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bullet Topic: Saudi women want end to driving ban
    Posted: 25 September 2007 at 4:43pm
Saudi women want end to driving ban 
found at 98-2C0B44181218.htm    

Women in the oil-rich desert kingdom have to cover from head to toe in public [AP]

Activists in Saudi Arabia have petitioned King Abdullah to lift a controversial ban on women driving in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The petition, sent on Sunday, when the Gulf nation celebrated its National Day, bears the signatures of more than 1,100 Saudi men and women, campaigner Fawzia al-Oyouni told AFP.
Women in the oil-rich desert kingdom have to cover from head to toe in public, and cannot travel without written permission from their male guardian.
"The time has come to give women their natural right to drive a car, a right denied for purely social, and unjustified, reasons," the petition read.

Allowing women to get behind the wheel "in accordance with laws and controls to be set by ... the Shura [Consultative] Council and the pertinent government parties, has become a necessity at this stage," the petition read.

It also stresses that Islam does not put constraints such as the driving ban on women and points out that women already "drive in villages and remote rural areas ... as do women inside some big residential compounds although there are public means of transport available there."


On Thursday, two Saudi women called two members of Saudi's religious police "terrorists" and one sprayed the men with a tearing irritant after they told the women they did not conform to the kingdom's strict dress code.

Muhammed bin Marshoud al-Marshoud, head of the Eastern Province branch of the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice said: "Two members of the commission were attacked, cursed and sworn at by two women who were blatantly dolled up."

The commission employs the police unit that enforces the kingdom's strict Islamic lifestyle.

The police patrol public places to ensure women are covered and not wearing make up, the sexes don't mingle, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque and worship.

He said the agents stopped the women to give them "advice and guidance" after they noticed they were wearing makeup.

"One of the women took out a black container and sprayed a tearing substance at them while the other filmed what happened with her phone camera while making improper comments," al-Marshoud said.

"The women apologised for attacking the two commission members, signed a statement and were released," he added.

Not equal

In a related development, commission members banned female shoppers from sitting in a makeshift outdoor restaurant to have their fast-breaking meal in a low-income neighbourhood in the western port city of Jeddah because men were already seated at special tables set up for the holy fasting month of Ramadan, according to Al-Watan newspaper.

The paper quoted Muhammed Mehdawi as saying commission members forced his wife and children to eat their food while standing next to him. Other women stood by the stands that run the modest eatery.

Ali al-Luhayyan, head of the commission's Jeddah branch, said the agents' actions were meant as a deterrent, "especially since some of the women were dolled up, and also to prevent the mixing of the sexes that could happen at such events and which our religion rejects," the paper said.

Mohammad al-Zalfa, a member of the all-male Shura Council, sparked a heated debate two years ago when he proposed reforms for women, including a lifting of the ban on women driving.

The advisory body, however, refused to debate the plan.

Although Saudi Arabia has taken small steps toward reform, women were barred from landmark municipal elections in 2005 and remain subject to a host of restrictions.

In November 1990, a group of 47 women defied the ban on driving by roaming the streets of the capital Riyadh in 15 cars. They were swiftly rounded up by police and penalised, while their male guardians were reprimanded.

The following year, a fatwa (religious edict) was issued by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz, the then mufti of Saudi Arabia and head of the Council of Senior Ulema (Muslim scholars), prohibiting women from driving cars.

The anti-driving ban petition was the brainchild of Oyouni and three other activists - Wajiha Huwaidar, Ibtihal Mubarak and Haifa Usra - who have formed an association for the protection and defence of women's rights.
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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 4:11am

As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu


I am not sure if I can post this fatawa in the "Current Events" but since it is related here goes: -



Does the ruling on driving a car vary from one country to another?



Throughout the Muslim world we find that there are differences between one country and another, in manner of dress, customs and traditions. For example we see that in some countries our sisters wear niqaab, because they follow the fatwa that says that niqaab is obligatory, but that is not widespread in another country, and the opinion that they follow there is that niqaab is not obligatory, rather it is mustahabb. Similarly with regard to women driving cars, in some countries the shaykhs have declared it to be haraam because of the harms that would result if it were allowed, whilst in other countries it is a very ordinary thing for a woman to drive a car, and they have been doing so for decades.
 To what extent is there flexibility in rulings? Is what is happening correct, I mean is it right that something may be obligatory in one country and mustahabb in another?.


Praise be to Allaah.  


