Women's rights in Saudi Arabia
During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, women's rights in Saudi Arabia were limited in comparison to the rights of women in many of its neighboring countries due to the strict application of sharia law in place in Saudi Arabia. The World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries for gender parity, down from 134 out of 145 in 2015; the United Nations Economic and Social Council elected Saudi Arabia to the U. N. Commission on the Status of Women for 2018–2022, in a move, criticised by the international community. Women in Saudi Arabia constituted 13% of the country's native workforce as of 2015. Among the factors that define rights for women in Saudi Arabia are government laws, the Hanbali and Wahhabi schools of Sunni Islam, traditional customs of the Arabian Peninsula. Women campaigned for their rights with the women to drive movement and the anti male-guardianship campaign, with the result that some improvements to their status occurred during the second decade of the twenty-first century.
Women were forbidden from voting in all elections or being elected to any political office, but in 2011 King Abdullah let women vote in the 2015 local elections and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly. In 2011, there were more female university graduates in Saudi Arabia than male, female literacy was estimated to be 91%, which while still lower than male literacy, was far higher than 40 years earlier. In 2013, the average age at first marriage among Saudi females was 25 years. In 2017, King Salman ordered that women be allowed access to government services such as education and healthcare without the need of consent from a guardian. In 2018, King Salman issued a decree allowing women to drive, lifting the world's only ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia. Gender roles in Saudi society come from local culture and interpretations of Sharia. Sharia law, or the divine will, is derived by scholars through interpreting the hadith. In Saudi culture, the Sharia is interpreted according to a strict Sunni Islam form known as the way of the Salaf or Wahhabism.
The law is unwritten, leaving judges with significant discretionary power which they exercise in favor of tribal traditions. The variation of interpretation leads to controversy. For example, Sheikh Ahmad Qassim Al-Ghamdi, chief of the Mecca region's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice or the mutaween, has said prohibiting ikhtilat has no basis in Sharia. Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barrak, another prominent cleric, issued a fatwa that proponents of ikhtilat should be killed. According to the Encyclopedia of Human Rights, two "key" notions in Islamic legal theory that are mobilized to curtail women's rights in Saudi are: sex segregation, justified under the Sharia legal notion of'shielding from corruption', women's alleged'lack of capacity', the basis of the necessity of a male guardian whose permission must be granted for travel, medical procedures, obtaining permits, etc."It's the culture, not the religion" is a Saudi saying. At least according to some customs of the Arabian peninsula play a part in women's place in Saudi society.
The peninsula is the ancestral home of patriarchal, nomadic tribes, in which separation of women and men, namus are considered central. Many Saudis do not see Islam as the main impediment to women's rights. According to one female journalist: “If the Quran does not address the subject the clerics will err on the side of caution and make it haram; the driving ban for women is the best example.” Another believes that, “if all women were given the rights the Quran guarantees us, not be supplanted by tribal customs the issue of whether Saudi women have equal rights would be reduced.”Asmaa Al-Muhammad, the editor for Al Arabiya, points out that women in all other Muslim nations, including those in the Gulf area, have far more political power than Saudi women. The 2013 Global Gender Gap Report ranked several Muslim nations, such as Kyrgyzstan, The Gambia, Indonesia higher than Saudi Arabia for women's equality; however it moved up four places from the last report due to an increase in the percentage of women in parliament, had the biggest overall score improvement relative to 2006 of any country in the Middle East.
Saudis invoke the life of Muhammad to prove that Islam allows strong women. His first wife, was a powerful businesswoman in pre-Islamic times who employed him and initiated the marriage proposal on her own. Another wife, commanded an army at the Battle of Bassorah and is the source of many hadiths. Muhammad established the first rights for women in Arab culture, he told Muslim men, "You have rights over your women, your women have rights over you."Enforcement and custom vary by region. Jeddah is permissive. Riyadh and the surrounding Najd region, origin of the House of Saud, have stricter traditions. Prohibitions against women driving are unenforced in rural areas. Enforcement of the kingdom's strict moral code, including hijab and separation of the sexes, is handled by the Mutaween – a special committee of Saudi men sometimes called "religious police." Mutaween have some law enforcement powers, including the power to detain Saudis or foreigners living in the kingdom for doing anything deemed to be immoral.
