Saudi Arabia: What do YOU See?



Everyone sees a picture differently.  When you look at this picture of the Saudi desert, what do you see?  What does it say to you?


58 Responses

  1. Pile of lifeless sand.

  2. Ali – la howla qota la binallah! (smile)

    I see the magnificent shifting sands which can either be soft rolling dunes that you just sink into and the hard sands which are unyielding. Through the sands I can see how the desert holds many stories and how the people of Arabia must be tough to withstand the many forces of nature.

    The photo also reminds me of the magnificent picnics my late husband and I enjoyed among the shifting sands. We liked to go out into the desert as the sun was setting and enjoy our first sip of Saudi tea just as the sun seemed to be touching the far edge of the desert. We’d remain in the desert building a fire while we observed the various stars come out and shine in the darkened sky.

    My husband and I would be sitting side by side with his arm around me as he either told me old tales about the desert or sing some of his favorite traditional songs.

    I loved the desert before I had arrived in the Kingdom and my husband only made me love it more.

  3. Heat. Lots of heat. At the same time silence but for the wind and the gentle sounds of the dunes shifting.

    Give me an umbrella for a bit of shade and something to recline on and I could sit there for hours. Good place to think and let yourself drift.

  4. Vibrant beauty

  5. @tps – I agree completely!

  6. This is completely off topic, but I don’t know where else to ask. What are some comfort foods for Saudis when they are sick? One of my boys has the flu and the other has a stomach virus. Once they are ready to eat, what would be best to offer them?

  7. lentil soup or chicken soup. As they get to feeling better, they may like some rice with milk and sugar. My late husband always wanted kupsa which is actually not a bad thing since it is rice and chicken.

  8. Dunebuggy heaven. 🙂

  9. Okay…no more comments about Comfort Foods please… I chose to make that a separate post where everyone can comment to hearts content tomorrow!

  10. sand…

  11. The photo looks a bit artificial to me.

  12. Beautiful and terrifying simultaneously to me. I am geospatially challenged at times. I would get easily lost!

  13. And if it weren’t for roads as a markers, the prairies would be a place to get lost also where we are –big sky, bright sun, flatness (unlike sand dunes).

    I wonder at night, if the night sky is rich with star constellations.

  14. Though different from the forest I was raised in, it’s still breathtakingly beautiful though nature anywhere can be a bit dangerous at times. The sunshine looks delightful!

  15. Sheer majestic beauty…

  16. reminds me of camping int he desert, calm sky and very peaceful. long conversations , sunset and evening tea 🙂 it also reminds me of sand storms.

  17. Reminds me of sand in shoes, hot, gritty, sweaty and need of a shower or jumping into some water. In the heat of the day it is great to have a book, ice cold drink and be somewhat lazy if you can. Oh, there is the need for something to shade you and for you to sit on.

  18. ما شاء الله

  19. Don’t judge the person from the first sight! because this looks only sand, but it is hiding treasure beneath it.

  20. Where’s my snow saucer? (they work on dunes you know!)

  21. Reminds me of and brings back a lot of fond/romantic high school memories of the Great Sand Dunes of the Central Oregon Coast near Reedsport/Winchester area!

  22. I see a long, arduous trip that is fraught with dangers for the unwary. Where one can easily find oneself banged up and coughing up sand, if one fails to consider the knife edged drop off the lee of the windward flow a dune.

    And I remember stories of avoiding the valleys between large dunes, as they were frequented by djinn, as told to me by my Saudi friends.

  23. @ Snowman

    The desert of Arabia is covered with sand, and it is hiding all kinds of treasures Oil, Gas etc, It reminds me of the women of Arabia who cover with Abaya, and the Abaya is hiding all kind of treasures.

    The moral of the story: You can’t reach the beauty in Arabia very easily because most of the beauty is hidden.

