Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Since I can't write these days...

Although I don't always agree with what she says or how she does it, I have to admire the guts Saudi women's rights activist, Wajeha Al-Huwaider, has to be able to make this video protest for International Women's day showing her driving on the streets of Saudia. Now mind you, if it's technically not illegal for women to drive here, and she does have a driver’s licence, then why should she get in trouble for making this video which shows her driving? Unfortunately we all know it doesn't quite work that way here:

I also came across a video featuring the always eloquent Suzan Zawawi from the Saudi Gazette. The first and second videos tell non-Saudis more about the lives of Saudi women in a few minutes that what I could write in a few years. We miss you Suzy, your mom and your sisters here in Al-Hassa:-)


I had a real problem pressing the mute button on this video, I soooo luv this song (AAYB DAISY!). It's an homage to the niqabis...I plan on being that sister at the end of the video on the motorcycle.


Organica said...

Wow! Thank you so much for posting the two videos. It has given me great insight on the Saudi culture.

I think it's Ironic that people think only the West view Saudi Arabia as an oppressive country for women, when other Middle Easterners do as well. My Egyptian friend recently turned down a 3aris because he lived in Saudi and she didn't want to be cooped up in the house :)

Is Suzy your sister? She is well spoken mashAllah. Although, I can tell from her speech she was trying her hardest to keep it positive by covering up some facts the journalist presented. Nevertheless, she is a great example of successful Saudi women.

I felt for the gynecologist who had to wear niqab all around the hospital. It must be challenging. I used to wear niqab and know how bothersome it could be wearing while trying to get important things done.

Saudi culture is an interesting one.

mummyjaan said...


Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

organic- I had the honor of knowing Suzan and her family when they lived in Al-Hassa a few years back. Her mom is the sweetest woman in the world and is a type of adopted mom for many of us who are far away from our own families.
As far as nikab in hospitals, I can't imagine it's much different than wearing a surgical mask, don't you think?

mummyjaan- you may want to peruse youtube a bit for some more saudi stuff. There were a few more vids, some just sensationalism, but I didn't add them because they didn't mesh with my blog content.

Miss Muslimah said...

The last video in particular was especially helpful to me,because of my desire to start wearing hijab was very inspiring and encouraging, masha'allah..
thank you for these videos daisy!they do alot to break down the misconceptions we may have about saudi life and culture.

Anonymous said...

I really need to get some speakers!These were great videos even though I couldn't hear them.I loved the homes,the scenery,the clothes,shoes and purses,and had a little chuckle at the raisin bran!Thanks Daisy for sharing and giving us some insight.Good luck with the insomnia.Insh'Allah it won't last long.TinaAhmat

Organica said...

Hmm. I think a surgical mask and a niqab are different. Especially the style the doctor was wearing in the video.

UmmAbdurRahman said...

I've already seen the videos of the journailist and the fertility doctor. Sadly, these videos won't do much to help the image of saudi women. Women could be completely "free" and successful and all that but as long as they are wearing the veil people will view them as oppressed.

I love sting/cheb mami song too.

Marie-Aude said...

Thanks a lot for these videos :)

I have a stupid question. What is the status of niqab ?
I had the feeling that it was legally compulsory to wear hijb and niqab (well to cover hair and face), but I saw two women faces : one the nurse in the hospital, and the yougest daughter at the end.
Im confused.
Or would it be that the nurse is not muslim ? And the youg girl too young to wear the niqab ?

PM said...

Very interesting. I like the music of the niqaab one and I think the message is in good faith but it did bring up two questions for me (and I confess I can't stand niqaab, so I come with prejudices LOL!).

First is the comment about smiling and dramatic gestures -- I have never noticed "dramatic gestures" but what I erally wondered is how would anybody know they are smiling so much? Here the women wear their shayla over nigaab so we see nothing.

Secondly, I found it interesting that so many of the photos actually are very alluring with niqaabis wearing heavy eye makeup and "showy" veils. Surely this is to attract male attetion while at the same time saying "I am a pious niqaabi". This is what I see In Qatar all the time now 00 whereas up until about 4 years ago you almost never saw niqaab at all. Why wear niqqab and then play up your physical beauty and sensuality? Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

Anyway, Thanks for the videos.

Salaam Alaikum,

Susan said...

I really enjoyed the first two videos. It looks like they might continue, so I'll have to "youtube" myself.

I tend to agree w/ PM about the contradiction in the 3rd video.

Kris said...

