A Hero: Farman Ali Khan

Black Wednesday is what many people have been calling 25th of November when Jeddah got its heaviest rains that resulted in flooding and the death of over 120 people. Videos, photos and articles on the flooding and the damage are aplenty online, but one story I believe has not got its due attention. Farman Ali Khan was a 32 year old Pakistani migrant worker at a grocery store in Jeddah. In his six years in Saudi Arabia, he had only been able to visit his family back home twice. His youngest Jarira, 4 years old, has never seen her daddy alive. This man who had every reason to save himself, as he is his family’s sole provider and yet he set out that day to save as many people as he could.

Farman Ali Khan saved 14 people from drowning. His neighbor told reporters that Farman gave him his wallet and cell phone for safekeeping. He then tied one end of a rope to a pipe and the other around his waist and stood at the edge of the heart of the flooding looking for people to pull out. Those he couldn’t reach swimming and wading, he would reach to them with a wood pole. He kept going back until the water got the better of him and he went under.

Farman left behind his wife and three daughters, Zubaida, 7, Madeeha, 6, and Jarira, 4. And now there is a huge campaign on Facebook with over 22,000 members, the majority of whom are Saudi. They are campaigning for a Jeddah street to be named after Farman, that he be rewarded with the King Abdulazziz Medal and that his family be compensated financially.

To read more about Farman: English, Arabic.


Filed under Personal favorites, Popular, Saudi heroes

103 responses to “A Hero: Farman Ali Khan

  1. Abu Rumaisa

    Masha’Allah May Allah make it easy for his family deal with their loss. May Allah forgive all his sins & grant him a place in Jannatul-Firdaus.

    • Fazal Qayyum Khattak -Jeddah

      Mashallah Farman Ali Khan !!!! every Pakistani prouds you, you really changed,people’s thinkings you really set example for world and specially for those people who thinks pakistanies are terrarists…we salute you..may God give you rest and peace to your soul !!!!! Ameen

      • Fazal Qayyum Khattak - Jeddah

        God bless you Farman Ali Khan !!! you really are the real hero of Pakistan..Yes !!! you proved that Pakistanies are friends for fiends..and whenever they got chance they have proved that that are ready to give their lives for humanity..All Pakistanies salutes you.

    • Yahya Sulayman

      The best thing that can be done for Mr. Farman Ali Khan is to have the Saudi goverment pay for his daughters education and maintenance. Naming street after him or honoring him with a posthumous medal will not feed his family. He was one brave and decent man. May ALLAAH be pleased with him and take to the highest echelon in Janaah.

    • Fazal Qayyum Khattak - Jeddah

      thanks to saudi government the way they are responding the family behind Farman Ali Khan..A messege for the Family of Farman Ali khan “‘your son is not died he is alive,his name will be in the memories of people tell the end of this world.

    • Hassanali

      i am tha borther farman ali khan i thankes all people you have thank for my borther farman ali is only nat my borther the wel borther all pakistani 0508638115

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I read elsewhere that there were thoughts of giving Saudi citizenship to his children. I think that should be part of the tribute to his efforts, and hope it would be extended to his widow as well.

  3. Re: your twitter on Jimmy Carter’s Al Het–I hope you do a post on it. I might even do one on my blog. Verrrrry annoying!

  4. Chiara,
    I strongly disagree that “Saudi citizenship” is a solution to the problems of the widow and the girls. I am a believer that a solution like that would perpetuate a life of misery for those girls. That man is a hero but in the eyes of KSA he is still a Pakistani. Until you have personally experienced racism in the Gulf as a person of SE Asian orientation from an Arab, than you should not really make a suggestion like that. I have been affected by that sort of racism and find it dispicable.

    I find that monetary compensation a better alternative to deal with the practicalities of living in Pakistan.


    • Anthrogeek–I didn’t suggest that Saudi citizenship would be a solution or a replacement for financial compensation. I did say I agreed with those Saudis who suggested it as part of the tribute to honour this man who gave his life to save Saudis.

      Saudi citizenship does not mean that they would have to live in Saudi but could confer other benefits. Perhaps they would prefer to face the racism in order to benefit from the public education and public health that Saudi provides to its citizens. Perhaps they would never use it, or might to facilitate a marriage, or studies, or travel.

      I think therecan be an infinite regress of requiring certain experiences before commentators are allowed to opine. I have experienced racism against Arabs but vicariously, though up close and personal to friends and relatives including the hub. That is quite different than experiencing it as the direct target, or being unable to escape one’s identifications even if one wanted to. I can “pass” for a Westerner, and could avoid all of that racism simply by distancing myself, eg. take a different plane, go through customs totally alone, not sit in the same train car, ride the same bus, walk side by side holding hands, etc. I have also experienced the racism reserved for those who marry an Arab. It is real, unpleasant, difficult to deal with because insidious, and has concrete social repercussions–in Canada.

      To return to racism against Pakistanis in Saudi, I am well aware of it, and aware that some Pakistanis prefer to live there anyway, because of other compensatory factors. One is a business woman here who regrets her life there where she lived on a uni compound as the wife of her Pakistani professor husband. She acknowledges the racism but still enjoyed her life there. They left for educational opportunities for the children or she would still be there.

      As I recall, you have experienced racism as the wife of a Pakistani in Bahrain. Again, an infinite regress could apply to discredit your experience, but you know me well enough to know that I don’t think like that.

      I hope the man is honoured fully, and I hope his family is compensated financially and given the citizenship of the country he left them to work in, and whose citizens he gave his life for. They could then choose what to do with it based on their own calculus.

  5. jman

    Have the saudi Authorities acknowledged this mans heroism?

    Something tells me…no!

  6. Abu Abdullah

    Mashallah he is a martyr, of course he has reward from Allah but the people of this earth are such ungrateful creatures.

