Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi women use fatwa in driving bid

The women threatened to follow through the fatwa which allows them to breastfeed their drivers and turn them into their sons

  • By Abdul Rahman Shaheen, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:01 June 20, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News

Riyadh: Saudi women plan to turn a controversial fatwa (religious ruling) to their advantage and launch a campaign to achieve their long-standing demand to drive in this conservative kingdom.

If the demand is not met, the women threatened to follow through the fatwa which allows them to breastfeed their drivers and turn them into their sons.

The campaign will be launched under the slogan: "We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners," a journalist told Gulf News.

Amal Zahid said that their decision follows a fatwa issued by a renowned scholar which said that Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to become their sons.

"As every Saudi family needs a driver, our campaign will focus on women's right to drive," she said.

The controversial fatwa, which was regarded as both funny and weird, issued recently by Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Nasser Al Obaikan, member of Saudi Council of Senior Scholars and adviser to the king, has sparked a debate in society.

The renowned scholar said Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to be become their sons and brothers to their daughters.

Under this relationship, foreign drivers can mix freely with all members of the family without breaking the Islamic rule which does not allow mixing of genders.

Breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood relationship in Islam.

"A woman can breastfeed a mature man so that he becomes her son. In this way, he can mix with her and her daughters without violating the teachings of Islam," the scholar said.

‘Ridiculous and weird'

Al Obaikan based his fatwa on a Hadith (saying) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which was narrated by Salim, the servant of Abu Huzaifa.

Later, Al Obaikan clarified that his fatwa was being distorted by the local media which ignored the condition that the milk should be drawn out of the woman and given to the man in a cup to drink.

Speaking to Gulf News, a number of Saudi women condemned the fatwa. Fatima Al Shammary was quoted by the local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying the fatwa was "ridiculous and weird".

"This fatwa has become a hot topic of debate among women. Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?" she said.

Another Saudi woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned: "Does Islam allow me to breastfeed a foreign man and prevent me from driving my own car?

"I have not breastfed my own children. How do you expect me to do this with a foreign man? What is this nonsense?" she said.

Another woman said the fatwa should also apply to the husbands who should be breastfed by housemaids. By doing so, all will be brothers and sisters," she said.

Hamid Al Ali, a journalist for an electronic newspaper, recalled that an Egyptian driver who had a crush on a female teacher he drives to school asked her to breastfeed him. When she retorted angrily, he said: "I want to be your son."

Saudi writer Suzan Al Mashhadi sarcastically asked Al Obaikan: "Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone?"

"Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?" she asked.

Comments (41)

  1. Added 18:11 June 20, 2010

    This is another example of distortion of Islam and making it look to the rest of the world as backward and harsh. I wish these scholars focus on real issues that Islam teaches one being basic human rights ignored in the Middle East, another is why there are such few in the region who have the wealth and others are poor, the oil there is not there to build them palaces but benefit everyone. True Islam teaches Women are equal to men.

    zoom, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:54 June 20, 2010

    The scholar who issued this fatwa must be punished. I am stunned on the reaction of Saudi women to use this fatwa in driving bid. Ah! its very painful to hear this. I don't think Saudis are going on the wrong path. Once I deeply respected Saudi women for their modesty but this comment by them has completely stunned me. If you want your right granted then you have many ways to get it but this comment is completely nasty. SHAME ON SAUDI WOMEN FOR MAKING SUCH A NASTY COMMENT IN THEIR DRIVING BID.

    Mohammad Moaz, kolkata, India

  3. Added 17:52 June 20, 2010

    This Fatwa make mockery of great religion on the face of earth.

    Ayyaz, Mumbai, India

  4. Added 16:56 June 20, 2010

    Dear Gulf news Editor, we humbly request you to verify the source before you report this type of disgusting/rubbish news which might greatly effect religious sentiments. Just coz of this one fancy article you brought all muslims down as this topic is spreading faster than swine flu.. Trust you will take great care before you print any sensitive news. Oh Allah Guide us in right path n save us from evil thinking..

    Shades of Disappointment, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 16:25 June 20, 2010

    At least they must think before issuing a fatwa. Such fatwas have already done a great harm to our Islamic nation.

    Kamran Bangash, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:42 June 20, 2010

    Im surprised that gulfnews has even published this on its website. if freedom of jounalism is given dont abuse it... Islam has highly respected women and given her its full rights, even many hadiths from the Prophet (PBUH) has shown clearly how women are highly respected and appreciated.

    sham Das, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 15:42 June 20, 2010

    Care must be exercised not to tarnish the image of Islam with such fatwa on the basis of any unrecognisable hadeeths. I don't see why saudi women are diasllowed driving.

    najmudeen, Chennai, India

  8. Added 15:32 June 20, 2010

    To be honest there was no sense for publishing this kind of news into the public and representing Islam in wrong way. I protest and condemn this report! I Kindly request not to prompt this kind of things in public!

    Ali, Karachi, Pakistan

  9. Added 15:11 June 20, 2010

    Muslim women must be allowed to drive. There are many such situations when a family is in dire need for a driver and no one is to be found. Hence female drivers are very important. Why should females only depend on male relatives to drive them around? And, this fatwa is being ridiculed for nothing. Traditional Muslim women of high birth in Islamic history were found to be running their own businesses as in the case of the Prophet's beloved wife, Hazrat Khadeeja (PBUH). Islam needs flexibility towards the freedom of women.

    Agniyah Shaikh, Sharjah, Afghanistan

  10. Added 15:08 June 20, 2010

    I am totally disagree both fatwa and comments from saudi womens, one who says with dignity that she didn't feed her son even. All the readers who want to get a clarification in this matter like me, please read the comment from Amina who is from dubai and follow her great reply. Thanks and regards to Amina.

    Shasmin, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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