Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”

(Holy Quran 4: 135)


Much is being said and written about basic human rights and many efforts are being carried out by state and world organizations in the form of books, scripts, dialogues, conferences, involvement of the press and even military action has been taken in some countries. But one obvious point is that the world organizations like the UN have sought action or spoke only against whom they wish i.e. mainly in the Zionists interests.

They are too harsh on some countries on the one hand and on the other hand they do not speak out at all at other countries due to their vested interests. For example, the western media is constantly complaining about the human rights records of China but has nothing to say about the millions of Arab citizens who have no right to any public demonstration for their complaints! Even these are allowed in China to some extent.

Since the western media has overshadowed all other media in the minds and the pen of people, many people do not know what is going on in these Arab countries. The true picture has been hidden from them. This is because the west has its own interest in the Arab world.

The reason I have chosen Saudi Arabia among the Arab countries is that, firstly I have spent many years of my life there and secondly because Muslims and many non-Muslims around the world think her as the model Islamic country i.e. a true Islamic state in all respects, which we shall see is quite to the contrary, and thirdly because the Saudi government, most of its citizens & even non-Saudis working there boast in front of the whole world that they have a government that follows all of the laws of the Islamic Shariat (Islamic Jurisprudence), which is again quite false.

The kingdom has remained off-limits to international human rights organizations, and no one inside the country dares to break the long-standing taboo on openly scrutinizing and reporting human rights abuses.It is like as if this country is wearing a Hijab (veil worn by muslim women which covers most of the body including the face). But if one sees through it, this country is far from how an Islamic state should be. Saudi Arabia might have the most practicing Muslims in the world but it has its own grave shortcomings.

Importance of Human Rights in Islam

These human rights conferred by Allah are a part and parcel of the Islamic faith. Every Muslim administrator or government, which claims to be truly Islamic, will have to accept and give their citizens these rights. If they fail to do so this and deny their people their rights conferred by Allah or make amendments in these rights or pay only lip service while practically violating these rights then they are the transgressors, as stated by the Quran:

“And those who do not judge by what Allah has laid down are the transgressors.” (Holy Quran 5: 47)

These laws are Universal and for all mankind. Every administrator who claims to be a muslim has to accept these laws. If he denies them or does not enforce them he is a disbeliever, as the Quran states:

“And those who do not judge by what Allah has laid down they are surely disbelievers.” (Holy Quran 5: 44)

Therefore from  we may conclude the rights of humans granted by Allah cannot be withdrawn from any race, party or individual. No one has the right to abrogate or withdraw them. They are not simple basic rights only to be conferred on paper for the sake of show and exhibition and not to be enacted upon.

In this blog I will discuss the more important human rights especially with their Islamic viewpoint and their application in Saudi Arabia.

Basic Human Rights

  1. The Right to Life & the right of necessity to safety of Life

The first & the foremost basic right is the right to live and respect human life. The Holy Quran lays down:

“Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) manslaughter, or mischief on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind…. Holy Quran (5:32)

The punishment of taking life is retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief can only be decided by a competent court & a just trial.  No individual or party or government itself has the right to decide such a question of life by itself.

“Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due process of law” Holy Quran (6:151).

This saving of life is irrespective of race, color, religion etc. And saving of life takes several forms

“And whoever saves one (life)- it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. (Holy Quran 5: 32)

Application in Saudi Arabia

Unfortunately, many citizens including Ulema (religious scholars) here have been captured by the secret police and killed thereafter for speaking against the government.  No reason was given to their families for them. Many of them went missing never to have come back. Thousands were captured during the Gulf War. And the trend continues to this day. Worst, the Saudi government does not inform the foreign embassies and even the prisoners in advance of the execution dates. The official notices are sent after the execution.

  1. Individual’s Right to Freedom

Islam has forbidden the primitive practice of capturing a free man and making him a slave or to sell him into slavery. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has stated:

“ There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgment. Of these three one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats his money.” (Albukhari and Ibn Majah)

This right to freedom is for everyone irrespective of nation, color, race, religion etc.

Application in Saudi Arabia

Here in Saudi Arabia the system of sponsorship by the local Kafeels (Sponsors) is no less different than the slave business that takes place around the world. For a foreigner to get a job here he has to get a sponsor who then during his stay in the Kingdom will be ‘in charge’ of him.  He will be like his master.  The foreigner hands over to him his passport and he is not allowed to leave the Kingdom without his permission even if there is an emergency back home.

