Heads Do Roll

By now most of you know I was abroad in KSA (Kingdom of Saudia Arabia) Naturally I was there for the pilgrimage to perform Umrah (Not Haj as many thought… that is only once a year and will be performed in about 3 months time)

I hadn’t been away for a good few years so it was great to get away and what better place to be with Ramadan approaching to aswell. This was to be my second visit to this amazing country

KSA is truly an extraordinary country, not only the obvious as being the focus of millions of muslims and the birth place of our beloved prophet. The culture and the country itself is mesmerizing.

I’m British born with my roots going back to Pakistan so religion and culture is nothing new… women being covered from head to foot in black is nothing unusual for me. But yet, still, you see the allure and mystery and wonderment of it all.

Our last days were spent in the city of Jeddah and this is where we got a real taste of what life really is like in Saudia… while on a sight-seeing tour of the city our drive pointed out many things and we got out and looked, photographed, visited and moved on.

We passed this beautiful white building that was built like a mosque, it caught my eye because the sun was hitting of it making it sparkle like a diamond… (We were in a moving car so the pics came out really blur so can’t put them up) Before I got to ask our driver and guide if this was a mosque he pointed out this is the place where beheadings take place, yes you heard right, beheadings.

We all scrambled to look over to the left side of our car and what we saw in front of this magnificent building was a gazebo type of structure on a platform and were told “yeah under there”

“They do it here… in public?” I asked “Have you seen it… ”

“Yes, many a time, it’s always after Friday prayers” he replied. He then proceeded to tell us that when the prisoner is brought out he has already been drugged so he isn’t aware of what is really going on around him. Hence why they are so calm and placid. The swordsman raises his hand and in one fell swoop he beheads him/her.

I felt a shiver run up my spine and the hairs on my arms and neck stand up. I couldn’t explain my reaction but the questions kept coming. Why? Really it’s in public? Can anyone watch?

My mind was distracted now. I lost all interest in the rest of the evening all I could think of was what I had seen and the effect it was having on me. I couldn’t explain it. But for someone like me who never watches horror movies and can’t stand blood and gore… I have to confess I was fascinated. Not by the thought of the blood etc but just by the whole thing from start to finish.

Why would anyone commit any crime in a country where the answer to most offences is getting your head choppedoff?or your hand. In Saudia you will be beheaded for murder, rape, drug trafficking, sodomy, armed robbery, apostasy and many other so called crimes. It does have one of the lowest crime rates in the world and you can clearly see why. A prisoner will be made an example of and I also learnt that you are encouraged by officials to watch this event whether you want to or not, by being pushed to the front of the crowd or like what I saw, performing the beheading in an area that can be viewed by passers-by and traffic.

What is going through the prisoner’s mind when they are being taken to this place, where everyone is going to be witness to their crime and death? Does he/she have regrets? Is he hoping for a miracle? And my main thought was how is this done? Does he sit or lie down or stand up… I wanted to know. I had to know. My interest was now triggered and I didn’t care how awful, barbaric or gory it sounded I had to see for myself but where and how?

It’s taken place on a Friday when there is a case. We were leaving Friday morning and there was nothing going on that day. I returned back to Glasgow feeling a little let down but my imagination would not rest, I had to see it somehow. So off I went to the place where anything and everywhere is possible, yes YouTube, blessed YouTube.

(im not posting the videos here if anyone wants to watch them they are easy to find)

I was mesmerised, I watched them again and again. The prisoner kneels on the ground with his head bowed and the sword is brought down in one simple stroke the body falls and the head rolls away. You can see the blood spurting from the body like a fountain. The executor quickly jumps back so he doesn’t get splashed, he doesn’t hang about he just briskly walks off.

I cringed at each one and cried too, and at the same time I had to see more but the most compelling video that I am posting isn’t of an actual execution but of the executor himself…

You can clearly see for him this just isn’t a job but there is great pride in what he does and also there is great skill involved… They are just so blase about it it’s shocking.


