King of the Road

One of the first things I was told here by my husband’s family was that any photos of my family needed to be kept in a drawer or out of sight, and not displayed in frames on a table or on the wall. To do so would be frowned upon and considered a form of idolatry, which is forbidden in Islam. You will not see statues in the human form here. Or even images of faces on t-shirts. What puzzles me then is how I see images of the King everywhere here – on billboards, on the inside and outside of buildings, and yes, even on vehicles. This is one of those confusing gray areas that I will never understand about this country.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Life, Photo, Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to King of the Road

  1. Hmmmm. I’m just guessing, but maybe Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of change, a subtle change.

    I find it interesting how different people see the same thing but interpret it differently. Makes me wonder how much of evil is really inside the person who sees the evil than in what that person sees.

  2. Fishing Guy says:

    Susie: At least you are allowed to share your captyes with the world.

  3. Marahm says:

    My own definition of a photograph: “A photograph is like a particle of time. It is an instant within an existence, a stolen second along a continuum that was never meant to be disrupted. It is silence within sound, equilibrium within vertigo. form without function. It is ultimately a fossil, because it no longer exists.”

    I understand why religions forbid photography of people. I also understand the comfort that can be taken by looking at nice photos of loved ones, espcecially after they have passed away. One can fall into idolatry, I suppose, without much difficulty.

    There’s no logical reconciliation between the two extremes. Photos of the king, all over KSA, while family photos are hidden in drawers, is testimony to this fact.

  4. thehalfbreed says:

    Very interesting point–but maybe the importance of nationalism overshadows this contradiction…? Hmm.

  5. Reader Wil says:

    Thank you for your visit and for your post about being forbidden to show images of humans. We Christians have the same commandment not to make images of humans… and not to pray for them, even Jesus is not portrayed in Protestant churches, whereas in Roman Catholic Churches the crucifix is present. I wear an empty cross as a sign of my belief.

  6. Geogypsy says:

    I guess only the King is allowed idolatry. How sad not to be able to display your families photos.

  7. JM says:

    I’ve never tought about non-framed family photos! As to the king, well, ‘noblesse oblige’ as the french say… but it’s a big contradiction!

  8. Yoli says:

    Susie, maybe he is a brand that can be advertised?

  9. Hahahah…that’s funny though. I think the only pictures allowed is the king’s face displayed on trucks or of any kind. Hhmm…makes me think now.

  10. Jacob says:

    Very confusing, except that there are so many “laws” in the various religions, it is hard to keep them separate and to determine which ones are worth enforcing and which ones to ignore.

  11. koala says:

    In some countries monarchs were considered descenders of God himself. Like in Egypt, and now everywhere You look there’s Mubarak.

  12. Sonia says:

    Oh Susie, I used to say the same thing, “Why on earth the King is excused? Haram, haram, haram!”

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