your own birthdays is banned, so all Christian and even Muslin feasts are prohibited.


LGBTQ communities facing new repression in Middle East | Middle East | News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 16.07.2022imagesource.dw.comNow, this probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to you to hear that Homosexual acts and being transgender is completely illegal, in fact, you could be executed in Saudi for being gay. Extra-marital relations are also illegal in this country.

6. Forget About Taking Pictures Whilst You're Over There

5 stunning examples of Saudi Arabian architecture | Luxury Lifestyle Magazineimagesource/luxurylifestylemag.co.ukAnother slightly bizarre law is it's strictly forbidden to take photos of buildings and palaces in the country. “Taking pictures as a hobby can lead you straight to prison if you violate the cybercrime law and post the picture online,” the Saudi Gazette.

7. Social Mixing Is Prohibited

Top 10 Everyday Things Banned in Saudi Arabia - Listverseimagesource/litverseIn a lot of malls around Saudi Arabia, only families are allowed. Mall security will not allow a group of men, or a single man to enter alone without a woman with him. However, many non-Saudi men are allowed in no problem. The mixing of single sexes at mall and restaurants can be deemed highly inappropriate.

8. Eating In The Wrong Section Of A Restaurant Could Also Land You In Handcuffs

Saudi Arabia: Dining by gender - CSMonitor.comimagesource/christiansciencemonitorThe Law in Saudi states that men must eat in Men's Only sections of restaurants. Some restaurants “might allow women to eat by themselves in the family section, although this is mostly frowned upon”, says the travel website Expat Women. And a lot of restaurants only serve women alone as takeaway - they are not allowed to sit in the restaurants alone.

9. Want To Go Watch A New Movie? Forget About It

Saudi Arabia Has Launched Its Very Own Brand of Cinemas | About Herimagesource/aboutherMovie theaters, up until recently, were prohibited unless located within private company compounds. The reason being the country did not want to allow women and men to mingle unsupervised which could lead to immoral actions outside the realm of marriage.

10. Another Thing On The Banned List = BACON

Saudi religious police cracks down on major pork smuggling ring: 319 arrests, 27 tons of bacon seizedimagesource/worldnewsdailyreportSaudi Arabia operates under the Islamic law, meaning all food in the country MUST be "halal". Having pork in the country is considered desecration. Many other Islamic countries restrict access to pork but haven't completely banned it to accommodate their non-muslin citizens and expats.

11. Music In Schools Isn't A Thing

Saudization of schools to create around 28,000 new jobs for locals | Arab Newsimagesource/arabnewsMusic has been banned for many years in Saudi Arabia, until recently. Saudi classes proclaimed that music lessons were prohibited so those who learnt how to play a musical instrument had to go abroad to learn.

12. And If You're A Woman, You Can Forget About Going To The Gym

Here Are Four of the Best Gyms To Check Out in Saudi Arabia | About Herimagesource/aboutherIn schools and universities, there are no gym classes or sports teams for girls. However, Saudi Arabia now faces a ban from the International Olympic Committee for never sending out female delegates. The country is slowly changing its laws so women and girls will be able to train in certain gyms.

13. Worshipping Other Religions In Public Will Get You Into Trouble

EU calls on Saudi Arabia to allow public worship for all faithsimagesource/christiantodayNon-Muslims must not worship in public in Saudi Arabia and there are also no houses of worship to cater to non-muslims. The two holy mosques are located in the country which means it would be blasphemous for churches and other places of worship to exist in the Saudi Arabia.

14. Women Aren't Allowed To Do Most Jobs In Saudi

Saudi Arabia edges more women into work | Financial Timesimagesource/financialtimesIndustry-wise, the only company that employs female engineers is Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. Most women actually work in either education or the medical field, however, if women work in jobs like checkout counters at supermarkets, they are made to cover their faces at all times of working.