I don’t want this post to be about Sharia law or the politics of KSA. It’s just about my reaction etc on discovering the place and what proceeded. If I went into all that I will be here all night. Every country has their way of dealing with crime and many countries still have the death sentence.

This is horrendous and barbaric especially for the reasons they do execute but for them it’s a deterrent for crime and they have the statistics to prove it.

43 responses to “Heads Do Roll

  1. First Aneesa, welcome home. Second, this post is an eye opener. I read your words, imagine myself with you, and can say I’d likely react the same way. The questions of how, where, what for, why, in public? Yes, all of those. I try to come to terms in my own mind with cultures that handle punishment this way, and find it very difficult to do. YET, at the same time, I live in a country where the death penalty is still an option for many of our states and know that there is very little difference in the two. Perhaps the Saudi’s are even more humane in the way the judge, sentence, drug for humane purposes, and carry out. We, on the other hand, have convicted, sentenced offenders sit in jails for YEARS awaiting the day that will be their last on this earth. So, which is more humane? One is certainly more an ‘in you face’ deterrant, the other perhaps seen as a chance for redemption through legal channels…but in the end it is the same. Death for crimes committed. Wow, this could not have been an easy thing for you to write, but I’m glad you did.

    • Thanks Rhonda for such a warm welcome… it’s great to be back…

      I think I knew straight away that I would blog about this because it was so fascinating to me. But what I also knew I didn’t want this post to be about their politics or their religion or their laws… Simply because as barbaric as it all sounds it works for them… I do however have some objections about what crimes they behead people…

      In so many ways you are right in what you say.. what is really inhumane? And who is showing more mercy to their prisoners? Let’s look at this on the flip side for a minute…

      Those that do sit on deathrow for years and years… some of them have been released because they were wrongly accused…. as years went on, new technology has made it possible for DNA testing etc…. and sometimes new witnesses come forward or new evidence comes to light… In Saudia there is no chance of this… Once you are convicted that’s it… perhaps they are not interested in the chance that they might have got it wrong…

      • Thank is an excellent point. And it is precisely why we’ve gotten to the point at which we are at…the years and years sitting in jail cells. The idea that there is a chance of innocence is always attached to such convictions (well in most cases it is) but there in lies the problem. Our system has it’s flaws…some are real and some perceived by the outside…but I would venture if given a choice between sitting in prison cell for any length of time with a chance, or losing your head within days…even the guilty would choose the former. So, to your point…what is really humane? Neither, but at least one offers a chance of redemption. Oh, and having learned more since your post of the reasons some are convicted and sentenced to death there, I am with you on that.

        • The other thing is Rhonda if I was going to punish someone I’d keep them locked up for years away from society and their families.. to me that is punishment… restricting them from having a normal life and luxuries… chopping their heads of or anything else to that level just ends their misery… it’s like a way out instead of punishment… execution only leaves the families to suffer no one else…

          • That’s true about the ones left behind. The only thing I would add to your statement about locking them away for years is this..while I agree that is certainly a just punishment…here, for general population, not sure about death row inmates…the availability of creature comforts like TV and Video Gaming, etc…are too common. This I would change, but it has been determined cruel to withhold such things. Odd no? Is that not the point? To remove the day to day comforts?

  2. this is an amazingly honest post princess. it says much about the human condition, how we are fascinated my gruesome things and how we view right and wrong

    i don’t think its the manner of execution that disgusts me (death can never be pretty). for me its the ‘crimes’ that can earn such a punishment. any law that says that the act of sodomy should be punishable by death is, to me, the very definition of barbaric

    • There are many things Kyle that shouldn’t have such brutal punishments but it’s all intertwined in the religion and their shariya law… it’s very clear cut… and they follow it to a T… but this is not an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth… which kinda contradicts them too…

  3. Crime and punishment is a question……..
    If American law can torture people with lethal injections and electric chair etc. due to the fact, most likely punishable by death.

    In Saudi people leave their shops open and go for salah and nothing taken from their shop or stolen. can you name any civilized country so called exist that can do like that. Their is hardly stolen goods available in the market……..:)

    I would not spare any murderer or rapist or etc. caz these hideous crime effect the whole family. Their is also and option of the family which can spare the criminal. so does the Qura’n says

    “…If anyone kills a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people” (Qur’an 5:32).