I enjoyed the videos too... Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum,
I stumbled upon your blog and read many of the posts. Fascinatin' stuff! I've never had such a glimpse into Saudi life for women. About these videos-very interesting, especially the one with Suzanne. I liked how when the reporter told her other women around the world can "wear what they want to wear" she told her that she is too. We Muslim women have this problem in the West, too; that people think we're forced to dress with hijab, either by a husband or some cultural standard, and they assume that we *must* not want to wear it. In college, I got into a dialogue with a woman about Islam and stuff, and she told me later what she had thought about Islam and Muslim women before we spoke (not good). She then said, "It's so different hearing about it from a person!"
I have to say that,unknowingly, the media got me too 'cause I was surprised to see the gynecologist working and talking with men, telling her patient's husband to sit here, introducing her family to the journalist. I was like, "saudi women can do that?!"
I'm curious, what's the consequence for a woman driving in Saudi?

Anonymous said...

Make sure you replace the term "Islam" with "Saudi version of Islam" every time its mentioned in the middle two videos. Also, this represents the typical propaganda that we hear over and over from the mentally enslaved Saudi females (specially the affluent ones).

To those Saudi females, please stop using the word "we" when speaking of Saudi females. You can have your own opinion about the situation but do not designate yourself as the official spokesperson of the whole female population in Saudi.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sis:

Thank you SO much for sharing these videos! I enjoyed all of them.

SAHM4Islam said...

Ok I have to comment on these generalizations that people seem to be making:

1) I chose to start wearing niqaab right after this last Ramadan and my husband and I had to visit one of his clients who had seen me before with hijab but not niqaab. Eventually the conversation lead to me wearing niqaab to which the client stated "Oh yes I did notice and wonder about it but as a surgeon I am use to seeing people in facial masks for 6-8 hours at a time so you start to learn to read facial facial expressions

2) Yes the "souq makeup" niqabees does seem hypocritical but it is possibly that some women do not wear niqaab by choice but by pressure or wear it not to be pious but quite the opposite. Basically niqaab don't make you pious only your intentions do.

BTW Daisy I liked the 2nd & 3rd vids too :)

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

miss muslimah- I can so empathize with your indecision about hijab. It's especially hard when around family and old friends. It's so much easier in a place where no one knew you "before".

tina- this is year 2 of insomnia, but it's really bad since last month.

organic- I know for myself, when I wore nikab all the time at uni in the west, i became used to it and I made sure to wear very "functional" styles (no froo froo). My coverings stayed intact in a windstorm!

ummabdurrahman- not just oppressed, it's viewed as contradictory to see educated/successful AND covered.

marie-aude- the status of the nikaab varies from area to area in Saudia and amongst Muslims in general. The nurse in the hospital may have been a foreign worker and its not compulsory for them to wear them although many expats choose to wear them when outside to fit in. The doctors daughter may not have reached puberty yet (menstruation) and so she would no veil however, like my daughter, after girls start to mature a bit they cover their hair and wear abayas off the shoulder but don't cover their faces. Many spouses HATE for their husband/wife to work in hospitals because many cute young Saudi women choose not to cover their faces at work, although they may be veiled in the street. Also, in cities like Jeddah, its MORE common to see women without the face veils than with it, even some without headscarves. THis is in stark contrast to Riyadh where everyone covers whereas Dammam is midway between the two when it comes to coverage.

PM- I always thought about this when having to give oral presentations at uni while wearing nikaab, how can my expressions show in order to make my presentation effective? I found that the eyes speak volumes and I always LOCKED eyes with various members of my audience during my speech. And I am quite animated anyway. I've never been able to cover my eyes, or wear sunglasses for that matter, and I don't think its necessary either unless you're eyes are all dolled-up. I have the same issue with girls in "souk makeup" and more than likely their covering for their family's sake and not out of belief, but only God can judge their true intentions.

Cairogal- I guess I was looking more at the written message than at the "dolled-up" sisters. However, I can't kick them out of the nikaabi club. The first thing my husband said when looking at the video was, "look at those girls making fitna with all their eye make-up".

mama kalila- :-)

anon- I'm so happy you gained insight through my blog. To be honest, there are so many contradictions in this country, for every woman like the gynecologist and Suzan there are dozens more whose husbands/family oppress them into domestic servitude without a chance to do anything else. I can't say its all roses. But, these strong and educated women do exist. To be honest, I'm waiting to see what the consequences of Ms.Huwaider's driving stunt will be. According to the newspapers, who every few weeks publish a piece on women caught driving, they're usually detained until a male "guardian" is contacted and their released. However, Ms. Huwaider is a thorn in their sides and is a perennial pain so I don't know what'll happen.

Saudi citizen- you are absolutely right. I hate how media always produce the same upper-class women to spout the same-old "we are not oppressed" BS. I must be truthful and admit that these women are the EXCEPTION and not the rule. As they pointed out in the video only a small percentage of women actually work and even most of Suzan's fellow graduates are at home with their kids.

safiyyah- :-)

layan- right on the money!

Katherine said...