    Just like Farman there are many thousands of blue collar workers here, everyday during my 30-40 minute Taxi Ride usually driven by a Pakistani I get to hear a lot of unique stories from Pakistanis expats, most of them have a common line “If there was security and good earnings back in Pakistan, I wouldn’t have been here”.

    Often i come across this line by Saudis and others, “if you don’t like it here why are you here…” Well i would say, even the Israelite’s (Bani Israel) also went as expats to the Egyptians until Moses (Musa Alaihi Salaam) came along. Of course some evil blood sucking Sponsors “kafils” can be likened to the Pharaoh (Firaun)…

    Again why we expats are here just remember even at the Prophets (SAH) time, even Ammar bin Yassir (RAZ) and his parents were also Yemeni Expats to Makkah, so was Salman Faris (RAZ) a Persian expat. Bottom line we Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, Filipinos and other third world country expats are not the first of the kind in Saudi Arabia and we pretty much contribute the same way the previous historical figures. So we are not alone…

    I do not expect nothing positive to come to his family, it would be a great feat if his sponsor send back the money vowed back to Farman by him back to his family in Pakistan.

    Now i got some interesting questions based on my experience living as an Expat.

    1. I read that Farman’s brother is airlifting his dead body to Pakistan. But is Farman’s sponsor spending money on it as per the Saudi Law?

    2. Forget the Medal or street naming, that doesn’t count much for a widow or her orphaned daughters, what about the financial compensation? And if it is being granted, will it be granted directly to family? or will it be given to the Sponsor who will give it to family in good faith?

    3. Is the sponsor gonna transfer his balance salary and end of service benefits to his family back in Pakistan? or is it ……………………………………………………………. (all asian expats know what i missed here)

    At last i read that “World Assembly Muslim Youth (WAMY)” has done some significant contribution to Farman’s Family. Interestingly WAMY is often bashed in the news for wrong reasons…

    And I am thankful Saudi Woman to throw light on Farman, usually most of the blogs even the so called popular ones run by Saudis and Western Expats are very much biased towards Asian Expats or simply turn blind to their issues. They only like to discuss about Women, veil, their western compounds, missing their western life style etc… and not other actual real issues here facing a significant majority of the population.

    Frankly out of heart i would say, nothing good is gonna come out of this incident, neither is Farman’s efforts gonna be acknowledged by the relevant authorities.

    If at all something good i would like to expect is the authorities address this issue by helping out his family, and I wish the Saudis see that behind the face of a “Khariji” / “Ajnabi” / “Ibn-himaar (son of a donkey)” are actual Humans who would help you out without looking at your nationality or who you are…

    • I definitely agree about financial compensation coming from the government or the group that is wanting to honour him, and that it extend to his widow as well as his children. The least the government could do would be “to help” his sponsor meet all of his obligations.

    • saudiwoman

      In all honesty, I have never heard a Saudi call any foreigner Khariji” or “Ibn-himaar”. Ajnabi, yes because that’s the literal translation of foreigner.

      • I wonder if that is one of those things that many in the dominant culture are unaware of because they don’t frequent such people who use them, or adhere to such attitudes themselves. Up until recently I was unaware of the extent of physical targeting in Canada of “brown people” (my South Asian patients and students taught me to say brown), who are routinely mistaken for the preferred target of the day, whether Pakistani (as they were growing up here) or now Arab terrorists.

      • Abu Rumaisa

        I have never heard ibn-himaar either. But Khariji & Rafeeq are used the most.

      • Abu Abdullah

        I am not surprised that you have not heard those words…

        One would only hear those words depending on the society one lives in or is exposed to.

        One can hear those words only if one is working in jobs like road construction workers, etc. Also one would hear such words only from uneducated, manner less people. As you don’t have company with such people i don’t think you would have heard it and I don’t want you to hear it as well.

        But being an Indian expat and having friends and relatives working in such jobs i know first hand what goes on.

        However i must say that typically blue collared expats all over the world have to work with harassment in many forms. And Saudi Arabia is not a exception but being a Asian Blue Collared expat give the social conditions here it is a double whammy.

        At the same time my white collared job only makes me interact with the educated and refined Saudis and they have been nothing less than gentlemen and there are many chivalrous gentlemen around here at the same time.

  7. Abu Abdullah

    hiara reffering to your comment on Western Expats in Saudi Arabia all I can say I pretty much receive “POSITIVE discrimination” being an Indian married to a American and living here…

    Some examples are:

    1. If i had to call an “Indian Wife” on visit visa here I get only initial 3 months Visa which could have been extended further by 6 months. But having a married an “American Wife” I get a initial 6 month visa as opposed to a 3 month visa and further extensible for another 6 months, with the option of converting her Visitor Visa into a Permanent Residence Visa (Iqama).

    2. When my wife travels via the airport she doesn’t have to wait in a very long line reserved for Asian maids and other Asian women expats/travellers. She can just flash her passport and breeze across the shorter immigration line reserved for westerners instead of waiting any where between 45 minutes to 4 hours as an Asian!!!

    3. When we had our baby recently, being an American she was kinda like the VIP in the hospital, we had all the nurses always looking after her at the expense of other asian patients, the documentation work was smooth, and the Saudi Staff with whom i interacted always said “Thank you”, “Sorry for the delay”, etc… A Indian wouldn’t have heard such things in other circumstances.

    4. Recently i had been to Post Office to pick up a gift parcel from my MIL in US. And i was behind some Indian/ other expats, this is how the scene was.

    Indian 1: As Salaam Alaikum, Can i Pick my parcel from so and so place, and my name is so and so…
    Clerk: Walaikum Salaam, here is your parcel, Khalas…

    Me: As Salaam Alaikum, Can I pick my Parcel which came in today from Texas, United Stated and my name is ….
    Clerk: Walaikum Salaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu, America!!!