  24. Show me a picture of a Djinn!

  25. Aafke-Art, never saw nor heard from one, so I couldn’t ask one to pose for a picture. 😉

    As for the women of Arabia wearing an abaya, the history behind that garment is linked to the reason for the thobe. Pure and simple protection from the environment. One covers one’s hair, lest one end up with sand and dust that hardens in the sweat into the consistency of concrete. One covers one’s face to avoid breathing that damned dust. The same with the rest of the body. Add to that the human nature of dark skinned people having a preference for a light skinned mate and the converse for light skinned people, the covering assisted further toward that goal. THEN, Islam came along and embraced an existing custom, adding modesty to that, due to some local loosening of morals (same for the later prohibition of alcohol). It’s all well laid out in the Quran and in history.
    When my wife was with me in Qatar, she wanted a few abayas, to have a change and one for special occasions (a fancy decorated one). She wasn’t required to, she indeed, was not even requested to cover her hair, as she and I are not Muslims. But, it was out of protection from the elements AND respect for the local customs and sensibilities that she chose that garment. The local business owners showed their thanks for our respect with discounts.
    My only problem with my wife has been, she has a rather Bedouin taste in jewelry, though it DOES fit her well. 🙂

  26. I like how the comments here reflect so well with the personalities behind them 🙂 Very interesting.

    I see ultimate silence, tranquility and beauty in this picture. I love how the desert makes you feel so at peace with everything.

  27. Laylah, I cannot agree more. That goes with a journey in the wild anywhere. No traffic, no music blaring, no car horns. Just the wind and any wildlife present.
    MY preferred place to enjoy silence and nature is in a forest, as forests are near my home. For those where the desert is near home, I’d expect they’d feel the same about the desert.
    Either way, we’d both get to meet all manner of insects at night… :/
    Though, I have yet to hear a Bedouin tell me about a bear wandering through camp. But then, I’ve never had a jackal or hyena wander through my camp, nor a camel spider investigating me in a forest.
    Each environment has its beauty, each its hazards and annoyances, each is home to another.
    But, I’ve met more friendly people in forests and deserts than I’ve met in urban environments, which I also find interesting. I suspect that when people are in the wild, they’re reminded that they’re surrounded by things greater than mankind and are humbled at the weakness of humanity against raw nature.

  28. I would like to see the desert on a visit, but I would hate to live there. I prefer lush green forests, lots of wildlife, cool temperatures and lots of water and rain.
    The photo is beautiful, but it scares me too, I can imagine the heat and the dryness and desolation.

    Snowman, the abaya as worn today is a recent fashion. In the past women in Saudi Arabia wore many different styles of dresses, often embellished with colorful embroideries, and they did not cover their hair everywhere, but wore their long tresses in front with a cap or piece of fabric over their heads as protection from the sun. Clothes were practical, like extra padding around the hem in paces with lots of thorny shrubs to protect the legs. They had to be, most women had to work on the fields or tend lifestock.
    They were individual, practical and they were part of the real culture of Saudi Arabia, which has been destroyed.

    The now ubiquitous abaya was forced on the women of large parts of Saudi Arabia instead of their own regional dresses by men from Riyad. This is still within living memory, this happened only 30/40 years ago.

    You can fantasize all you like about the beauty and promises of sex hidden behind the abaya (which objectifies and degrades women to sex-objects) but you have to remember it is a modern style, it is not indigenous to most parts of Saudi Arabia. And the Saudi women were forced into wearing them.

  29. I do have some experience with deserts – and they can be the most tranquil and peaceful places on earth. Of course, there are many different kinds of deserts – that of Chile is quite different from that in Arabia which is very different from Death Valley or even our own Sonoran desert. Actually I prefer a desert without sand – that stuff gets everywhere, not to mention walking in it is no picnic.

    What I find strange is the lack of cacti. Believe me, if you don’t have cholla and saguaros and coyotes, it ain’t a real desert. Note that all deserts are by nature dangerous.

    As to the abaya, it has nothing to to morals. Modesty, maybe, but enforced modesty is not modesty, but rather control and punishment.

    As with the desert, the same is true for the abaya – people see what they want to see. One may see beauty and modesty, I look at a robed woman and — right or wrong — I see a Muslim, and to me, a Muslim is someone that follows a god that considers me to be lower than an animal, someone that loves and respects a man that did evil things and who will lie about this without shame Pretty bad, yep, but that is they way it is and it is not my fault.

