Another day, another misogynist fatwa…

Yesterday afternoon a document went viral all across the online news agencies and social media. The document is dated Sunday the 31st of October and in it is a fatwa and not just any fatwa, an official fatwa from the governmentally appointed committee for fatwas i.e. the highest council of our ultra conservative version of Sunni Islam. What’s so important that this committee would get together and issue a document and on the very same day release it to the press? Women, of course! A quick translation of the document:

This fatwa is issued in reply to the below question:

Several companies and shops are employing women as cashiers who serve both men and women as families. Each day these women cashiers meet dozens of men, and speak to them while handling back and forth money and receipts. In addition these women cashiers are required to undergo training, attend meetings and interact with their colleagues and supervisor at work. What is the ruling on women working as such? What is the ruling regarding companies and shops that recruit women? Please advise.

After study, the committee has come to the following reply:

It is not permitted for a Muslim woman to work in a place where they intermingle with men. A woman should stay away from places where men gather. She should search for employment that does not expose her to temptation nor make her a source of temptation. And what you have mentioned in your question does expose her to temptation and tempt men, hence it is Islamically prohibited. And the companies that employ women are collaborating with them in what is Islamically prohibited and thus they too are committing a prohibition. It is known that whoever fears God by leaving what God has prohibited and does what God asks of him, God will then facilitate his affairs, just as promised in the Quran (translation* verse 3/Al Talaq):

{And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.}

And the Prophet PBUH said: It will not be that you abandon something for the sake of God, but that God will compensate with what is better for you. (my translation)

There is a glimmer of hope here though. First off, this council, throughout its history, has prohibited things that remain legal, such as music and satellite TV channels that are not Islamic. So this fatwa might join the list of things that Saudis feel unwarrantedly guilty about but still do. It would be a shame if another door closes in the faces of women who are in desperate need of jobs.

A scan of the document:

*Yusuf Ali translation

63 Comments

Filed under Culture, Fatwas, Gender Apartheid

63 responses to “Another day, another misogynist fatwa…

  1. It’s so sad that there is such a horrible misunderstanding of Islam given such power and recognition.

  2. Coolred38

    Because the next logical step after handing a man his money and receipt…is to bat your eyes and lick your lips suggestively???? Run your finger down your hijabed neck and teasingly circle you chest area???? Or maybe they fear that women will be hasitly scribbling their mobile numbers on receipts and throwing them at the male customers???

    Why is it ok for a man to be sitting in that chair handing women money and receipts with no thoughts of temptation being assumed…but turn the tables and your one sale away from a mass orgy?

    Not only do I feel for the women of saudi in general…I feel even more for the women married to the men that signed that fatwa.

    • samiyah

      loool, you cracked me up wallahi. i can’t get over the double standards that saudi society has. why is it ok for a man to sell lingerie to women? i find that to be sickening.

    • Coolred38

      I like your sense of humor. Exactly “Why is it ok for a man to be sitting in that chair handing women money and receipts with no thoughts of temptation being assumed”. My answer to your “Why” is “hypocrisy”. The Mufti who issues such fatwa is ignorant and hypocrite.

  3. Darrel

    OMG!

    These women would meet men and talk to them. How HORRIBLE, how SINFUL, how anti-Islam! Soon women might be in every profession and even in government. Then KSA might be lead by women to come into the 21st century.

    There are almost 7 billion people in the world and only about 30 million Saudis. The rest of the world seems to have no problem with men and women “intermingling” normally.

    What exactly is the problem with KSA?

    • Darrel,
      “The rest of the world seems to have no problem with men and women”

      Well, to tell you the truth, there is a problem alright. But..so what.. let it be. Problems are there to be solved, but not through total prohibition which is the road for the lames.

    • “There are almost 7 billion people in the world and only about 30 million Saudis. The rest of the world seems to have no problem with men and women “intermingling” normally.

      What exactly is the problem with KSA?”

      The “problem” is Islaam. We’re Muslims and not like the other seven billion people in the world. We’re different. Did the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) intermingle with women or encouraged people to do so?

      There’s a hadith that goes:

      “The Prophet said, “The first man to be called on the Day of Resurrection will be Adam who will be shown his offspring, and it will be said to them, ‘This is your father, Adam.’ Adam will say (responding to the call), ‘Labbaik and Sa’daik’ Then Allah will say (to Adam), ‘Take out of your offspring, the people of Hell.’ Adam will say, ‘O Lord, how many should I take out?’ Allah will say, ‘Take out ninety-nine out of every hundred.” They (the Prophet’s companions) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! If ninety-nine out of every one hundred of us are taken away, what will remain out of us?” He said, “My followers in comparison to the other nations are like a white hair on a black ox.”

