The immodesty of nail polish

Last Tuesday a Saudi woman in Riyadh was followed at a major mall by the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). They demanded that she leave the mall because she had nail polish on. She in turn refused and started videotaping the incident on her cell phone and informed the CPVPV member that she’s also uploading it to social media. Then she called the police and in the second video you can see three police officers trying to calm the situation and hear her tell them that she’s afraid to leave the mall because the CPVPV might follow her in the car and purposely cause a car accident.

Before I go any further, I’m going to give the CPVPV statement to news organizations and a CPVPV sympathizer’s witness statement:

 Informed sources confirmed to Sabq that the incident occurred last Tuesday evening, indicating that the Commission’s headquarters are in the process of raising and reporting the issue to higher authorities, asking them to take necessary action against the girl according to the rules and regulations in regards to her videotaping and disseminating videos of members of the commission during their official business on internet sites. The sources also informed Sabq that the security authorities used the mall’s security cameras to see the merits of the case, especially after identifying the girl through the phone number on which she called the police accusing members of the commission of harassing her.

 The witness statement was made by a Talal Al Gharmoul who claims to have been there and tweeted:

 By God, I stood by and witnessed the incident, the woman does not have an atom of modesty. Her face was only covered by a transparent veil over her mouth. She also had a lot of make-up on. In addition to her wearing an abaya accentuating her waist, very similar to a dress. She had her mobile’s earphones in and she was reeling and swaying in front of the men. The CPVPV advised her politely and respectfully. Suddenly she raged against them and started screaming until everyone heard her cries. What was of the CPVPV men only to act leniently while she held up her cell phone. Then she sat beneath the escalators with her mobile held up and her earphones in and continued to scream at the men. She had her legs crossed with one foot swaying left and right in a shameful way. The CPVPV men stood about 4 meters away out of modesty. The CPVPV men insisted on her leaving the mall politely and respectfully while they faced her insults and profanity such as her saying “Do I look like I’m naked to you?”

 On Twitter many insist that it was not only her nail polish that upset the CPVPV and that she was behaving immodestly and dressed suspiciously. However if we go to the video, at the beginning she asks the CPVPV sheikh is it because of the nail polish and he doesn’t deny it. Then later when the police arrive the sheikh claims that she wiped the nail polish off and she raises her hand and says no that she didn’t. And he never says anything about her having too much make-up on. At the beginning he says that she has no right to uncover her face and instructs her to dress like her “sisters” pointing at women with their faces covered. In the second video after the police arrive, he says that he also objects to her lipstick.

 Another issue that many harp on is that she shouldn’t have taped and disseminated a video of government employees doing their job. And this one is such a double standard argument because it never came up when the minister of agriculture was talking to a citizen dismissively or when the minister of civil service was talking to job applicants or when the Saudi ambassador to Egypt spoke disrespectfully to a woman. In all of these cases the person taking the video was hailed as a hero.

 And the whole thing about the sheikh being lenient and polite is shown on the video to be untrue. From the very beginning he disrespectfully shouts at her “Yalla, yalla get out of the mall, yalla out!”

 Finally the CPVPV are portrayed as sacred and the embodiment of how Islam was at the time of the Prophet (PBUH). However everything I’ve ever read points otherwise. The way a CPVPV sheikh struts around malls with a fancy cloak on his shoulders and two subordinates flanking him enjoying the atmosphere of fear their entrance causes and sometimes going as far as terrorizing people is not the way I’ve read that the Prophet behaved. For example just a couple of weeks ago I wanted to leave a restaurant during prayer time. I simply needed to exit the restaurant but the management refused out of fear of the CPVPV and the manager who was obviously traumatized started shouting that he would be called an animal and spend another night in jail for opening the door to just let me out during prayer time.

 Meanwhile if you actually go back to religious and historical texts you find that the Prophet (PBUH) was known for his humility, quiet demeanor and wearing simple and humble clothing. And ironically the first head of anything similar to the CPVPV was not a man but a woman called Layla daughter of Abdullah Al Qurashi and known by Al-Shifa.

 In a hadeeth about the Prophet (PBUH) towards the end of his life, he was with another man as a beautiful woman came towards them to ask the Prophet a question. The Prophet’s companion obviously liked the way the woman looked because he was staring at her. The Prophet did not harass the woman or demand that she cover her face or leave the premises as did the CPVPV sheikh last Tuesday. He simply turned his companion’s face away.

 Here I’m going to put the actual hadeeths I was referring to above and their sources so that people don’t start accusing me of lying since Saudis are rarely exposed to hadeeths that prove that many women at the time of the Prophet were empowered and did not cover their faces.

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنه: (أن امرأة استفتت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في حجة الوداع (يوم النحر)، والفضل بن عباس رديف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم …فأخذ الفضل بن عباس يلتفت إليها- وكانت امرأة حسناء- (وتنظر إليه)، فأخذ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بذقن الفضل فحول وجهه من الشق الآخر). والحديث مروي كذلك عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه، وذكر أن الاستفتاء كان عند المنحر بعدما رمى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الجمرة (فقال له العباس: يا رسول الله لم لويت عنق ابن عمك؟ قال رأيت شاباّ وشابة فلم آمن الشيطان عليهما) وفي صحيح مسلم (وكان- أي الفضل ابن عباس- رجلا حسن الشعر أبيض وسيماّ) وفي رواية أخرى: (فكنت أنظر إليها، فنظر إلي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقلب وجهي عن وجهها، ثم أعدت النظر فقلب وجهي عن وجهها، ثم أعدت النظر فقلب وجهي عن وجهها، حتى فعل ذلك ثلاثاّ وأنا لا أنتهي)

ورد في صحيح البخاري، صحيح مسلم، سنن أبي داوود، سنن النسائي، سنن ابن ماجة، سنن الترمذي


عين عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه امرأة من قبيلته اسمها ليلى، ولكن غلب عليها اسم الشفاء، وهي بنت عبدالله بن عبد الشمس القرشية، ناظرة على سوق المدينة وهو منصب قضائي، وكان يقدمها في الرأي. فعن أبي حثمة قال: (قالت الشفاء ابنة عبدالله، ورأت فتياناّ يقصدون في المشي ويتكلمون رويداّ: ما هذا؟ فقالوا: نُسّاك، فقالت: كان والله عمر إذا تكلم أسمع، وإذا مشى أسرع، وإذا ضرب أوجع، وهو الناسك حقاّ)

ورد في الطبقات، ج 3، ص 290  وهذا رد على من يقول أن الشفاء عينت في وظيفة الحسبة على النساء فقط.