  30. Actually, Jay Kactuz, you are incorrect in one area. Islam holds that God holds man higher than angels, indeed, Satan fell because he disobeyed an order by God to bow before man.
    That belief is present in Judaism as well. It once was part of Christianity, but was removed from the bible by the Nicene council. Indeed, anything merciful that was in the Torah was removed, leaving the Christian God the God of smite and no mercy.
    Now, what man does with a religion is quite a different thing, as history has shown the abuses men use to attain power by perversion of a faith.
    Indeed, I’ve gotten shocked looks when I was in the Persian Gulf and a local started to go on about “crusades” and I commented, “Crusade, oh, which one, the ones against Palestine or the ones against the Eastern Catholic church?”
    Yes, there were crusades against the former seat of the Holy Roman Empire, directly against church orders. Totally illustrating my point of the abuse of a religion for the attainment power and wealth.

  31. Wzrd1 Oh yes, the theology of Angeology – interesting stuff. I think the Bible says that man was made lower than angels but rises above them by faith (been a long time since that class!).

    As to Satan falling because he disobeyed an order by God to bow before man, that doesn’t sound right, even for Islam. In the Bible Satan falls because be want to be a god (“like the Most High”).

    The whole issue of angels, different kinds of angels, demons, evil spirits, even jinns, is interesting but kind of fuzzy in real terms.

    Oh yes, when I said ‘evil spirits’ I want to make it clear that I wasn’t referring to vodka.

    As to the Christian God being a “God of smite and no mercy” obviously you haven’t read the whole New Testament. I don’t usually defend Christianity but there are tons of verses that declare love and mercy.

    When Muslims mention the crusades, I always look surprised and say “What, I thought they were over and you won!” That rarely ends the tirade so I have to go to statement B: “Oh so Europeans attacking Muslims, bad, but your dear prophet attacking defenseless villages by surprise, good. is that it?” That usually does it!

    What, do you mean that people abuse religion for money and power? I am shocked!!! Next you will tell me there is gambling at Ricks..

  32. Interesting, I went to a very Christian school in my young days, but I never heard anything about this angel thing.

  33. Satan fell because he refused to bow to Man. But Angels do not have free will- therefore Satan (Iblis) must have been of the Jinn because they have free will.

  34. Sandy, do you have a reference for that? Like I said, that doesn’t sound right even for Muslims. Who ordered Satan do bow before man? Allah? Why would old Lucifer be punished for not bowing before a creation? It doesn’t make sense.

    AA, actually the theology of angels, at least in the Christian tradition, is very interesting. It makes a great “what if” topic. This link is probably the closest to what I studied 40+ years ago:

    Few people realize the variety and intensity of Angels in the Bible. Had some great discussions as to the nature of the nephilim – the “sons of god” that took the “daughters of men” and had a race of mighty men, warriors.

    Wonder if Carol has ever done a post on angels…

  35. Actually, I spent many years in Catholic school. You’d be amazed what nuns teach advanced students. The book of Adam and Eve is Jewish apocrypha that is very close to the Islamic version of Adam and Eve. As those books were removed from canon around the time that Islam began, one need only consider that it was a well established version in the region. Especially considering the time in Medina with Jews…

    From the Quran, a few verses come to mind, though I’ll admit, I googled them, as I’m a bit busy making dinner tonight to dig out my transliterated copies of the Quran, dig up the verses and type them in. I’ve read the bible and the Quran, though my personal beliefs aren’t up for discussion. 🙂

    And behold, We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam” and they bowed down. Not so Iblis (Satan): he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith. (2: 34)

    It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down. (God) said: “What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.” (God) said: “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).” (7: 11–13)

    Behold! We said to the angels: “Prostrate unto Adam”: They prostrated except Iblis (Satan): He said, “Shall I prostrate to one whom Thou didst create from clay?” He said: “Seest Thou? This is the one whom Thou hast honoured above me! If Thou wilt but respite me to the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway – all but a few!” (17: 61–62)

  36. No Satan never was told to bow down in Judiasm or be exiled. In fact, Satan was never told to bow in the NT either. Satan was the agent of God and as such asked God to consider certain things. He was the anatagonist. To my knowledge Satan never challenges God in Judaism but works for him. In fact if you read Job you will find out that Satan and God spoke and on the suggestion of Satan, God allowed (ALLOWED) Satan to intervene to create hardship for Job. Satan did not go beyond the scope of God’s rule.

    To my knowledge the serpent in the story of Adam and Eve is never named but from my understanding of the fable the serpent was turned into something like a snake to crawl upon it’s stomach along with it’s decendants.