The rulings of sharee’ah are of two types: 

1 – Those where the evidence of sharee’ah points to the ruling, regardless of various customs or what good or bad consequences may result. 


In this case the ruling is fixed and does not vary from one place to another or from one person to another, unless a person is forced to do something, is sick or is excused, in which case the ruling is waived as much as required by his situation according to what it says in sharee’ah.  


An example of such a fixed rule is the obligation to offer the five daily prayers, to fast Ramadaan, to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, to seek knowledge, etc. 


Another example is the obligation for the Muslim woman to cover her entire body, including the face and hands. This ruling is obligatory and does not vary from one place to another. 

We have already discussed this obligation in questions no. 21134 and 13647, where we quote the evidence for that. 


2 – Rulings which are based on specific reasons, or where the ruling as to whether a thing is forbidden, allowed or obligatory depends upon whatever good or bad consequences will result from that, and where there is no shar’i evidence to suggest a fixed ruling that does not vary. The issue of women driving cars may come under this heading. 


The scholars have issued fatwas stating that it is haraam because of the negative consequences that may result from it. 

This applies completely to the land of the two Holy Sanctuaries. With regard to other countries, the matter should be referred to trustworthy scholars for they know their countries’ situation best. 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 


People have spoken a great deal in the al-Jazeerah newspaper about the issue of women driving cars. It is well known that it leads to evil consequences which are well known to those who promote it, such as being alone with a non-mahram woman, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam actions because of which these things were forbidden. Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam and regards them as being haraam too.  


Allaah commanded the wives of the Prophet and the believing women to stay in their houses, to observe hijab and to avoid showing their adornments to non-mahrams because of the permissiveness that all these things lead to, which spells doom for society. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salaah (Iqamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah and obey Allaah and His Messenger. Allaah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a thorough purification”

[al-Ahzaab 33:33] 


“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed”

[al-Ahzaab 33:59] 


“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[al-Noor 24:31] 


And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man is alone with a (non-mahram) woman but the Shaytaan is the third one present.” 


Islam forbids all the things that may lead to immorality or accusations of immoral conduct made against chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity, and it has stipulated a punishment for that which is one of the most severe of punishments, in order to protect society from the spread of the causes of immorality. 


Women driving is one of the means that lead to that, and this is something obvious, but ignorance of the rulings of sharee’ah and the negative consequences of carelessness with regard to the things that lead to evil – as well as diseases of the heart that prevail at present – and love of permissiveness and enjoying looking at non-mahram women all lead to indulging in this and similar things, with no knowledge and paying no attention to the dangers that it leads to. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawaahish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge”

[al-A’raaf 7:33] 


“and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy”

[al-Baqarah 2:168] 


And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I am not leaving behind me any fitnah more harmful to men than women.”  


It was narrated that Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The people used to ask the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about good things, but I used to ask him about bad things, fearing that I would live to see such things. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we were in a state of ignorance (jaahiliyyah) and evil, then Allaah sent us this good (i.e., Islam). Will there be any evil after this good?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Will there by any good after that evil?’ He said, ‘Yes, but it will be tainted.’ I said, ‘How will it be tainted?’ He said, ‘(There will be) some people who will guide others in a way that is not according to my guidance. You will approve of some of their deeds and disapprove of others.’ I said, ‘Will there be any evil after that good?’ He said, ‘Yes, there will be people calling at the gates of Hell, and whoever responds to their call, they will throw them into it (the Fire).’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, describe them to us.’ He said, ‘They will be from among our people, speaking our language.’ I said, ‘What do you command me to do if I live to see such a thing?’ He said, ‘Adhere to the jamaa’ah (group, community) of the Muslims and their imaam (leader).’ I asked, ‘What if there is no jamaa’ah and no leader?’ He said, ‘Then keep away from all those groups, even if you have to bite (eat) the roots of a tree until death overtakes you whilst you are in that state.’” Agreed upon. 


I call upon every Muslim to fear Allaah in all that he says and does and to beware of fitnah and those who promote it. He should keep away from all that angers Allaah or leads to His wrath, and he should be extremely cautious lest he be one of these callers to Hell of whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) tells us in this hadeeth. 


May Allaah protect us from the evil of fitnah and its people, and protect this ummah from the evil of those who promote bad things. May He help the writers of our newspapers and all the Muslims to do that which pleases Him and may He set the Muslims straight and save them in this world and in the Hereafter, for He is Able to do that. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 3/351-353. 


Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked: I hope you can explain the ruling on women driving cars. And what is your opinion on the idea that women driving cars is less dangerous than their riding with non-mahram drivers? 


The answer to this question is based on two principles which are well known among the Muslim scholars: 


The first principle is: that whatever leads to haraam is itself haraam. The evidence for this is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allaah, lest they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge”

[al-An’aam 6:108] 


So Allaah forbids insulting the gods of the mushrikeen – even though that serves an interest – because it leads to insults against Allaah. 

The second principle is: that warding off evil – if it is equal to or greater than the interests concerned – takes precedence over bringing benefits. The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit”

[al-Baqarah 2:219] 


Allaah has forbidden alcohol and gambling even though there is some benefit in them, so as to ward off the evils that result from them.  

Based on these two principles, the ruling on women driving should be clear, because women driving includes a number of evils, including the following: 


1 – Removal of hijab, because driving a car involves uncovering the face which is the site of fitnah and attracts the glance of men. A woman is only regarded as beautiful or ugly on the basis of her face, i.e., if it is said that she is beautiful or ugly, people only think in terms of her face. If something else is meant it must be specified, so that one would say that she has beautiful hands or beautiful hair or beautiful feet. Hence it is known that the face is the focal point. If someone were to say that a woman can drive a car without taking off her hijab, by covering her face and wearing dark glasses over her eyes, the answer to that is that this is not what really happens when women drive cars. Ask those who have seen them in other countries. Even if we assume that this could be applied initially, it would not last for long, rather the situation would soon become as it is in other countries where women drive. This is how things usually develop; they start out in an acceptable fashion then they get worse.


2 – Another evil consequence of women driving cars is that they lose their modesty, and modesty is part of faith as is narrated in a saheeh report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Modesty is the noble characteristic that befits the nature of women and protects them from being exposed to fitnah. Hence it is mentioned in a metaphorical sense (in Arabic), in the phrase “more modest than a virgin in her seclusion.” Once a woman’s modesty is lost, do not ask about her. 


3 – It also leads to women going out of the house a great deal, but their homes are better for them – as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said – because those who love to drive enjoy it very much, hence you see them driving around in their cars here and there for no purpose, except to enjoy driving.  


4 – You may find a divorced woman going where she wants, whenever she wants and however she wants, for whatever purpose she wants, because she is alone in her car, at any time she wants of the day or night. She may stay out until late at night. If people are complaining about this with regard to young men, then what about young women, going all over the place the length and breadth of the country, and maybe even beyond its borders. 


5 – It is a means of women rebelling against their families and husbands; at the least provocation they may go out of the house and drive in the car to wherever they think they can get some peace, as happens in the case of some young men, who are able to put up with more than women.  


6 – It is a cause of fitnah in many places: when stopping at the traffic lights, or at gas stations, or at inspection points, or when stopped by policemen at the scenes of traffic infractions or accidents, or if the car stalls and the woman needs help. What will her situation be in this case? Perhaps she may come across an immoral man who takes advantage of her in return for helping her, especially if her need is great to the point of urgency. 


7 – When women drive it leads to overcrowding in the streets, or it deprives some young men of the opportunity to drive cars when they are more deserving of that. 


8 – It causes fitnah to flourish because women – by their nature – like to make themselves look good with clothing etc. Do you not see how attached they are to fashion? Every time a new fashion appears they throw away what they have and rush to buy the new things, even if it is worse than what they have. Do you not see the adornments that they hang on their walls? In the same way – or perhaps more so – with the cars that they drive, whenever a new model appears they will give up the first for the new one. 

With regard to the questioner asking, “And what is your opinion on the idea that women driving cars is less dangerous than their riding with non-mahram drivers?” – what I think is that both of them involve danger, and one is more serious than the other in some ways, but there is no necessity that would require one to do either of them. 

Please note that I have answered this question at length because of the controversy that surrounds the issue of women driving cars, and the pressure faced by conservative Saudi society, which is striving to adhere to its religious commitment and morals, to allow women to drive cars. 


This would be nothing strange if it were to come from an enemy who seeks to cause harm this land which is the last bastion of Islam that the enemies of Islam wish to penetrate. But what is even stranger is that this is coming from our own people who speak our language and live under our banner, people who are dazzled by what the kaafir nations have of material advancement and admire their ways which are devoid of any moral restrictions. 


End quote from Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen. 


With regard to countries in which woman are allowed to drive cars, Muslim women should avoid that as much as possible, for the reasons mentioned above. 