I thought in the desert women can drive?It was in a national geographic years ago.I still have it.Not trying to make light of the issue but I don't like driving in the city here (the u.s.) I usually wait till dh can pick up what I need or go on a sunday when nobodys out!

Khair Insha'allah! said...

There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars of Islam as to whether or not niqab is obligatory. There are many narrations from aisha that the women of the Prophets (saw) used to cover their faces. The face is the most beautiful of a woman's adornment so it has the most right to be covered.

It is truly difficult to be different and make the choice to wear hijab. What I find horrendous is muslim women blaming tradition or male dominace or whatever other excuse to not wear hijab/niqab because they don't have the guts to do it themselves. At least study your religion understand that's it mandatory and confess that you lack something personal within yourself to implement it.

Susan said...

"At least study your religion understand that's it mandatory and confess that you lack something personal within yourself to implement it."

That is a mainstream interpretation but not the only interpretation. Since one cannot know what is in the heart of another nor that person's intentions it is best to focus on oneself and not guess about the reasons others do or do not veil.

SAHM4Islam said...

In future i'll try to calm down and stop speaking for you hehe ;)

Amoola said...

LOL...I love the motor bike!

Rebellious Arab Girl said...

I really like your blog. The videos are great! Thanks for sharing. I will add you to my blog roll! :) Keep on blogging!

Susie of Arabia said...

Hi Daisy -
I really enjoyed watching the videos - thanks so much for posting them. I'm going to go on YouTube and see what else I can dig up!

Anonymous said...


I was just able to watch some more of the videos you posted yesterday and was shocked to see the ones of the Saudi females stripping on the web.I don't know why I was so shocked as it goes on all the time here in America.I guess it's just because they are Saudi girls and I stereotype them as being "pure".Just wondered if this would subject them to "honor killings" if they were found out?
Also I was very nervous watching the video with the lady who had her young boy in the back seat with her and he was not in any type of car seat.Wondered if you had any stats on the child death rate in Saudia from not being belted or in a car seat.I'm sure it's probably not a "law" there.Thanks!TinaAhmat

PM said...

Salaam Alaikum Khair inshallah,

I have studied my religion and am a university professor -- noy in Islamic Studies -- but nevertheless well educated and able to read and think critically. I do not read covering hair as mandatory and cretianly do not read niqaab as mandatory in that there were some things that applied to the wives of the Prophet (saw) that do not necessarily apply to all women.

Surely we must be modest BUT what defines modesty in Quraan that is clear is to draw your khimar across your bosom. Actually, at one point in jahiliyah the Persian women covered their hair in a mnner that still exposed their breasts. They wore a wrap similar to a khimar and it makes great sense that women would thus be told to cover their bosom.

I have no problem with women choosing to wear hijaab -- or even niqaab for that fact when it isn't "hoochie mama niqaab" like some of the women in the video. It is true I have a personal preference and like to see the face of women I am interacting with, but it's not for me to dictate that.

What I do have a problem with is sisters like you who say things like: study your religion and know hijaab (assuming you mean a head scarf) is mandatory. Ultimately, this is between a woman and God. It is not for a man to tell us to wear it -- nor is it for another sister to tell us.


Aafke said...

I love the motorcicle-rider!

Video's 2 and 3 are from a dutch documentary. It is about women and working in saudi arabia, and it has been shown several times in dutch tv.

What the clip doesn't show is that after she tells us she is quite happy to be driven she has to amke a phonecall explaining she is late because the driver she ordered didn't show up on time, and she explaines that Saudi women are not habitually late, but as they are dependend on drivers they cannot help being very often late.

The whole documentary is in English, the VPRO has put it there themselves, so the quality is good, but I suppose you'll need a fast connection. So if you want to see it completely on You-tube:

There is also a bit about a woman photographer just starting her own business which I found quite interesting.

Khair Insha'allah! said...

PM- You are right, it was common for the women to wear a scarf that would hang behind them...This is why Allah commanded that they draw the veil ala Jubihinna, over their bosoms. Also In the narrations of Prophet Muhammad, you have many statments of the sahabiyyah that state that after the verses of hijab were revealed that the women tore a piece of their clothing to cover their faces. And how the faces were covered EXCEPT during the hajj.

It is definetly a personal choice. But you can not make the statement that this was only for the wives of the prophet as the ayat say the believing women not and tell your wives, altough tey too are our example. And I tink if it were up to te men (were tis concept comes from I ave no idea) Im sure they would all love to see our faces and adornments, which is why hijab was mandated in the first place. There are many books written tat give scholarly opinion on the subject of hijab and niqab. And there is not one school of thought (that I know of anyway, please enlighten me if there is) that does not hold hijab and niqab to be obligatory. Wallahu Alim.

Khair Insha'allah! said...

Typos due to sticky keys not ignorance, male domination or hijab.

Kris said...