15. Eating, Drinking & Smoking In Public Is Banned

AL BAIK RESTAURANT, Medina - Updated 2022 Restaurant Reviews, Menu & Prices - Tripadvisorimagesource/tripadvisorRamadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a whole four weeks of fasting, which mans eating, drinking and smoking in public during daylight hours during this month could get you arrested and facing time in jail.

16. Explicite Images = Definite No

Most Saudi consumers prefer payment with mobile phones | Al Arabiya Englishimagesource/alarabiyaHaving porn on your phone, tablet or computer could get you in serious trouble in Saudi Arabia. Even if you were on holiday or travelling through the country you could end up in prison for having anything explicit on you. Customs can actually scan your phone of any pictures they deem to be inappropriate.

17. Solo Female Travellers In General Are Not Allowed

Female Travel In Saudi Arabia: What It's Like + A Guide - Lost With Purposeimagesource/lostwithpurposeSo we already know that women are not allowed to travel alone under the age of 45, however, the same applies for anyone visiting the country unless its for work. Many women travelling need to be accompanied by a male guardian at all times.

18. Female Drivers Are Very And Far Between

Even in Saudi Arabia, Women Are in the Driving Seat When it Comes to Buying a Carimagesource/NBCnewsIn 2011, the movement 'Women2Drive' challenged the government to lift the ban on women driving. The government initially responded with threats, promising arrests if women were found behind the wheel. However, in recent years, the ban has been finally lifted meaning some women finally get a little more freedom.

19. No Dabbing

Saudi Arabian Soccer Player Facing Jail for Dabbing During Match - XXLimagesource/xxlmagRemember dabbing? Well, it got Saudi performer, Abdallah Al Shahani arrested and sent to prison. Dabbing was made illegal in Saudi by the National Committee for Drug Control as it's deemed that it alludes to drugs and the 'rap' lifestyle.

20. Prison Sentences Given Out To Tweeters

Saudi Arabia recruited Twitter employees charged with spying: US | Science and Technology | Al Jazeeraimagesource/aljazeeraWho knew that 140 characters could land you in prison? Well, in 2014, three lawyers - Dr Abdulrahman al-Subaihi, Bander al-Nogaithan and Abdulrahman al-Rumaih - all ended up with eight year long prison sentences for venting about the ministry of Justice on Twitter. The irony.

21. Witchcraft & Sorcery Is An Absolute NO-NO

Saudi woman beheaded for 'witchcraft and sorcery' | CNNimagesource/CNNMen and women in recent years have been charged and put to death for being involved with "witchcraft and sorcery". In 2012, a Saudi man was executed: “No details were given about what he was found guilty of beyond the charges of witchcraft and sorcery, but he did also admit to adultery - another criminal offence in Saudi Arabia”, says the BBC.

22. Parties/Pubic Gatherings Are Frowned Upon In Saudi Arabia

Saudis Get Freedom To Party As Freedom To Criticize Vanishesimagesource/bloombergThe image above shows a public gathering with a mixed crowd watching David Guetta. Up until recently, public gatherings have been forbidden in Saudi Arabia, peaceful protests and even birthday parties were against the law.

23. Foreigners Are Not Allowed To Settle There

Foreigners must transfer sponsorship within 2 months after separation from Saudi spouses - Saudi Gazetteimagesource/saudigazetteWith the state of this world, many countries are welcoming refugees and foreign migrants to help them seek asylum if their home countries are being ravaged by war. However, with a huge percentage of foreign migrants held in detention in Saudi Arabia, most of them will end up deported back to their home countries.

24. Genders Must Be Segregated In Public Spaces (Even Using A Physical Wall)

Image Source / Rights CorridorPublic spaces must be divided according to gender, and this was even done using a wall in recent years - but when the wall was temporary taken down, it was the women who had to suffer when they were banned altogether from entering places while the wall was down in order not to mix with the men.