In cases of necessity, such as helping accident victims or fleeing from a criminal, there is nothing wrong with a Muslim woman using a car in such situations, if she cannot find a man to help her. 


There are other cases, such as women who have to go out to work and have no husband, father or guardian to look after them and no income from the government to meet their needs, and they cannot find work that they can do at home, such as some internet-based jobs, so they are forced to go out. In that case they can use the means of transportation that poses the least danger to them. 

There may be some means of transportation that are available only to women, or a group of women may hire a driver to take them to work or university. Using taxis– for those who can afford it – may be better than using public transportation where a woman may be exposed to humiliation and aggression, so they should use taxis, so long as they are not alone with the driver. 


If a woman is forced to drive a car in cases of extreme need, then she should drive wearing full jilbaab and hijab, and with fear of Allaah. 


We have already mentioned above what constitutes need. 


Women should also seek fatwas from the trustworthy scholars in their own countries – not those who are too lenient – who understand both sharee’ah and the situation in that country. 


And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can”

[al-Taghaabun 64:16]

Question no 45880


Wa Alaikum Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu




“Verily your Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful (Surah Al-An’am 6:165)
"Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return" (Surah Baqarah 2: 155)
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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 8:14am


Not to be rude, but are you saying that covering your eyes is obligatory????  Because even Niqabs leave the eyes unveiled. 

I'm sorry, but this explaination is completely false.  I don't LOOSE my modesty because I drive a car.  Nor do I attract men just because I'm driving. (If anything I scare them....

You don't have to remove your Hijab to drive.  Many, many sisters drive with their hijabs on.  And MOST scholars disagree that the face veil is obligatory. 

That fatwa you posted is insulting.  Men are more deserving of cars then women.  Women are sooo attached to fashion.  The sheik acts as if just because a woman gets behind the wheel of a car she suddenly becomes a lustful floosy.  Its insulting.

How is a woman supposed to get to work?  Ride the Bus...  example 6 says that a reason is she might come across an immoral man?  Busses are more dangerous for that then driving.  When I've broken down, its always been a police officer who's stopped to help...or AAA. 

And a divorced woman might go whereever she pleases.  Why not?  She's her own person right?  Islam says she's allowed to own property, participate in why couldn't a divorced woman go whereever she wants.  Just because she wants to go somewhere doesn't make that bad.  Maybe she wants to go to a craft store.  Or a lecture at a college.  Perhaps she just wants to enjoy and afternoon in the park reading a book. 

This is wrong.  I'm sorry.  Normally, I don't have an issue with the things you post.  I went to mosque with Herjihad and another friend of hers this summer.  The three of us drove to the mosque in Hijab, covered from wrists, to ankles and with the scarves.  Herjihad's driving was not impaired in the least.  Meanwhile that same evening, my brother in law was pulled over for going 65 in a 45 with me and my sister in the car. 

Women take their kids to school, go grocery shopping, to doctors, to work, to the pharmacy, to college, and to family gatherings every day in cars without running out and becoming prostitutes.

If you really believe driving causes a woman to become a floosy, then you have a poor opinion of your own sex. 

Maybe its because we aren't locked away from life that we don't rebel so hard when we are given the freedoms to drive.  If you lock a woman in her house (even just with pressure to stay home and be a good robot) then you're asking for trouble when they finally break free.

I don't know who is... but certainly, they are not the only or the highest authority on the matter.