The whole topic of when to wear niqab on here caught my attention.. esp how is done between the diff cities. I have a friend from Jeddah (more like had, now we just email mostly fwds lol) that tried to explain it to me when we first met. He said that women who wore makeup had to wear niqab & if no makeup you didn't. Of course this is coming from a guy lol.

The Queen said...

Kair you said:
"and confess that you lack something personal within yourself to implement it"

I've often seen comments like this regarding hijab and actually read them as psychological coercion.
Who really wants to be someone with something 'lacking' within themselves?

Do people who are against your wearing of hijab or niqab ever tell you that you wear it because you lack self esteem and are ashamed of something about yourself and that is why you hide?

Khair Insha'allah! said...

Actually, I've never had anyone but a kafir object to my hijab. Other muslims usually admire the religious commit it takes to get over the social norms of the west in order to wear it. Hijab is not a social choice (yayy now I can leae the house and never comb my hair, how convenient, It's a religious coice to take yourself off the market for the lustful eyes, the on-going fads and the show-off your stuff mentality. I dress up and make-up at home and I cover outside.
And if you look at historical modes off dress, even european women had a sense of modesty that was equivalent to islamic standards of covering. I intend to a post on my blog along those lines so check it out, insha'allah.

Khair Insha'allah! said...

sorry for hijacking your post, Daisy.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the videos. As others have mentioned, I am curious about what life is like for a Saudi woman who is not of the upper middle class. For example, who are the women who are serving as maids? Are they single Saudi women, or are they workers from other countries? Are they Muslim? How do they get to live with another family that is not their own?

It also answered a question I had about chauffeurs; it seems they don't sit around in front of the house all day waiting to drive the women places. From the video, it looks like a kind of taxi service? I'm unclear why it is okay for a man driver to be alone with a woman, but not other men. Must they pass some type of moral inspection?

Well, great documentary nonetheless! Thank you for sharing.

Molly said...

Thank you!

You know for most of the first video I thought Suzy was an American expat married to a Saudi. MashAllah her english is amazing. I wasn't until part two that I started questioning.

I do have a question though, do most niqabis in Saudia not cover their hands or arms? Everytime her sleeve slid up I kept cringing. I'm so used to seeing niqabis with long gloves, and I myself as a hijab-only gal always cover my forearms. Is it not the same in Saudia?

And I'm in agreement with a lot of the comments about video three, a lot of those niqabis are either fashion shoots or not what I would consider a niqabi. That much makeup and a faceveil are like an oxymoron to me.

But I give the video-maker kudos for attempting something very noble.

Thanks for posting these dear!

PM said...

My goodness Khair Inshallah,

You really must know everything that God does if you know that we women who don't wear hijaab lack something personal within ourselves. It must be great to be so knowledgable and able to pass judgment on other Muslims, as well as the "kuffar". Lucky you!

PM, aka someone who lacks something personal within myself to make myself as pious as you.

Marie-Aude said...

Thanks a lot for the explanation :)

Khair Insha'allah! said...

PM- acceptance is the first step to recovery...

And don't get me wrong. the point I am trying to make is that hijab is a religious issue, it is a proven commandment from Allah and his messenger. Choosing not to wear it is personal. And whoever chooses not to than alhamdulillah that is definetly between them and Allah. But don't make it seem like the women who do wear it are ignorant or suffer male domination and all that. The personal thing lacking is feeling like you should sacrifice your personal feelings, discomfort, rebellion in order to please god. If you are commanded and to pray and you dont, or fast and you don't, or eat with your right hand and you don't or won't, there is something that you are "lacking" as far as religious commitment. And the words Can't and Won't as you can see are two different things. Allahu Yah'dina

PM said...

Inshallah Khair:

Not everyone reads the issue like you do. You are so convinced you are right that you cannot conceive of anyone who may not read all the sources and come up with the same thing you have. If "recovery" will make me a judgmental muslimah who thinks she knows everything, then I'll stay as I am.


Anonymous said...

"If 'recovery' will make me a judgmental muslimah who thinks she knows everything, then I'll stay as I am. "

LOL. Excellent reply.

I don't wear hijab and I am not muslim but I found Khair INshallahs opinion to be just as stupid and intolerant as those who say women should not cover

I love it when bigotted, close minded people who think they know everything try to hide their bigotry and stupidity under somekind of cloak of religiousity and piety. Believing in an opinion held by the majority of muscles does not make it fact. It makes it an opinion that happens tbe held by the majority of muslims. And the spirit of your comments are really no different than those of the "kaffir" you apparently had a problem with. In fact they are exactly the same. (ie: stupid) And i loved the "lacking something in themselves bit" How arrogant can you be.

Anyways, sorry for jacking the thread. Its so interestig to see/read something about Saudi other than the "women can't drive" ad nausem that I usually read so thanks a lot :) And I love your blog btw Daisy. Your a great writer.

