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VI.

MIDDLE EASTERN HERITAGE (Arabian)


A. OVERVIEW
Arab this term often connotes the Middle East, but the larger (and more populous) part of the Arab
World is North Africa.
The Arab League defines Arab as A person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic
speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples.
Saudi Arabia largest country in the Arab Middle East
The Arab World straddles two continents, Africa and Asia.
Population 287 million, 5% of global population
B

BIOLOGICAL VARIATION
Body built and structure medium built to tall, medium to heavy in weight
Skin color dark brown or olive skin; some may have blonde or auburn hair, blue eyes and fair
complexion
Enzymatic and genetic variations
o G-6-PD deficiency, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia
o Hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease (due to high prevalence of
cigarette smoking, high cholesterol diets, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle
Nutritional variations
o Medicines derived from pork such as insulin are not prescribed or administered
o Muslims are prohibited from eating pork and its by-products such as insulin, lard, gelatin such as
Jell-O, and marshmallows.
o Kosher meat some Muslims will abstain from eating meat if they are uncertain of how it was
slaughtered. Animals must have been slaughtered in a humane fashion with the remembrance of
God and gratefulness for the sacrifice of the animals life.
o Thahiba proper way of slaughtering an animal.
o Halal animal must be properly slaughtered by a Mudlim or a Person of the Book (Christian or
Jew), while remembering the name of Allah. Animal may not be killed by being boiled or
electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down long enough to be blood-free.
o Consuming alcohol or any intoxicants likes drugs of abuse eating or drinking blood and its byproducts, and eating the meat of a carnivore or omnivore (pig, monkey, dog, cat) and fish without
scales are prohibited.
*Fasting during Ramadan, 30-day period, strictly observed.
SOCIAL ORGANIZATION
Family foundation and basis of society
Extended family with 3 to 4 generations
Gender roles are clearly defined.
o Men - leadership role, breadwinners, protectors, and decision makers
o Women responsible for care and education of the children and or maintenance of a successful
marriage by tending to satisfy their husbands needs.
Women have to be totally dependent, loyal and obedient to their husband.
Wives are considered the sexual property of their husband.
High status accorded to women as mothers in Islam
60% - educated Muslim women
o Sons taught to be protectors of their sisters, help father with duties inside and outside the house
o Daughters taught to be the source of love and emotional support in the family, help mother with
household chores.
Equitability in the role of the sexes. Allah has no bias for or against men and women. Both spouses might
need to engage in financial activities
Rights and responsibilities within the family are intertwined.
Men are obliged to cover themselves from navel to their knees.

Childbearing Muslim women (except old women) wear the hijab including headscarf; should be fully
covered in public, except hands and face. Color of outfit black except in:
o Africa women wear cloths of different colours depending on their tribe, area or family.
o Bangladesh, Pakistan, India bright orange or red garments
o Turkey and Indonesia majority do not wear veil except when they attend Friday Salat
o Iran younger ones wear transparent Hijabs to protest but keep within the law of the state.
Reason for wearing Hijab: men and women are not to be viewed as sexual objects
Most Arab marriages are monogamous; 2-5% are polygamous.
o Men can marry up to four women if they can support them currently.
o Talaq divorce is practiced. Men can divorce and remarry the same woman many times.
o Islamic law forbids a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim unless he converts to Islam.
o A woman may propose marriage to a man directly or through an intermediary
o When a couple is to be married, the man must pay mahr or dowry to his future bride.
D. RELIGION
Life centers on worshipping Allah
Allah Almighty God
Mohammed messenger of God
Islam founded between 610 and 632 A.D. by the prophet Muhammad.
Islam means submission to Allah.
Moslem, Muslim follower of Islam
Quran Bible, Holy Book
Seven components of Islamic Foundation:
o Allah, the Only True God
o Prophets and Messengers
o The Guidance from Allah
o The Last Day
o The Life Hereafter
o Al Qadr (Measure, Destiny, Decree
Mosque or Masjid temple; women and men are completely segregated
Women cannot lead (as an imam) men in prayer
E.COMMUNICATION
Language: Arabic is the universal language of Muslims, as it is the language of the Quran
Silence
o Arabs behave conservatively
o Display of affection between spouses, arguments are kept private
o Acting in a manner that attracts attention is looked upon as a sign of imbalance in behavior and
character
Eye Contact
o Maintain steady eye contact when conversing to Arabs
o Do not prolong eye contact with a Arab woman. Arab women are conservative and sensitive.
Touch
o Greeting with a kiss is taboo.
o Between members of the same sex, touch hand or shoulder to gain trust
o Do not compliment your Arab host/associate on the beauty of wife or sister or daughter.
F SPACE
Face-to-face meetings in doing business
Gender separation - no mixing of Arab men and women who are not directly blood related, or not married
to each other.
Dewaiahs or Majlis for male guest gathering only, separate from rest of the house
Only female doctors and health care personnel are permitted to attend to female patients

TIME ORIENTATION
Predestination believed by first generation Arabs. This means that God has predetermined the events of
ones life
Plans and intentions are qualified with the phrase inshallah, if God wills.
Punctuality at prayer 5x a day and in business appointments.
Praying and observance of death rituals include turning ones head and the patients bed in the direction
of their prophet.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
HEALTH BELIEFS
o Good health is seen as the ability to fulfill ones roles.
o Diseases are attributed to a variety of factors: inadequate diet, hot and cold shifts, emotional or
spiritual distress envy or evil eye.
o Preventive care not generally sought; Arabs seek care for actual symptoms
o Cultural emphasis on modesty women shy about disrobing for examination. Only female health
care providers can attend to an Arab woman.
o Muslim concept of death is the return of the soul to its Creator, God, and the inevitability of death
and the Hereafter is never far from his consciousness.
o Notifying the nearest Islamic Center so that someone could come and pray and read from the
Quran to a seriously ill is appreciated.
HEALTH CARE PRACTICES
o Birth Rites Baby is bathed immediately after birth.
o Circumcision to facilitate cleanliness recommended at anytime but especially during the first 5 days.
o Life Interventions Permissible to use life support to save and lengthen life.
o Euthanasia or Physician Assisted Aid in Dying is prohibited
o Death Rites cremation is forbidden. Burial recommended as soon as possible especially during
summer.
o As soon as death occurs, the body should be completely covered and placed if possible with feet
towards Mecca.
o Only family member should touch and wash the dead body, usually by the same gender.
o Embalming the body is prohibited. A corpse is not left alone between death and burial.
HEALTH CARE PRACTIONERS
Allopathic doctor