There have been thousands of cases of these Kafeels mal-treating their employees, including not releasing them from duty, paying them less than the signed contracts, robbing them of their money, blackmailing and even committing murder. Kafeel or sponsor can discharge him whenever he likes without any reason given whatsoever as it may please him. Many people are not paid their monthly salaries for many months but they can’t make any complaints whatsoever because of the threat of losing their jobs altogether.

Furthermore, foreigners do NOT have the freedom to buy property nor marry a Saudi citizen except under very extreme and rare circumstances.

  1. The Right to Justice

This is another important & valuable right given in Islam to all  people, irrespective of race, religion, etc.

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted.”

(Holy Quran 4: 135)

Application in Saudi Arabia

Political and other prisoners in Saudi Arabia are usually arbitrarily detained without charge or trial. Secret trials & executions continue to take place. Often they refuse family’s request for the body, thus raising suspicions that the deceased had been tortured.

The treatment of detained foreign nationals in the last year provided fresh glimpses into the closed world and fundamental flaws of the Saudi judicial system, including prolonged detention without allowing any sort of communication with relatives or friends, the absence of protection against torture and other mistreatment during interrogation, denial of access to lawyers, and the lack of transparency of legal proceedings. They are even often denied consular access. A most recent example is that of Mr. Zaid Hamid from Pakistan.

My father narrates a story in the late 90s of many Bangladeshi laborers being hired by King Abdul Aziz University (in which my father worked) after signing a contract in Bangladesh in which each would get paid 1000 Saudi Riyals. But once they reached Saudi Arabia (after spending a lot of investment), their contract was immediately renewed and they were paid 400 Saudi Riyals per month.

  1. Equality of Human Beings

Islam recognizes the principle of absolute equality between men irrespective of colour, race or nationality.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Holy Quran : 49: 13)

In other words all humans are brothers. They are all descendants from one father and mother. This means that the division of human beings into nations, races or tribes is only for the sake of distinction so that they may meet and cooperate with one another. This division of humans is neither meant for one nation to take pride in its superiority over others nor for one group of people to assume superiority over others.

This has been perfectly stated by the Prophet (PBUH):

“No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; no white man has any superiority over a  black man neither does the black man have any superiority over the white man.” ( Last Sermon)

In this manner Islam established the principle of equality of the entire human race and struck at the very root of all distinctions based on colour, race, language or nationality. According to Islam, Allah has given man this right of equality as a birthright.

They also receive equal justice. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Thus everyone has the right to justice. Justice before the law is to be strictly impartial without regard to religion, race, position, wealth or any other criteria. As stated by the Prophet (PBUH):

“Even if Hazrat Fatimah (RA), the daughter of Mohammad (PBUH) had committed a theft I swear by Allah I would have cut off her hands.” (Bukhari)

Application in Saudi Arabia

Here in Saudi Arabia, the system is no different than the caste system in India. The Royal family has the highest status with no citizen not even allowed to meet any of them without special permission.Then come the higher ranked Saudi citizens with special links with the Royal family and then the other Saudis.

Then come the foreigners of whom the Americans and Europeans get top priority and finally the South Asians, including the Pakistanis, Indians and Bengadeshis etc. who are treated like untouchables in India. In fact even the Indians often get a better treatment then the Pakistanis.

The Kafeel in this system mentioned above, is supposed to be superior in status to the person sponsored, even though he might be far less educated or technically less experienced than the foreigner. Therefore every head of a company, departmental office etc., has to be a Saudi, no matter how much educated he might be.

Unfortunately, because of this existing system, many Saudis look down upon the South-Asians in a degrading way and some even make fun of and ridicule them. They behave as they are ‘Super Humans’ and expect us to act as lower humans! They expect us to give them the way while they themselves will never do so. They expect respect from us but never give us respect.

The higher in society one is and the more links one has with the Royal family and or the Saudis, the more ‘safe’ one is from getting caught in the legal system. The worst off are the foreigners who are hardly allowed to file a complaint against any Saudi citizen, while the Saudis are mostly let off for committing the same crimes.

A psychiatrist, friend of mine working in Saudi Arabia, (late) reported that many Saudis visited his office for treatment of drug abuse and that many Saudis including princes are involved in the drug business but they get no punishment for it.