25. There Is No Legal Code And Individual Judges Can Decide Whatever They Like

Image Source / Wikimedia CommonsThere's no clear set of rules for how criminals should be convicted, because there's no legal code in this country - instead, individual judges can decide on the punishments they'd like to dish out, and have total power over how they'd like a person to be sentenced.

26. Punishments Can Include Death By Stoning

Image Source / The GuardianPunishments in Saudi Arabia are actually extreme, but even archaic when you consider you can even be executed via stoning. This could be a possible fate if you get caught committing adultery, for instance. Other extreme punishments include having your hands and/or feet cut off for stealing.

27. You Can Be Imprisoned For Blogging

Image Source / Al ArabiyaFor doing something that most people do as a pastime or even a full-time job in this day and age, you can actually get punished in Saudi Arabia. One example of this was when a blogger was given 10 years in prison, as well as 1,000 lashings, after he blogged about free speech.

28. Women Must Always Have A Male Chaperone In Public

Image Source / www.voanews.comIt might seem a little contradictory seeing as women and men are supposed to remain segregated in public, but apparently that rule can be amended if it's specifically a male chaperone escorting a woman. A woman isn't allowed to travel anywhere in public if she doesn't have one.

29. Princes Of The Royal Family Actually Work

Image Source / VoxRather than indulge in the freedom being a royal might give in terms of everyday work and responsibilities, the princes of the royal family actually do work jobs - but they are the most prestigious jobs you can get. There are also 7,000 princes, so that's a lot of jobs being taken.

30. But That Makes It A Problem For Other People

Image Source / Gentleman's JournalWith so many princes - 7,000 - taken all of the best jobs, that means that regular people have no hope in rising the ranks and gaining these prestigious positions. Which means the royal family are blocking other people from gaining the best jobs.

31. Women Aren't Allowed In Cemeteries

Image Source / 123RFAs one of the most unusual rules of this country, women - who aren't allowed to do a lot of things here - are also not allowed to enter cemeteries. Which must be very difficult when they want to pay respects to a deceased loved one...

32. A Woman's Testimony Is Not Worth As Much As A Man's

Image Source / Al ArabiyaYou might not be surprised to learn that if you're a woman making a testimony in a Saudi Arabian court, your testimony is not worth as much as a man's would be. One testimony of a man equals the testimony of two women - so if you're a woman, your word means half the word of a man.

33. And Your Testimony Means Nothing At All If You're Not A Muslim

Image Source / Middle East MonitorAnd if you're not a Muslin, then the chances are that your testimony means diddly-squat in a Saudi Arabian court, in a country where this is the only accepted and acknowledged religion. So the chances are that anyone who isn't Muslim is blasphemous and their testimony pointless.

34. Women Have Only Just Recently Been Allowed To Attend Events Like Concerts Or Sports

Image Source / Hurriyet Daily NewsAlthough women are now allowed to attend these events when they weren't in the past, problems still arise - such as one woman in Saudi Arabia who was arrested after she ran on stage and hugged a male performer. Something like this is quite scandalous in such a conservative country.

35. Every Woman Must Have A Male Guardian

Image Source / UabDifferent to a male chaperone, every woman must be under male guardianship, such as her husband, father or even her own son. These males will then have the authority to make decisions on the woman's behalf, which includes whether she's allowed to be married, travel or even whether she can be released from prison...

36. Women Are Restricted Against Wearing Makeup

Image Source / Fair ObserverAlongside other clothing restrictions, of course. Dress code for women in this country is very strict, which includes being restricted from wearing makeup that 'accentuates' their beauty. Even though not a lot of their face can be revealed, it can still be judged for having 'too much' makeup on it.

37. There Is Discrimination Against The Shi'a Minority

Image Source / Fair ObserverThe Shi'a minority is an Islamic sect in Saudi Arabia which is discriminated against in this country. This includes prejudices which places limits on what they can actually do, including their own beliefs, access to services and how they can work. Activists from this sect are also imprisoned and killed a lot of the time.

