Democratizing the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told in an interview that women in his country were not obliged to wear the abaya or long black-loose robe like clothing, if they were dressed modestly.
Saudi Arabia has its judicial system based on the foundations of Sharia or the Islamic law and wearing abaya is mandated by the same. “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia (Islamic law): that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” said the Crown Prince. This has paved the way for more liberty resting with women when dressing but the same needs to reflected into the legal framework before people start practicing it. The country is know for its stern penalty system in cases of violations of civil laws.
Appreciating the idea Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq said, “more than 90% of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas.” The support of religious leaders is a must in a country which is guided by Sharia and has the clout of these leaders in all major decisions. Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq is a member of the council of senior scholars – the kingdom’s highest religious body.
This is another addition to the realm of women’s equal rights, as last month the conservative nation allowed Saudi women into the football stadium as spectators for the first time. Saudi known for its strict rule on women population, including ban on driving for women will allow women drivers on street from June. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban its women from driving and the nation has come hard on the people who have retaliated against the ban in the past.
All these developments come in the backdrop of U.N. calling on Saudi Arabia to revoke the patriarchial practice of male guardianship which gives a man the authority to decide if a woman can study, go out on her own or even go to hospitals for treatment. It will be interesting to see if there is an emergence of discussion on the same, specially when the conservative nation has been marking new breakthroughs in the women’s equal rights territory.
(Source: The Guardian, Reuters)