This photo rescued the day for me. This morning while waiting at a stop light in the back of my car, I happened to notice that the car in front of mine had a sticker on its bumper that was a ban sign going across a woman driving. It just got to me. Isn’t it enough that we are not allowed to drive but to have someone rub our noses in it with this sort of thing! What difference does it make to that ignorant fool with a sticker if the driver in the car next to him has a female or male anatomy? And to people who say it’s a matter of freedom of speech, I say grow up. Freedom of speech has limits when it infringes on the rights of others. Would it be OK if he had an anti Muslim driving sticker? Or an anti-Arab driving sticker? Gender is on the same level as religion and race when it comes to discrimination. Anyway this photo made things better. It was taken at a big ceremony last week to mark the official opening of the Princess Nora University for Women. I don’t know who the women are but they are probably university staff. Unfortunately this was not the picture that was published in the newspapers. This was the official photo:
Nevertheless, to have the King stand in the midst of these ladies and take a photo without worrying about the muttawas is a step forward. And then to have this photo openly available online is also another step forward. So one step back (the sticker) and two steps forward still counts as progress.
28 responses to “King Abdullah is My Hero”
Great photo, and great article! Thank you. BTW – does King have to be afraid of mutawwas? 😉 or it is/should be opposite?
I much prefer the unofficial photo – it looks much more natural and makes the king look very approachable and fun.
As far as the bumper sticker – ARGHHH!! I have been driving since I was 16. That means I’ve driven (very safely, I might add) for over 40 years. When I think that I am not allowed to drive here and I see kids out there driving who can barely see over the steering wheel, it just irks me. Women are much more responsible drivers than men. If anyone here should be banned from driving, it’s all those reckless and careless young men under 25!
I think His Majesty’s blushing.
And now I know how Santa Claus would look like in Saudi costume.
Frankly, the unofficial photo made my day. Thanks for sharing it.
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Cool. But tell me, is the niqab no longer in vogue in SA? Because when I lived there, it was almost ubiquitous – the only ones who didn’t cover their faces were the foreign women. However, in the picture that you have posted, the niqabi women are the minority.
As-salâm ‘alaykum wa raḥmatullâh wa barakâtuhu,
I skimmed through some of your posts and I really appreciate some of the misconceptions you’re dealing with. May Allâh reward you. Âmîn!
I do have some questions though, if you don’t mind.
Dear sister, can you please explain this to me? How exactly does this sticker infringe on your rights? The sticker is supporting a law that already exists in Saudi Arabia. Also (and please correct me if I’m wrong), there is an inherent belief here that the Western concept of ‘Freedom of Speech’ is correct and valid. Why do you believe that?
Why? What exactly is your measure for progress here?
I have questions.
1) Should Saudi wimmen be allowed to drive, what would happen of the drivers?
2) A driver who wears that long black blanket is at risk of an accident any minute. So what?
3) Why must Saudi wimmen wear in black? Under the sun it will make them hot. Isn’t it forbidden?
4) Is the bridegroom allowed to give a full look to the bride before the honeymoon? And what if he gives up? Possibly he will be offered to take the nice sister of the bride too? That’s why Saudi men can marry more than one girl?
5) Will the bridegroom of the nice sister receive a lump sum?
6) What is going to happen the day that Saudi wimmen are allowed to wear a miniskirt and realize that happyness is wearing a black blanket?
Yours unfaithful etc. etc.
“What is going to happen the day that Saudi wimmen are allowed to wear a miniskirt ”
no one wants to dress like a whore
I am an American in Chicago and am very excited to hear about the Princess Noura University for Women. Question – I was trying to do some research as to who Princess Noura is/was and haven’t found much of anything online. Who is she?
thank you – pamela
“What is going to happen the day that Saudi wimmen are allowed to wear a miniskirt in Ryhad ”. Lot of Arab tourists will come to visit the town and hotels will make a lot of money. As for the males of Ryhad they would soon get accustomed to the girls in miniskirt and would tell to the peeping tourist – Ehy you, idiot peasant, have you ever seen a woman before now?-
In the middle of 25 women!! That’s really awesome but never strange from King Abdullah!!
About the bumper sticker, well it’s a mindset, what can we do!!
This sure sounds like a good sign. Pretty bold tho.
Two commenter asked a question I would like to hear your thoughts on it.
Which two? There are so many.
the question by ‘mummyjaan’ and by ‘Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî’
A. was me by the way
As a muslim, I believe that the measure for progress should be the Qura’an and Sunnah not human because human do mistakes. For eaxample, in the first photo, some women did something against Islam’s law. These women showed their hair and beauty. This is forbidden.And Forbidden actions means Anti-progress in Islamic perspective.
