Saudi's next reform: Scrapping womens' abayas?

In what looks like the next shoe to drop, or abaya, as the case may be, a top Saudi cleric has announced that an abaya, or black headcovering [Correction: overgarment] is no longer neccessary attire for Saudi Arabian women.

According to Reuters:

Saudi women need not wear the abaya - the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of religious faith - a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said, another indication of the Kingdom's efforts towards modernisation.

On his television programme, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said Muslim women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya.

"More than 90 per cent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas," Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday (Feb 9). "So we should not force people to wear abayas."

It's not a law yet, but it's obviously a signal to the current youthful and reform-minded ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Mohammed bin Salman, that if he wants to get rid of the law, the cleric isn't going to object.

After all those things made women look like walking black garbage bags and were not only miserable for Saudi women, they also were a liability to Saudi Arabia's global image, subjecting it to quite a bit of ridicule, with some examples here and here.

The cleric's signal is obviously a green light to the prince, known as MbS, to press further on modernizing the Saudi state. The statement follows other modernizations lately seen in the kingdom, including allowing women the right to drive, and mixed-sex soccer stadiums.

I like that it doesn't compromise any religious principles. The cleric continues to support modesty in women, which is a good thing, yet he follows the instructions in the Koran, which is to allow people, including women, room for their own common-sense interpretations. It seems to be on solid Islamic theological ground.

He also cites the example of the broader Islamic world, where many women do not wear continuous headcoverings, which signals a global look outward after so many years of insularity.

There's probably another factor: Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-rival, which has cracked down on female protestors who have removed their head-coverings in defiance of the hated mullah regime. If Iranian women are watching, and they will be, they're going to be pressuring their own mullahs for the same rights. The corrupt mullahs, of course, who see themselves as the holiest of the holies, will find this a threat, and either crack down harder, provoking another angry response from the public, or else watch the virtue-signaling basis of their power dissipate further. Either way, the Saudis, who are threatened by the mullahs and all their Obama-provided money, will win.

The Saudis may be backward but nobody ever called them stupid. Dollars to donuts, they know what they are doing on the abaya question.

 

 

 

 

In what looks like the next shoe to drop, or abaya, as the case may be, a top Saudi cleric has announced that an abaya, or black headcovering [Correction: overgarment] is no longer neccessary attire for Saudi Arabian women.

According to Reuters:

Saudi women need not wear the abaya - the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of religious faith - a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said, another indication of the Kingdom's efforts towards modernisation.

On his television programme, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said Muslim women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya.

"More than 90 per cent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas," Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday (Feb 9). "So we should not force people to wear abayas."

It's not a law yet, but it's obviously a signal to the current youthful and reform-minded ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Mohammed bin Salman, that if he wants to get rid of the law, the cleric isn't going to object.

After all those things made women look like walking black garbage bags and were not only miserable for Saudi women, they also were a liability to Saudi Arabia's global image, subjecting it to quite a bit of ridicule, with some examples here and here.

The cleric's signal is obviously a green light to the prince, known as MbS, to press further on modernizing the Saudi state. The statement follows other modernizations lately seen in the kingdom, including allowing women the right to drive, and mixed-sex soccer stadiums.

I like that it doesn't compromise any religious principles. The cleric continues to support modesty in women, which is a good thing, yet he follows the instructions in the Koran, which is to allow people, including women, room for their own common-sense interpretations. It seems to be on solid Islamic theological ground.

He also cites the example of the broader Islamic world, where many women do not wear continuous headcoverings, which signals a global look outward after so many years of insularity.

There's probably another factor: Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-rival, which has cracked down on female protestors who have removed their head-coverings in defiance of the hated mullah regime. If Iranian women are watching, and they will be, they're going to be pressuring their own mullahs for the same rights. The corrupt mullahs, of course, who see themselves as the holiest of the holies, will find this a threat, and either crack down harder, provoking another angry response from the public, or else watch the virtue-signaling basis of their power dissipate further. Either way, the Saudis, who are threatened by the mullahs and all their Obama-provided money, will win.

The Saudis may be backward but nobody ever called them stupid. Dollars to donuts, they know what they are doing on the abaya question.