While the anti-vice committee is active across the kingdom, it
Friday is the day of the week between Thursday and Saturday. In countries adopting the "Monday-first" convention it is the fifth day of the week. In countries that adopt the "Sunday-first" convention, it is the sixth day of the week. In some other countries, for example Saudi Arabia and the Maldives, Friday is the first day of the weekend, with Saturday the second. In Afghanistan Friday is the last day of the weekend, with Saturday as the first day of the working week. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait followed this convention until they changed to a Friday–Saturday weekend: on 1 September 2006 in Bahrain and the UAE, a year in Kuwait. In Iran and Thursday are weekend days; the name Friday comes from the Old English Frīġedæġ, meaning the "day of Frige", a result of an old convention associating the Germanic goddess Frigg with the Roman goddess Venus, with whom the day is associated in many different cultures. The same holds for Frīatag in Old High German, Freitag in Modern German, vrijdag in Dutch.
The expected cognate name in Old Norse would be *friggjar-dagr. However, the name of Friday in Old Norse is frjá-dagr instead, indicating a loan of the week-day names from Low German; the modern Scandinavian form is Fredag in Swedish and Danish, meaning Freyja's day. The distinction between Freyja and Frigg in some Germanic mythologies is contested; the word for Friday in most Romance languages is derived from Latin dies Veneris or "day of Venus", such as vendredi in French, venres in Galician, divendres in Catalan, vennari in Corsican, venerdì in Italian, vineri in Romanian, viernes in Spanish and influencing the Filipino biyernes or byernes, the Chamorro betnes. This is reflected in the p-Celtic Welsh language as Gwener. An exception is Portuguese a Romance language, which uses the word sexta-feira, meaning "sixth day of liturgical celebration", derived from the Latin feria sexta used in religious texts where it was not allowed to consecrate days to pagan gods. In Sardinian, the word chenàpura figures as an exception among all the other Romance languages, since it is derived from Latin cena pura.
This name had been given by the Jewish community exiled to the island in order to designate the food prepared for Shabbat eve. In Arabic, Friday is الجمعة al-jumʿah, from a root meaning "congregation/gathering." In languages of Islamic countries outside the Arab world, the word for Friday is a derivation of this:. In modern Greek, four of the words for the week-days are derived from ordinals. However, the Greek word for Friday is Paraskevi and is derived from a word meaning "to prepare". Like Saturday and Sunday, Friday is named for its liturgical significance as the day of preparation before Sabbath, inherited by Greek Christian Orthodox culture from Jewish practices. Friday was a Christian fast day. In both biblical and modern Hebrew, Friday is יום שישי Yom Shishi meaning "the sixth day." In most Indian languages, Friday is Shukravāra, named for the planet Venus. In Bengali শুক্রবার or Shukrobar is the 6th day in the Bengali week of Bengali Calendar and is the beginning of the weekend is Bangladesh.
In Japanese, 金曜日 is formed from the words 金星 meaning 曜日 meaning day. In the Korean language, it is 금요일 in Korean Hangul writing, is the pronounced form of the written word 金曜日 in Chinese characters, as in Japanese. In the Nahuatl language, Friday is quetzalcōātōnal meaning "day of Quetzalcoatl". Most Slavic languages call Friday the "fifth": Belarusian пятніца – pyatnitsa, Bulgarian петък – petŭk, Croatian petak, Czech pátek, Polish piątek, Russian пятница – pyatnitsa, Serbian петак – petak, Slovak piatok, Slovene petek, Ukrainian п'ятниця – p'yatnitsya; the Hungarian word péntek is a loan from Pannonian dialect of Slavic language. The n in péntek suggests an early adoption from Slavic, when many Slavic dialects still had nasal vowels. In modern Slavic languages only Polish retained nasal vowels. Friday is considered unlucky in some cultures; this is so in maritime circles. In the 19th century, Admiral William Henry Smyth described Friday in his nautical lexicon The Sailor's Word-Book as: The Dies Infaustus, on which old seamen were desirous of not getting under weigh, as ill-omened.