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155 responses to “The immodesty of nail polish

  1. Pingback: Saudi Jeans Turns 8, Nail Polish Girl « Saudi Jeans

  2. haifa

    Great post.
    Prophet Mohammad peace and blessings be upon him was always polite, humble, patient, loving and well mannered when he deals with the sinners. And they’re just offensive and rude!

  3. The Prophet came as a Mercy to all the worlds. (Quran 21:107)

    We have turned Islam into a penal code, sucking faith out of the ummah like vampires. Where has all the Mercy gone at times like this?

    Even when a man came in and urinated on the walls of the mosque, the Prophet, kindly and gently pulled the man aside to explain what was wrong with his action and told the Muslims to throw buckets of water on the wall to clean it. We have forgotten the essence of Islam is Mercy.

    Ya Allah! Ar-Rahman! Ar-Rahim! Forgive us all our sins!

    • jamal

      Keep on keeping on!
      You are the real thing!
      السلام علعكم

    • Hamsa

      The Profets came as Mercy to all sinners ! It’s quite right that you have turned Islam into a penal code, sucking faith out om the ummahs like vampires I also wunder where the Mercy and Understanding have gone. Evil has come upon the countries like a burning desert storm !
      – For your modest information, nail polish protects the nail against illness and makes it stronger.

      • I do not mean all Muslims are like this. Some though are giving so much attention to snagging people for what they perceive as unacceptable conduct that they forget what Islam is about. It is surrendering to the Divine. And Allah is profoundly Merciful. Each chapter of Quran but one begins with the Name of the All-Merciful. If Allah is so Merciful and Muhammad was told he came as a mercy to all creatures, then everything a Muslim says and does should have mercy at its core.

  4. I agree.. The approach was definitely not right. Nowadays, you never know what to believe because there are so many agendas, but the fact remains that indeed the man – sheiekh- should have approached her in a more approachable manner if he saw something that was not Islamic and had her best interest at heart.

    Personally, I would not accept a man telling me what to do as I feel it is inappropriate. If a lady did, in a polite and humble manner, I would accept what she says, but as for a man approaching a woman, is not really beneficial as it is very unlikely that they will listen. The objective of giving advice to someone is so that they may see that they have wronged – if indeed they are in the wrong to start with.

    She too, should have answered him back in a more objective manner to get her point across, but I guess she was outraged, and she can’t be blamed for that. She must have felt intermediated with more than one man standing over her. It was unislamic, and unfortunately these things happen..

    I do believe that this topic that has really blown out of proportion and is really unnecessary to go on and on about it. Things happen all over the world with authorities abusing power over citizens, so something like this is not unusual, and should not be made a big deal out of it.

  5. Salaam, I was just wondering….
    I am from an Islamic country but here most of the women do not cover themselves up with the veil like that in the Arab world. They are still not immodestly attired, at least not in our societies.
    I know I have absolutely no right to know or question about what women wear but, I have read that the Prophet’s wife Aisha (may Allah’s blessings be upon both of them) was a great public speaker and a political leader and soldier of her time. Is it possible to become a great politician with your faces covered up like that of the Arab women?
    Thank you for this amazing post. I just love the way the blogosphere has exposed me to people from many different parts of the world. 🙂

    • Nicole

      Aiesha (ra) used to teach men through a curtain. She also narrated many haddith’s. It is possible for a Muslimah to make a difference. She just has to be clever enough to diplomatically navigate her way through the system. Not to mention if we’re speaking about Khalij area of the world, She would need the support of her male maharram’s. (guardians) behind her.

  6. Covering the face is controversial in Saudi, and most believe it is obligatory, but that is the society.

    It is very possible that women did not cover their faces. I do not believe it is a must to cover my face, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I respect those who believe they have to.

    • Nicole

      As regards the Ayah in Surah al-Noor : ( And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent).[ 24:31].
      It means the external garment and this is the most correct opinion. This is narrated also from Ibn Masood. Or it means what becomes uncovered without any intention. For example, what is caused by wind or the like.
      2 -The Ayah (verse) of Hijab: (And when you ask (his wives) for any thing you want, ask them from behind a screen that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts).[33:53].
      The purity, which is mentioned in this Ayah is not peculiar to the mothers of believers. But every Muslim woman is in need of it. In fact, Muslims women are more in need for this order than the wives of the Prophet.
      3 -Allah Says in Surah al-Noor (Interpretation of meaning): (And tell the (believing women) to draw their veils over their bosoms).[24:31].
      Imam Bukhari narrated from Aysha (). When (the verse) (… And to draw their veil all over their Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms etc) .. was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist-sheets from their margins and covered their heads and faces with those cut pieces of cloth “.
      Imam Hafiz Ibn Hajr said: ” They covered their faces”.
      Imam Tirmizi narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ” A woman is an Awrah, when she gets out Satan makes people to look up at her”.
      This is evidence that the whole body of the woman is Awrah.
      Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “A pilgrim woman must neither cover her face nor wear gloves in the state of Ihram”.
      Imam Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi said: It is compulsory on the woman to cover her face except in Hajj. Therefore she should let down her scarf on her face without letting it stick directly to her face and should turn away from men ( From Arizah al-Ahwazi’s book).
      Aysha ( ) said: “Men on camels used to pass by us while we were with the Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and in the state of Ihram. We would cover our faces with our gowns when they passed by us, and then uncover them again” source Saudi site that gives explanation to Saudi Sharia law.

      • Az

        A: there is no such thing as saudi sharia law..
        B: The major school of fiqh (formal or state one) is hanbali, those believe in the necessity of niqab, that is not the case in the mostly maliki west (hijaz) or the mostly shafiee south… Etc
        C: google doesnt make one a scholar…
        Oh and.. Actually, islam web belongs to al-munajid, who whilr livibg in saudi, is actually syrian 🙂

      • bigstick1

        You really need to study more on your religion. Let me just give you two books on fiqh.

