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Back to basics

Back to basics

For years, Saudi tribes have practiced a form of social security, which they refer to as the ‘tribal fund’. It’s basic, but affective. Here’s how it works.

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November 2, 2008 9:19 by



Saudi tribes have known and practiced insurance long before insurance companies introduced modern forms of financial protection in the Kingdom.

“Life, health, car and other forms of insurance are fairly new to Saudi society. However, this sort of social Takaful (solidarity) has long existed among Saudi tribes and is known as the ‘Tribal Fund.’ The fund provides financial support to tribe members at times of need such as when a serious accident happens,” Sheikh Abdullah ibn Jabir Al-Mastouri of the Sulaim tribe told Arab News.

“This fund has been known to all tribes in the Kingdom long before insurance companies came to our country. It is as old as the tribes themselves. It was and is used to provide financial help to needy members of tribes and to encourage them to stand by each other at times of crisis,” he added.

Al-Mastouri said each member of the society contributes a certain amount of money to the fund in either a complete payment or installments on a monthly or yearly basis. “This money would then be used to help tribe members.”

Al-Mastouri said the resources of the fund are also used to pay blood money. He added that money would be kept in a bank in the name of a trustworthy tribe member.

“In this way, tribe members would share the burden of other people’s difficulties and display a true spirit of solidarity,” he said, adding that the donations per person may not exceed SR500, depending on the number of people in a tribe.



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