Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in by Mai Yamani

By Mai Yamani

In 1932, the Al Saud relations formally integrated the dominion of the Hijaz into the recent country of Saudi Arabia. The Hijazis turned a humans with no nation in their personal. Cradle of Islam makes a speciality of modern Hijazi existence and tradition made subservient to the dominant nationwide principles of Saudi Arabia, as dictated via a political and non secular elite rooted within the critical Najd quarter of the rustic. yet centralisation used to be now not sufficient to assimilate or tame Saudi Arabia's exact local cultures. The Al Saud kin may possibly rule yet no longer totally combine. This booklet is an insider's account of the hidden international of the Hijazis together with their rituals that have helped to maintain Hijazi id formerly.

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Extra info for Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in Saudi Arabia

Sample text

Mal (wealth) and its appropriate display. Adherence to usul (the correct rules of conduct) and tagalid (tradition). Tagwa (religious observance) and its appropriate manifestation. The size of the family and the ‘love’ and co-operation exhibited between its members. Connections with the ruling elite. Education. Status of the arham (those linked by marriage). Each of these criteria determines Hijazis’ social status, but none is exclusive as a criterion for membership in ‘awa’il. As a result, all who are considered to have asala (good people of good origins), who practise istigama (right religious behaviour) and with knowledge of usul, are not necessarily considered to be or treated as ‘awa’il.

Thus, upon their return to Saudi Arabia they resume their Hijazi gatherings and rituals. By the 1980s a consciousness of their social status as Hijazis—and thus an emphasis on their regional identity—alongside an emphasis on their own national identity, due to rejection of Western culture, further complicated their sense of identity. As they reject Western values they feel closer to other Saudis, but while in the country Hijaziness 18 Defining the Hijaz comes first. Again, non-Hijazis often respond to rejection by Westerners in the same way, but it is among the elite of the Hijaz that these sensitivities run deepest.

For their part, mutawwifin promoted and profited from foreign Muslims’ traditional view of Mecca as ‘otherworldly’ and Meccans as blessed. Prior to 1926 foreign pilgrims also paid a sum of money to the local government and the Sharif of Mecca. After the conquest of the Hijaz by Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the pilgrims’ payment to the local government was abolished. But in 1932 King Abdul Aziz Al Saud issued a statement in Umm al-Qura, the official Hijazi newspaper, assuring mutawwifin that their positions were secure.

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