    If you have passages from the talmud or OT that counter this then by all means I would love to see it. Please reference the source.

    In addition, no where in the NT does it talks about how the fall of Satan comes about and much of what is discussed is in Revelation. In fact, very little is mentioned.

    You should no that many scholars of the time thought revelation to be crap and wanted it throw out. it was written for the 7 christian churches of the time. It was actually more of a prediction of the fall of the Roman empire that never come about.

  37. Good going, W! Still, I stand on my position -it doesn’t sound right (coherent). Why should an angel bow down to a man? Just because Allah told him to? So Allah alone is not the sole object of adoration?

    Also, since when is failure to obey a command the same as lack of faith? Did Allah make satan sin, giving him an immoral command? Why is disbelief a greater sin than evil doing? And why does satan physically attack believers? (Muslims, in this context!). The whole thing seems to indicate that Allah makes people sin since he can stop it (sin) by increasing their belief (the old jar theory, where righteousness is liquid grace, arbitrarily filled by Allah depending on the person).

    I think this whole “belief is everything” is responsible for much of the woes in the Muslims world. Whereas in the Christian tradition, sin is the problem, for muslims it is lack of belief. So, for Muslims, as long as they ‘believe’ and keep a few silly rituals, they can do anything.

    Oh yes, I love the use of “We” in the Quran… ‘We’ who? We, Allah, the one god, all of us, together!

  38. Bigstick1, I never said anything about the NT. The Jewish verses were from Jewish apocrypha, ancient texts that were later removed from the books. Unlike the Catholic church, they didn’t burn books that were removed from general use, but retained them.
    As for Revelation, you are correct. Indeed, scholars found that Nero’s name in Hebrew numerology came out 666 and it WAS about the fall of the Roman Empire. The ONLY reason Revelation was included was by the direct order of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who overruled the Nicene Council and ordered it included. It as good for recruitment for the Holy Roman Imperial Army’s legions.
    Of course, the bible refers to “the devil” with multiple names too. Christianity combines all under one hat.
    Islam considers Satan to be a djinn, as djini have free will, whereas angels do not have free will.

  39. This link could contribute to this discussion.

  40. Yes, Islam Q&A is always good for a laugh.
    If you’re in the right mood…

  41. Wrzd1:

    Yes, I do know that you didn’t mention the NT, however, given the vague source of you initial statement on Satan I was fishing to see where you were getting you information from.

    Here is an excellent summary of the apocrypha.

  42. Aafke:

    How do you get the devil emotion?

  43. Bigstick1, you missed other acocrypha, to include the Dead Sea scrolls. I have a copy here, somewhere, which includes the book of Adam and Eve, the book of secrets of Enoch and a handful of other books. To contemporary Christianity, they’re considered as pseudepigrapha. However, the writing style is consistent with the other ancient texts.
    However, the pseudepigrapha are included in Jewish tradition, as is mentioned at
    Sorry if I was vague, I was trying to recall the exact name of the book I have, but can’t recall its title and most of my books are still in boxes from when I came back stateside. :/

    Aafke-Art, I’ve had many fine discussions with Arab friends into the wee hours on the weekend, it was quite fun, comparing beliefs and learning our similarities and differences.

  44. Hmmm, I wonder if it’s “:twisted:”

  45. Nope, not using wordpress 😈 code.

  46. OK, it is. 😀

  47. 🙄

  48. Wzrd1:

    Here is some interesting website to contemplate since you on a different path.

    Also if you can get this book it really opens up a whole new dimension in thinking.

    A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – by Karen Armstrong

    Okay my attempt at the littles guys.