Khair Insha'allah! said...

Sticks and stones...One thing I am not is stupid sweetie. And the word you are looking for would be "Belief". I believe wole heartedly in my religion. I don not try to change it. I do not make excuses for it.
And you don't have to be convinced by me. The beauty of my religion is that we know that the truth to all things will be made known. And on that day I wonder who will be more sorry, the one confirmed or the one who denied.
For those who would like to know more about islam and the hijab can find a really good lecture concerning it here

And now I beleive we can close this discussion.

Again, sorry Daisy...

The Queen said...

"And now I beleive we can close this discussion"

LOL That is almost as funny as the load of crap lie "I've never had anyone but a kafir object to my hijab"

I think we all pretty much know what you will be doing on judgement day. Trying to make excuses for your arrogance and the bad impression which you give of Islam would be my guess.

Anonymous said...

Ack - what happened here? This isn't seemly. And does it have any benefit?

Anonymous said...

myUh, I don't see why everyone's ganging up on khair, insha'Allah. True, no one knows what's in another's heart, no one-especially a Muslim for that matter-can or should claim to know that...
"...He is the Knower of all that is in the chests..." Surah Mulk, verse 13
And these days, hijab, or a beard, or any other outward manifestation of Islam is definitely not an indicator of one's inner level of piety. I've seen sisters who wear hijab saying/doing things reprehensible and totally inconsistent with the teachings of Islam, and other non-hijab wearing sisters who were amazingly kind and helpful, and vice versa. But no one can deny that hijab is obligatory on all Muslim women. Don't go fatawa shopping here people. Hijab is obligatory and that's the truth. As far as niqab goes, as far as I understand, only the Abu Hanifa school of thought says it's obligatory. Allahu Alam.
Listen, I'm not blaming anyone for not wearing hijab. I myself did not wear it "full-time" until I was in college. I believe that we Muslims today are all struggling and hanging onto our religion by a thread. We are such a mess, we are so far away from true Islam, even us hijab wearin' and beard growin' people- and I don't believe that any lay person has any right to judge another, especially because of the pathetic state we're in today. There *are* undeniable obligations in Islam (like hijab), yes, that's true and it is up to each individual to fulfill that obligation for the sake of receiving God's pleasure only. Individually, we must strive-each and every one of us, so that collectively, we can make a difference in this world. Khair, insha'Allah-I think that's why you left a bad taste in the mouths of Daisy's blog readers here. Lots of things in Islam are obligatory and I'm sure that you, like the rest of us, fall short somewhere. On that note, pm, hijab is obligatory, and that does not make it less between the hijab-wearer and God than if it were not obligatory. We can not simply brush things off as optional by saying it's between God and the individual. Everything is; that doesn't make a difference.
I apologize if I've misunderstood anything or said anything in error.

The Queen said...

'There *are* undeniable obligations in Islam (like hijab)'

But what defines hijab IS debatable.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed seeing 'inside' of Saudi Arabia but I was dismayed at some of the ideas that came across about Islam. As previously mentioned, the whole beauty of the niqab is ruined for me when I see women with gobbs of make-up around their eyes. May God guide them. It seemed very odd to have the pious sister get into a car with a male chauffeur not from her family driving. Until she mentioned it I thought he was her husband possibly. Women drivers would sure solve that problem! Ha.

I really felt for Sister Zeinab the doctor who has to work covered. I was really under the impression that there were women only hospitals in Saudi where doctors could be uncovered and free to work in without male interference. Maybe there are both. But more power to her and her family full of educated Muslims. Thanks for the glimpse of your world, and thanks to those sisters who made the videos.

PM said...


You are doing the same thing Khair Insha'Allah has done. YOu are stating that without a doubt you think covering one's hair is obligatory. I do not agree based on my reading of Quran and Hadith. I have no problem with you feeling that this is an absolute MUST for you and any other sister who sees it that way. I only have a problem when PEOPLE think they know what God wants and means "without a doubt". May Allah protect me from becoming one of those people.

Now, I will not respond anymore on this issue, insha'Allah.

Salaam Alaikum.

Aafke said...

I agree with PM.
It is weird, but whenever there is a whiff of the hijab it explodes in a heated discussion. Up to the threat of hell-fire!
It is not one of the five pillars of Islam, so I wonder if all this insistance on covering is built on such a weak basis that the protagonists find it nessecary to enhance their arguments a bit.

Video 2 & 3 were made by a dutch woman; Brechtje van der Haak. She does mention in her complete video that there is really only a very small percentage of women working in SA, and tried to get to those women.