This superstition is the root of the well-known urban legend of HMS Friday. In modern times, Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky, due to the conjunction of Friday with the unlucky number thirteen; such a Friday may be called a "Black Friday". However, this superstition is not universal, notably in Scottish Gaelic culture: Though Friday has always been held an unlucky day in many Christian countries, still in the Hebrides it is supposed that it is a lucky day for sowing the seed. Good Friday in particular is a favourite day for potato planting—even strict Roman Catholics make a point of planting a bucketful on that day; the idea is that as the Resurrection followed the Crucifixion, Burial so too in the case of the seed, after death will come life? In astrology, Friday is connected with the planet Venus and is symbolized by that planet's symbol ♀. Friday is associated with the astrological signs Libra and Taurus. In Christianity, Good F
Saudi Arabian passport
The Saudi Arabian passport is a passport document issued to citizens of Saudi Arabia for international travel. It is valid for 10 lunar years. Before an applicant is issued a passport he must sign his name unless they don't hold a Saudi Arabian National ID Card. If an applicant is a woman, a male guardian is required to sign their passport to authorise the aspirant passport holder to travel abroad; the male guardian sign his dependant's passport in person. In case of women or underage citizens, the applicant must bring their Family ID card; the passport photo must be taken whilst the applicant is in Saudi dress, unless they are underage and haven't got a Government ID card. The photo must be 4 x 6 in size; the applicant must fill the form in both English. In 2017, a new version of the passport was introduced, the new version costs double but is valid for ten years instead of five; the Saudi Arabian passport has the following wording on its cover: "المملكة العربية السعودية" "Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia" "عضو جامعة الدول العربية" "Member of the Arab League" "جواز سفر" "Passport" Image of a passport holder Passport type in English National code: SAU Passport number in Hindu-Arabic numerals Passport holder's name in English Birth date both according to the Islamic calendar and as per the Gregorian calendar Gender: Male or Female Issue date in both Islamic calendar and Western calendar Expiration in both Islamic calendar and Western calendar, it is based on Islamic calendar.
Place of issue, issuing authority, issue date in both Islamic calendar and Western calendar All information is saved in the Ministry of Interior's systems. Arabic: "باسم ملك المملكة العربية السعودية أطلب من موظفي المملكة المدنيين والعسكريين وممثليها في الخارج ومن كل سلطة أخرى تعمل باسمها ومن السلطات المختصة في الدول الصديقة أن يسمحوا لحامل هذا الجواز بحرية المرور وأن يقدموا له المساعدة والرعاية English: "IN THE NAME OF THE KING, OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA, I REQUEST AND REQUIRE ALL THOSE WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, TO ALLOW THE BEARER TO PASS FREELY WITHOUT LET OR HINDRANCE AND TO AFFORD THE BEARER SUCH ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY" As of August 2018, Saudi citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 75 countries and territories, ranking the Saudi passport 67th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index. Saudi citizens do not need a visa to reside permanently. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar, one of the GCC countries, as a result, Saudi citizens are prohibited from traveling to the neighboring country.