        1. Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri – The Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law

        2. Al-Maqasid: Nawawi’s Manual of Islam

        Translated and notes by Nuh Ha Mim Keller

        Now, if you would like a different view from some highly notable scholars try Ignaz Goldziher or Joseph Schacht.

        I have other sources but you should start somewhere.

      • Az

        To bigstick:
        refer to the post above as well, emphasis on “google doesnt make you a scholar”
        I say this because you keep parroting the titles of two shafie’e texts as if there are no other mazhabs (do u even know what a mazhab is??!)
        Any way, back to being oblivious to your existance, since i believe the likes of you hace no place in any discussion of the internal affairs of my country.. Have a nice day 🙂

      • bigstick1


        It takes so little aggravate you. Is it because you are limited in thought and abilities? Maybe you are jealous that other people are aware of the text and the many issues of the Quran/Hadith from a historical view which shows it has a history.

        By the way, yes I do.

      • bigstick1


        Oh the first post was not to you but to Nicole. Just to ensure that was understood.

      • Az

        Aggravate? On tye contrary, i find it quite amusing that you keep parroting the name of two books, belonging to the shafi’ee school of islamic jurispidence, which isnt even the main school in saudi arabia (that would be the hanbali school), whats even funnier is that the books you quote, to prove that women arent required to cover their faces around men, actually state that women are required to cover their faces even around nonmuslim women, let alone men!
        And since you’re so big on shafi’ee texts, here are a few that stte that women must cover their faces (seeing as that is thr main view of the school whos texts’ names you chose to parrot, thats what u get for not going maliki):
        Ghamrawi’s sharh on guidance of the traveller: 217- “… Women must not reveal any parts of their bodies, even if their faces or hands, to and adoloscent or an infidel woman..”
        Jamal’s hashia on nawawi’s Minhaj: 1/411- “the entire body of a woman must not be revealed to a nonmuslim woman”
        Same can be read in Haitami’s Tuhfat Al-Muhtag bi sharh Al-Minhaj: 3/113-115
        Sharwani’s hashia on Tuhfat Al-Muhtaj: 3/115-2/112-6/139
        Al-Abbadi’s Hashia on Tuhfat al-Muhtaj: 3/115
        Tuhfat Al-Tullab: 1-179
        Rawdat Al-Talibeen: 7/24-3/315
        Ibn Raslan’s Awn Al-Ma’bood: 11/162
        Al-Mawza’i’s Tayseer Al-Bayan:2/1001
        Ihyaa Awloom Al-Deen: 2/49
        Rawdat Al-Talibeen: 7/24
        Qalioby’s Hashia on Al-Manhaj: 1/177
        Fath Al-Ilaj by Al-Jardani: 2/178- 1/34-35 -1/41-42
        Mufti Al-Muhtaj: 3/129
        Hashiat Al-Saqqaf: 297
        Imam Baghawi’s Sharh Al-Sunna: 7/240
        Al-Hussni’s Kifayat Al-Akhiar: 1/181
        note that all of the above are imams of the Shafiee school, whose books names you keep parroting, should you choose to parrot some of thr other schools’s text names, ill be ready with more referrences, or not, since i really cant think of anything more pointless than conversing with your likes.. Have a nice day 🙂

      • bigstick1


        You are such a limited individual who is exceptionally judgmental and hateful as can be seen by your post. I can also tell you are the type that uses this tactic to try to bully or intimidate people to shut down opinions and keep people in conformity. I believe you are adept at group think and use it to your benefit.

        I can tell you limit yourself to the knowledge of one sect in much of what you do. Thus your scope is extremely narrow. If you have noticed the information I provide gives a range from one extreme to another. It is not limited to one sect or one belief on Islam or its text but a range.

        However why don’t you open your own school of thought and debate the nuances. Let me put it in a way you might understand on your other question. The make is a Ford but was is the model. The foundation is there but there are differences.

        Repeated from a prior post to you. Enjoy. 🙂

      • Therese Rickman-Bull.

        Nicole, please permit me to offer observations.
        Ten years ago I visited Sister Margaret, an old teacher of mine in Dublin, Ireland. A former head of the Sisters of Mercy and girls’ school principal, at 88 years of age this nun retained a lively interest in world events. Over tea, Sister Margaret stated that President Clinton was not at fault in the sex scandal, that “Monica Lewinsky led him on.” When I was going to schools run by nuns, one challenged them at one’s peril. Years later however, I did not hesitate to reply, “Sister, are you telling me that the most powerful man in the world bears no responsibility whatsoever in this matter?” “Monica Lewinsky was an occasion of sin for Bill Clinton, the blame rests with her,” replied Sister Margaret.”
        Nicole, I am presuming from the context in which it was used – “the whole body of the woman is Awrah,” that Awrah means temptation or sin. When I read that I had flash-backs, not only to Sister Margaret, but to a whole procession of nuns before her who dinned into our heads that girls and women are the root of temptation, “occasions of sin.” Although they vary radically re degrees of severity, it appears to me, that the only overt difference between this idea in the then far more conservative Catholic Ireland, and the Islamic teaching of Awrah in Saudi Arabia, is, that in the latter, the suppression of temptation is a state enterprise embodied in the police who roam around to prevent vice and propogate virtue. Even the most rigid, censorious nuns did not do that, though their attitudes and strictures undoubtedly influenced many girls to eschew long-term education and careers in favour of becoming “good little Catholic wives and mothers.” An outsider might be forgiven for observing that both religions, Islam, still, in Saudi Arabia, and Catholicism, then, in Ireland, placed total responsibility for avoiding anything that might lead to pre or extra-marital sexual activities squarely, and only on the shoulders of women. Men are absolved of any responsibility in the matter. This is hardly surprising because the later all male interpreters of the teachings of the Prophet and of Jesus, reflected, and in Saudi Arabia, still reflect patriarchal perceptions of the role of women, and how to control that role in society.

      • bigstick1


        Just to help further your expansion of knowledge on gods/goddesses, here is a website that features a new one everyday.