She also did an interesting one on the four lady-presenters of ''Kalam Nawaem'' an arab program tackling some very controversial subjects, presented by four arab women from different countries.
Just search on you-tube for ''VPRO women in islam''

Anonymous said...

the queen-the only debatable things are the face, hands,and feet

Anonymous said...

Uuuuu...I just wanted to say, this topic just gets so warm....anyhoo....I had a good chuckle at the part where the sister explains that she doesn't cover in her home--and the interviewer says something like "but you are in your home now"...yeah and this film is not going anywhere? Masha Allah, the sis was much more tactful than what I was thinkin!
And true that about relying on non-mahrams for transport...seems berry silly....
Daisy, I'm hoping you get some sleep inshallah.
Love and peace,
~Brooke AKA Ummbadier

Barbara said...

Congratulations on your blog: rarely I've found one so interesting! I'd like to know different cultures and kinds of living, and your blog is very precise.

Miss Muslimah said...

I hate self righteous attitudes....

That is why salafi's have such a bad rep! I cant say this enough!

Anonymous said...

You know. you write bravely and I adnire you for that. Continue blogging about truth!!!

Molly said...

Hi! I'm afraid my question got lost in the debate. Do niqaabis in Saudi not cover their arms and hands??

I'm not saying its good or bad, I'm just curious because all of the niqaabis I know here or in Egypt wear long gloves.

Anonymous said...

It's quite unfortunate that we have da'wah against niqab and khimar/hijab from Muslims themselves. None of our traditional scholars, of the past and present, have ever said that niqab isn't part of the deen, or that khimar doesn't cover the hair. We can preach on about our own opinions, but let us be just about what is clear: there is no ikhtilaf amongst our beloved 'ulema about the basic hijab. And we have the right to hold onto something that is this clear in the Qur'an, Sunnah, and books of fiqh.

To each their own, nevertheless. Allah will judge us all individually, but we should hold onto the proofs brought forth, not mere opinion.

Amina said...

very good post sister! it is good that someone have gutts to show facts way they are!!!! just wonder what could be really done about the end it's KSA

Hijabi Apprentice said...

"It is weird, but whenever there is a whiff of the hijab it explodes in a heated discussion."

I know sheesh! Anyways good post ukhtee.

Anonymous said...

I watched these videos several times. The first one made a good Arabic lesson, and the second one rekindled my memories of having lived in the Kingdom. Thanks.

Yasmine said...

Umm Layth...You could not express it better than that....I agree...May Allah (swt) have mercy on all of us.....Jasak Allahu Khair ;)

Anonymous said...

There's no question that hijab is obligatory in Islam; there is no controversy, ad there has been agreement among scholars throughout the centuries and around the world. And from what I know, niqab is obligatory in three of the four schools of Islamic law (the exception being Hanafi). Hijab is not specifically one of the five pillars of Islam, but the first pillar involves following the Quran and Sunnah... and there you have it.

About the niqab, it should be understood that women wear niqabs for different reasons. There are women who wear niqab because it's required in their culture, and they may wear heavy make-up in the areas that can be seen (i.e. the eyes). In Saudi, since it's expected of Saudi women (depending on the region), some women wear it only for that reason. In Saudi and other parts of the Middle East, there are also women who wear it because they're Bedu, and it's part of their culture; some of them wear abayas, hijabs and make-up intended to make them attractive.

You can easily tell the women who are wearing niqab for religious reasons. They won't be wearing tons of makeup around their eyes; they'll keep their arms covered, etc.

Anonymous said...

AA Daisy,

Daisy where are you? Are you and your family ok? It's been 30 days since we heard from you and I'm experiencing some really bad SaudiStepfordWife withdrawals!!! Please come back to us Daisy!Tina;)

The Queen said...

Anonymouse says: 'There's no question that hijab is obligatory in Islam; there is no controversy'

There is no controversy??? You can see controversy right here and you will find controversy from modern day scholars of Islam so your statement sounds like nothing more than a desperate attempt at justification for what YOU feel is right. ie: making non-hijabi Muslim women feel that they are not being as good a Muslim as you.

Anonymous said...

"The Queen", a few people saying they don't like the hijab is not a controversy. Name me an Islamic "scholar" who says hijab is not obligatory, and then please list his or her credentials.

The Queen said...

Although I am fairly confident that you would most likely refute the qualifications of any Muslim who disagrees with you on the issue of covering,I will list just a couple scholars of Islam that do. When you read up on them then you too can learn that yes, there is a whole world full of educated Muslims that beg to differ with your opinion that there "IS NO CONTROVERSY" about hijab. When you get half as much religious education as any of these people, then you can argue with THEM. My point is that there IS difference of opinion and it isn't just on a blog with uneducated people spouting off as if they are all knowing.