    Life is sacred, according to Islam and most other world faiths. But how can one hold life sacred, yet still support capital punishment?
    The Qur’an answers, “…Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom” (6:151).

    The Qur’an legislates the death penalty for murder, although forgiveness and compassion are strongly encouraged. The murder victim’s family is given a choice to either insist on the death penalty, or to pardon the perpetrator and accept monetary compensation for their loss (2:178).

  4. I understand ur reaction, that is exactly what happens, i just got the shivers though not the desire to witness a beheading myself. Thats why I call it a land of wonders. I m sure you must have noticed the line of beggars outside the Makkah mosque, black beggars including kids who have their one hand chopped off usually line up there and when the police comes off they go running.
    To me the most mesmerizing thing to notice was the magnificent morning time in Makkah. When u offer fajr n come out, oh my, there is life everywhere around you, birds, people and I used to love the praying beads the most that they sold out there 😛 i bought many to mark my day beautiful n gave off to friends later on..

    what a great experience it is. I regret though i didnt get to see the seaside there. Was gettin late for flight to didnt stop by there. neither did i have any decent camera back then and mom was too horrific at me gettin my cell out in public.
    But yeah….. the place is mesmerising. One can go on n on …

    • and I forgot to mention. Its their way of dealing with crime and this is what I agree with. In Pakistan if a man rapes a naive girl of 4 even they dont put him to jail leave alone to gallows !! its a terrifying way I know to end life, but crime is a crime…. its a chance to scare them off but u know what …jinhon ne karna hota hai wo ker k hi dam lete hain crime.. such a huge punishment even doesnt scare them off.

      • People who rape young kids is seen as an illness and not so much a crime… they think they can “cure” these animals… but they just go and reoffend again and again… it would save a lot of heartache if they just did away with them like Saudia does…

        It’s a simple thing execution… get rid of them.. keep the prisons free of dirt and nonsense, keep them of the street and most of all save everyone else and society and the victims a lot of pain and heartache… sometimes put like this it all just sounds so simple…

    • I have to honestly say… I was so fascinated and still am that I probably would go and witness one for my own warped reasons…

      The beggers are all gone now… It has now been made illegal in Saudia to beg… I have no idea why… perhaps it’s a bad reflection on the gov’t that they have beggars in such a rich land… I think my whole time there we saw one beggar in the city of Jeddah who was secretly begging while pretending to be shopping… we were too wary of giving him anything unless we got into trouble for it…

      Nowadays cameras are allowed… I found that the very guards who refused to let us take pictures now actually pose for them… we took hundreds of pictures of everything even some videos… no one stopped us or told us off… it was amazing… last time we never got to take many.. the ones that we did were take in secret.

  5. Ahh! Actually you know what, Murder, Rapes, sodomy, apostacy etc; they are such big crimes that they need to be stopped…Like “nip the evil in the bud” phenomenon.
    Indeed life is sacred but when it comes to the limits and the limits which are not set by a human but Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, and people transgressing those limits… There has to be such a punishment imposed that discourages these crimes in the future.
    Murder is such a heinous crime, Allah has made the life & honor of your muslim brother/sister haram on you, but there are certain crimes for which Allah has prescribed certain punishments that has to be executed. These Punishments are not only mentioned in Quran but also the bible, “eye for eye and tooth for tooth”.
    Look at the rate of rape in the America, How many innocents are being raped every second?!
    Sodomy is not natural, Allah has destroyed the nation of Hazrat Lut (A.S) for this crime. Same goes for Apostacy, if you’re muslim, then you have to obey Allah, just as a soldier of America instead of being sincere to America Army, goes to enemy (lets suppose), would they encourage it?! obviously a big No!!
    Were it not for these punishments, doing crimes become so easy that people would do it for fun!! And the result is not the destruction of an individual but a whole society. Just as you see the so-called modern civilizations where the crime rate is going higher and higher….In the end apology for such a long comment like a post =P But i couldn’t resist to write 🙂 Hope you won’t mind 🙂 and of course Mabrook on doing Umrah Masha’Allah 🙂 Barak’Allah feeki 🙂

    • Salam Ayesha and thanks for visiting my blog and so loving our interaction on twitter…

      Your response is so well written that I couldn’t say it better myself… If you belong to Islam then it’s all or nothing… Allah’s word is the last word… that is what a muslim is… what is questionable is how that word is interpreted.