        Please by all means enjoy. :D:

      • Dear Therese Rickman-Bull,

        It was interesting reading your writing as my mother is Irish and my nana (my mother’s mother) was a practising catholic. I remember her as a little girl, she would never leave the house without a scarf that she tied at her chin, and never wore trousers in her life. She was very lady-like and despite that she had a different religion to mine, she is one my role-models. Her modesty and her memorable morals that stood out to me even as a little child are engraved in my memory. My Nana was very holy. She never missed a mass in her life. She gave her left over sugar and butter to a poor woman who used to come to her every Tuesday -even though she was very poor herself. She had an amazing giving nature. I believe the church played a big part in shaping the amazing person she was, and therefore, don’t believe that the church was simply breading ‘“good little Catholic wives and mothers”. It was more than that. Ireland back then as a society was far more better, in terms of women having modesty. Nowadays, in Ireland, more couples have children out of wedlock and stay unmarried. Many others are single mothers and some do not even know who the father is. I believe modesty does play a role in keeping our instincts intact. Men, in Islam are asked to lower their gaze, and the punishment for adultery is the same for both men and the women. There are no differences. In Islam,the basics pillars the Quran and the sayings from the prophet do not need to be interpreted. They are very clear-cut. The minor issues such as the topics discussed in this blog are interrupted in many various ways. Some narrations are by women too such as the prophet’s daughter ‘Fatima’, and ‘Aisha’ the prophet’s wife, which do need interpretation.
        All the best my dear 🙂

      • bigstick1


        Just to give you a well rounded understanding of what is available to assist in your understanding, here is another source. Try not to limit yourself there is a great deal of information out there.

        This is the actual text of the book. Dr. Joseph Schacht was a scholar in Arabic and Islam studies. You can research him if you like. He died in the 1960’s.

        Click to access INTRODUCTION-ISLAMIC-LAW-Schacht.PDF

      • SHAAA

        You are so far wrong in what you have said. You’ve literally mixed up Saudi culture with Shariah and Islam. First and foremost, Saudi’s do not have some singular authority over interpretation simply because it is the home of Mecca. Second, the majority of Shia and Sunni scholars of most sects around the world unanimously agree that covering the face is not mandatory at all, which is why majority of the Muslim women who cover their hair do not cover their faces. Take popular scholars like Dr Zakir Naik (though, I do not fancy his arrogant attitude and demeaning manner of speaking) who have discussed this matter at length, too.

        There are hadith’s that strictly forbid women from covering their face during prayer and pilgrimages – this in itself is used as one of the evidences that niqab is completely optional.

        Don’t pretend to be an Islamic scholar just because the internet makes it easy to get information. If you read sites like Wikipedia and other popular Islamic blogs, all you’ll get is biased interpretations that do not give you the whole story.

  7. Saudyssey

    These guys are usually hanging around Sahara mall (next door to Hyatt mall).

    There are other malls. If people get upset shopping at one mall, they will find another.

    It is true the western women and Asian women do not cover their faces, also the Jordanians and Syrians. I have also heard the younger Saudi women are starting to think about this when they want to get engaged, because sometimes the new husband will refuse her after he sees her face.

  8. Nicole

    Asallamolaikum Warahmatuallah Wabarakatu,
    I’m actually an American Muslim and I have studied Sharia. 24:30:
    “Tell the believing men that they should reduce/lower (يغضوا) their gaze/vision and guard their private parts”. Technically it is the responsibility of the men to lower their gaze and not gawk. Therefore I totally get what you’re talking about when you speak about the arrogance of shiekh’s etc…
    Another point, Nail polish is considered harram to wear of course while a woman is not on her menses or in public. It draws attention to her also more importantly wearing nail polish invalidates her Wudu. I have yemeniat friends who wear it during their menses. In the kingdom how ever I am sure wearing nail polish is basically advertising ‘I’m on my menses’. My advice to Muslim women every where especially those living in Khalij countries is to learn Al-Quran and haddith. I’m married to an Arab myself, and when Arab’s attempt to talk down to me figuring because I’m white they always know better than me, I find myself defending myself using the words of Allah right out of the Q’uran and or quoting haddiths. Doing so tends to put people to shame. The only catch is women have to ensure they don’t transgress limits and do things in which they know will get them in trouble. Allah Kahlieki Ukhti.

    • Jenny Jones

      Is not a modern age now? No disrespect but something was right when it was written. Times have changed. whats the point of quoting this haddith or that one? use common sense to live. live and let other live their way.

    • SHAAA

      When you say ‘studied Sharia’ do you mean you went to a legitimate Islamic Law university, or just read through some books? Because, there is a big difference between reading Sharia and ‘studying’ it, because this requires research, extensive knowledge of Islamic history and jurisprudence, and years of training.

      No offense, but don’t just run your mouth online about having ‘studied Sharia’ when there is no way to corroborate it. You may end up saying something wrong, and people will believe it. Be responsible. Yeesh!