Mr. Mohamad Kazim Yusuf, a Guyanese-American, editor of the Islamic periodical, Aalim, concludes: “The issue is simply this: within Islamic theology there is no mandatory requirement for wearing the hijab. A Muslim woman is free to wear it or not wear it. The essential dress code is characterized by simplicity, decency and modesty.”

Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, President of the Islamic Research Foundation, and a Professor at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. –“ Hijab (head cover) for Muslim women is not mandated in the Qur’an. If it is, it is only the subjective interpretation of an ayah (verse) on the part of the reader.”

Muhammad Asad , author of "The Message of the Qur’an." - Asad spent some six years in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, where he studied Arabic, the Qur'an, the hadith—the traditions of the Prophet—and Islamic history.

This of course is just a small sampling. If you really want to, you can find more on your own. All you have to do is open your eyes and your mind.

PM said...

Thank you "Queen" --

I had just given up on dealing with the scarf-bullies but your response clears up the main misconception here (ie., that there is some controversy over the mandate of a head scarf).

Salaam Alaikum,

Anonymous said...

This is "a small sampling"? Or this is all you could come up with?

OK, so you quoted Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, whose PhD is in Nuclear Medicine Sciences. Very impressive if we were discussing something remotely related to that...

Then there's Mr. Mohamad Kazim Yusuf. I googled him and the only thing I found were a couple of references to that one quote where he says hijab is not mandatory. That article refers to him as the editor of "Aalim"; that's the little newsletter from the Islamic Research Foundation, which is headed by Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, mentioned above. I looked at a few copies over the years, and Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed was always named as the editor, managing editor, or assistant editor; he writes most of the articles, and it seems to be his mouthpiece. Dr. Ibrahim was the managing editor when this man was the editor, and it looks like the job of editor was just to put together a few articles by Dr. Ibrahim. In the newsletter, his last name was spelled "Yusuff". I did find references in google to a Guyanese man in Washington named Mohamad Kazim Yusuff; he's a CPA. Sorry, but I don't think this quote carries much weight.

I am familiar with Muhammad Asad; I loved his book "The Road to Mecca". He was a writer and a diplomat, a very interesting guy, but I'm not aware of his having an actual Islamic education. His interpretation of the meanings of the Quran is controversial.

Bedouin Girl said...

We miss you! Please hurry and post again soon!

The Queen said...

'OK, so you quoted Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, whose PhD is in Nuclear Medicine Sciences. Very impressive if we were discussing something remotely related to that...'

I know that there is no way you could have found that out about him without learning this as well:He is listed in Who's Who in Religion and He is a founding member and member of many Islamic Organizations in North America. He served many Muslim communities as a Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President including the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers of North America. He is a Founder and currently President of the Islamic Research Foundation International Inc., located in Louisville, Kentucky.

He is a prolific writer and has published over 100 articles chapters, books on topics related to his profession. He has also written about 300 articles on a multitude of Islamic subjects particularly on “Qur’an and Science” that are available to read at . His book "Intellectual Achievements of the Muslims", was published in 2002. He is the World’s Foremost Exponent for the interpretation of Qur’an Majid in the light of modern knowledge. He regularly gives color slide presentation lectures on various Islamic subjects in Islamic Centers in the USA and abroad. His outstanding contribution to diversity in education while providing a positive role model for students conferred him a Diversity Award 2002 . Occasionally he serves as an Imam and Khatib for Jumuah prayers in local Masajid and outside Louisville. He is a volunteer Muslim Chaplain (Imam) at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and at most of the Correctional Institutions (Prisons) throughout the State of Kentucky. He is a licensed Qadi to perform Islamic marriages in Kentucky and Indiana states.

"I'm not aware of his (Muhammad Asad)having an actual Islamic education"

I realize that there are a lot of things that you are not aware of. That is why you should read more. Never stop learning. As I already wrote - 'Asad spent some six years in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, where he studied Arabic, the Qur'an, the hadith—the traditions of the Prophet—and Islamic history.

Now, if you can show me where you are more educated in Islam than any of the people that I listed, and yes, they were just a small sample. There are well educated Muslims all over the world that have the same understanding as these that I have mentioned. The fact that you want to belive differently does not change the fact that controversy DOES exist.

PM, It is beyond me why they are allowed to spout off as if they are 'all knowing' without being put in their place. I've found that it's usually the biggest mouths that are the least able to think on their own. It's a shame really. I wish I could wiggle my nose and all the uneducated of the world could magically open their eyes.

Anonymous said...

"Now, if you can show me where you are more educated in Islam than any of the people that I listed, and yes, they were just a small sample."

I don't need to show that I'm more educated than them, because the opinion on hijab is not from me.

If there were actually any controversy, I would need to show how the scholars who say hijab is required (basically all Islamic scholars, all over the world, for the past 1400 years, in all schools of Islamic law) are more educated than the two people you could find. And there's no question about that.