Thailand, permitted only for businessmen with an authorisation by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, due to the Blue Diamond Affair Israel Iran, following rupture of Saudi-Iranian relations in January 2016 Also countries that are in state of war such as Syria and Afghanistan Qatar, from 5 June 2017 Visa requirements for Saudi citizens Saudi Arabian National ID Card
Legal system of Saudi Arabia
The legal system of Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia, Islamic law derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The sources of Sharia include Islamic scholarly consensus developed after Muhammad's death, its interpretation by judges in Saudi Arabia is influenced by the 18th century Wahhabism. Uniquely in the Muslim world, Sharia has been adopted by Saudi Arabia in an uncodified form. This, the lack of judicial precedent, has resulted in considerable uncertainty in the scope and content of the country's laws; the government therefore announced its intention to codify Sharia in 2010, significant progress has been made with the publication, on January 3, 2018, of a sourcebook of legal principles and precedents. Sharia has been supplemented by regulations issued by royal decree covering modern issues such as intellectual property and corporate law. Sharia remains the primary source of law in areas such as criminal, family and contract law, the Qur'an and the Sunnah are declared to be the country's constitution.
In the areas of land and energy law the extensive proprietorial rights of the Saudi state constitute a significant feature. The current Saudi court system was created by King Abdul Aziz, who founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, was introduced to the country in stages between 1927 and 1960, it comprises general and summary Sharia courts, with some administrative tribunals to deal with disputes on specific modern regulations. Trials in Saudi Arabia are bench trials. Courts in Saudi Arabia observe few formalities and the country's first criminal procedure code, issued in 2001, has been ignored. King Abdullah, in 2007, introduced a number of significant judicial reforms, although they are yet to be implemented. Criminal law punishments in Saudi Arabia include public beheading, stoning and lashing. Serious criminal offences include not only internationally recognized crimes such as murder, rape and robbery, but apostasy, adultery and sorcery. In addition to the regular police force, Saudi Arabia has a secret police, the Mabahith, "religious police", the Mutawa.
The latter enforces Islamic social and moral norms, but their powers have been restricted over the last few years. Western-based human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have criticized the activities of both the Mabahith and the Mutawa, as well as a number of other aspects of human rights in Saudi Arabia; these include the number of executions, the range of offences which are subject to the death penalty, the lack of safeguards for the accused in the criminal justice system, the treatment of homosexuals, the use of torture, the lack of religious freedom, the disadvantaged position of women. The Albert Shanker Institute and Freedom House have reported that "Saudi Arabia's practices diverge from the concept of the rule of law." Sharia, the primary source of law in modern Saudi Arabia, was developed by Muslim judges and scholars between the seventh and tenth centuries. From the time of the Abbasid caliphate in the 8th century, the developing Sharia was accepted as the basis of law in the towns of the Muslim world, including the Arabian peninsula, upheld by local rulers, eclipsing urf.
In the rural areas, urf continued to be predominant for some time, for instance, was the main source of law among the bedouin of Nejd in central Arabia until the early 20th century. By the 11th century, the Muslim world had developed four major Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, each with its own interpretations of Sharia: Hanbali, Maliki and Hanafi. In Arabia, a preference for the Hanbali school was advocated by the Wahhabi movement, founded in the 18th century. Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam, was supported by the Saudi royal family and is now dominant in Saudi Arabia. From the 18th century, the Hanbali school therefore predominated in Nejd and central Arabia, the heartland of Wahhabi Islam. In the more cosmopolitan Hejaz, in the west of the peninsula, both the Hanafi and Shafi schools were followed. Different court systems existed. In Nejd, there was a simple system of single judges for each of the major towns; the judge was appointed by the local governor, with whom he worked to dispose of cases.
In the Hejaz, there was a more sophisticated system, with courts comprising panels of judges. In 1925, Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Nejd conquered the Hejaz and united it with his existing territories to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. In 1927, the king introduced a new court system to the Hejaz comprising general and summary courts and ordered that Hanbali fiqh should be used. However, Nejd's traditional system of judges was left in place in the face of conservative opposition from the Nejd religious establishment. After becoming familiar with the Hejaz court system in the following decades, the religious establishment allowed its introduction to the rest of the country between 1957 and 1960. Additionally, from the 1930s, Abdul Aziz created government tribunals or "committees" to adjudicate in areas covered by royal decrees such as commercial or labor law; the system of Sharia courts and government tribunals created by Abdul Aziz remained in place until the 2007 judiciary reforms. Until 1970, the judiciary was the responsibility of the Grand Mufti, the country's most senior religious authority.
