Language & Education
This beautiful kingdom is the largest Arab country of the Middle East. Similar to the other Islamic countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia and Lebanon, its official language is Arabic. English is also an important language in Saudi Arabia, widely spoken as a second language by educated Saudis. Education is necessary for every Saudi Arabian with a public education system which includes 11 universities, about 25,000 schools and a large number of colleges and other institutions to choose from. The system is open to all citizens, and provides free education, books and health services.
While the study of Islam remains at its core, the modern Saudi educational system also provides quality instruction in diverse fields of arts and sciences. This diversity helps the Kingdom prepare its citizens for life and work in a global economy.
Home to Islam's holiest cities of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia regards itself as the birthplace of Islam. This country is dominated by Muslims with Islam governing nearly every aspect of life and public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. However, non-Muslims are allowed to worship in private although this right is not defined in law. Like the types of Christians in the West, there are various types in Islam, namely Sunni and Shi’ites which are the two major ones.
An important aspect of their daily religious practice is to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening, praying towards Makkah and Islam's most sacred shrine, the Ka'abah, located in the Holy Mosque in Saudi Arabia. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.