Prigress does not mean following western life…
It means following Qura’an and Sunnah to be unique in this world…
What are the tools that you use to measure progress??
For me, Qura’an and Sunnah,What about you?
As would I, bârakillâh fîki.
And ‘Îd Mubârak to all of you.
These aren’t information questions, they are discussions and merry-go-rounds that have no end.
I can answer the questions in few words
I can put the end for these questions which are difficult for those who lost their Identity and do not know their positions in the world…
The measure for the progress is following Qura’an and Sunnah.
We are muslims, This is our Identity.
Anything against Qua’an and Sunnah is Anti-Progress.
The questions are not difficult but answering them when you know the other person is close-minded and will never see any other perspective than their own is pointless. So women driving is against the Quran and Sunnah? And going around in a very small space with a strange man is advocated in the Quran? And how did the women companions of the Prophet (PBUH) fight in battles with him and nurse the wounded in our impractical abayas?
I respectfully beg to differ. My questions are directly related to the things you said in your blog entry (I directly quoted you) and I believe clear answers from you would go a long way in clarifying the paradigm from which you are judging these (and even many other) matters.
My questions are valid, clear, and respectfully posed. This is a cop-out.
Dear sister, you do not at all know me so please don’t make baseless accusations, jazâkillâh khayr.
These are straw-man arguments; nowhere in the two comments I posted on this entire blog have I ever claimed this. Perhaps my questions weren’t clear? Let me reword them:
1) You claim that a bumper sticker with a ban sign on women driving is not covered within the bounds of ‘Freedom of Speech’.
Firstly, I asked you to clarify how exactly this violates ‘Freedom of Speech’. You claim that it infringes on your rights but that seems wrong to me. The sticker is distasteful perhaps, but that by itself does not mean that it is infringing on your rights, especially when it’s *supporting* a law that already exists in the Kingdom. In other words, the Saudi government itself does not currently consider driving to be a right for women so a sticker merely expressing that is most certainly not infringing on a currently non-existent “right” in Saudi Arabia! While you might consider the sticker insulting, the ‘freedom to insult’ is clearly a covered under ‘Freedom of Speech’ and people in the West insult under the guise of ‘Freedom of Speech’ all the time (remember the Danish Cartoons?). So it seems that it is you, not that driver, who ironically enough is trying to curtail ‘Freedom of Speech’ here.
Secondly, why in the world do you invoke ‘Freedom of Speech’ in the first place? It’s as if you consider ‘Freedom of Speech’ to be valid and a criterion to distinguish right from wrong. Why do you believe that?
2) You claim that women, quite a few of whom are clearly exposing parts of their body that Allâh made it ḥarâm for them to show (by ijmâ’, the hair of women is ‘awrah), posing around a male who is not maḥram for them, for a picture to be broadcast the world over, while not fearing an organization who, with all their failings, is meant to command the good and forbid their evil, is a sign of progress.
I ask, what exactly is it about this picture that is a “step forward”? Is it greater conformity to the West’s norms and “enlightenment” values? So the closer Saudi Arabia gets to the norms of gender interactions in the West, the more progress it makes? Or have I misunderstood you?
They can help in the battles but that does not mean a woman can meet a strange man alone or treat a strange man as a friend ( as the westerns do ). Look to the evidence below.
From an Islamic perspective, close-minded means those who do not follow Qua’an and Sunnah, they follow their desires and igonre anything against their desires, even if this is from Qua’an and Sunnah.for example, Look at the translation of this verse ” And when you ask ( his wives ) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is pure for your hearts and for their hearts ” Surat Al-Ahzab-53
the verse shows that asking strange women must be from behind a screen ( not meeting them face to face )
What is the meaning of BEHIND A SCREEN?
Note: nowadays, many people do not listen to our scholars who are the inheritors of Prophet Mohammed, They listen to the media which is full of ignorants and suspicions.
I originally misread this. I thought you said these aren’t *informative* questions as opposed to *information* questions. You’re right that my questions aren’t meant in of themselves as much as they’re trying to reveal, as I said, the paradigm you’re operating from. I still would appreciate answers to them though and I *did* pose them respectfully, sister.
interesting, I don’t understand why these aren’t ‘information’ questions though.
Aww this picture is full of surprise 🙂
thnks for sharing !!
Outstanding Article , I considered it wonderful
I look ahead to more great postings like this one. Does This Blog have a subscription I can subscribe to for more information concerning this?
do something to educate people every one .