  1. Freedom of Expression

Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression. to all citizens of an Islamic state on the condition that it is used for propagating virtue and not for spreading evil. 

It is the obligation on every individual to attempt to stop evil whether committed by another individual or by a group of people or by a party or even the government. The Holy Quran says about the true believers of the Islamic faith:

“They enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil.” (Holy Quran 9: 71)

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If any one of you comes across an evil, he should try to stop it with his hands i.e. by force; if he is not in a position then he should speak up with his tongue, and even if he can’t do this then he should condemn it in his heart and this is the weakest of the faith.”

This obligation is incumbent upon all true Muslims. Any government that deprives its citizens of this right is in direct conflict with its people and most importantly with Allah. It is then trying to seize a right that Allah has conferred on man.

Application in Saudi Arabia

As mentioned above, crimes, evils and injustice are going on , but no one is able to or allowed to or able to speak against the government or point out to the government about these evils. One is only allowed to say well of the government.

This right is so much deprived that even the leaders or Imams of the two Holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah who are equivalent to the Pope in Christianity are not allowed to say even one word against the government. They can’t even tell the people that they are being deprived of their rights. One wonders then what kind of Islam they are teaching to the masses? Why are they hiding the truth from the people, or is it that the government has appointed such Imams themselves? The Imams of many Mosques are given prepared written speeches to be delivered on Friday Sermons.

Once Imam of the Prophet’s mosque  in Madinah opened his heart out and spoke openly against the Saudi government. Unfortunately , he was relieved of his duty of leading the prayers at the mosque and also put under house arrest.

So anyone who does try to speak against the government is severely punished by being killed or put behind bars. Thousands of such cases have occurred. People have known to vanish overnight. Many ulema (Islamic scholars) are languishing in jail for expressing their views. Foreigners who do such a thing are immediately kicked out of the country and banned  for life. They cannot come for Hajj or Umra again! A famous example is of the late Dr. Israr Ahmad who was banned from entering Saudi Arabia after his ‘controversial’ speech in Saudi Arabia.

Many citizens protested to the calling of American forces in the gulf war and most of them were jailed or killed or there was no news from them; they completely vanished into thin air ! Even the press here is not given the right of free expression and this is mostly the picture in the whole Arab world.

  1. Right to Protest Against Tyranny

Islam has conferred on human beings the right to protest against a government’s tyranny.

The Quran says:

“God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by someone who has been injured thereby.”    (4: 148)

This means that Allah strongly disapproves of abusive language or strong words of condemnation, but that person or group of people upon whom grave injustice has been done, do have the right to protest strongly and openly against the injury that has been done to them. This right also applies to a group of people or a party etc. If  an individual or a group of people or a party usurps power after holding the reins of authority, begins to harass individuals or group of men or the entire population, then to raise the voice of protest is a God-given right.

Abu Said al-Khudri narrates:
The Messenger of God said: “The most valuable jihad is to advocate justice in the face of an unjust ruler.” (Ibn Dawood, Ibn Majah)

Application in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia no demonstration of any kind has ever taken place nor can it ever take place due to the strict ban on demonstrations. Even an attempt to arrange a demonstration is a strict crime liable to severe punishment.

As mentioned above, many foreigners rights are usurped here by their ‘Kafeels” (sponsors), but they cannot do anything about it. Some are not given their monthly pay, some are not given their job when they reach here although they may have spent thousands of dollars and sacrificed everything they had in coming here.

Once , members of the municipal committee who clean up the city’s mess protested by refusing to work due to nonpayment of salaries for several months and in response the government expelled all of them from the country and called up new workers! Unfortunately.

It is no surprise that many Saudis take advantage of this and unrightly do great injustice upon their foreign employees, knowing that they cannot do or say anything against them! It is reported that some companies have a made big business of hiring foreigners for huge sums of money and then firing them after a week or a month so that they may hire other foreigners for earning even more money!

  1. Political Rights (Right to Participate in Government Affairs)

We can see how politics throughout the world has far reaching effects upon the masses. It is said that the destiny of a nation depends upon its rulers and the opposite is also true. If we have a good Muslim Khalifah (Imam or muslim head of state) the masses will be good and if the masses will not or don’t strive for the establishment of an Islamic state or are somehow are prevented from doing so then Allah will give them a ruler who will lead them far away from Islam.