      So only every hundredth person will go to heaven. That’s only 1%. So not being like the rest of the world is good.

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  5. This is extremely outrageous >.<

  6. Anne

    *facepalm* Give me a break. It’s called adab, fatwa-issuers. People are not as sex-crazed or stupid as you all think. Most Muslim men and women are perfectly capable of interacting respectfully with each other without overstepping the boundaries set in Islam. What they are referring to is a business setting, and it is definitely allowed for men and women to interact for the sake of business, learning, etc.

    “And what you have mentioned in your question does expose her to temptation and tempt men”

    …I’m sure these people are the ones going on about how Islam respects and honors women, and then they go and claim that female cashiers are “tempting” men.

    Like I’ve said many times before, I love Islam, but I definitely have a problem with Muslims who try to make it into something it’s not (in this case, a system where men and women are never allowed to be in contact).

    • Vahad

      i agree with you. And for support they are quoting verses which has no implication or relevance to the situation at hand. Why are this so called ‘scholars’ under the impression that muslim men and women are sex crazed and sort of sexual predators?? Islam teaches me to sublime my emotions and interact respectfully towards all. With likes of these as muslim self styled leaders our ummah is doomed.

      • Reason

        Because with undermining ANY contact between men and women people HAVE become craving for sex, especially (but not only) men. They forgot that humans are able to control their feelings – we are no instinct-driven animals! This also is sunna! The first wife of our prophet PBUH was working, why was that allowed? Wasn’t she in contact with men? How did they get to know each other?
        Show a group of men in KSA (or some other conservative group) a covered sack of potatoes and tell them it’s a women – I would give a million to hear their thoughts then !!

    • It takes to hands to clap. If a woman wants to cheat, she will. The same goes to men. No body wear chastity belt but our Islamic and morality principles. Hence I believe in an open business environment women and men can work together.

      Yes..why not? If the working woman is dressed up according to the rules of Islam, then temptation is most of the way gone. The little left depends on the strength of both parties. Total prohibition is no solution.

  7. I agree with Coolred- how is it possible for the men to be sitting at the cashiers and handing over money to the women and this does not cause any problems to either the woman or the man?
    They are just on opposite sides of the counter!

    How about when the man is handeling lacey panties and bras the woman is about to purchase, asking her size and eyeing her “ornaments”?
    Can he control himself? What if he starts imagining them on her! the horror!!
    Could someone send them a question regarding the presence of men in womens lingerie stores?
    Are lingerie store places where men gather and thus women should avoid working in them?
    I want to ask these hypocrites why are women not allowed to work there? Or maybe the question should be why are men allowed to work there in the first place!!

    These men that signed the fatwa didn’t even provide any proof from Quran or Hadith to back up their ridiculous ruling.

    so maddening.

    • Jenna

      Yes Layla exactly! So… um I have to go to a strange man and explain to him what type of THONG panties I want… but I cannot sell a man a can of beans?!?!?

      outrageous.

      • angel

        ill in saudi for work in a week inshallah . and would love to be at place wehre saudi females buy panties ..ITs disgusting ,a country where women are kept safe have no seperate malls for all women only or just females will be serving females ..camels cant tthink and never learn .. even in nonmuslim countries there are places wehre men are not allowed and jsut females and are run by muslims . women even in west feel discomfort speaking about thier panties and bras .how could one expect females to take such thngs form a male eww

  8. Delux

    So basically… someone sat around all day thinking about ways in which women provide temptation to men… to write a ruling about how women should be prevented from providing temptation to men… to prevent women from providing temptation to men, who could be tempted?

    Um, ok.

  9. Laura Maniscalco

    It ‘obvious that who wrote this fatwa has in mind only one thing: sex

  10. If I wrote what is in my head, I would probably be crossing every Internet etiquette line there is… so let me just keep it as.. NO BLOODY COMMENT!

  11. To echo CoolRed and Layla, what exactly is it that makes it okay for women customers to come into contact with men cashiers but not the other way around? I just don’t understand this mentality and I never will. So Saudi Arabia business owners are forced to bring in foreign men laborers to work in positions that Saudi women would gladly take to help support their families – it’s just bad economic sense. Foreign workers spend very little of their income here in KSA – most of their earnings are sent home. When the oil eventually runs out, Saudi Arabia will be crippled financially because there is no Plan B – and too many Saudi men are being raised with a sense of entitlement that being a lowly cashier or whatever is beneath them. Wake up before it’s too late!