38. Freedom Of Expression Is A No-No

Image Source / The New ArabSpeaking out against government policies or rules is going to get you into a lot of trouble in this country. There is no freedom of expression, and people publicly protesting or revealing themselves to be activists can run into a lot of trouble, whether they speak their views out in the world or online.

39. Women Are Restricted When It Comes To Time Spent With Men They're Not Related To

Image Source / The GuardianIf a woman is interacting with a man she's not related to then she needs to be aware of the time spent with them. Any time that's deemed 'too much' spent with a man who's not a relation can be problematic for the woman, who needs to adhere to strict time restrictions.

40. The Majority Of Buildings Have Separate Entrances For Each Gender

Image Source / Commisceo GlobalWith so much segregation for the genders in public, it's no surprise there are separate entrances, too. Women must use one entrance, while men must use another. This rule is extremely strict, too, because if you're caught breaking it, you can also be charged as a criminal.

41. Swimming Pools For Each Gender Are Separate, Too

Image Source / YouTubeI mean, if anything was going to be segregated in this country, it's going to be swimming pools when you think about how much more 'revealing' it might be in this sort of environment based on clothing. There's potential for the rules to be relaxed a little, though, in order to drive tourism with gender-mixed swimming pools.

42. The Death Penalty Can Be Given For A Variety Of Crimes

Image Source / The IndependentThe death penalty for one serious crime might be shocking enough, but the death penalty can be doled out for a variety of different crimes in this country. To make it worse, people who are sentenced to death also appear to have an 'unfair' trial a lot of the time.

43. Any And Every Other God Is Banned

Image Source / Learn ReligionsAny other religion and mention of any other god is completely banned. Period. It's against the law to worship any other religion, and there aren't even any places of worship for non-Muslims. It's considered blasphemy for other religious places to exist in this country.

44. Tourists Can't Wear Red On Valentine's Day, Either

Image Source / TIMEAs mentioned, Valentine's Day is banned in this country, but this also applies to tourists, too - and specifically wearing red. As the shops in this country have been banned by the government from selling anything red, the same applies to tourists. So if you're thinking of a romantic Valentine's getaway to Saudi Arabia - that's a big nope.

45. You Should Carry Personal ID At All Times

Image Source / Amazon.co.ukThe authorities in Saudi Arabia are allowed to ask for ID at any time, which means it's always a good idea to carry it on you no matter where you are so you can show it - and especially at security checkpoints, but that goes without saying.

46. Around 100 Camels Are Actually Sold In Saudi Arabia Every Day

Image Source / Business InsiderThe camel market is huge in Saudi Arabia, and in particular in the capital city of Riyadh. The market begins very early in the morning, and as well as camels being traded, you can also expect to see livestock like goats and sheep.

47. One Person Was Executed Every Other Day In 2015 (On Average)

Image Source / Yahoo NewsWondering just how intense the death penalty really is? In 2015, on average one person was put to death every other day. Which means at least 151 people killed in this country in one year, and that was the highest number on record for 2015 since 1995.

48. Around 60% Of Saudi Arabia's Labor Force Is Foreign

Image Source / Business InsiderThe labor force for this country depends a large amount of foreign labor. In particular, most of the people who work in the oil and service sectors are foreign people. The waters got more muddy with this one due to the rule of non-Muslims not being allowed to be buried in Saudi Arabia.

49. Protests Are Not Allowed

Image Source / BBCThere are a lot of rules to protest against in Saudi Arabia - but one of the rules you'd want to protest against include... no protests. You can't go to a public demonstration, as this is considered a criminal offence. If you break the rule you can expect to face imprisonment.

50. You Can Be Arrested For No Reason

Image Source / Euro-Med Human Rights MonitorThere really doesn't have to be any good reason for a person to be arrested in this country, either, which makes it even scarier. Lots of people have been arrested and imprisoned for months, and even had access to legal help denied. Activists in particular have been imprisoned without any official charges, or even a trial.