Saudi Arabia is the leading Islamic country due to its religious status and historic importance. Muslims direct to Mekka in Saudi Arabia in their prayers and long to go there to perform the hajj or umrah.
In the modern age, KSA has become a model for adopting modern civilization aspects and simultaneously keeping its originality and peculiarity. Additionally, KSA is characterized with its internal and external policy that is based on the instructions of the scared Islamic Law. KSA has a predominant importance in the world for its sage policy that has paramount influence on the international politics and economics course. The Five-year Development Plans carried out by KSA throughout the past 30 years have achieved a developmental breakthrough and accelerated the growth rate incomparably to many other countries. KSA is working on promoting development and establishment of utilities and basic equipment alongside with human resources qualification.
After the annexation of Hijaz in 1344 A.H./ 1925 A.D., the main concern of the state was paying attention to intellectual activity and education, and looking after students. In this course, the first General Knowledge Directorate was established and then schools were opened throughout KSA regions and were equipped and supplied with teachers from inside and outside the country. One of the first established institutes was the Scientific Institute in Mekka in 1345 A.H. / 1926 A.D., Missions Qualification School in Mekka in 1355 A.H. / 1936 A.D., and Dar Al-Tawhid in Taif in 1368 A.H. in addition to building scientific institutes and schools all over cities and regions.
In 1369 A.H. King Abdul Aziz order the establishment of College of Shari'a in Mekka to be the first university educational institution in the country. It is the main establishment at Umm Al Qura University. Although the recent establishment of Umm Al Qura University in its current shape, it is one of the most distinguished universities due to its site and authenticity. Umm Al Qura University is prominent as an academy with great scientific reputation in teaching Shari'a and Islamic studies, in addition to modern scientific specializations and applications. Umm Al Qura University went through three historic phases since the establishment of the first faculty:
Phase I (1369 - 1391 A.H.):
The establishment of the College of Shari'a in 1369 A.H. marked the beginning of Umm Al Qura University. College of Shari'a is the first institution of Higher Education in the modern sense in KSA. In 1372 A.H. an institute was built for teachers under the name of "College of Teachers" and lasted till 1379 A.H. and then teachers qualification mission was trusted to College of Shari'a in 1381 A.H. and the college name changed into "College of Shari'a and Education". Then in 1382 A.H. the College of Education was established in Mekka as an independent institution of the College of Shari'a. .
Phase II (1391 - 1401 A.H.):
The phase that witnessed the annexation of College of Shari'a and College of Education to King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and was affiliated to the University in Mekka. Towards th end of this phase the College of Education of Taif was established with the addition of some new scientific departments.
Phase III (UOU):
The establishment of the university in 1401 A.H. by the orders of King Khalid Bin Abdulaziz led to the inauguration of a number of colleges to add to the departments of College of Shari'a and Islamic Studies, College of Education and Arabic Language Institute. On the course of the first decade of the 15th Century five colleges had been established: College of Da’wa and Usul-ud-Din,College of Arabic Language, Applied Sciences College, College of Social Sciences, College of Engineering and Islamic Architecture, in addition to the College of Education in Taif that was inaugurated in 1400 A.H. and the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences that was established in 1416 A.H. in Mekka and the transformation of the Society Service from Deanship into a College. Thus, the number of colleges of this university has become 12 colleges in addition to a special institute for teaching Arabic Laguage to non-native speakers, and Institute for Hajj Research. Al Baha Community College was inaugurated as well.
The university has had different specializations and grant bachelor's degree, higher diploma degree, Master degree,and PhD degree, in Shari'a, Arabic Language, education, social and applied sciences, medicine and engineering. The university has about 30.000 students in the university campus. The university is expanding and inaugurating new departments to meet the needs of the society and provide qualified students to serve in developmental plans in alll fields. In parallel with the establishment of the university the university campus buildings were being built. In these terms, Al-Abidiyah, in the southern east on Mekka that overlooks Arafat, was chosen to be the new site of the university. King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, had put the cornerstone of this enormous project in 1406 A.H. The second phase of the project is expected to be launched soon.
College of Shari'a and Islamic Studies moved to the new buildings in Al-Abidiyah in 1414 A.H. The College of Shari'a is a pioneering college in Islamic Sciences and has academic recognition from The Muslim World League. College of Engineering and Islamic Architecture moved as well to the new buildings in Al-Abidiyah. The College of Arabic Language occupied an annexed building then moved to another building at the end of 1420 A.H. Upon the establishment of The College of Medicine and Medical Sciences in 1417 A.H. it was annexed temporarily to the building of the College of Engineering and Islamic Architecture, then had an independent new building after the finish of its first phase in a short time. The campuses of the university and the colleges are distributed on three sites in Mekka which are: Al-Aziziyah, where there are the general administration buildings and assisting deanships, in addition to some colleges, The Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Hajj and Umrah Researches, The Community College, and Institute of Scientific Research. The second site in in Al-Zahir where there are the Deanship of Undergraduate Studies (Females Section) and its buildings, in addition to the new campus in Al-Abidiyah.