    Me: Yes, San Antonio, Texas, United States….
    Clerk: Okay I Look, Please wait, here is your parcel, Thank you very much!!! Good bye!!! (all with a big smile)

    Me: Jazakallahu khair, Shokran, Ma Salaam


    And not to forget that Asian Expats salaries are much lower than that of a Western Expat even if they bring in the same skills and expertise. Some time back in an another blog when i discussed this issue, people tried to justify saying that Americans get more so as to compensate their life styles back home, but at the end of the day it is again discrimination. And also goes on to show the inferiority complex of Saudis vis a vis Westerners and their feeling superior to Asians.

    Well I must admit I am benefitted by marrying an American but as a human I do not deserve either Positive or Negative Discrimination.

    • Abu Abdullah–thanks for giving such excellent explanations and examples of the racism faced by Asians in Saudi. I should have been clearer in my example that the Pakistani woman and her family were in Saudi directly from Pakistan, not on Canadian passports or via Canada. She was in Pakistan for 10 years before being able to join her husband in Saudi with their children. She was very honest about the racism there, acknowledging it was worse for what is often called an underclass, eg maids, drivers, etc. but that it was against all Asians, including her PhD professor husband; and was systemic eg in terms of his pay, promotion possibilities etc. She came to Canada with their 2 children when they were university age, so that she could help them as they studied (and prevent them from getting “distracted”) while her husband worked another 3 years to retirement and sent the money over. She is grateful for the money earned there, but also liked the lifestyle on the compound, and having maids (“I never even got myself a glass of water”).

      The type of post office scenario you describe I have experienced as a European in Morocco. In fact the “special attention” I got in terms of being called to be served compensated for the fact that I wasn’t at first as good at the “Mediterranean bunch” that constitutes “a line”, as the others, and there is reverse discrimination secondary to colonialism, which means that even after I got better at it, I defer to a certain number of people, and large angry looking women, before taking my rightful place in the bunch.

      My cousin-in-law, who is a female Moroccan medical specialist married to an aristocrat, once said “You [Americans] don’t like that we just walk in and get special treatment, but we like it…I just park the car [illegally, MD plates, aristocrat’s name on license] and walk in and they wave me to the back office to do my banking”. I told her I wasn’t American and I was used to the order of service in various countries. Her daughter brags that she can walk into any Moroccan embassy, announce her name, and have everyone hop to for fear of the “Palace” getting involved, and that she has. Her name in the medical registry in France is: Dr Lalla… ie Dr Lady… as she wants her title known, even more so in France where she was called the N word (she looks as African as she does Arab, although she would like to pretend she is 100% Arab for millenia). In short, the hierarchy and preferential treatment exists within the host culture as well, which of course doesn’t justify it, but shows how endemic it is, and then is overlaid with racism. That said, Saudi seems to have particularly nasty racist epithets or maybe it strikes me that way because they are new to me.

      As you rightly point out, being of a lower social class, as well as being Asian is a double whammy in Saudi. It is good that your wife received good care, and hopefully all did, at least in the strict medical sense. Thanks again.

    • abuabdullah

      Abu Abdullah,
      thought provoking comments… do you maintain a blog? let us know

    • Abu Abdullah

      In continuation of my previous comment on the expedited processing of American/Westerners at the airports and bad attitude shown at the Asians, i wonder how Saudis would react to the US Airports profiling them now…

      Its quiet Funny Saudis give a red carpet treatment to Americans and the Americans give the stick to the Saudis…

      Lack of self respect i had say at the Saudi’s end…

      • Abu Abdullah we get it. Saudis prefer Americans or Westerners but it’s a lot more than just simple racism. First of all how many Americans are there in Saudi and how many Americans is an average Saudi likely to see in a week, month…etc. Let me tell you, not many. Americans in the whole country are probably in the hundreds. Compare that with Pakistanis, Indians or any other Asian nationality. They are here in the millions.
        Second point, Westerners, including Americans are asked to be here mostly for their expertise, so they are doctors, engineers and professors. Asians on the other hand are mostly here for more manual jobs. So when a Saudi or even Asians see a westerner they know that they are most likely dealing with someone of a higher profession and someone with money.
        Another universal issue, regardless of nationality, is that the way people dress, behave and what they drive has a lot more with how they are treated than their passport.

        Anyway, I really don’t appreciate your language. Stereotyping Saudis as buttkissers and lacking self respect is more reflective of you than us. I would rather you not comment here anymore.

      • HR

        Saudi Woman why are you offended when we highlight the facts.

        The fact is that Saudis have been racist and mean to many blue collar Indian Workers.

        You just don’t know what goes on in factories, construction places and other areas.

        Do you know we get treated as cattle in your place:


      • “Highlight the facts” as though outside of Saudi Arabia everything is peachy? And it’s all the Saudis fault? Racism exists everywhere and that’s the real fact. Tell me how wonderful factory workers are treated in India and Pakistan. And no one is brought here by force. Your own governments have to approve your salaries and job titles before you come here. So blame your own governments for settling for so little.
        Racism is terrible, whether its from a Saudi manager against Indian workers or from an Indian commentor stereotyping all Saudis. I am a Saudi and I have never treated anyone differently because of their nationality and all my Saudi friends and family are the same.

      • HR

        u wanna transfer the blame of ur country people’s misbehaviour.

        i read this web site http://www.migrant-rights.org/?s=saudi&x=0&y=0 about ur cuntry people

        there are many of your cuntry men being bad people.

        u mistake our problem, we don’t complain about the salaries, but we complain about the treatment ur cuntry people give us.

        ur cuntry people are just like the Egyptian Pharaoh who make slave the Israelites. And moses come and defeat pharaoh.

        Fear u god Allah whom u say to be worshipping and pretend like gud muslims.