  12. Saudi women are working shoulder to shoulder with men all the time at the Kingdom’s ‘golden goose’, Saudi Aramco, and have been doing so for decades without problems. Someone should maybe remind these fatwa writers where their salaries are coming from!

  13. Oh and thanks, Eman, for translating this fatwa for those of us non-Arabic readers in the wings ;-)

  14. zahid

    May Allah protect and guide all the Muslim woman wherever they are and may He grant them their just and due rights wherever they are. Ameen

  15. POPPY

    Do these so called RELIGIOUS MEN scream out in protest when a GIRL CHILD is married off to a MIDDLE AGED or even an OLD OLD MAN? Do they scream out in protest when SAUDI MEN use TEMPORARY MARRIAGE to enable them to have SEX wherever they are because they have absolutely no control over their CARNAL URGES? Do they scream out in protest at the fate of the ABANDONED CHILDREN and UNFORTUNATE WOMEN who are FOOLED AND USED by these WORTHLESS so called ‘MEN’?

    • Yes, I have heard of those temporarily marriages far north from where you live. It is really stupid. It is like saying it is ok to have sex at the same time as they say it is not. And what about the women that are temporarily used for marriages and then get dumped? Are they stoned or banned for being a hore after? While the man is free of charge… Talk about double standards.

      I totally agree with this posted reply.

  16. Mary

    wow the men of the holy land spoke again..ll abide or else.
    When are you ..the living..will wake up and leave to the land of Islam .. AMERICA.. before your time is up on this earth and then be sorry you did not enjoy the freedom, wisdom, love and teachings of Islam..MOVE..MOVE..MOVE so you can live.
    You are fighting a losing battle let the men of KSA enjoy each other,,,they always have and will anyway..so why wait. !!!

  17. Well, the article is actually the freshest on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily seem forward to your future updates.

  18. Saudi~LIBER~ALI

    Why are you people angry?

    Day after day it is becoming clear to their religious followers that they’re stupid.

    KSA is on its way to secularism.

    ليش زعلانين؟

    باستمرار هذه الفتاوى الغبية سيتبين لأغبى الأغبياء من المريدين و الأتباع جهل معلميهم و قصر نظرهم

    هؤلاء المشايخ يقبضون رواتب ضخمة و لا فكروا بحاجة الناس الى العمل و طبيعي أن تصدر منهم هذه الفتاوى الحمقاء

    المملكة في طريقها الى العلمانية فعلى بركة الله و الحمد لله على كل حال

  19. I think soon there will be another Fatwa !! Banning women writing on blogs!!!
    strangly most of the fatwas are related to women why?
    why cant they see a lady as a mother or a sister.

    And who is that man , raised that question? what is his motive behind this doubt?

    • SmurfBurkan

      In KSA they use women’s issue as a tool to turn the attention of the masses to something other than the real problem.
      While members of the Saudi royal family go on vacations to commit fornication with boys and prostitutes and commiting every other major sin in Islam in France and other Euorpean countries, they are raping their country, economy and resources not to mention allowing much greater sins than women handing over a reciept to a man. And these scholars are given the assignment to do the dirty work by issuing these kind of fatawas while not speaking up against the core problem. A riot breaks out because of a rumour about lifting ban on women driving while the same men and shuyookh are dead silent about the royal family, crime against human rights and the list goes on…

      It is useless to try to change womens situation when you have a goverment like that and the people throwing tawheed behind their backs. They are coming down reeeaaaal hard on the little man, but turning a blind eye on the people in authority… If anything, the other way around would be more suitable…

      I had some anger issues today, it can be seen in my comment =)

  20. islamicnewsdaily

    You could use your skills in a much better way!

    • @ Islamicnewsdaily – Are YOU using your skills to challenge these ridiculous and unfair fatwas against women? You have no right to judge how another person chooses to use her skills. SaudiWoman is a voice that needs to be heard here in KSA and she speaks for many women who haven’t found their voice yet or are truly oppressed by the men in their lives from doing so. Shame on you for insinuating that her work here is not important.

    • Aalia

      Like what ? It’s not that job Per se but what it represents, which is our freedom to choose what we want and not to be told what we can or can’t do.Also,If she is okay with working as a cashier why stick your nose?

  21. tj

    I simply cannot believe that women are subjected to this, let alone muslim women. It is an atrocity in the day and age in which we live! By this line of thought, if women simply breathe whilst near to a man, she is obviously tempting him. What a load of rubbish!

