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By Mai Yamani

In 1932, the Al Saud kinfolk formally included the dominion of the Hijaz into the recent state of Saudi Arabia. The Hijazis turned a humans with out a state in their personal. Cradle of Islam specializes in modern Hijazi existence and tradition made subservient to the dominant nationwide ideas of Saudi Arabia, as dictated by way of a political and non secular elite rooted within the crucial Najd area of the rustic. yet centralisation used to be no longer adequate to assimilate or tame Saudi Arabia's designated nearby cultures. The Al Saud kinfolk may possibly rule yet now not 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 identification beforehand.

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

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Defining the Hijaz be considered eccentric at best and would be inviting trouble if employed by the government in any capacity. Hijazi regional loyalties can thus be expressed only indirectly, through the use of outwardly ambiguous symbols. The result has been an emphasis on the Hijaz’s association with the holy cities—and hence to intensify the urban basis of Hijazi identity. The pronouncement ‘I am Hijazi’ has nearly disappeared from current use. But the statement ‘I am Meccan’ or ‘I am Medinese’ recurs constantly.

The condition is normally rare, but since the 1980s, there has been a sudden proliferation in the ‘gleam of prayer’ for Hijazi men. Hijazi women appear to develop it less frequently, but with advancing age they do seem to suffer bruising on their knees. It is quite common to see older women at formal occasions lifting their dresses to display their bruises as a sign of their sacrifice for prayers to God. The return in the 1980s of religious rituals such as the mawlid is partly a symbol of Hijazi identity and partly a reflection of the increase in religious practice common to Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

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.

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