      The crime statistics is the only thing Saudia has to show for what they are doing… and I must say match up… Their voice is clear… this is our punishment… just don’t commit the crime… simple…

    • Thanks Ankur… and you are so right… there is so much in our western society that they don’t agree with, yet when they visit here they adhere to our rules and laws… it was great being there and blending in with the dress code etc. You didn’t stand out and you don’t draw attention to yourself… no one knows if you are one of them or just a visitor.

  6. Interesting post, and a honest one too. I have, like many, heard many stories about life in this Kingdom. Often it is the media who pick up on all the ‘injustice’ (as they put it) that takes place in the Kingdom, and then, at times, people like you share with me their first hand experience.

    Human reaction to barbaric and horrendous actions of others, often leads to an interest and in your case, one which borderlines with obsession.

    Like many of the commentators before me on this post have said, each country have their cultures, to us, its normal for them to appear alien, but the bottom-underlining fact is that no culture is superior over another, and all should be respected for what they are.

    • True say TBAB the media do pick up the negativity of what goes on and everyone has a negative impression of the Saudi’s but after being there and experience what it is like to actually live outside the 2 blessed cities… if you are a muslim and what that life then that’s the place to be… yeah if you are non muslim life will be difficult for you… more about this in another post…

  7. Interesting and human reaction hun! 🙂

    We may not be able to understand why they do these things, but we cannot impress western ideals on a foreign country.

    This is how it is done in KSA and people are afraid to break the law.

    Here they are proud to… 😦

    Love and hugs!


    • Hey Prenin hows you?

      I love what you said… its true too much pride here in breaking the law etc… at least saudi’s dont have prisoners in jail sitting bragging about their evil conquests…


      • Hi hun! 🙂

        One of my friends has spent his short life desperately trying to become a gangster so that people would ‘respect’ him.

        Well he sold me out and got his wish – now he’s trapped by it and he’s not happy, but it’s just too damned late.

        Need I mention that he’s also a criminal and a desperate coward who stayed me for three years because he was too scared to go home after a fake gangster ripped us both off?

        Unlike him I went to the Police and got his gangster friend arrested, then some of my friends saw to it that he got stabbed by the very gangsters he had pretended to belong to! 🙂

        If this had happened in the KSA, the fake gangster would have lost his left hand and my treacherous mate his head!!! 🙂

        Love and hugs! 🙂


  8. Wow. I feel a little sick and there’s no way I’m going to look at a video, it would take too long to get out of my mind.

    • The video I posted is just an interview with the swordsman there is nothing visual there… the other videos are too graphic to post… they are on youtube and very easy to find… so didn’t feel the need to make my blog so morbid… you actually see the heads roll…

      • Nah it’s fine, it’s your blog you needed to talk about it. I totally did not look it up. Noooo thank you.

  9. Wow you had one heck of a experience. I feel sick to the stomach and am not watching that video. Such things are hard to get out of one’s mind

  10. OMG! I read this in complete amazement. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of someone cutting another one off! This is truly sad but then I guess if its their way then I suppose there is nothing to be done about it. Then depends on the crimes committed but still I am against murder in any form or fashion. Yet, I am thankful for your post, makes me want to read more about this.

  11. Grüsse mal ganz lieb in der Welt ist es schlimm Hunger Kriege und alles Böse ist nur nichts gutes.Wünsche dir dir ein schönes glückliches weekend Gruss von mir Gisinde

  12. A well written posting on
    an extremely delicate subject…

    I do hope that you are well Princess 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

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