    • Nicole, Please allow me to again respond to MIRIAM ALKUBAIDI under your post. Mrs. Alkubaidi, while thanking you, it is imperative that I challenge your misperceptions in order to correct the historical record regarding Ireland.
      It is a mistake to view through Saudi eyes, the wearing of a head-scarf tied under the chin, as a manifestation of modesty. This mode of dress was almost a uniform among working-class women, particularly in colder months, though even today, one can sometimes see Queen Elizabeth similarly attired at horse-races.
      You are misinformed, nuns did indeed exhort girls to become good little wives and mothers. It is necessary to understand the back-ground against which this took place. Nuns were not preparing girls to go on to secondary school as this did not become free and universally available until 1968. Secondary education was available at private fee-paying schools run by priests and brothers for boys, and by nuns for girls. Protestant demominations and the small Jewish community ran their own schools. Therefore, nuns in primary schools knew they were preparing the majority of their students only for menial work in factories or as domestic servants. Poorer boys faced the same fate, with many thousands of both sexes emigrating annually because of the unavailability of jobs in a constricted economy.
      For those that remained in Ireland, early marriage was encouraged, and no woman could work after marriage. Babies were expected to be born within a year. It was not uncommon for priests to make the rounds in poorer parishes, checking to see if 2 year old children had yet been joined by a baby sister or brother. There was no birth control, let alone divorce. Big families, often comprising 10 children, were not uncommon. Children often ended up on the streets, victims of poor wages and thus the inability of parents to care for ever- growing families.
      So we have at one end of the spectrum, priests and nuns encouraging marriage and big families, and at the other, a government (at the urging iof the Catholic church) setting up industrial schools and reformatories in which the products of many of these marriages, Ireland’s destitute children, were ware-housed. To describe the conditions in most of the institutions as “Dickensian” is not an over-statement.
      In the 1990s, the first allegations surfaced of appalling sexual and physical abuse in many of the institutions, going back to the 1930s. “Whistle-blowers” were condemned for inducing anti-Catholic hysteria, akin to what is happening today in Saudi Arabia, where anyone brave enough to step out from the conforming mass is accused of inciting Islamophia. Nor was sexual abuse confined to boarding-schools where parents were not encouraged to vist. Reports surfaced from many parishes all over Ireland where pedophile priests preyed on boys and girls. Priests were and may still be, the managers of Catholic national schools, though teachers could be religious and lay persons. Parents who approached priests with reports of sexual abuse where intimidated into silence. Those that persisted, were the victims of priest-generated “shunning” by their communities. In a marginally educated, mainly poor society, which Ireland was until the last two or three decades. respect for, deference to. bending the knee to, and obedience to priests was bred in the bone. If you would like to explore the horrifying dimensions of clerical sex abuse in Ireland going back to the 1930s, please read the Murphy and Ferns Reports.
      What is particularly shocking is that priests, nuns, brother and lay personnel in reformatories and industrial schools who knew of the rampant sexual and physical abuse, but did not report it.
      To paraphrase the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, credited with the saying that “In order for evil to survive, it is enough that good men do nothing.” Burke would well have been speaking of all the daily Mass attending hypocrites in the general Irish community who turned their heads away and condemned innocent children, many of whom had been criminalized for stealing loaves of bread, to servitude bordering on slavery, unspeakable abuse at the hands of sadistic priests, brothers and nuns, and abandonment, invisibility and silence. Leading the pack of those who enabled and continue to enable pedophile priests to prey on children, is the Irish hierarchy, supinely bowing to Rome’s orders to stone-wall any investigations of priestly misconduct, sweeping their criminal activities under countless Arch-bishops’ and Cardinals’ rugs, and instead of handing criminal pirests over to civil authorities, transferring them from parish to parish, enabling them to find more and more children to abuse and terrorize. Yes, lovely people the Irish of whom you write in such glowing terms.
      I am ashamed of their sanctimonious complicity. their putting the “reputation” of the Catholic church ahead of little people who did not ask to be born, and who, unfortunately received little support once they were born into a priest-ridden, deferential, submissive, poor and backward country. I shall return in a later post to your comments about Ireland in more recent times.

  9. Az

    A: the beginning of the video is not the beginning of the incident, so dont pass verdict.. U DONT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED
    B: it wasnt the manacure for sure (the guy doesnt even know what that is, in the video he said its on her lips!!)
    C: The girl’s behavior was completely immature and disrespective, even when he was just telling her to just go and leave him be at the ed of the video, i have my beef with these guys (far worse stories that ive personally experienced) but still, i know to respect people and only get aggressive when i need to, that girl wasva certified tramp..
    D: you quoted only a very few hadeeths from a huge number that deal with this issue, that is why its preferred to not make fatwas based on our limited knowledge (ironic how u oppose letting clerics pass fatwas, fawda al-iftaa, yet you make em urself!!), bearing in mind that im a maliki, which means we follow imam malik’s view on revealing the face being permissable..

    • I agree with you Az in terms of not knowing what happened before the incident. It was also videoed by the lady herself, and therefore started recording when she saw fit to do so. I also agree that her attitude was inappropriate in the same line his words of telling her to get out of the mall was too unmannerly.

      Outside Saudi, there are endless numbers of countries wherein restaurants and cafes that have a certain attire they must wear in order to go in. Theses are not done for religious reasons, but for the respect of the place and to keep up with the general mode of the surrounding. In Australia for instance, there are some cafes and malls that will not allow men to come in because they are not wearing a t-shirt. If he did entered without a t-shirt, he could be yelled out as it is not allowed. This is not far from the Saudi context, wherein if people are dressed or behaving inappropriately, they may be asked to leave the mall.

      I would like to add that the incident is entitled here is ‘The immodesty of nail polish’, and the article is about a holy man criticizing the lady’s nail polish, which causes me to ask questions why is the article written in a manner ridiculing the wearing of nail polish, when is it un-Islamic to wear it in the presence of strange men? Also, the fact articles such as these that spark religious belief conflicts -as I can see from the posts- the focus is not on how this situation can be made better, but more about criticizing the Islamic religion and its beliefs. I hope that people who write and also who respond make a fair democratic review of the issue at hand.

      Being a Saudi myself in Saudi Arabia who loves shopping! I have seen many women who are dressed provocatively in public places such as in malls. In fact, many Saudies say that the abaya makes a woman look better than without it as it is tailored to make her body look attractive. Some may say it more like a dress than an actual garment that covers and provides modesty. Let alone the hair style and no scarf at all, and amount of make-up she has on drowned in perfume, etc. All of these issues for non-Muslims are trivial, but for Muslims, it can be bothersome to see so many people nowadays publicly sinful, and the fact that people offer advice is admirable. The method in the way the advice is channelled is what needs to be worked on, not the issue of wearing nail polish, or covering the face, etc.

      All societies have holy men who offer advice to either troubled teenagers, and individuals who need spiritual guidance, and they may not all be in the manner we hope them to be, but we should work towards finding solutions rather than simply criticize the religious authorities or the religion itself – as in this case.

      • Zumurrud

        This was well articulated, maa shaa Allaah. The most sound response I’ve read so far. Most post are reactionist and emotional, leaving off logic in its context.

      • CairoGirl

        Just to let you know – there is no shopping mall or café in Australia where ether a man or woman wearing a t-shirt may not enter. Further, restaurants that have a dress policy prohibiting t-shirts would deal with an inappropriately dressed customer respectfully. Generally, people do not yell at paying customers in Australia. Or at strangers, or at ‘troubled teens’. Please do not think that you can equate the CPVPV to any aspect of Australian society. The CPVPV is, hamdullah, unique.

    • SHAAA

      Don’t simply run your mouth.