        I know gud muslims, ur people are just a wrong muslims.

  8. BTW NidalM gave a very thoughtful, humorous, and insightful exposition of what it is like to be raised in Saudi as a Pakistani, and then sponsored by the workplace on an iqama, with an excellent economic and social argument for granting citizenship, in a double post on my blog: ” Desis, Multiculturalism, Saudization, and Marriage”



  9. Abu Abdullah

    It is laudable that you deny the privileges of “Positive Discrimination”, unless people stand up against their privileges and drive a lesson into the perpetrators it would continue for sure.

    And coming back to the story of martyr Farman, it is laudable again that citizens of Jeddah have take a good initiative for him and his family but again I ran a google search on some major news outlets like Saudi Gazette, Ashraq al Aswat and Arab News.

    Only Arab news did cover his story for some 4 days but Saudi Gazette only gave a passing reference to Farman Ali, not a complete story dedicated to him. And Ashraq Al Aswat which claims to be liberal progressive newspaper in the kingdom did not cover One Single Story about Farman!!! *

    *I only did searching on google and browsing other news sites, if some body has any updates let me know.

    BTW i found a couple of youtubes and facebooks dedicated to Farman and that is from the neitizens not the actual so called Progressive Media!!!

    Thanks again to Saudi Woman for bringing to light this story…

  10. Abu Abdullah

    Adding to my previous comment, check this excerpt from Arab News:

    “A week after the flood, not one official has offered help or assistance to the Zaker family. When the Zaker family went to the local Civil Defense outpost with their documents, including home ownership, they were told the priority goes to Saudis first. When Ahmad pointed out that some members of his family are Saudi nationals, he was told that made no difference.”


    While one expat dies saving others, other expats/ non-arabs don’t deserve aid because they are “Ajnabi”, “Khariji” or “Ibn Himaar”.

    After we expats are lower breed dirty filthy creatures 🙂

  11. Abu Abdullah — yes I am aware that it is primarily a netizens campaign, but in impressive numbers with the hope of impacting the officials. However, that would simultaneously bring to more light the deficiencies of the system that made the flooding worse and the rescue efforts poor. Oh, and someone might do a credible assessment of how many did die. Still I hope he receives all due credit and benefits to his family ie children AND widow (so far the emphasis seems to be on the children only).

    Racism is never justifiable in my mind, nor reverse racism for that matter. I only try to do what is fair in the context.

    Above is a comment awaiting moderation, that suggests people interested in the South Asian expat situation in Saudi, including those who are professionals, read the double post by NidalM on my blog. The above comment has the links, which is why it went to moderation I guess. Otherwise just click my name here, and look in the December 2009 archives for “Desis, Multi-Culturalism, Saudization and Marriage” Parts I and II. NidalM was raised in Saudi from the age of 1 month, and is now on his own employer sponsored Iqama. He has some knowledgeable, insighful, and humorous thoughts and experiences to share.

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  14. I

    Truly, a Hero from Pakistan.

  15. Irfan Hamid

    Thank you Saudi Woman for appreciating my compatriot. I lived in Riyadh for 2 1/2 years in the late 80s, and even though I can in all honesty say that there was quite a bit of racism against me, I won’t criticize it because people in Pakistan are racist as well. Both our countries need massive investments in education to stamp out our prejudices in a couple of generations, otherwise we will continue to languish under these archaic misconceptions of “us vs. them”.

    I’m glad Farman saved 14 people, every life is important, no matter whose it is. I don’t think the government or the people of KSA owe or should give any financial reward to his widow/orphans, that would only cheapen his sacrifice. His family should be taken care of by the Pakistani government and Pakistani people.

    My two cents,

    • Abu Abdullah

      Simple logic, Farman was martyred saving lives in Saudi Arabia, so Saudi Arabia owes him and his family.

      And Farman was not a millionaire to have left behind some millions so his family needs all the assistance they could get from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others.

  16. Saad

    Its truly amazing work you people are doing.
    InshAllah farman and people supporting him, will be rewarded with the best in the court of Almighty Allah.

    What farman did, is not easy, because i saw many videos, where only people stood soullessly shooting the drowning families on flooded streets…

  17. He was a typical Pakistani…

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  19. Tahir Hussain

    A man with hounor and respect, that people never died who’s don’t care himself for othere peoples. may ALLAH give him a wide place in jannat, ameen

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  21. Waleed

    Dear, Farman Ali Khan … Rahimahu ALLAH.

  22. Waleed

    As Salaamu Alaykum.
    Here in Saudi Arabia, people are majorly more secure and safe. Undoubtedly, racism which we find here among asians, esp Indians, bengalis & pakistanis are vey common, but if we compare this racism with other countries, I would say it (Saudi arabia) is the most peaceful country in the entire World.
    I must agree with saudiwoman as she said “outside of Saudi Arabia everything is peachy?”, which is nearly accurate when compared with negative social aspects.
    As a Indian, I like Saudi people very much and this Nation too. Not all are bad, saudis are often unpleasantly rough but simultaneouly they are also open hearted people and generous to others.

    Personally, whenever I read Islamic History or pass by factual events occured during those pious predecessor, it makes me sad for what their later generations are now being known as ‘Saudis’.

    Where are those previous Legends?
    Where is AbuBakr siddeeq (Radi ALLAHu an)?
    Where is the Pity that owned by the companions of Prophet (SallALLAHu Alayhi wasallam)?

    Sadly, Saudis are now ‘Coward’ in majority when compared by their ancestors and this is what I want to say.

    Salaamu Alaykum.

  23. first thing this is my first time i come here to your lovely website ( SAUDIWOMANS WEBLOG ) & i can tell that the woman that she creative this website she doing a great job , second thing about farman god bless his soul R.I.P guys like him are few in this world , but what can i say else than that , there is a lot of people come to our country & we treated them bad even that we are muslims instead of treated them right , fortunately whats the children is gonna do after the death of their father , allah ykoon b3oonhm .