  22. Jannan

    Subhannallah! I thought that the Prophets (PBH) first wife was a business woman…..I wonder how did she conduct her business? I sware that she did meet her husband through her business…oh does that mean in the time of the Prophet (PBH) it was ok for women to conduct business with men and women but now its not?
    What about the Prophets( PBH) daughter? I believe she was the kkeper of the Quran, but didn’t she also need to pass on information to men and women? How did that happen if it is strickly forbidden for men and women to interact?
    Why am I even covering myself if I can not interact with men…I will just stay in my home and interact with women and never have to cover myself because I dont ever need to see a man.
    What is this?

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  24. Md. Azad Ali Shah

    Saudi’s fatwa is amazing. Present Prime Minister in Bangladesh is Muslim women and opposition leader (who was former Prime Minsiter) is also Muslim women. Since history of Bangladeshi democracy, Muslim women have been leading. Indonesia’s former President was Muslim women. Former Prime Minister of Pakistan also Muslim woman.

    Australia got first women PM 6 months back. Brazil got first women president just few days back. But India, Pakistan, Bangladesh got women leader 30 years back.

    Problem is that people see such culture of Arab countries as Islamic rule not their typical culture. Culture should be segregated from relgious rule. And we also know that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi when women were in battle field during Prophet’s time.

  25. Marbbe

    Hmmm did it even cross thier minds to put in women cashiers that only dealt with women, and let the male cashiers deal with the men?…..If the roles were turned for a week i’m sure things would change.

    The rulings and reasons for this is so persposterous!

    It’s evident the men in S.A. are afraid of women!!!!

  26. Qoute:
    After study, the committee has come to the following reply:

    It is not permitted for a Muslim woman to work in a place where they intermingle with men. A woman should stay away from places where men gather. She should search for employment that does not expose her to temptation nor make her a source of temptation. And what you have mentioned in your question does expose her to temptation and tempt men, hence it is Islamically prohibited. And the companies that employ women are collaborating with them in what is Islamically prohibited and thus they too are committing a prohibition. It is known that whoever fears God by leaving what God has prohibited and does what God asks of him, God will then facilitate his affairs, just as promised in the Quran (translation* verse 3/Al Talaq):
    End Qotation

    My comment to this is. Are you insain? I live in the west and have lived here for all my life. I have also worked in shops for long peroids of time many times in my life. And on top of that without any headware hiding my beuty. And no I am not ugly… But no time at all has anyting like this accured. And most women working in shops here are women and they work all day and then they go home without having sinned as you so shamefully remarked in this fatwa.

    You should really check your head.

  27. And what more… When men act like this and forbid women this or that for those reasons, they at the same time tell all of us how weak they are. So maybe they should go to a shrink and take a course and learn how to behave amongst women and how to socialize with them instead of being a abusive creep on womens lives.

  28. Pingback: Saudi fatwa on female cashiers is an own goal | Brian Whitaker | News Team

  29. NMS

    Wow another Saudi gem! You’re a brave one saudi woman. Here’s to you and here’s hoping your anonymity will protect you from your religious right.

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  31. Alexandra

    The fatwa may be the work of that Shiekh Al Ahmed fella who is definitely in deep with women.
    Anyway, the guy who produced the astonishing fatwa seems very suspicious to me with his ungovernable interest in women. Has he ever thought that paying too much attention to women is probably unislamic?) Let him come to Ukraine. He is likely to be honoured the same way as the Iranian delegation was last week. I hope he’ll enjoy it!
    http://www.iol.co.za/news/back-page/femen-activists-stage-nude-protest-1.746451?image=1

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  33. Tunisia etc. now Egypt. Soon Saudi Arabia. It is time that ALL people (especially Saudi women) be free from oppression, poverty imposed by the fat lazy hippocritical Rulers and their families who surround themselves in opulance and debauchery. TIME WILL TELL

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  35. Md. Azad Ali Shah

    A wahabi, man-made fatwa which has no Islamic basis..its so sad that some men overrule Islamic rules :(
    Rasool SAW’s wife was a business woman. There are millions of Muslim women – engineers, doctors, officers working in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India. What happen to these Saudi Muftis?

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  39. In 2003, I met this old man who was a part time painter. He painted nude models. I remember the story he told me about him and his painter friends. He said the models were young and extremely beautiful. But none of the men thought of them in sexual ways. But one day, he said, one of the supporting staff, an old lady, fell trying to arrange the green back ground or some other object. Her skirt pulled off. He said the men went wild. And as a nurse working in nursing homes, I can tell you I see naked men all day long and never never do I think of them as sexually arousing.