As for Dr. Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed... In the U.S., many of the people who run Islamic centers and give lectures are not people who would ever be considered Islamic scholars. They're often business executives or engineers or computer professionals; alhamdulillah, they make this effort, but giving lectures and heading an association of engineers doesn't make you an Islamic scholar.

There are many of us who read and learn, give lectures and write articles and do dawah; that doesn't make us scholars. The fact that you can't make that distinction may be the root of your misunderstandings.

Like I said, I've read Muhammad Asad and loved his book, but living in Saudi Arabia and learning Arabic also doesn't make you a scholar in itself... Does he have ijazas for Quran and hadith?

And by the way, you don't know anything about me except what I've written here. Why do you have to resort to personal insults like those that you usually write in the last paragraphs of your posts?

The Queen said...

'I don't need to show that I'm more educated than them, because the opinion on hijab is not from me'

Exactly! Do your OWN research, get your OWN education and make your OWN opinions! That's what Islam is supposed to be about. Isn't that what makes it so wonderful? Or are you of the opinion that it is wonderful because it has managed to keep a very high number of people clinging to cultural traditions and calling it 'religion' for the last 1400 years? Think female genital mutilation for a moment. Those that believe in that think that 'there is no controversy' either.

I'm very sorry if you take offense at my personal opinions about people who judge others based on OTHER people's opinions rather than on their own educated and researched opinions. My bad.

hijabinfo said...

Assalamu aleikum sis!

I just stumbled over your blog yesterday and sat up until 3 am reading!! I love it!

I'm a European muslimah living in Kuwait and although it's different here that in Saudi, I can relate to a lot of what you're writing!

You're bookmarked for sure!

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

My comment notification goes off for a while and I come back to all this arguing! Wow!

Instead of delving into the hijab is optional/a must debate with separate comments, I'll just add this:
I understand that covering the hair IS mandatory however, like most things in Islam it is up to the individual on what you can tolerate. Ultimately, it is NOT the most important thing for women in our religion despite all the hubbub about it and one CAN be pious without it. Having said that, I'd feel positively naked without mine!

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

always in the kitchen- it is CLAIMED that we can drive outside of the cities but if we were stopped by authorities, we'd still get busted!

amoola, rebellious arab girl, and susie- thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you liked the vids.

Tina- "pure" my foot (in most cases). The carseat issue isn't an issue here...most just don't use it, or seatbelts for that matter.I'd wish they'd hurry up and make it a highly punishable law like they did in the west, too many traffic deaths here already.

aafke- thanks for that link, i was wondering if the rest of it was there someplace.

mamma kalila- make-up or no, it depends on whether you think its mandatory or not to wear it. However, some of my friends who DON't think its obligatory will cover their faces when dolled up.

hafidha sofia- you've hit on the biggest point of hypocrisy, why tell us that we can't drive because it may lead to mixing with men but we have to be alone with strange drivers? As far as Saudi maids, it is rare but not unheard of for Saudis to be housekeepers. Some will moonlight as cooks in other houses but these tend to be "Saudis" of African/other racial backgrounds and of a very poor socio/economic class.

Molly- yes we do cover our arms but I think Suzy is emphasizing her issue with "lateness". There are those who wear gloves, and I used to, until I realized how pointless/annoying it was. For example, paper money was hard to grasp, I'd have to keep removing them to eat, count money, touch fabric I was thinking of buying, etc. Finally, I just had the sleeves of my abaya made to go down to my fingertips. No one will freak if your arms show unintentionally just like if the wind blows open your biggy!

Nicole- exactly my take on it...let us drive ourselves for God's sake!

Brooke- "tactful" definitely! Please make some sleep du'aa for me:-)

Barbara- hey, that's my mom's name! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to hear from you again in the future.

Wangbu- glad to hear from you:-)

Amina- thanks for the compliments. Change happens here but soooo slowly. Long held opinions can't be changed overnight but when it's put into perspective, Saudis have changed in leaps and bounds in a few generations.

marahm- I'm glad you remember your time here warmly, pun intended:-P

Tina- You crack me up and I love you for checking on my sister!

Bedouin girl- inshallah:-)

vibeke- ahlan. Inshallah I'll hear again from you on future posts.

UmmMohammed, PM, TheQueen, Khair Insha'allah!, Dalia, Umm, aafke, Miss Muslimah, UmLayth, hijabi apprentice, yasmine, anon, and the whole Hijib Debate Team:

There's really nothing more I could add that hasn't already been said. But, try to keep it nice, eh?

Salihah said...

Masha'Allah, thank you for your blog, ukhti. I found you on the blogroll of another blog where you commented on the comparison of Saudi women and the Amish. I was looking for the pic you said you had of your family in Ohio, lol, I used to be Amish.

I tried to watch the niqaabi video but it says it is private.