Prince Amir Al Saud

Defining the Cultural Values of Arab Nations

Defining the Cultural Values of Arab Nations

There are distinct cultural values in Arab nations. However, Islam is the basic consideration because religion is taken seriously in these countries compared to Western countries. Arabs put a lot of importance on values which include the extended family and not only the immediate household. For a good number of Arab family circles, some generations live together with parents and adult brood.


Saudi Arabia


The majority of Arabs regard privacy as a vital value. They seldom discuss about personal things. Family concerns remain in the lineage and never discussed with strangers. It is considered impolite to ask many personal questions although inquiring regarding somebody's wife is by and large regarded as good manners. Nearly all Arabs will not impart personal information with other people. In the same manner, do not expect them to ask other persons to share personal information.


For Saudi Arabians, values concentrate on kindness, unselfishness, kindness, sexual modesty, enthusiasm, and reverence for family members. These people are very particular about Islamic edicts. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, women are allowed to mingle with local males as long as these are first-degree relatives. This is in accordance with the values of sexual abstinence and esteem for next of kin. Spiritual belief has something to do with spirituality and celestial involvement in human life. Values are said to be one-sided and differ across population and cultures.



Just like other Arab populace, Kuwaitis have unique personal borders compared to citizens of Western nations. Social layers in Kuwaiti society depend on wealth. The ruling clan is at the top of societal hierarchy. Merchant families are below this order and considered more inferior. Next in line are desert wanderers or Bedouins who migrated to Kuwait because of opportunities from oil. Foreigners are at the bottom of the hierarchy.


There are deep-seated affiliations which help preserve social organization. Social groups are maintained by the state like legitimate capacity to possess property through as well as social rights such as provision or inadequacy of government-subsidized education, health care benefits and housing. Huge gaps between the very rich, middle class, and extremely poor migrants are evident within the social structure.


Qataris are stratified on the inside based on the aspects of tribal relationships, religious factions and historical connections to settlement models. Qataris with Arabian lineage can equate with ethnic values of Bedouins and adhere to Sunni Islam, whereas Qataris with genealogical links to the northeastern side of the Gulf identify more with civilized residents. Most of them stick to Shiá Islam.


Hospitality is an essential facet of life in Qatari. For instance, majority of Qataris receive visitors (males) in specific reception areas called “majilis”. Bedouin traditions dictate that guests should be seated on big pillows on the floor. However, modern homes now have couches and chairs. Males and females seldom go out together. Women entertain friends in a different section of their houses. Qatari women face more restrictions such as wearing lengthy black coats (thoub) and black head covers. They can drive cars and become educated to compete with males. In fact, there are more female than male students enrolled in Qatar University.



The cultural values of Bahrain are similar to their neighbors in the region. Bahraini nationals are warm and sociable. Young people get together by taking part in sports, religious activities and political gatherings. Drinking is prohibited while smoking is allowed only outside buildings. Dating is strictly banned because of the Islam religion. Communication styles are not direct and diplomacy is a must in talking to other people. It is generally impolite to state your demands directly.


Women used to be restricted as housewives. Nonetheless, modern culture allows women to work outside their homes. Females are given a spate section in mosques. Dressing is conservative especially in mosques. Women and girls cannot walk alone with men who are non-relatives. They are not permitted to remove the abaya (scarf) in front of men. Arab men find it distasteful for foreign women to wear shorts or midriff tops although sleeveless dresses have become acceptable. Bahraini women should stay in family areas of restaurants.


United Arab Emirates

The UAE is a modern nation and rather liberal but it is still an Islamic country. Foreign women can dress in Western style but knees and shoulders should be covered. Men should also dress respectfully. Homosexuality and infidelity to spouses are considered illicit. Drinking liquor is tolerated for foreigners. Non-Muslims can drink liquor in hotel bars and restaurants (except in Sharjah City). Kissing or hugging in public is not only deemed impolite. It can also lead to arrest by the police. Holding hands is basically allowed but swearing, offensive gesticulations and drunk driving are all liable to be punished by imprisonment. Drugs are strictly prohibited.



Arabs are committed to their families. These people also maintain a deep-seated attachment to their respective communities. Kindness is a vital fraction of Islam and most of them will contribute to help peers. Community involvement is deemed of great magnitude than other nations. Likewise, respect is a laudable value in Arab traditions which other people need to understand and be wary of. As a rule, Arabs do not criticize others in public because it causes resentment and loss of respect.


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