When the incumbent Grand Mufti died in 1969, the king, Faisal decided not to appoint a successor and took the opportunity to transfer
Emirate of Diriyah
The Emirate of Diriyah was the first Saudi state. It was established in the year 1744 when Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad bin Saud formed an alliance to found a socio-religious reform movement to unify the many states of the Arabian Peninsula and free it from Ottoman rule. In 1744, both Muhammed bin Abd Al Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud took an oath to achieve their goal. Marriage between Muhammad bin Saud's son, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, the daughter of the Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab helped to seal the pact between their families which has lasted through the centuries to the present day; the House of Saud and its allies rose to become the dominant sovereignty in Arabia by first conquering Najd, expanding their influence over the eastern coast which measures from Kuwait down to the northern borders of Oman. Furthermore, Saud's forces brought the highlands of'Asir under their suzerainty, while Muhammad bin Abd Al Wahhab wrote letters to people and scholars to enter the field of jihad.
After many military campaigns, Muhammad bin Saud died in 1765, leaving the leadership to his son, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad. Saud's forces went so far as to gain command of the Shi'a holy city of Karbala in 1801. Here they killed over 5000 civilians. In retribution, Abdul-Aziz was assassinated by a young Shia in 1803, having followed him back to Nejd Muhammad bin Abd Al Wahhab died in 1792. In 1803, eleven years after Wahhab's death, the son of Abdul Aziz Bin Muhammad, Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud, sent out forces to bring the region of Hejaz under his rule. Ta'if was the first city to be captured, the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina; this was seen as a major challenge to the authority of the Ottoman Empire, which had exercised its rule over the holy cities since 1517. The task of weakening the grip of the House of Saud was given to the powerful viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, by the Ottomans; this initiated the Ottoman–Saudi War, in which Muhammad Ali sent his troops to the Hejaz region by sea.
His son, Ibrahim Pasha led Ottoman forces into the heart of Nejd, capturing town after town. Saud's successor, his son Abdullah bin Saud, was unable to prevent the recapture of the region. Ibrahim reached the Saudi capital at Diriyah and placed it under siege for several months until it surrendered in the winter of 1818. Ibrahim shipped off many members of the clans of Al Saud and Muhammed Ibn Abd Al Wahhab to Egypt and the Ottoman capital, Istanbul. Abdullah bin Saud was executed in the Ottoman capital Istanbul with his severed head thrown into the waters of the Bosphorus, marking the end of what was known as the First Saudi State. However, both the Wahhabi sect and the remaining members of the Al Saud clan stayed committed to found a Second Saudi State that lasted until 1891, a third state, Saudi Arabia, which continues to rule till the present day. Muhammad bin Saud 1726–1744, 1744–1765 Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad 1765–1803 Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud 1803–1814 Abdullah bin Saud 1814–1818.
Ottoman–Saudi War Second Saudi State Saudi Arabia List of Sunni Muslim dynasties Facey, William. Dirʻīyyah and the first Saudi state. Stacey International. ISBN 978-0-905743-80-6. Retrieved 26 December 2011
The Rashidun Caliphate was the first of the four major caliphates established after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was ruled by the first four successive caliphs of Muhammad after his death in 632 CE; these caliphs are collectively known in Sunni Islam as the Rashidun. This term is not used in Shia Islam as Shia Muslims do not consider the rule of the first three caliphs as legitimate; the Rashidun Caliphate is characterized by a twenty-five year period of rapid military expansion, followed by a five-year period of internal strife. The Rashidun Army at its peak numbered more than 100,000 men. By the 650s, the caliphate in addition to the Arabian Peninsula had subjugated the Levant, to the Transcaucasus in the north; the caliphate arose out of the death of Muhammad in 632 CE and the subsequent debate over the succession to his leadership. Abu Bakr, a close companion of Muhammad from the Banu Taym clan, was elected the first Rashidun leader and began the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula.
He ruled from 632 to his death in 634. Abu Bakr was succeeded by Umar, his appointed successor from the Banu Adi clan, who began the conquest of Persia from 642 to 651, leading to the defeat of the Sassanid Empire. Umar was assassinated in 644 and was succeeded by Uthman, elected by a six-person committee arranged by Umar. Under Uthman began the conquest of Armenia and Khorasan. Uthman was assassinated in 656 and succeeded by Ali, who presided over the civil war known as the First Fitna; the war was between those who supported Uthman's cousin and governor of the Levant and those who supported the caliph Ali. The civil war permanently consolidated the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims, with Shia Muslims believing Ali to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad. A third faction in the war supported the governor of Egypt; the war was decided in favour of the faction of Muawiyah, who established the Umayyad Caliphate in 661. After Muhammad's death in 632 CE, his Medinan companions debated which of them should succeed him in running the affairs of the Muslims while Muhammad's household was busy with his burial.
Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr, with the Ansar and the Quraysh soon following suit. Abu Bakr thus became the first Khalīfaṫu Rasūli l-Lāh, or Caliph, embarked on campaigns to propagate Islam. First he would have to subdue the Arabian tribes which had claimed that although they pledged allegiance to Muhammad and accepted Islam, they owed nothing to Abu Bakr; as a caliph, Abu Bakr never claimed such a title. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit. Notably, according to Sunnis, all four Rashidun Caliphs were connected to Muhammad through marriage, were early converts to Islam, were among ten who were explicitly promised paradise, were his closest companions by association and support and were highly praised by Muhammad and delegated roles of leadership within the nascent Muslim community. According to Sunni Muslims, the term Rashidun Caliphate is derived from a famous hadith of Muhammad, where he foretold that the caliphate after him would last for 30 years and would be followed by kingship.
Furthermore, according to other hadiths in Sunan Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, towards the end times, the Rightly Guided Caliphate will be restored once again by God. Shortly before his death, Muhammad called all the Muslims who had accompanied him on the final Hajj to gather around at a place known as Ghadir Khumm. Muhammad gave a long sermon; the Muslims responded, "Allah and His messenger." Muhammad said: Behold! Whosoever I am his master, this Ali is his master. O Allah! Stay firm in supporting those who stay firm in following him, be hostile to those who are hostile to him, help those who help him, forsake those who forsake him. O people! This Ali is my brother, the executor of my, the container of my knowledge, my successor over my nation, over the interpretation the Book of Allah, the mighty and the majestic, the true inviter to its, he is the one who acts according to what pleases Him, fights His enemies, causes to adhere to His obedience, advises against His disobedience. He is the successor of the Messenger of Allah, the commander of the believers, the guiding Imam, the killer of the oath breakers, the transgressors, the apostates.
I speak by the authority of Allah. The word with me shall not be changed; this event has been narrated by both Shia and Sunni sources. Further, after the sermon, Abu Bakr and Uthman are all said to have given their allegiance to Ali, a fact, reported by both Shia and Sunni sources. In Medina, after the Farewell Pilgrimage and the event of Ghadir Khumm, Muhammad ordered an army to be mustered under the command of Usama bin Zayd, he commanded all the companions, except for his family, to go with Usama to Syria to avenge the Muslims’ defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah. Muhammad gave Usama the banner of Islam on the 18th day of the Islamic month of Safar in the year 11 A. H. Abu Bakr and Umar were among those. However, Abu Bakr and Umar resisted going under the command of Usama because they thought that he
Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia
The Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia known as Majlis Ash-Shura or Shura Council, is the formal advisory body of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy. The Consultative Assembly has limited powers in government, including the power to propose laws to the King of Saudi Arabia and his cabinet, but it cannot pass or enforce laws, a power reserved for the King, it has 150 members. The Consultative Assembly is headed by a Speaker; the current chairman is Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, in line with a tradition that kept the post in that family. The Assembly is based in Riyadh; the Consultative Assembly is permitted to propose draft laws and forward them to the King, but only the King has the power to pass or enforce them. The Assembly does, have the power to interpret laws, as well as examine annual reports referred to it by state ministries and agencies, it can advise the King on policies he submits to it, along with international treaties and economic plans. The Assembly is authorized to review the country's annual budget, call in ministers for questioning.