      1. Learn the meaning of a tramp. For someone on a moral propaganda, please enlighten me as to when the Prophet ever used such terminology to describe women. From a purely Islamic perspective, accusing her of being a “certified tramp” (a disreputable woman who engages in promiscuous sex) without proof of such behaviour is akin to slander. Her anger is completely justified, though it may not be ‘correct’ civil behaviour. But, as far as I see it, it’s not like she’s jumping around like a rabid monkey the way many boys in Saudi Arabia do even when they see even 1/4th of the face of a woman. Clearly, there is something genetically wrong with Saudi men if they cannot develop self-control and etiquette, and continuously use ‘women’ as an excuse for the stupid and brash behaviour that goes beyond incivility – it’s almost an unexplainable level of social retardation that developed right from conception. Apparently, Saudi Arabia follows the policy of ‘forget the crime, criminalise the victim’. So, if a rapist were to rape, you’re more likely to berate the woman than ‘civilise’ the rapist, and have proper social institutions to imbibe the principles of respecting a human beings bodily integrity, rights and privacy. Saudi Arabia: always looking for a shortcut.

      2. Don’t read into the article so heavily – nowhere did the writer issue a fatwa. She is merely quoting some hadeeth to enlighten the readers about a different perspective that exists as opposed to the ludicrous interpretations by Saudi clerics that are perversions of the Schools of Thought itself. If you want to be a critic, then be a critic. But, don’t nullify the reasoning she presents based on the selected hadeeth by falsely claiming she is being a hypocrite by giving away a fatwa based on her ‘limited knowledge’. Nowhere has she declared a fatwa.

      Speaking of passing fatwas like candies, last I heard, it was the very scholars of your country that engaged in such actions which forced the Royal family to literally cut down on fatwa-giving activities. Need I remind you of the fatwa regarding feeding breast milk to male colleagues to make it ‘legal for women to work’ by removing the ‘social hindrances of mingling’? Or, the fact that this lead to a pan-Arabian discussion of whether the milk should be drunk from a glass or directly from the breast? From FoxNews to Bill Maher, the entire episode was made fun of in Western nations giving Saudi Arabia and Islam a made rap – turning them into a joke.

      3. Instead of worrying about insignificant things like nail polish that turn the religion into a manual for trivial do’s and don’ts, essentially ripping it of its philosophical and social value, why don’t these ‘learned men’ try solving issues that are more pertinent to Islam? Islam is the only Semitic religion that extensively talks about animal rights, children’s rights, environmentalism, exploitation of God-given resources (fuel, for instance, which Saudi’s love to waste), health care, improvement of social infrastructures and institutions with zakat money, education, social awareness, social services, and yet all you are worried about is make-up, nail polish, dress fittings, stilettos and the material of abayya’s. How about improving the GPAs of young Saudi boys, or berating parents for forcing teachers into giving rich kids from ‘respectable tribes’ a higher GPA than they deserve?

      This episode shows the obsession these old men have for womanly things: a testament to their sexual frustration and perversity. The vehemence with which they go after women clearly shows their unhealthy obsession with the female sex, when all of the corruption and fraudulence in Saudi Arabia is done at the hands of men.

      Did you know that research by World Bank and Transparency International has concluded that women are less likely to be corrupt? More research is being done to understand this phenomenon, whether it is a natural tendency or something born out of situation. Most studies conclude that it is probably due to women being less likely to engage in risky behaviour which is evolutionarily a male trait. This is the same reason why women are less likely to take financial risks and have fewer car accidents (reported by BBC and Indian research into car accidents). This is why in some places women are charged lesser car insurance premiums than men.

      But, instead, Saudi Arabia is busy inventing its own science or referring to archaic scientific research to prove women are inferior to men in all ways. Bravo!

      This incident is not about how the woman behaved or even how the CPVPV official behaved. There is a larger debate looming around this issue and that is the significance and role of CPVPV in a society that is riddled with corruption and increasing crime, yet chooses to fixate on the most trivial issues of women.

      • Dear ‘Cairo Girl’,

        I lived in Australia for 3 years, so I am stating from experience, and people in other countries do ‘yell’ believe it or not! Ruddiness does not revolve around Muslims, but other cultures as well. It is a big world out there! There is hatred and racism – you should know – and many get away with it too.

        When I write on such subjects, I do not only state what I think, but more importantly what I know. You may disagree and argue, but do not tell me what I should not think or say. Thank you all the same for your input. It illustrates that as soon as someone may have a different opinion, they attack subjectively and personally rather than dealing with the topic at hand. Emotion,anger and sarcasm takes over clouding what you really want to say.

        If you have different Islamic views on what I stated that is O.K. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and believes.

        Thank you. I always like to read posts from Arabs and especially Muslims who claim they are ‘all for’ democracy and freedom when they are unable to apply to themselves.

    • LBHsMistress

      I am a self proclaimed GN. Learn to spell.

  10. Peaceful

    Discrepancies in CPVPV laws would generate lots of troubles between people and members of CPVPV. Situations are judged by what a member sees despite the fact that those members vary widely in terms of their strictness to looking to religious details. To clear the issue, I would suggest, there will be a list of prohibited things put on every gate to Saudi malls where everybody is judged by those rules. I am afraid CPVPV will be ashamed to do so because some of those prohibited things would look like silly things such as polish nails or so..

    • Zumurrud

      I agree with all that you’ve stayed up to “I am afraid CPVPV will be ashamed to do so because some of those prohibited things would look like silly things such as polish nails or so..”

      The wearing of nail polish is not sinful no more that wearing earrings is sinful. But what is sinful (in both cases) is when one wearing them displays the wearing of them in public.

      If a woman is on her menses and desires to wear nail polish, henna, make-up, she can do so, so long as she covers her hands, face, etc., when she goes out. She’s allowed to beautify herself, but she’s not allowed to display this in public.

      Posting dresscode rules would keep all things in perspective. People when confronted by CPVPV can call them to account if they go beyond the rules in a subjective manner and at the same time CPVPV can approach violaters with just cause.

      • Peaceful

        let’s say that wearing and “displaying” nail polish is analogous to wearing and “displaying” henna: please cite an evidence (daleel) from the Holy Quran or the trustful prophet sayings (Hadeeth Saheeh) that prevents such an action per se..

      • Oumiak from France

        What are you afraid of when a woman is elegant in public ?