    :greendevil: 🙄 🙂

  49. Did I fail to mention Catholic school and nuns? OUR nuns, I’ll give a hint, I’m 50 years old, were rather old school and VERY knowledgeable. They HAD to do so, as students would learn such things, so they attempted to expose us to such things.
    I’m VERY familiar with the papacy and its dubious in the extreme heritage.
    I SHOULD also advise, for full disclosure, I’m FAR from Catholic. I’m far more Deist.
    In short, there is NO *SINGLE* “gift” of God’s work for man or anyone, but small hints might be given to multiple cultures, in terms that THEY could understand.
    Could a temperate forest people understand the culture of the desert? Hell no!
    Could the desert people understand the temperate forest people’s culture?
    Could ANY of them understand the rainforest jungle people’s culture or the converse?
    Say yes, be presumed an idiot.
    You are obviously not. I suspect we rather believe along similar lines, as I use the very same tact to guide others to understanding that is GLOBAL.
    A REALLY interesting culture lesson is in the book Contact. A theist notion that is far more likely than singular selection of ONE people.
    For, I AM a father and indeed, a grandfather. I’d not reject my grandchildren any more than I’d reject my children, save for the most obscene of lifestyle choices that go far, far beyond US cultural rejections.
    Could a creator do otherwise?

    I’m also quite conversant on advanced physics. I’m not shabby on biology. I’m decent on astronomy (see physics).
    I’m far from a dummy, though I’ll pretend for most, to gain advantage if THEY seek an unfair advantage.
    I FAR prefer HONOR in personal dealings, as any who has honorably dealt with me can attest to, on three continents.
    When I was in high school, my closest friends were in the “Learning Enrichment Program” (aka genius classes). A few rather, erm, borrowed a copy, erm, of the school psychologist reports on me. They submitted me for membership in MENSA. After a bit of research, I declined, as I considered the entire notion an exercise of intellectual masturbation. It was essentially, a club of “I am far smarter than MOST”, but refusing social responsibility (and yes, I AGREE with the Simpsons episode on MENSA types taking over).
    BALANCE is the essence of life, not extremes, save in life threatening circumstances. THEN, you’ll not find MORE of an extreme. Indeed, I am a bit of legend on certain military (and enemy) circles.
    I’m VERY good at turning a Taliban argument around on its head and call their djinn out on them (I’ll not go into my personal beliefs there).
    I’m biblical in revenge, though I HATE being forced into such a corner.
    I’ve turned around anti-US invasion arguments by talking about my cousin, Michael Stabile, who died on the 84th floor of the south tower of the WTC on 9-11. FSCK’D up there, when *I* met him, he was a drug abusing POS, but he made good, had a family and was killed.
    But, I’ll NOT judge a deity or man for that. Bad things happen. But, it gave justification for our military action that the populace was ignorant of and a respect for my men’s restraint!
    I should also mention a commonality with some Islamic traditions, as my family is Sicilian. Indeed, worshiping the good looks of a baby by “God Bless”, to avoid the evil eye… Ma’shallah (or whatever it is in the proper “Englabic”, feel free to correct it for me, I’ll take note tomorrow).
    I’ll ALSO say that I NEVER believed in my grandparents belief in the evil eye. Until I very nearly collapsed in a mall in the Persian Gulf, whilest previously joking with my wife in public, whilst some young Arab women were passing.
    Either I had a massive heart attack that has zero representation on any EKG and coronary catheritization procedure OR it was an evil eye.
    I’ll also admit that I firmly believe in some psychic phenonema, THAT gives me only “evidence” to not provide…
    My heart rate, went to roof rate. I was in V-tach, for the first time in my life. I was disoriented first.
    As I AM very into biofeedback AND “know myself”, after a few minutes, I managed to stabilized and normalize.
    My Arab friends were shocked that I needed no prayers or some other intervention, but I simply explained the truth.
    I know myself, I restored myself. Myself is me in relation to world, universe and creator.
    Three points are ALL that is needed to restore ANY failed baseline!
    Belive, disbelieve, I don’t give a crap.
    I know that Arabs will WANT to believe, but be frightened at the consequences of faith.
    And for THAT, I’d not “uplift” them, until they’re comfortable with the first “notion” that a creator will tailor messages for EACH culture.

  50. wzrd1:


    Let’s try these little guys again
    😀 🙄 :laugh: 🙂

  51. Well, I’ll simply say 😛 .
    But, in the text days, we’d do :P:p:P:p:P:p:P:p for raspberries.
    Good night, I have a pre-interview tomorrow morning.

  52. bigstick, it’s ”mrgreen” :mrgreen:

  53. Thanks, I will try again.




  54. 😈

  55. pretty picture!

  56. welcome back!!

  57. for me desert means FREEDOM, when I look at it I feel free I feel the word has no limit I like watching the desert for ages!! Our prophete SWS use to like it as well

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