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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 8:52am
Question Date:
Topic :
Women: Veil
May I request you to clarify in detail the question of women's veil. I am studying to be a doctor, and I find that having to cover my face all the time is extremely impractical. I know that you have mentioned that a woman need not cover her face and her hands up to the wrist when she goes out in public but I have seen many people in my home country, Pakistan, insist on the requirement that a woman must cover her face. The late Abul Ala Maudoodi has discussed this issue at length with a decisive conclusion that a woman must cover her face in public. So do many scholars in my home country and also people who are members of various Islamic groups. I would be grateful for a full discussion on this question.
Before I discuss this question, I would like to make the following quotations from leading scholars of different schools of thought. Imam Al Shaf'ie included the whole basis of his school of thought in his scholarly work entitled, Al-Umm. In this book he says: "All [of] a woman's body is awrah with the exception of the lower part of her hands and her face. The top of her feet is also awrah." It is well known that awrah is an Islamic term which refers to the parts of the body which must be covered at all times. Ibn Rushd, a leading Maliki scholar says: "The great majority of scholars agree that all of a woman's body is awrah, with the exception of her face and the lower part of her hands. However, Imam Abu Haneefah considers that her feet are not part of her awrah." The main book which records the view of the Hanbali school of thought is that known as Al-Mughni, written by Ibn Qudamah. It is indeed the book to which reference is made generally when we want to know the Hanbali view. In this book, Ibn Qudamah writes: "All [of] a woman's body is awrah, with the exception of her face. As for the lower part of her hands, we have two different views." This means that the Hanbali school of thought includes scholars who consider that the hands, and we are here talking about the lower part of the hands up to the wrist - must be covered, and other scholars belonging to the same school of thought who are of the view that a woman may leave that part of her hands uncovered. Imam Ibn Hazam who was the one to put the Thahiri school of thought on solid foundation comments on an authentic Hadith as follows: "We see in this Hadith that Ibn Abbas saw women's hands in the presence of God's Messenger (peace be upon him). This means that it is correct to say that the hands and face of a woman are not awrah. The rest of her body is obligatory for her to cover." Imam Al Tabari, a leading scholar and commentator on the Qur'an of the second century of the Islamic era says: "The strongest and most accurate view is that which says that the exclusion (i.e. from what needs to be covered) refers to the face and the lower part of the hands up to the wrist. Also included are kohl, rings, bracelets and make-up (i.e. on the face and hands). We say that this is the strongest and most accurate view because all scholars are unanimous that everyone who needs to pray must cover the awrah in his or her prayer. A woman may reveal her face and the lower part of her hands in her prayer while she must cover the rest of her body. What is not part of awrah is not forbidden to reveal." I have made these quotations to show that what I have repeatedly said about the proper dress of a Muslim woman is not a personal view which I have invented. This is the view to which leading scholars in all four schools of thought, as well as leading commentators on the Qur'an, subscribe. Indeed, the evidence supporting this view is overwhelming. This report to which Ibn Hazm refers mentions that a woman with red cheeks put a question to the Prophet and he explained her query. How could the Prophet's companion reporting this Hadith know that she had red cheeks if her face was covered. The reporter says "I saw the women with their hands putting jewelry (which was given in charity) in Bilal's robe." This means that the reporter saw the women's faces and their hands. The Prophet did not tell them anything about the way they appeared. Another Hadith reported by Sahl ibn Sa'ad, a companion of the Prophet, mentions that a woman came to the Prophet and said: "Messenger of God, I have come to make of myself a gift to you." The Prophet gazed at her, looking her up and down, before lowering his head. He made no answer. When she saw that he did not make any comment on her offer, she sat down. Another version mentions that a companion of the Prophet asked him to marry her to him. He had nothing to offer in dower. The Prophet said to him: "Seek some dower, even though it may be an iron ring." The man eventually married her. The question here is: Had the woman been wearing a veil, why would the Prophet gaze at her, looking her up and down? Those who claim that covering a woman's face is obligatory quote a Hadith which mentions that a woman called Umm Khalad came to the Prophet wearing a veil and inquiring about her son who was killed in an expedition with the Prophet. Some of the Prophet's companions asked her: "You have come to inquire about your son wearing a veil?" The good woman said: "If I have lost my son, I certainly have not lost my modesty." But what does this report signify? If the veil was required as an obligation of worship, would the Prophet's companions have wondered at this woman who came wearing a veil? Certainly not. Their surprise indicates that there was no requirement which encouraged women to wear a veil when they want to go out in public. That was simply a God-fearing woman with a keen sense of modesty. If a modest woman wants to wear a veil, no one would stop her. But to say that it is obligatory for all women has no solid basis. Perhaps the clearest report which tells us how women used to go out in public at the time of the Prophet is one related by Muslim - which makes it highly authentic - of an event that took place after the Prophet's farewell pilgrimage. In other words, it gives a final verdict. This report runs as follows: "Sabee'ah bint Al Harith (a companion of the Prophet) was pregnant when her husband died and she became a widow. A few days later, she gave birth to her child. Soon afterward she made herself up in case a proposal of marriage would come her way. A man named Abu As-Sanabel came to visit her. Wondering at her condition, he said: How come that you are wearing make-up? It seems as if you are keen to get married. By God, you are not allowed to marry before the lapse of four months and ten days." Sabeeh reports : "When he said that to me, I changed my clothes when the evening approached and went to see God's Messenger (peace be upon him). I asked him about that and he told me that my waiting period was over when I gave birth to my child. He said that I could marry if I wanted." Here we find a woman wearing make-up on her face and hands, and visited by Abu As-Sanabel, who was not closely related to her. He may have been a man of her clan, but certainly was not a brother or an uncle of hers. He objected to her behavior, but she made certain by putting the matter to the Prophet who did not object to anything she did. The sum-up of the views of the great scholars we have quoted and these reports and Hadiths which we have mentioned is that the Islamic society is one which does not confine women in their homes in the way the advocates of the veil imagine. Indeed, it appears to us that it was a society where women went about their business freely, and they could meet men and talk to them, recognized by their faces which were not covered. I say this and I have the greatest respect for Maulana Maudoodi. He was certainly entitled to his views, but his view on this subject does not have the support of the better evidence. He relies on his interpretation of Verse 59 of Surah 33, which my reader has quoted at length. I do not think that the verse is concerned with covering women's faces at all. These days some people make a great issue of covering women's faces. What I would like to say concerning this is that those people are entitled to their view, but they should not make it the central issue of Islamic society, because it is not. They should at least respect the view of the majority of scholars who are in agreement, as we have shown, that a Muslim woman need not cover her face or the lower part of her hands up to the wrist when she goes out in public.
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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 8:55am
Women Not Prohibited From Driving in Islam, Says Al-Qarni
Somayya Jabarti & Maha Akeel

