Instead doing what is logical and correct, the Saudi preachers give rulings that expose their lack of Islamic knowledge. On Friday a Saudi preacher claimed that women that drive cars will damage their ovaries and will develop complications when bearing children. He did not cite any scientific or medical study for his fantastic claim. Why don't they allow women to drive cars, as they do in almost every other country in the world?
September 29, 2013, 15:39 EDT
Whenever the Saudi court ulama give a ruling on any subject, they complicate their own position because of the manner in which they interpret Islam. It is bad enough when they give archaic rulings about Islamic principles that are far removed from the teachings of the Qur’an and the spirit of the Sunnah of the noble Prophet, upon whom be peace, but when they begin to dabble in subjects about which they have absolutely no knowledge, it makes them the laughing stock of the world.
This is what happened last Friday (September 27) when Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan gave an interview that was published on the website sabq.org. In that interview he claimed that women who drive cars risk damaging their ovaries and will face clinical problems when bearing children. How the sheikh arrived at this conclusion was not immediately clear. He has no medical qualifications.
These kinds of rulings have become the staple of Saudi preachers that want to tightly control women in the desert kingdom. There has been a long ongoing campaign by Saudi women to defy the ban on driving cars. The women are extremely unhappy because it imposes restrictions on them that have no basis in the Qur’an or the Hadith of the noble Messenger, upon whom be peace.
At the time of the noble Messenger (saws), women used to ride camels and horses. These were the modes of transportation at the time. Today, cars and other means of transportation are used. How then can the Saudi preachers ban women from driving?
Who exactly is Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan? He is judicial adviser to an Association of Gulf Psychologists. Is that a qualification to give rulings like that? Further, can the sheikh quote any scientific or medical study that would inform people about his fantastic assertions?
The Saudi cleric’s statement came in the wake of a campaign by Saudi women to defy the ban on driving. A protest drive is scheduled for October 26 that has gone viral on the internet as increasing numbers of Saudi women have joined the campaign.
The Saudi regime, frightened by the rapidly growing campaign, blocked the website today. That may not be able to control the campaign because word has already gone out.
What exactly did Sheikh Lohaidan say in his ruling? He said "If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards," he told Sabq. "That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees."
The sheikh did not cite any specific medical studies or give reference to any medical report that would support his arguments.
Sheikh Abdulatif al-Sheikh, another Saudi preacher who heads the morality police, said in an interview with Reuters last week that there was no text in Islamic documents on which the Shariah is based that bars women from driving.
Yet the ban on women’s driving remains in force in the Saudi kingdom.