In Islam complete sovereignty belongs to Allah alone and thus only His laws and commandments are to be implemented. This may only be done if an Islamic government is in power. That person is appointed Khalifah whom the Muslims of the Islamic state consider most suitable for this responsibility and the majority of the people should accept him. The Khalifah comes into power through an approval process. Islam has not laid any specific method for the approval procedure,

However, it has laid down some principles: he should be a person better than others in Islamic knowledge, very pious, God-fearing and he should also know how to run an administration with lots of talent and intelligence.  Most preferably he should be elected by a group of such people who themselves are chosen or elected by the public. (Kingdom-ship in essence not allowed in Islam).

Although a son of a Khalifah may be chosen as the next Khalifah after the former’s death, he must possess the same qualities as mentioned above and must be approved by the public or by the council as a whole. This is not recommended as the preferred choice since this may lead to the ruler ship going to a single family and this can lead to many other problems.

The Khalifah must have a council of advisors, some chosen by himself and others chosen by the public. These people will help him in matters of running the affairs of the government and it is his duty to seek their advice in all the important matters.

The Khalifah and his council are responsible for framing laws for which the Quran and Sunnah have given no clear injunction. However ulema will also have to be counseled in this regard and any new laws formed must be as close to the guidance given in the Quran and Sunnah as may be possible.

It is the duty and basic right of Muslims in the state to keep a good check on the Khalifah and his council. They can’t just go on doing whatever they want to do while the muslims of the state are ignorant of their activities. They have to set them straight if they go astray from any injunction of the Quran and Sunnah. Under no circumstances does Islam permit an individual or a group of people to deprive the common muslims of their right to participate in the affairs of the state.

A hadith states:

“After me there will come some people as rulers. Whosoever supports their lying and helps their oppression, he is not of me and I am not of him.”

Application in Saudi Arabia

We see that a common citizen in Saudi Arabia has almost no say in the formation or running of the government. The Royal Family itself chooses the head of state without any advice from the public or any approval whatsoever. Once chosen this ‘King’ chooses his own advisors or members of the government again without thee intervention of the public.

They are again actually his family members, since the Royal family (the Aziz family) is so big that there are not enough offices for the whole lot of them! The king then is the sole legislator along with his advisors and while many laws are injunction with the Quran and Sunnah many are not.

For example, the state banks running on interest, which is clearly forbidden in Islam. Even the foreign policy is pro-American. No Muslim country has caused more harm to the Muslim Ummah than Saudi Arabia who continues to ally itself with USA, NATO & Isreal (Zionist Lobby).

List of Some Major Actions Taken by Saudi Government against Islamic Interests (following Zionists Orders)

  1. Petrodollar (mentioned in a previous blog
  2. Allowing American Bases in Saudi Arabia in Gulf War 1
  3. Fueling sectarian violence, hatred in countries like Pakistan
  4. Aiding, financing, recruiting supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA)  which Sheikh Imran Hosein calls the Yankee Jihad
  5. Aiding and financing General Sisi back into power & overthrowing Muslim Brotherhood
  6. Creating, aiding, recruiting and financing ISIS along with Israel

  1. Unprovoked attack on Yemen including its innocent Citizens

But as mentioned above, many political activists have been rounded up, detained, tortured and even executed without a proper trial for protesting against these actions. No demonstrations, protests, speeches or articles can be written against the policies of the Saudi Government. So to sum it up no citizen has any political rights in this country whatsoever. They have no right in the formation of the government and no right to bring a change in it.

  1. Respect for the Chastity of Women

A women’s chastity must be respected and protected at all times whether she belongs to one’s own nation or to the nation of an enemy, whether we find her in a remote forest or in a conquered city, whether she is a Muslim or a non-Muslim a Muslim may not abuse or harass her in any circumstances.

Heavy punishment has been prescribed for this crime.  A Muslim can’t escape punishment for committing this crime in an Islamic government. This punishment protects the sanctity and chastity of women and only Islam gives this protection.  Also, from the point of view in Islam a man also possesses chastity and dignity.

Application in Saudi Arabia

Here, although less reported, women are being harassed and abused by their Kafeel sponsors & their wives.  Women workers from the Far East who come to serve as maids are mostly the victims of this crime.  The perpetrators of such crimes get away unpunished.  These women also get raped by their sponsors.