  24. Salam!

    We should all offer tribute to Farman Ali Khan by posting at blogs, facebook and other social networks!

    Here’s my effort:

    Kind Regards…

  25. Black American Expat

    Asalaamu alaikum all. After reading the majority of comments here and unfortunately, as a Black American Muslim living here for some time, I must agree that Saudi ranks among the most racist countries in the world. Sadly, yes it is. Now, I’m an American, born and raised in the good U.S. of A. and being black I’ve grown very sensitive to racism. Going to any department store, restaurant, or any other outlet the immediate image is that I’m African. Ok. No worries. But the treatment that I receive because someone thinks I’m African is appalling! It’s not until I open my mouth in pure, unbroken American English that the entire attitude changes. “Oh…from Amreeka?! Welcome! Welcome!”

    Absolutely pathetic. I expected so much from Saudis. And yes, you can’t generalize and say ALL….but I would say MOST. Saudiwoman, may Allah reward you and your family for not being like that as you say…but you and your family are probably 1 out of 100. The treatment I’ve witnessed of Asians is even more appalling. This kind of treatment would get people thrown in jail back in the States as people’s basic rights to live a “racist free” life are guaranteed by the government. After being here for some time, I am completely turned off by Saudis for the simple way they treat people…drivers, maids, and blacks alike. Sheer arrogance. Expected more from Muslims…expected more from the people who guard our Lord’s House and our beloved Prophet’s grave (salla Allahu alaihi wa salam). Believe me, this attitude turns Muslims off and non Muslims off alike. One non Muslim friend told me once…”I know a friend who’s interested in Islam..I would tell him to never come to Saudi Arabia because he wouldn’t want to be a Muslim afterwards”. Real talk for you.

    • Let me just clarify one thing: Arab culture does not give so much weight to skin color. Discrimination is based on sect and tribe and in modern times it has extended to nationality. Discrimination is mostly in the area of socializing and marriage.
      While yes there is discrimination but other factors come to play as well, sometimes with a much stronger effect. Trust me lots of people here do not like America or Americans but when you go into a place of business as a Sudanese or Pakistani then they will assume from prior experience with other Sudanese and Pakistanis that you are not a big spender. Then you spoke with an American accent and that means to them a healthy spender and generous tipper, hence the “Oh…from Amreeka?! Welcome! Welcome!”

      • talcotary

        What about the Labor Abuse in Saudi Arabia? Where laborers are not paid wages in time? or their contracts are changed to a much more lesser salary once they arrive here?

        And to add salt to the injuries if they protest about their mistreatment they are arrested and deported without their salaries being paid???


        And in a earlier comment you said:
        “Another universal issue, regardless of nationality, is that the way people dress, behave and what they drive has a lot more with how they are treated than their passport.”

        Are you really serious, just because some asians can’t afford a Armani or BMW doesn’t mean that they must treated bad, and that line alone goes on to show your Racism as well.

        Over here racism is institutionalized, if alone some one treated expats like this say in America (which most of you hate), they had be sent to prison. You hate Americans but they are much better than you in treating others esp. the down trodden than Saudis.

        You are just closing your eyes to the abuse that happens to others in your country.

      • Black American Expat

        Thanks for the reply and I hope you don’t take offense and think I’m putting all Saudis into one bundle. There are good people amongst them as there are in any society. I can’t however dismiss bad treatment/good treatment as based more on nationality than skin color. I think both are equally at play. For instance, even when I do mention (which I don’t anymore…if someone asks me where I’m from I tell him it’s not important) that I am from America, the first response will be “uslee Amerikee????!” as if black people have never populated any country besides Africa. Then I have to go into a history lesson about how whites aren’t the “uslee” Americans and that Native Americans were massacred by whites…America was built by African slaves…yadda yadda yadda. The point is, and it’s a very plausible one, is that in a Muslim country I wouldn’t expect to go through these ordeals coming from America, a haven of racism. With that said, I’ve had racist things happen to me here that would NEVER have happened to me in the States, including being spit at and called “abeed”. It really saddens me to feel almost the same towards my supposedly Arab Saudi “brothers” as I do towards non-Muslim, white countrymen who have killed, raped, and pillaged our people for centuries. Islam is not supposed to be about color…but I guess these days people live by other priorities. It’s a very sad state and I guess I should slap myself for being so naive about Saudi Arabia in the first place.

      • I’ve lived in the US and I have been spit on, got my hair pulled, screamed at and once a woman held her nose at me. As a child I was falsely accused of stealing and had my race discussed in the most derogatory terms in my presence as though I don’t understand. This was in Kansas, USA pre- 9/11. So don’t tell me those things don’t happen in the USA. I don’t wear Hijab and me and my whole family are fair-skinned but this all happened because we are Arab.

      • Black American Expat

        Saudiwoman, that’s absolutely terrible and unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me having happened in Kansas…mid-Western states are notorious for not being welcoming to any non-white. I don’t condone racism in the least. In fact, it’s the one thing that I absolutely HATE in this world. So, my point wasn’t that racism doesn’t happen in the US. It does…and ALL the time. And it was one of the main reasons I decided to leave. They have a history of being racist and prejudiced, something that is definitely not praiseworthy. I EXPECT racism in America. What I didn’t expect, and this is my point, is to have similar treatment here in Saudi Arabia, the land of the two Holy Mosques. This type of behavior is not befitting for Muslims, Arab or non-Arab. I thought I was escaping such despicable behavior but sadly now, I realize I have to wear the same armor here that I do every time I leave my house back in America…I expect ignorance here unfortunately.

      • Black American Expat

        p.s. I hope there were enough Americans to offset such awful treatment during your stay. Some can be extremely racist depending on where you go.

      • talcotary

        What happened to you is real bad. And yeah Americans are not angels but two wrongs don’t make a right.

        And the difference in Racism between US and Saudi Arabia is that in Saudi Arabia Racism is institutionalized.

        In US you have the recourse to call the cops on those who assault you for racism, and often the victims settle down for multi-million dollar compensations. But what do you think about the abuse faced by the maids in Saudi Arabia?

        In Saudi Arabia the Abused doesn’t have any legal recourse and usually the Abused is always an Asian or African expat, goes to show the racism present as well and also gross injustice which you try to cover up. And often the Abused is prosecuted and the Abuser (who is a Saudi) goes free.

        Check this HRW report if you wanna open your eyes.

        And BTW Is this what Islam teaches?

      • Black American Expat

        Wowwww! Once I downloaded the HRW report on maids and how they’re treated…I couldn’t put it down. I’m a grown man and this report makes me want to shed a tear…the way a “Muslim” would treat another human being….what the hell is this? Bringing women here and forcing them to work hours upon hours, raping them, not paying them, beating them…Allah DOES NOT LIKE OPPRESSION!

      • Who said that there is no legal recourse for the abused in Saudi Arabia. This is usual non factual western propaganda. First of all call any South Asian embassy in Saudi Arabia and they’ll tell you that they have taken abusive Saudis to court and won. Second use your head, yes abuse does happen but it is not at all “institutionalized” as you claim. We don’t kidnap workers from their countries. They are recruited and are free to leave whenever they want. Their salaries are based on agreements between our labour ministry and their home country labour ministry. It is a contract and all migrant workers who have followed the rules coming into the country are absolutely insured their rights. When their two year contract is up, the recruitment office asks the employee if they had received all their salaries and if not that affects the employers next attempt at recruiting plus the maid is able to get legal representation and demand her payments. Abusive Saudis do get punished with lashing and imprisonment and I have seen it happen and they are blacklisted from ever being able to recruit.
        If it was so terrible, do you think that people would keep coming and applying for jobs here? Would their labour ministries continue working with Saudi Arabia? The human rights report not only objects to how workers are treated but also to how Saudi women and children are treated. These are cultural issues that I by no means condone but they are the same cultural issues that the countries we recruit from have in varying degrees.

      • Eman–good points all. I do understand though from others in Saudi that at least in some sectors differential pay and benefits for non-Saudis are legislated, and thus “institutionalized”. You have brought together and helped to clarify though a number of disparate aspects to the problem. Thanks.

      • Yes you are right the different pay is institutionalized and the benefits too. That is like I said before; it is according to the agreements between governments. Let’s say I need to employ a maid, or a cashier at a supermarket, or a barber…etc. I as a Saudi cannot just advertise as an individual and agree with someone from abroad on pay and benefits without the approval of both governments. The pay is assigned according to what is competitive in the employees’ home countries.
        The general Saudi public is against this system just as much as the expatriates because a Saudi who is looking for a job has to compete with expatriates who are willing to work for much less and for longer hours. This can only be fixed if a general minimum wage and hours are set. However if it is, then that would be bad news for many expatriate workers because then the business owners would find Saudis more attractive. The only thing stopping this from happening is powerful Saudi businesses who are benefiting from the status quo.

      • abuabdullah

        Good debate,
        “They are recruited and are free to leave whenever they want. ” —– is certainly NOT true in or NOT SO EASY at least from an expat’s point(fact) of view. But there are cases wherein companies/sponsors have let go their employees without hassles also.

      • Yes the debate is some how reaching right point. Being an expat i want to highlight some problems faced by expats

        Expat shouldn’t be denied family visa, irrelevant of being considered what expat profession is, (some how it’s ok to verify his income) but one of the sole islamic reason to give family visa would be that islam discourages the seperation of husband and wife for longer period and being islamic country how KSA can violate this. surely questionable??

        Expat are not allowed to switch jobs is completly violation of Human rights, Expat might had joined the company on his will, but switching to another job is his right which is being denied mostly.

        (these are some of the basic and most important conflicting points i noticed and analyzed, there are other issues as well)

        P.S sorry i know the subject of post is Farman ali khan but some how this discussion has already been dragged here, apologies 🙂

      • Black American Expat

        p.s. I understand that this behavior is generally from males as I of course have had limited exposure to dealing with Saudi females…the case may be different I don’t know

  26. we proud on our hero farman ali khan swati .he loss his life but he show to world that pukhtoon nataion is brave,samfitic and honest nation not tererest.
    abaseen yousafzai saib waye

    (cherta che nom dh nam aw nung aw dh gharat we halta
    dh tolo mukhke ba nama zma dh qam raze).

    intizar yousafzai khudu khel buner

    • Zainab Khan

      Thanks yousufzai for your comment.I am proud of him as will.He showed the world what kind of people are pashtoon.I just know about him yesterday.We pashtoon should also do something because he is hero like naming a street by his name and making aprogramme about him in AVT khyber or shamshad TV because i realised not many pashtoon know him.Thanks

  27. Hey thanks for this post, being a Pakistani i also mentioned him on my blog and i’ve seen the love of Saudi Peoples for his good deed


    May Allah grant Farman special place in Jannah.



  28. Eman–Thank you for your further explanations which clarify a great deal.

    It sounds like one of those situations where the society will change when the economy shifts such that someone thinks a new system will be better. This happened with the advocacy for de-institutionalization of psychiatric care. This idea floated around for decades before someone thought it would be cost effective to do so, and then it was done provincially in a matter of about 1-2 years. It isn’t less expensive to do it right of course, and it is more expensive to do it badly.

    It does happen in Canada for example that foreign workers can still come in as live-in care givers, at the same national and provincial wage, holiday, hours, and labour rights guarantees. This is possible because there aren’t enough Canadians willing to be live-in nanny’s. They have advantages over others regarding full legal status and citizenship. For many from the Caribbean, the Philippines or other parts of the world this is a worthwhile goal. After 2 years they can then stay and take any job or get any education they want, as permanent residents and then citizens after 3 more years.

    NidalM had other good ideas about saudization in his 2 part personal essay: Desis, Multiculturalism, Saudization, and Marriage Part I and Part II .

  29. Jawad

    Assalam o Alaikum, dear all…
    i just want to say that Farman Ali Khan has proved his respect for humanity by showing his strength to save his brothers in Islam..My request to all Saudi nationals is that please change your Negative perception about Pakistanis Or Muslim Asians Because we have religious attraction with your country and we want to server your country as much as we could…when ever any bad eyes will be upon the Saudi Arabia we will be the first to sacrifice our lives for the sake of your country So, all Saudis please give respect to Pakistanis and (Asians) because we are the First ever Muslim Nuclear Power of the world …So support Pakistan in this crucial time ….!! Farman Ali khan we salute you …..Proud to be Pakistani…!!! wake up Muslims……Wake up ….lets be together…to make only one nation “The Muslim nation”…!!!

  30. مها نور إلهي

    A very interesting discussion indeed…I’m currently writing an article on the status of Asians (Pakistanis – Indians – Bangladesh – Indonesians) in Saudi Arabia. Hope it will be as good as this one..
    Maha Noor Elahi

    • Ibrahim

      well thats a very intresting thing you are going to do.main thing is discrimination what we can see in Saudi Arabia a so less then other Gulf states

  31. Ibrahim

    Saudi Arabia is our Home after Pakistan ,its not just one Farman Ali but every single Pakistani Living in the Kingdom or eithr living in Pakistan will give each blood drop for the Saudi Arabia.I dont live in Saudi Arabia but i love Saudi Arabia more then my life.and my request to all Saudi’s to Love Pakistan.I know thr is so much discrimination with poor workers in Gulf states specially when people have watched the shocking video of Abu Dhabi prince Issa Bin Nihyan Brutily beating up an Afghan citizen.i have never heard such incident in the Kingdom and hope no one would ever hear that Inshhallah.Because Saudi Arabia is the sign of PEACE and Unity for not only the Muslims but for the entire world.Long Live King Abdullah Bin Abdul Azizi Al Saud , Long Live Saudi Arabia and Pakistan Zindabad

  32. Pingback: Jeddah floods of 8th Dhul Hijjah 1430 | abu ayenab

  33. Liliana

    Not paying people, keeping them prisoner and taking their passports are “cultural issues”? Sounds more like slavery.

    150 workers without wages for six months

    JEDDAH: Over 150 workers at a private company have not received their salaries for six months, are living in the Kingdom on expired iqamas and unable to leave the country because their employer will not issue them final exit visas.

    Runaway maids are in high demand during Ramadan

    MADINAH: The high demand for runaway housemaids during the month of Ramadan is attributed to women wanting to devote more time to worship and an increase in the number of guests. Since there are no arrangements to bring extra maids into the Kingdom during the holy month, most families hire illegal housemaids who charge around SR2,000 and demand weekly holidays.

    “I have been looking for a maid for some time. Most of the maids I’ve had have made difficult demands such as salaries of around SR2,000 and weekends off. If exempted from cooking, they may work for around SR1,800,” said Umm Saeed, a housewife.


    I would love to know the daily schedule of the average Saudi woman. It seems to me based what I have read, many never do any work.

    Few western women have maids, most have jobs and families. Men and women often share the housework and cooking. They might have help with house cleaning once a week or less, but most people do everything around the house and garden themselves. Very wealthy people have nannies for their children. Most house cleaners make at least $20.- per hour.

  34. Muhammaad Tahir Mazari

    Farman Ali Khan is not just a name. He is the symbol of humanity and the spirit of sacrifice, the sacrifice which is the heart of Islamic ideology. He has not just made all Pakistanis proud but through his brave and courageous act, he has secured the highest level of respect that one can earn for oneself.
    In a world where we have to constantly lower our ideals because everyone around us is so fake, it is people like Farman who restore your faith in human race. He is the redemption of the whole human race.
    May Allah bless his soul with peace and bestow upon him the highest place in Paradise. Amen.

  35. shehzad khan

    Racism in Saudi Arabia is not a new thing. My dad was born and raised in Saudi. I am talking about 1965 and he is still Pakistani. Let me remind Saudiwoman when Nabeyna Mohamed ( peace be upon him) migrated to Medina, people of Medina accepted him and afterwards allowed him to rule Medina. I myself was born in Saudi and lived my whole life Jeddah but i am still Pakistani. I’ve been to Pakistan only once in 2005. What do you think Saudiwoman i mean what u gonna call me, Saudi or Pakistani. I speak Arabic more fluently then urdu and spend my whole life in saudi but i still don’t have rights to buy house or own a business. I am still slave living my life under kafeel. Prophet Mohamed said, there is no difference between ajmi (non arab) and arab. but khalijis made differences. Everyone who commented here is right and in this modern world we can easily search about human crimes in khaliji states and believe me kuwait and Saudi are the worst states for expats to live in. I prefer to be in UAE or Bahrain where foreigners can have some rights. Saudiwoman sorry to say and i know you love your country like i love your country because of being born there but Saudis are still living in stone age and i realised it when i came to Britain which is non muslim country with islamic rules…

    • Umar Mushtaque

      My dear brothers and sisters .. we should be thankful to ALLAH SWT. for all we have .. nationality is not everything as its being discussed for our Late brother Farman .. requesting you all brothers and sisters to feel for each other .. respect everyone .. we must improve ourselves as better Muslims and rest everything will fall in place. insh;ALLAH. We must not expect from people .. i hope my dear you understand what i mean .. we will not be called any national, neither Ajami nor Arabi , on the day of judgement .. May ALLAH SWT forgive our sins and guide us all to the rite path .. Ameen ..

      I would like to thank the bloggers (saudiwoman.me) for sharing this story and allowing everyone for sharing their views. There are good and bad people everywhere but we shouldn’t stamp it based on our experiences.

  36. Zainab Khan

    I am proud of farman Ali khan.He showed the world what kind of people are pashtoon(pathan).He is from swat valley where there is bravery,generosity and kindness.I thought our heros like mirwais khan of qandahar,ajab khan afridi who fought till the last second of his life are not going to reborn but farman ali khan proved to me and to the world that there is still heroes in this 21st centuries.Thanks to all saudi for their recognition of his bravery.If i go to pokhtunkwa and swat,I will do my best to visit his good family.Other request is that the youtube video which described his bravery is in arabic and i am so fluent both in arabic and pashto.If some body can help me also to launch it in pashto so his people will know about him.I have a freind from swat which is his birthplace and she was so impressed but she doesn’t know him because most of the website is in arabic.Thanks for all who commented.Pashtoonistan zindabad

  37. Farman ali


  38. I am very glad to see the response of our Hero and specially the Hero of Saudi Arabia,and we are Pakistani full of Love and Loyalty,and we can never left our own people in trouble.Actually we all are brothers,and we should always take care of each other in critical situation.Thanks Saudi Govt.

  39. Yahya Sulayman

    Please show real respect for Nabi Muhammad (SAWS) and Saudi Arabia!!
    Please don’t mispelled the name of Nabi Muhammad (SAWS) and don’t forget the salutation. Some people cry not because they lack rights. They cry because they are not in the money. That’s a fact.

  40. Yahya Sulayman

    People cannot accuse Saudis of being racist. These accusers are even more racist than Saudis. As you know, Saudis have a disdain for manual labor and low skill jobs. But that’s their choice. We are all racist to some extent. We all want to be rich and emulate the rich. That’s the truth.

  41. Pingback: A Hero: Farman Ali Khan

  42. Abu Hazim

    God bless you dear, may God make easy for your family to bear this great sacrifice you made. We all respect your noble deed and really your are true Muslim and Pakistani. We all love you.

  43. mumtaz ahmad

    Farman Ali Khan made every muslim and every Pakistani proud.May Allah SWT grant him the greatest ranks in Jannah.May his family find peace and patience.The Saudi Gov must compensate his family for the great loss and sacrifice,hopefully…

  44. Ahmad

    farman you are great hero . may allah rest your soul in heaven . shame on our media & Govt . Govt of Pakistan Must awarded him medal and honour . but as a pakistani it is duty all of us that we pray for farman and we proud that a pakistanis are great . if i am in the chair i must awarded him by big medal of pakistan.

  45. zahoor ali

    I salut to Mr. Farman Ali Khan who made us proudful in the whole world.

  46. Khan

    A great person. We all proud of him. May Allah rest his soul in Jannah.

  47. GUL


  48. fahadx2

    u got wat u deserve farman ali.

  49. Shaheen iqbal

    You portrayed real face of Pakistanis in Jeddah. I am proud of you Farman Ali.

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  51. seo

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

  52. Aamir sohail

    Really very happy to see good words about pakistanis , do agree where needs improvements! We people are very friendly, the picture on media is not the right one! International mafia involved, really very upset with media and the role of graduate politicians, ther really do not about the future needs for the community and Heath requirements.

  53. Muslim sister from US

    salamu alaykum
    so happy to find this blog. Thanks Saudiwoman for commending on the heroism of brother Farman, May Allaah SWT reward him and hopefully make him shaheed and help his family.

    That being said, the shaheed(in sha Allaah)’s family has Allaah SWT support this is mentioned in our islaamic tradition as well.

    Even then, I would deep down wish that the family is rewarded and kudos to WAMY for doing that but a lifelong sustenance for the three beautiful daughters would be a more beneficial endeavor.

    I loved the discussion on this webpage about racism in Saudi vs USA, whether the family should get citizenship, and expats treatment in saudi.
    I am a pakistani american who thankfully lived in major cities in the USA(hence didnt encounter much discrimination). But i have lived in Saudi for some time and my family as well. I think knowing the language comes in handy a lot and to some extent it does break down barriers so to speak…if you know the language(arabic) you can easily communicate with the police etc. however, it still doesnt beat knowing accentless english 🙂
    Secondly, I did notice that westerners are supposedly treated better here if you speak english without an accent etc.
    thirdly, my perception but I might be wrong, there has been a general decline in piety in the society(thanks to perhaps satellite tv and internet).
    before generally and stereotypically if you were to stereotype saudis, they were a more religious bunch, now there are fewer of that sort.

    perhaps because of satellite and internet and seeing south asians with american passports, there might have also been decreased discrimination, wallaahu alim.

    In my opinion, it is a longshot that if they do give the family saudi citizenship, itd be totally AWESOME! I know in america, they would probably do something like that(reflected in the hadeeth of our prophet RAsool SAW that the Romans will be successful because they always watch out for their underdogs… and that right there is the difference between USA and Saudi(brother black expat)). And lets say Saudi will be saudi, then at least financial contritubtion to the family will be more than enough.

    I think those expat muslims living in saudi should just focus on becoming closer to Allaah SWT, then if people hurt you they will be hurting someone closer to Allah SWT but that being said generally everyone in the muslim society still respects an upright muslim 🙂

  54. nasiriqbal

    farman ali khan is verry good man

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  58. Fazal Khan

    Someone somewhere has made an entire country proud, back in 2009 Hero was Farman Ali Khan and now another Pakistani Hero is Shaukat..(protecting on life is like protecting entire humanity – Al Quran)

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