Basic Law of Saudi Arabia

The Basic Law of Saudi Arabia (Alternative name: Basic System of Governance) is a constitution-like charter divided into nine chapters, consisting of 83 articles.[1] The constitution of Saudi Arabia is "the Holy Qur'an, and the Sunna (Traditions)" of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, (as stated in Article One of the Basic Law), but the Basic Law contains many characteristics of what might be called a constitution in other countries ("The Law of Governance", "Rights and Duties"). The Basic Law is in accordance with the Salafi understanding of Sharia and does not override Islamic laws.

Contents

  • History 1
  • 2 Articles of the Basic Law of Governance
    • Basic Law of Saudi Arabia 2.1
    • Chapter 1: General Principles 2.2
    • Chapter 2: Monarchy 2.3
    • Chapter 3: Features of the Saudi Family 2.4
    • Chapter 4: Economic Principles 2.5
    • Chapter 5: Rights and Duties 2.6
    • Chapter 6: The Authorities of the State 2.7
      • Islam as cornerstone of governance 2.7.1
      • Military 2.7.2
    • Chapter 7: Financial Affairs 2.8
    • Chapter 8: Control Bodies 2.9
    • Chapter 9: General Provisions 2.10
  • Criticism 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf War, late King Fahd issued a royal decree that was officially published in official television channels and newspapers on the 31st of January 1992.[2][3] The Decree stated the following:

Royal Decree No. A/90
27/8/1412 AH
By the Help of Allah,
We, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, consistent with the public interest, and in view with the development of the State in different fields, in addition to our enthusiasm to achieve our prospected objectives, we ordered the following:
First: Issue the Basic System of Governance according to the context herein below.
Second: Act in accordance with all the systems, orders, and resolutions that are currently adopted, until they are amended pursuant to the Basic System of Governance.
Third: The Basic System of Governance shall be published in the official journal and shall be enforceable as of the date of its publication.[4]

The Consultative Council also came to life about a year after in the light of the emerging conditions affecting the country after the war.

The Saudi cultural and religious views stigmatize any reference to "Constitution" other than the Qur'an itself and the practice of Muhammad. Article 1 of the Basic Law emphasize that "God's Book (Qur'an) and the Sunnah of His Prophet (Muhammad), are its (Saudi Arabia) constitution".[5] As the prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz puts it, who's referred to as the "red prince" and the "free prince" among other nicknames for his liberal views, there cannot be "a constitution, a regulation, or a law that runs counter to the Islamic Shari'a" in Saudi Arabia[6]

Articles of the Basic Law of Governance

Basic Law of Saudi Arabia

Chapter 1: General Principles

Article 1 states that "God's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet" are the country's constitution and Arabic is the official language with the capital at Riyadh.

Chapter 2: Monarchy

Article 7 proclaims the rights of the monarch. Next, per Article 8, "justice, consultation, and equality" shall be in accordance with Shari'ah.

Chapter 3: Features of the Saudi Family

Article 9 states that all members of each family in Saudi Arabia shall be reared "on the basis of the Islamic faith."

Chapter 4: Economic Principles

Article 18 guards the private property of citizens.

Article 21 calls for an "alms tax".

Chapter 5: Rights and Duties

Article 27 establishes a "system of social security"; It has become feasible without expropriation and high taxes due to the large supplies of oil and a population of fewer than 30 million people.

Chapter 6: The Authorities of the State

Islam as cornerstone of governance

Article 45 affirms that religious rulings must be in accordance with the " Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah." To this end, a panel of Islamic clergy and research group shall be established.

According to Article 55, the king has to "rule according to the rulings of Islam and shall supervise the application of Shari'ah." Article 56 states that the king is the prime minister as well. Article 57 makes it clear that the king's cabinet and other lower-ranking officials must follow Islam. Those who deviate from this can be dismissed or punished.

Military

Articles 60-62: The king is the commander-in-chief and is endowed with powers concerning war and the national security of the country

Chapter 7: Financial Affairs

Article 71 specifies that revenue is entered and spent according to rules of statutes which will be published regularly in the Official Gazette per Article 70.

Chapter 8: Control Bodies

Article 79-80 concerns control bodies. Control bodies will be established to ensure good financial and administrative management of state assets.[7][8]

Chapter 9: General Provisions

Article 82 makes it clear that a temporary state of emergency during turmoil cannot violate Article 7 (Quran and sunnah).

Criticism

The Basic Law was drafted by an ad hoc committee of the interior ministry, which Human Rights Watch accuses of egregious violations of human rights.[9]

In the eighteenth century Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab integrated all the political and religious institutions into one governing body.[10] The government of Saudi Arabia reserves numerous jobs for the clergy that range from preaching to judgeships.

Islamic clergy (ulema) like muftis and sheikhs who dominate the Saudi Arabian legal positions make use of the Basic Law in addition to the Quran,[11] hadith, sunnah, and Islamic jurisprudence which all falls within sharia.

The Basic Law makes no mention of women; Amnesty International write in their 2000 report on Saudi Arabia:

Discussion of discrimination against women and their status as second class citizens has for a long time been a taboo, untouchable even by the highest of state authorities in the country despite all the misery and suffering of women for no reason other than their having been born female.[12]

Saudi writer and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider writes that "Saudi women are weak, no matter how high their status, even the 'pampered' ones among them - because they have no law to protect them from attack by anyone. The oppression of women and the effacement of their selfhood is a flaw affecting most homes in Saudi Arabia."[13]

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ The Basic Law - Saudi Arabia Information
  2. ^ Saudi Arabia - Constitution
  3. ^ Empty Reforms: Saudi Arabia's New Basic Laws May 1992
  4. ^ Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  5. ^ Wikisource
  6. ^ Saudi Prince Talal bin Abd Al-'Aziz Explains the New Method of Determining Future Kings in Saudi Arabia 12 January 2007
  7. ^ https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Saudi_Arabia_2005.pdf
  8. ^ https://books.google.co.in/books?id=pP315Mw3S9EC&pg=PA991&lpg=PA991&dq=concerns+control+bodies.+Control+bodies+will+be+established+to+ensure+good+financial+and+administrative+management+of+state+assets.&source=bl&ots=_5ekd7qy4T&sig=g2BFQo8hH2YsrDhGFRvr8-qdVL8&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=concerns%20control%20bodies.%20Control%20bodies%20will%20be%20established%20to%20ensure%20good%20financial%20and%20administrative%20management%20of%20state%20assets.&f=false
  9. ^ Introduction to Basic Law of Saudi Arabia Human Rights Watch
  10. ^ The Role of the Ulema (Religious Leaders)
  11. ^ The Frontline : Violators of Freedom
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links

  • Basic Law of Saudi Arabia Saudi Lawfirm
  • English text of the Basic Law at the Saudi Embassy in Washington
  • King Fahd's Speech on the issuance of the Basic Law of Governance
  • The Basic Law
  • Saudi Arabia: Basic Law of Government
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's legal system
  • Saudi Arabia Constitution
  • Constitution, Government & Legislation of Saudi Arabia
  • The View from a Majlis Ash-Shura Member - A Conversation with Usamah al Kurdi The Saudi-US Relations Information Service
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