But many of the maids have opened up their own prostitution rings with the help and permission of their sponsors and are making thousands of Riyals every month.  Nothing is being done to crack down on these rings and even some ‘higher authorities’ are involved in the sex trade.

Thus slowly and increasingly the chastity of women is being impeached upon; and the government is doing nothing to stop it. Besides this pornographic literature and films are available throughout the Kingdom in many bookshops and video stores and it is all in the knowledge of the government. A ban imposed upon dish antennas in the 90s was immediately lifted within a week due to pressure from an influenced part of the Royal family and the public and most likely from America.

  1. The Right To Basic Necessities Of Life

Speaking about economic rights the Holy Quran says:

“And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.”(51:12)

The clear meaning of this verse is that anyone who asks for help and anyone who is suffering from deprivation has a right to share in the property and wealth of a Muslim country; irrespective of race, color, nation or religion. Therefore it is also the Government’s duty to help such people who are in need of these basic necessities of life. This includes food, health, education and shelter.

Application in Saudi Arabia

Although quite fulfilled here in this Kingdom the distribution of wealth is not according to everyone’s right.  There are many Saudi citizens who live a ‘below standard of living’ while the Royal family is relishing millions and billions in its own expenditure.

The state of many foreign workers is even worse here; Especially the ones who come from South Asia and work in the municipal committee or other ‘cheap’ jobs.  Many are given very very low salaries (which they are not provided sometimes) hardly enough to feed themselves let alone provide for their families back home.  They were promised bigger salaries but when they came here they were tricked into accepting lower salaries.  Although they work more hours a day than the locals for the same job, they are paid less.

They are also not allowed free access to medical care.  Even their residential conditions are poor.  Many sleep in one room (as many as ten in a small crowded room!).


The main purpose of this blog was to lift the veil of the ‘Holy’ Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and expose its atrocities.

I have NOT written this blog to please the Kuffar (Disbelievers of the Islamic Faith) and as a disrespect to the Muslims by giving the disbelievers a chance to attack the Muslims with this work. Some might think that since this country includes the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, attacking the repute of this country would mean attacking the two Holy cities. What I have done is only part of a weaker aspect of Iman as related in the famous Hadith:

“If any one of you comes across an evil, he should try to stop it with his hands i.e. by force; if he is not in a position then he should speak up with his tongue, and even if he can’t do this then he should condemn it in his heart and this is the weakest of the faith.”

It is up to the Saudis to speak out and resist the Saudi government as I know many are doing or trying at least. But it seems now only Imam Mehdi can ‘help’ Saudi Arabia or whatever of it is left of it by the time he comes, which seems very soon.

I end with these famous sayings of the Holy Prophet, indicating the end of times as well as the crimes of the Arabs:

  1. Hazrat Zainab bint Jahsh (RA) reported that Allah’s apostle (PBUH), got up from sleep with a flushed red face and said:

Woe be to the Arabs for the great evil that is approaching (them); the barrier of Gog and Magog has opened so much’. And Sufyan (RA) made a sign of ten with the help of his hand (in order to indicate the width of the gap) and I said: ‘Allah’s Messenger, would we be perished in spite of the fact that there would be good people amongst us’? Thereupon he said: ‘Of course, but only when the evil predominates’.” (Sahih Bukhari & Muslim)

  1. Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

(The Holy Prophet PBUH) said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham (Syria and some other countries) and our Yemen.” People said, “Our Najd as well.” The Prophet again said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.” They said again, “Our Najd (present day Saudi Arabia) as well.” On that the Prophet said, “There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan.”


The Prophet (PBUH) refused to pray for Najd (Saudi Arabia) and prophesized head of Satan (ISIS?) would come out of it.


  1. Extract from my book ‘Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia’ written around 10 years ago
  2. Human Rights in Islam by Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi
  3. Personal interactions with Saudi citizens including Imams in Saudi Arabia
  4. Personal Interactions with foreigners in Saudi Arabia including doctors
  5. Internet

Note: Author is a member of Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) and member but strong critic of Jamaat Islami

Note: Anti-Saudi Govt policies does NOT mean Pro-Iran. Both of them have their share in causing havoc in Middle East and fueling sectarianism in Pakistan & other countries

4 thoughts on “Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *