Sidi Ifni, Morocco – Given that a driving ban in Saudi Arabia has recently brought about much controversy worldwide to the extent that a group of Saudi women drive cars in order to defy the ban, some people have wondered about whether or not Islam is against “female driving.”
Whereas some Saudi Sheikhs continue to ban it, basing their fatwas on frivolous reasons, such as women developing ovarian problems while driving, other Muslims underscore that there is no single text in Islam that prohibits women from driving.
Some Saudi conservatives believe that allowing women to drive in their country will do harm to their society and bring about temptations in the streets.
Even several women from Saudi Arabia have staunchly supported the belief that female driving can be a blow to the values and conventions of their Islamic country.
Other women opposing the ban have had recourse to claim their inalienable right to sit behind the wheel,, They particularly state that prophet Muhammad’s wives rode horses and camels to run their errands and move from one spot to another.
The kingdom’s driving ban is motivated by the stifling of this right, some Saudi women protested.
Sheikhs siding with the state on this ban continue to find excuses and proof from Islam to warn women attempting to drive that they are committing a sin, when in fact, many religious and nonreligious authorities believe they are not, some Muslims activists in the Arab world underscore.
In 1990, Saudi authorities issued edicts prohibiting driving by women after 47 veiled Saudi women drove in a convoy in Riyadh, calling on the government to lift the ban.
According to Qanta A. Ahmed’s opinion article, the “Saudi ban on women driving is against Islam,” and women calling for the right to drive can resort to evidence from the days of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
For instance, Khadija, the prophet’s first wife, traveled independently to do her business. Here, Islam encourages equality between men and women in terms of traveling by car, on donkey or camels.
According to Islamic writings, the prophets’ wives, along with other Muslim women during the days of Prophet Mohamed, rode camels as a means of transportation.
Islamic history is living proof in this regard.
“Do Saudi Sheikhs want to tell us that women riding camels and donkeys during the Prophet’s era were more devout than today’s women who simply want to drive cars to run errands at their ease. This is so paradoxical and hypocritical of these Sheikhs!” Saadia Jellouli, a university student from Morocco told MWN.
“Islam is never against women driving. On the contrary, it is against the driving ban,” she underscored.
Edited by Anna Jacobs
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