      • Mohammed


        Get off your high horse. Since when did you get to decide what is a sin and what isn’t? If a woman wants to wear makeup and earrings in the shopping mall then that is her business not yours. Get on with your own life and stop worrying about what other people are doing.

      • This event is posted on the inter-net for all to see and for all to make comments about. It has a ‘comment section’ and a ‘reply section’. People are commenting and people are replying, which is exacty why this story was posted. If the site did not want comments and replies, they would not put it here. Also, patience in disagreeing with another, simply takes a factual reply and needn’t be derrogatory in any way. Anyone, who does not reply in a peaceful manner, along with the respect we should have for others, does not have peace in their lives or in their hearts and certainly is not mature enough to engage in debates. This, I refer to everyone. Not just yourself.

      • Only when she is having her period? Really?

    • SHAAA

      They should be more concerned about child abuse in Saudi Arabia which happens at a very high rate.

  11. Zumurrud

    I recented visited Madinah after performing umrah. While in the mall, I saw young girls or women walking around with their head uncovered like the non-Muslim women you’ll see in Jeddah or Riyadh. They walk around with the shala on their neck to identify them as non-Muslim.I was very surprised to see the Muslimah behaving in this manner.
    For the nay sayers, non-Muslims aren’t allowed in Makkah and Madinah, so I assumed that the ladies were Muslim.
    What I’d like to know is, why are the protesters, mainly women, uncovering in order to get their point across? Not only are they uncovering, but they’re shaping their eyebrows, wearing make-up and pulling back or removing their hijaab scarves. They remove their abaya and so on.
    I’m confused by this.
    When people protest here in America, they make signs, march and shout their demands. I very few cases a protester will remove his or her closes to make a statement. If they did such a thing, they’d be arrested. Why, because they’re in violation of the decency law. So, what’s the difference when a Muslimah is out in public in a country that also has a decency law, called hijaab (complete covering of the woman?
    My advise to these women, try protesting without practicing tabbaruj (being sinful). Maybe Allaah will bless your protest, inshaa Allaah.

    • Oumiak from France

      It’s sad, you haven’t understood anything to women. Whatever the religion, whatever the country, we have the right to be elegant. Your behaviour is not. A decency law ? Hey, according to occidental calendar, we are in the 3rd millenary, not in the middle-ages. Time to change, guy, don’t you think so?
      And please, do yourself a favour : think by yourself, not according to texst written centuries ago.
      For humanity, thank you.

    • bigstick1

      Just so you know in the public in the USA you typically can be in an extremely small bikini and still be okay to protest. In some cities there are no laws against women being topless so long as the pubic area is covered. There is a least one city in the USA that you can be nude and that is fine.

      I can actually provide you with a website were women are protesting in some cities in the US to be allowed to go topless due to the fact that they deem it discriminatory as men are allowed to go topless and they are topless while protesting.

      Next, you are comparing apples and oranges. One is nudity then next is the abaya. Nudity is just that …. your naked. An abaya is a covering to hide your awrah or external sexual organ. It tells you that your body is a sexual organ.

      I look at it like this Naked means I am person and this is my body. Abaya states that behind this I am a sexual organ that must be covered as it is sinful. Call me silly but I see psycological issues sounding that and it is imparted to your children that their person is a sex organ.

      I can think of a better way to tell a woman that she is a sex object than forcing her in a shroud of black telling her to hide herself as she is a sex organ.

  12. Musa Al Qatari

    Hell all. I don’t know why all those events happened and happning and will happin in Saudia Arabia ? Does that an
    extend of Arab Spring toward the Kindom ? Does those issues regarding human rights would effect the national stability in the country ? I might saying all those issues happening because of the Hidden ; ( AGENDA ) actuly its not hidden nowdays and every things that would effect the Kindom negativly will help Western positivly. Please think different and do not be Naive and Emotional and suddenly will understand what happining in the meantime.

    • Oumiak from France

      Hi, So, for you, a woman who just wants respect and to support her sisters, is naive. Poor you…

  13. Magid

    The original video has since been removed from You Tube. One, subtitled in English, which is currently circulating the most, was conducted by the pro-Israel site specializes in “monitoring” of Islamism: Memri. It does not specify the place or date of the incident.

  14. Uthman

    @saudiwoman, funny how you quote hadith when it supports your arguments and how you leave it out when it doesn’t. Isn’t there a hadith in the Sahih of Al Bukhari saying that “Among my Ummah there will be people who will make musical instruments, zina and silk permissible…….” Isn’t this hadith proof that music is haram? You should go post this hadith in the Manal Al Sharif’s Oslo speech post and show the world how Islam has forbidden music.

    So please stop picking and choosing ahadith. Take everything in its entirety and give both sides of the coin.

    • SHAAA

      The whole point is that there is so much conflict within the hadeeth, but people blindly follow every word of it like it was a revelation in itself. The only sacred text is the Qur’an. This means that you will find a variety of views in the hadeeth, and anyone can choose to follow whichever hadeeth they want. Since the hadeeth is not a sacred text, it is not protected from falsification or flaws or any such thing.

    • bigstick1

      There are pros and cons to the whole music point. Of course there are scholars who state that the hadith are complete rubbish and should be thrown out, some say that some should be used others not and then others that learn the art of schizophrenia as they believe they are all relevant but yet they contradict each other.

  15. Pingback: Saudi Woman Defies Religious Police

  16. //the woman does not have an atom of modesty. Her face was ONLY covered by a transparent veil over her mouth.//

    Her face was ‘ONLY covered’?!
    What then is their definition of modesty?
    Women walking around with thick rugs over their faces?

    • Oumiak from France

      Hi, Have guys forcing women to wear horrible clothes, ever tried to wear them ?These poor women look like ghosts! But they are living! THeyr are the one who beat live in their body. So more respect for us, please.

  17. Monica

    When I read this blog I get a jump in the ancestral past. We are so different!!! You’re talking about a girl with nail polish and her troubles with your CPVPV.. The odd coincidence is that last morning my daughter, 5 years old, asked me to have her first nail polish. She always makes me laugh when she trys to emulate her mum and adults in general, as all children do. I permitted her to get her nail polish, but just on her feet. Infact it’s not correct that a child seems an adult. To have some nail polish on her hands she must wait 14-15 of age. For us it’s just a matter of age, not of religion. We are living on two differents planets.