JEDDAH, 11 January 2004 — Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni, a prominent Saudi Islamic scholar, has said that Islam does not prohibit women from driving but that the matter must be seriously discussed. He said he preferred a woman driving her car herself rather than being driven by a stranger without a legal escort.

“There is no definite text (either in the Qur’an or Sunnah) that bans women driving,” said the scholar, who is known for his moderate Islamic views, in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper. He called for a debate on the issue by prominent scholars.

Al-Qarni’s statement was welcomed by many Saudis, including women, who expressed their hopes that women would be allowed to drive in the Kingdom in the near future.

The issue is likely to top the agenda of the next national dialogue, which will focus on women. According to Dr. Rashid Al-Rajeh, deputy chairman of the forum, 30 women will take part in the event to be held in Madinah next month. “The prohibition of women driving is not an established religious rule,” Al-Qarni said. “If a woman is given the choice between driving a car herself or being alone in a car with a stranger, then I would choose that she drive herself,” he added. The scholar, however, does not want to give the impression that he necessarily believes that women should drive. “I personally will not allow my wife or daughters or sisters to drive. But I tell my brothers to keep the matter open for debate by a responsible scientific body,” he said. “We have to address all issues, including women driving, in a wise and rational manner,” he added.

He also said that women should be given a “wider opportunity to participate fully in society, which needs to listen to what women have to say.” He called for the setting up of special courts to look into women’s grievances, such as their complaints about husbands and fathers.

Faisal Ahmad, a postgraduate student in Islamic studies at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, said scholars must take decisions on important issues with responsibility. “Permitting and prohibiting things shouldn’t be done lightly. When one permits or prohibits something in Islam, it’s applicable to all Muslims. So when driving for women is prohibited, it means that all our Muslim sisters in the world are committing a sin when they drive,” he pointed out.

“I cannot but help thinking that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never prohibited women from riding horses or whatever in those what is the difference now?”

“I can understand some of us do not want our sisters, daughters, mothers or wives to drive but it’s not due to their being unable to drive. In fact, many of them drive abroad, but here in the Kingdom, many men in the streets and in cars do not practice Islamic conduct,” he told Arab News.

In her comment, Rana Abdul Aziz, a religious education teacher in a girls’ school, stressed the need to separate tradition from religion. “What is culturally or socially rejected is different from what is religiously acceptable,” she pointed out. “I appreciate what Sheikh Al-Qarni said and his differentiating between what Islam allows and what he personally would or would not allow.” She concluded wistfully: “I wonder when, or if, others will see the light.”

Dr. Afaf Al-Bar, associate professor of Arabic at King Abdul Aziz University, agrees with Al-Qarni that Islam does not prohibit women from driving. “But the problem is that our society is not ready for women driving yet,” she said. Even though she can drive abroad, she does not think that the social environment in the Kingdom is suitable for women driving. “There are also problems such as lack of parking facilities, bad road conditions and reckless driving,” she added. 834&d=11&m=1&y=2004

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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 5:50pm

Hi Angela


You have also posted some very interesting Fatawa and article on this issue.


I don’t find anything insulting in the Fatawa I posted, just a different way of approaching the same subject.