  40. Azad Ali Shah

    So only every hundredth person will go to heaven. That’s only 1%. So not being like the rest of the world is good.
    ————————————————————-

    You missed very big portion of Islam. And u blame islam for the wrong deeds of human being. Yes, Allah will do proper judgement for the wrong deeds human beings did with each other, hurting/harming each other and any kind of bad things. But, Allah is great. He also says he will forgive if you repent sincerely and ask for forgiveness and do not repeat the sin again.

    Reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet (salAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:
    Some of the people will stay in Hell (be destroyed) because of their (evil) deeds, and some will be cut or torn by the hooks (and fall into Hell) and some will be punished and then relieved. When Allah (subhanu wa ta’ala) has finished His Judgments among the people, He will take whomever He will out of Hell through His Mercy.
    He will then order the angels to take out of the Fire all those who used to worship none but Allah from among those whom Allah wanted to be merciful to and those who testified (in the world) that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. The angels will recognize them in the Fire by the marks of prostration (on their foreheads), for the Fire will eat up all the human body except the mark caused by prostration as Allah has forbidden the Fire to eat the mark of prostration. They will come out of the (Hell) Fire, completely burnt and then the water of life will be poured over them and they will grow under it as does a seed that comes in the mud of the torrent.
    Then Allah will finish the judgments among the people, and there will remain one man facing the (Hell) Fire and he will be the last person among the people of Hell to enter Paradise. He will say, ‘O my Lord! Please turn my face away from the fire because its air has hurt me and its severe heat has burnt me.’
    So he will invoke Allah in the way Allah will wish him to invoke, and then Allah will say to him, ‘If I grant you that, will you then ask for anything else?’
    He will reply, ‘No, by Your Power, (Honor) I will not ask You for anything else.’
    He will give his Lord whatever promises and covenants Allah will demand.
    So Allah will turn his face away from Hell (Fire). When he will face Paradise and will see it, he will remain quiet for as long as Allah will wish him to remain quiet, then he will say, ‘O my Lord! Bring me near to the gate of Paradise.’
    Allah will say to him, ‘Didn’t you give your promises and covenants that you would never ask for anything more than what you had been given? Woe on you, O Adam’s son! How treacherous you are!’
    He will say, ‘O my lord,’ and will keep on invoking Allah till He says to him, ‘If I give what you are asking, will you then ask for anything else?’
    He will reply, ‘No, by Your (Honor) Power, I will not ask for anything else.’
    Then he will give covenants and promises to Allah and then Allah will bring him near to the gate of Paradise. When he stands at the gate of Paradise, Paradise will be opened and spread before him, and he will see its splendor and pleasures whereupon he will remain quiet as long as Allah will wish him to remain quiet, and then he will say, ‘O my Lord! Admit me into Paradise.’
    Allah will say, ‘Didn’t you give your covenants and promises that you would not ask for anything more than what you had been given?’ Allah will say, ‘Woe on you, O Adam’s son! How treacherous you are!’
    The man will say, ‘O my Lord! Do not make me the most miserable of Your creation,’ and he will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will laugh because of his sayings, and when Allah will laugh because of him.
    Allah will say to him, ‘Enter Paradise,’ and when he will enter it, Allah will say to him, ‘Wish for anything.’ So he will ask his Lord, and he will wish for a great number of things, for Allah Himself will remind him to wish for certain things by saying, “(Wish for) so-and-so.’
    When there is nothing more to wish for, Allah will say, ‘This is for you, and its equal (is for you) as well.’
    Abu Hurairah said, “That man will be the last person of the people of Paradise to enter Paradise.”

    • “You missed very big portion of Islam. And u blame islam for the wrong deeds of human being.”

      I didn’t blame Islaam for anything. When I said ‘the “problem” is Islaam,’ I was being figurative; by problem, I meant reason/cause. So why are we not like others and don’t freemix with women? Because of Islaam.

      And Alhamdulliah I know of Allah’s mercy, I brought up that hadith to show that the majority doing something doesn’t mean it’s right, because the majority will go to hell (for some time).

      • Azad Ali Shah

        Apologise if I misunderstood you. After seeing a lot of hatemongers and anti-islamists, I have become quite sensitive :)

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  42. Anebu

    Wow, you’re an idiot Shayyan!

    SaudiWoman you are very brave to put up with creeps like this!

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