The influence of the Assembly in its present form comes from its responsibility for the Kingdom's five-year development plans, from which the annual budgets are derived, its ability to summon government officials for questioning, its role as policy debate forum. The first Majlis al Shura was founded by King Abdulaziz on 13 January 1926, it was chaired by Prince Faisal. However, the complete institutionalization of the assembly was finalized in 1932, it was expanded to include twenty-five members at the beginning of King Saud's reign. However, its functions were transferred to the Ministers Cabinet due to political pressures of the royal family members. On the other hand, Majlis al Shura was not dissolved and remained ineffective until King Fahd revived it in 2000. King Fahd decreed a new Majlis Al Shura Law on 24 November 2000, which replaced the previous law, effective since 1928, decreed the bylaws of the council and their supplements on 22 August 1993; the first term council had 60 members.
The membership was increased by 30 in each of the following terms: the second term 90 members, third term 120 members and fourth term 150 members. Thus, the number of members increased to 150 members plus the speaker in the fourth term council. Having been expanded in 1997 and 2001, the council achieved a place in the International Parliamentary Union by the end of 2003; the fourth term council issued 1174 declarations during its second year. In September 2011, just a few days before the 2011 municipal elections, King Abdullah stated that women may become members of the council. In January 2013, King Abdullah issued two royal decrees, granting women thirty seats on the council, stating that women must always hold at least a fifth of the seats on the council. According to the decrees, the female council members must be "committed to Islamic Shariah disciplines without any violations" and be "restrained by the religious veil." The decrees said that the female council members would be entering the council building from special gates, sit in seats reserved for women and pray in special worshipping places.
Earlier, officials said that a screen would separate genders and an internal communications network would allow men and women to communicate. Women first joined the council in 2013, three were named as deputy chairpersons of three committees: Thurayya Obeid, Zainab Abu Talib and Lubna Al Ansari. Sheikh Mohammed bin Ibrahim bin Jubair, a respected Hanbali jurist and former Minister of Justice, was appointed as the president of the first Council term and of successive ones, he remained the president until his death in 2002, was replaced by Saleh bin Abdullah bin Homaid. The fifth term council, which started on 28 February 2009, included the topic of no women and is led by chairperson Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed al ash Sheikh, former minister of Justice, he is regarded as a respected Islamic scholar, its appointment is considered to be a move to reassure religious conservatives that the Majlis is being guided by Sharia in its deliberations. The deputy chairperson in the fifth term is Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Hamza Asad Hajar.
Assistant chairman was Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al Barrak from February 2009 to December 2011. Secretary-general of the Assembly is Mohammed A. Al Ghamdi. Al Ghamdi, whose four-year term expired in May 2012, was replaced by Mohammed al Amr as the new secretary general of the Council; the Council members appear to be chosen from different provinces, representing three significant groups: religious establishment and the business groups. They seem to be followers of both conservative and liberal ideologies, are highly educated and experienced people who are regarded as experts in their fields. Academics, retired senior officers, ex-civil servants and businessmen have been chosen as the members of the council; the distribution of members based on their occupation for the 2005–2009 term is as follows: During the 2009–2013 term, half of the members had a university education in the United States, 70 of them had PhDs. The Council members for the 2009–2013 term are considered to be technocrats who are experts rather than local leaders.
Their educational background was as follows: 16% bachelor's degrees. The distribution of