On the other hand I too will feel insulted if someone thinks I am not an active member of the community if I chose to stay at home and don’t drive to avoid the temptations of the outside world.


Not to be rude, but are you saying that covering your eyes is obligatory????  Because even Niqabs leave the eyes unveiled. 


No covering the face is not obligatory but the majority of the Saudi women do not wear the Niqab but cover their faces completely – no eyes showing. The Majority of the local women are completely covered.


The way I look at most issues pertaining to women – driving, working, Hijab, Niqab etc - it is the desires of the enemies of Islam to strip us of our honor and rights. You will not look at these issues the same way. You will think I am craze to even think that. Well maybe you are right. The only time I truly realized and appreciated the role of a Muslim woman was, after I started studying Islam. I grow up in a western country, and I know all about freedom.


The more I study Islam, the more I realize the games played by the enemies, (amongst the Muslims and the non-Muslims,) of Islam. Sometimes I wonder why so many women are reverting to Islam. Does not make any sense to me because women are portrayed as weak, oppressed, can’t work, can’t drive can’t do anything………..except keep house and be a slave to her husband, within locked indoors with the keys thrown away, so why would any sane woman wish to revert to Islam. Beats me!


Regarding that report - how many Saudi women actually signed the petition? 1100 men and women speaking for millions of Saudi women. We place too much emphasis on media reports, but I am sure the reality is very different. But then again times are changing, who knows where this will lead. From the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) till about 10 or maybe 15 years ago, women were proud being just women. Now we have a few Muslims talking for the rest of us.


When did the need arise for women to drive, go shopping etc – when Muslims moved away from the true teachings of Islam – men forsaking their roles and women forsaking their roles, assigned by Allah.


We have to realize that our level of piety does not come any where near the level of piety of the early Muslims and the level of Fitnah (in the world today -even in Muslim countries) is a million times worse than the Fitnah during the early days of Islam. Don’t we have to take more precautions than them, don't we have to work 1000 times harder in order to enter Paradise?


Let me share one of my favorite verses from the Qur'an


“But the wish of those who follow their lusts is that you should deviate away (from the Right path), far, far away” (Surah An-Nisa' 4: 27)



As Muslims when we start compromising on one thing, we follow with another, then another. Not only Muslims - all mankind. Take a thief, first time he steals it is very difficult, second time easier then easier and easier until he does not regard it as a sin anymore. 


Look at some of the Muslim countries - open drinking, prostitution, no modesty at all – nothing. Haya, and Islam flew out of the window. Money, drinking, prostitution all flew in…………… Audho Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim! Here's a warning for all Muslims: 


The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said,

By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will follow the traditions of those who were before you a hand span for a hand-span and forearm's length for forearm's length, and an arm's length for an arm's length. And even if they enter the den of a lizard, you will also enter it.

They asked, "Who, O Allah's Messenger, the People of the Book'' He said, (Who else)''  (Muslim)

The scholars have made it very clear there is no harm for the woman to learn what she is required to know of her religion and other sciences; it is in fact obligatory upon her to do so and if she needs to work outside her home she can do so as long as she takes all the necessary precautions and abide by the standards set by Islam.


However, due to their insight they are also warning women about the dangers of the outside world. We should stop and listen. We don't have to the choice is ours.


May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala protect us from our whims and desires and forgive us our shortcomings. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala guide our misguided brothers and sisters back to the true path. Ameen!



Take care




“Verily your Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful (Surah Al-An’am 6:165)
"Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return" (Surah Baqarah 2: 155)
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bullet Posted: 26 September 2007 at 7:19pm
I just don't see where driving and hijab are mutually exclusive.  Herjihad proved quiet nicely that a hijabi can drive quite well.

I don't see where a woman driving is adding to fitnah, less than a man.

Perhaps I have issue with the Saudi focus on women as the way of solving sexual deviancy.

Its just as easy for a man to be driving long distance and decide to get into things he shouldn't.  If not more so.  I find men more morally lacking in every society...not just in Abrahamic Faiths but all over the world.  While traveling for long distances is scary for anyone, short trips are not something that should be even an issue.

The Lord will do what he will.  Women during the Prophet's (pbuh) time were out and about...they felt comfortable enough to walk right up to him and ask questions as many many hadith say.

The idea that a woman should stay home for her own wellbeing is ludicrous, women during the Prophet's time did not.

The dangers of the outside world... if I lived my life in fear, I would not enjoy life.  Instead, I take precautions and I don't go into the park at 2am.  I don't go to a bad neighborhood alone.

