A couple of lovely Saudi princesses with their lovely dogs


Princess Jawaher, 38,  on the left, and Princess Sahar, 42. Credit: IB Times Photo by Tom Porter. Click image to go to source.

I love this photo from an International Business Times article written by Tom Porter, which I came across via Yahoo! Singapore. The story itself is sad. According to the article, the two princesses claim that they have been kept imprisoned in mansions in a royal compound in Jeddah, along with two of their sisters who are held in another mansion. The women said this has been going on for thirteen years, and that they had been placed under gradually closer confinement after criticising the country’s inequality. They were seeking help by relaying their situation to the media via Skype. I hope they get the help they need, their family issues resolved, and the freedom that must be entitled to all.


I’m fascinated by the photograph. It would make an arresting painting as well. Except that the baseball cap worn by Princess Jawaher spoils it a bit. Nah, just kidding, the red cap actually makes it even more interesting.

And those gorgeous dogs! Muslims with dogs! Rare to find such instances, in my view. And my opinion is that it’s because of the prejudice and discrimination of some Muslims against other Muslims who like dogs. We used to have a dog, Ras, a German Shepherd, for almost a decade until he died from sickness in 2003.

This also reminds me of two articles I came across a few months ago, which I wanted to note here but I was too busy. The first was a heartbreaking story of an elderly Muslim couple in Malaysia who have been valiantly battling prejudice for years as they run a shelter for stray dogs, and the second was of a young Muslim lady who I think was also doing the same, also in Malaysia. I can’t help but feel so proud of these three people. Continuing to do what is right despite the harrowing challenges.

I’m also proud of one of my elder brothers and his wife, who live in Malaysia. They once told me how there are some stray dogs roaming in packs outside their house, and how skinny and hungry these poor creatures look. So what do they do? Keep a supply of dog food they buy from the supermarket. They offer this and a bowl of water for the dogs when they pass by, from behind the safety of their gate. My heart was bursting with pride for my brother and sister-in-law when I heard this.

There’s a related post that’s a good read from a site called IslamicConcern.com: Link here. The site is sponsored by PETA, by the way, which is the ‘People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’.


Anyway, back to the photo. A few things capture my attention:

  1. The easy affection and obvious fondness the princesses have for their pets.
  2. Vice versa. In this photo, the dog beside Princess Sahar looks very fond of her.
  3. The bust sculpture on the side table. I wonder who it depicts.
  4. The terracotta floor. Indoors! I love terracotta tiles, especially indoors. Most people like it only outdoors. I’d love its warm and rustic look inside the house as well.
  5. The beauty of the princesses. Princess Jawaher is really pretty. So is Princess Sahar, but in this photo Jawaher reminds me of Italian actress Monica Bellucci.


14 thoughts on “A couple of lovely Saudi princesses with their lovely dogs

  1. Religion, throughout human history, has been unkind (at best) to women. But I must say – and the news reports this week only underscore this – Muslim men use Islam as an absolute bludgeon against women. Literally and figuratively. The West also has a terrible history of misogyny and we are a long way from exorcising those demons… but Halim, explain to me how these women (princesses you say) can be held against their will like this? This is kidnapping, or enslavement, is it not? This must fly in the face of Islam’s true nature. But the violence we learn more and more about is absolutely shocking. You don’t make the rules, I know. I’ve learned quite a bit from you through your blog. Can you shed a little light on this? (But I don’t think I even want to know about the Muslim bias against being kind to dogs…)

    • I think generally it’s down more to the local culture of every country than the religion itself, and also whether a family lives in big cities or rural areas. I admit I tend to think that (straight) Muslim men in Southeast Asia where I’m from, generally treat their partners and daughters far more equally and more liberally than in, say, the Middle East, but then again I’ve never been to the Middle East. And I can’t possibly know what goes on in every Muslim household in Southeast Asia or anywhere else. So I’d think it’s down to individual families, anywhere in the world. And not to mention that sometimes abuse happens behind a happy and peaceful façade.

      Yes those women are princesses, and not some vague distant relatives with a title. At least according to the article, their father is the King himself. In another article, I read their mother is divorced from him and living in London, and trying to get support and help for them. It was reported she made an appeal to your president Obama as he was in Saudi Arabia for a few days last week. If what is reported about the princesses is true, I do think it’s wrongful confinement and that it’s really terrible, especially for so many years. Anyway, admittedly I know little about the story and from only some online articles I have read.

      Islam and Muslims in general have no bias against being kind to dogs. Like other religions it requires us to have compassion for them and all other animals and to treat them well. We can touch and pet all we want, there’s just a certain ‘rule’ that if we have touched them when wet, we have to wash a certain way our hands and other parts that touched them. It’s not a big deal at all (to me), except some hysterical idiots use the rule to be afraid of dogs and insist they are highly undesirable. Anyway firstly, these people do not represent the majority (at least I hope not), and secondly, disliking or ignoring dogs and abusing them are two different things. There are some countries that have people who don’t dislike dogs, but then eat them. It’s not just the eating that bothers me, but the horrific abuse leading to the slaughter. But of course all animals we eat are abused before the slaughterhouse, some just more than others. Ok, I’m digressing.

      Sorry to yak so much, but I get carried away sometimes! Thanks for your comment and interest, Steve!

  2. I love this picture too. It is lovely to see royalty act like real people and anyone who loves animals…well, they cannot be all bad =)

  3. Bang @Halim Saya Adalah Seorang Penyayang Binatang Juga :-) Memelihara Seekor Binatang Bisa Mengurangi Stres Kita Atau Membuat Pikiran Kita Lebih Tenang,Karena Seekor Binatang Adalah Mahluk Yang Polos Dan Tidak Berpikir Serumit Seorang Manusia :-)

    • Memang benar. Saya setuju binatang seperti haiwan peliharaan lebih menyenangkan daripada sesetengah manusia yang kadang-kala hanya membuat kita susah dan stres sahaja dengan pelbagai masalah, haha!

  4. Bang @Halim Di Dalam Islam Ada Beberapa Kisah Tentang Penghargaan Pada Seorang Penyayang Binatang,Salah Satunya Adalah Kisah Seorang Pelacur Yang Diganjar Atau Dimasukan Allah Kedalam Surga,Karena Dia Telah Memberikan Minum Seekor Anjing Yang Kehausan.

  5. What an interesting and striking contrast in appearance between these two lovely Saudi Princesses! Very cool! This post and it’s comments is very enlightening. I live in an area with a very large Muslim community and I can’t recall that I have ever seen any one of them with or around dogs. Although it’s got be said with so many highly undesirable pit-bull look alike dogs being kept around here it’s enough to put anyone off dogs it has to be said! It’s great to learn that there are Muslims who see dogs as nice animals and maybe even have one as a pet – it seems a shame to miss out on the huge pleasure and joy our K9 friends can bring to us!

    • Yes it would be very rare I think to come across Muslims with dogs as pets, at least where I come from. We used to have a German Shepherd and I really miss him. Thinking about it, I admit I will be hesitant to own a dog if I live in an area with many Muslims neighbours, for the discomfort of being judged, and will go out of my way to move to a street/area with few or no Muslim neighbours so I can walk him with peace of mind, and enjoy it. Besides, because I live openly with my partner, if I have a choice I would as much as possible avoid living in a neighbourhood with many Muslim neighbours, regardless of whether we have dogs or not. It’s important to me to have a mosque within reachable distance for a weekly prayer, but I don’t mind travelling a bit to get to it instead of living right smack in the middle of a Muslim community.

      I totally agree with you that having a dog is an absolute joy! They are such faithful and loving creatures. Unfortunately we don’t live in a house anymore but a small flat now, so having a dog will be really unfair to the dog (especially since I’m very fond of German Shepherds which need a lot of space). But oh, hopefully in the future. I can always dream :-)

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