Yes, I feel that women should be cautious, but I'm sorry...staying at home is cutting you off from society.  Unless you have children, there is only so much house cleaning you can do...and if you have knowledge and don't share it, what good is it.

Charity is more than paying money.  Get out of the house, go visit the Elderly in nursing homes.  Help the old woman down the street with her chores. 

Civic responsibility... if you don't put your voice out there and depend on others to protect your rights, you WILL loose them.  Why do you think so many Muslim Sisters find their God given rights taken from them? 

I love my husband, I am devoted to him.  I trust him implicitly...but I don't trust men in general.  Its said you give man a little power and he will become a tyrant.  I never give anyone protection of my rights, I take that responsibility...  (Look what Bush is doing to us.)

I tell you what would really solve the worlds problems.  If MEN were the ones who had to have chaperons.  Mommy, sister or wife drops them off at work and picks them up.  Then they wouldn't get in so much trouble and we women wouldn't have to worry about bogey men in dark alleys.

I am a stark supporter of the Hijab, modesty and chastity.  Don't think I don't support the basic values here.  I just think that driving has nothing to do with a woman's moral behavior, I think it has everything to do with the morals she's taught at home. 

I have known far more BAD boys in my day.  I'm just tired of seeing Sheiks focus their attentions on the fitnah a woman can cause and not focusing on the real problems...out of control men.
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bullet Posted: 27 September 2007 at 6:01am

Hi Angela,


The issue is related to Saudi Women and driving and the Fatawa I posted is by Saudi scholars.


Towards the end of the Fatawa the scholar states:

Women should also seek fatwas from the trustworthy scholars in their own countries – not those who are too lenient – who understand both sharee’ah and the situation in that country. 


When we discuss the situation of women in general, culture and other aspects come into play. In my country women don’t even wear Hijab. Islam is equal to the 5 pillars that’s it. It is not a way of life. Only recently we are seeing an Islamic revival in our country. Today some women wear Hijab, some wear Niqab. Women always worked and drove cars, some still drive wearing the Hijab, some drive wearing Niqab. Some like me stopped driving altogether. I don’t deny that Herjihad drove very nicely with Hijab – You know what – I used to drive wearing Niqab-no problem whatsoever. But I don’t live in Saudi Arabia the culture- their way of life is completely different there. What is normal for you and me is disastrous for them. Alhamdulillah! You are in favour of modesty. Very few Muslim women in my country know the true meaning of modesty. I did not know the true meaning either till a few years ago.


We always don’t accept anything that goes against our own way of thinking. We are too set in our ideas. I was like that till Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala opened by heart to the true teachings of Islam.  Alhamdulillah!


Like I said earlier, you and I will never agree because we see things differently. If the women at the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) were so free, why did he (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) say: (paraphrasing two Hadith) That women should seek the permission from their husbands to go to the Masjid (Salah is an obligation on all Muslims- why do I need my husband’s permission to fulfil a duty to my Lord when I am free to join the work force) and that women are rewarded much more if they prayed at home.


Yes there are many Hadith about women approaching the Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) with questions. Didn’t I mention already that women can go out to seek education and work if there is a need for her to do so?


We get upset with Fatawas from scholars and are very quick to criticise them because we pick and chose what we wish to follow. I have walked down that road, I did that all the time, so I know what I am talking about.


I think personally, we lost our rights when we joined the work force. When we tried to compete with our husbands to bring more money into the home than him, when we started having dinners with our male colleagues when we should be putting our children to bed and teaching them the Dua to pray before sleeping, when our husband stopped supporting us anymore because we have become so self-sufficient.


I stay at home, I don’t have children. And at the same time I am not a useless member of the community. I visit the sick, I help orphans, go shopping and do many things outside the home as well but with a Mahram (my husband, my brother or nephew) beside me or a Mahram to take me to my destination and pick me up later. Most importantly I saved my marriage.


This is my way of looking at life just as you have your own views and priorities. If you read the Fatawa I posted carefully, you will see that the scholar is pointing out how one act can lead to another nowhere does he state that women should stay at home 24/7.


I have nothing more to add except that I agree with the Shaikhs who say that, it is the Fitnah of the women leaving her home that has made the men go out of control.


And these are the words of our dear Prophet (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam):


“I have not left behind me any temptation (Fitnah) more harmful for men than women” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)





“Verily your Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful (Surah Al-An’am 6:165)
"Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return" (Surah Baqarah 2: 155)
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