  18. ana

    My hard support to that brave girl and all the girls that suffer these injustice. I wish u win ur fight against stupidity.

    big hugh from Spain

  19. PAMBERI NE MADZI MAI, a motto from the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe that means :-

  20. Pingback: Une vidéo d’une Saoudienne révoltée contre la police religieuse fait débat sur le web « Sauvons la Liberté – Save Freedom

  21. Pingback: Une Saoudienne recherchée en raison de sa manucure : Le Magazine du Boytown

  22. free woman

    Go on women for freedom ! You can’t be treated like dogs any more…
    The world is with you 🙂 This video is going around the world and it brings a wave of optimism. Bravo to this courageous girl !!

    a woman from France.

  23. Mooncup User

    Today I am wearing shoes, socks, city shorts and a blouse and a dab of concealer here and there as well as… (the horror) nail varnish. I am neither too hot nor too cold and I am comfortable………these are the only things that matter with clothing. My outfit choice is absolutely nobody else’s buisness. Personal choice, my body, my freedom to do with it as I want. In Africa and untouched civilisations in deep jungles and such, people are near naked and/or topless…. They are comfortable, natural and not too hot, not too cold, they are FREE.
    Clothes are unimportant, merely functional (protecting human beings from the cold or the burning sun), how tragic that they are made political.
    How utterly horrible to have to live somewhere where a man thinks he has the right to tell a woman what to wear. It is her body, she should do with it as she damn well pleases.
    I’m with the Germans, they’re comfortable with their bodies, nudity is natural. Clothing is unnatural.
    Human beings forget too easily they are just another mammal. Forcing a human being to shroud themselves out of public life is as ridiculous as putting shoes on a frog.

  24. Mike German

    fuck, let people wear what they want… if you want to walk around in a sack with a bag on your head fine, if not, fine. wake up its 2012… and all this shit about immodesty, if people want to be ‘immodest’ fucking let them, its not killing anyone. If you think theyll go to hell for it ok, then let them and shut the fuck up about it!
    Its all about a bunch of frustrated guys who cant come to grips with their sexuality. Its sad that theyre allowed so much power, point.
    Or maybe its really just about power… I guess if you can supress 50 percent of the population thats a good start to being able to do whatever the fuck you want

    • Well, if not colourfully, said Mike German. The Saudi theocracy has perpetrated a massive conjurer’s trick on the men of the Kingdom. In the absence of any human rights for ANYONE, it gives men the illusion tthat they have power, yes, power over the women in their lives, grand-mothers, sisters, daughters, every female in the family. In this way, the theocracy makes Saudi men complicit in the subjugation and oppression of Saudi women. We think the virtue and vice squad is bad, Saudi men are much worse because they control the women 24/7. They control from the cradle to the grave. Saudi men, not all of them, thankfully, have yet to wake up to the fact that they are partners with the theocracy in the systematic brutalizationof half of the population. The only people worse off than Saudi men are Saudi women.

  25. Oumiak from France

    Hi ! I’m a French woman and I find this relgious police completely out of fashion ! I support the WOMAN with the nail polish. If there are men who feel uneasy with feminity and elegance, they shoud go under psychic treatment. Religion is one thing, wearing nail polish is another. I would have understood that people would be shocked if this woman was wearing transparent clothes or showing half her breast. But criticizing a woman for having polished nails ? Come on, this is childish and ridiculous. Don’t be stupid!

    It ‘s too easy to call to religion (texts written centuries ago morreover) to forbid women to live freely. Yes, women are diffrent from men: DIFFERENT, not worse or worthless. Stop considering us as bitches and prostitues. We only want to be independent. That doesn’t mean we are not decent, faithful or I don’t know what. We are not agaisnt men. We are against extremism in poilitics, religion, science, etc.

    Accept us the way we are, this is a tolerance and peaceful message. Read your so-called sacred text again…
    We have the same hypocisy in the Bible : don’t be this, behave like that. But the most religious person don’t even put it into pratise!

    So, whoever you are, you who wear nail polish and resist, go on. I wish you the best luck possible. This is my blessing to all women.

  26. Reader of herstory

    It’s hardly a surprise from the country where innocent little school girls agonisingly burn to death in a fire, locked in, because the powers that be say that is better they burn to death than escape a blazing inferno with their hair or faces showing.

    Is there a clearer example of rampant misogyny than that? Horrific. Simply horrific.

  27. Reader of herstory
    “3 police beat a school girl back” to die.

  28. Hibatallah

    God bless you sister for standing up to these men, and defending your right to wear nail polish. It is up to the individual woman to decide if/when the wearing of nail polish is appropriate for her, and not for men to regulate our dress. It is the men who need to keep a respectful distance from women, not women who need to bow to the wishes of men. I hope that there might be more women who will also take a brave stand, such as you have done.
    A Muslima in Australia.

  29. Pingback: News – 2012.05.28 | ArabiaLink

  30. Salaam If you are aware of the horrors that will follow you, in your country, for being one with your faith and wearing nailpolish, then don’t wear it; rather than telling lies and knowing you will instigate these men, who will give you trouble. You have taken a brave stand. I fear for you and what these authorities will do to you. You are right, for putting this on the internet, for all to see. We know we can do things to keep them away from us or draw them to us. I will not allow anyone to treat me in such a manner. Yet, it is also up to me to show respect.

  31. In the picture, that is in the introduction to this site on the left side, there is a picture of a woman. This woman in the picture has on make-up. Her eyebrows are done and she has on eye-liner and mascara. No doubt, because this picture was done professionally, this woman has on other make-up as well. Perhaps, before you arrest women for wearing nail polish, you should put into practice that which you commit atrocities against.

  32. More power to Women such as yourself.

  33. Bob

    The whole episode is appalling and reads like a bad joke. To a Westerner it is yet more evidence that Saudis live in a medieval fantasy more bizarre than anything in ‘A Thousand and One Nights’. The great irony of course, is that male lust is the root of the problem–lust which is projected onto innocent women and used as an excuse to harass, intimidate, and control females. My God, this is the 21st century, not the 7th. Wake up Saudis! For how long will you continue to live in fear and backwardness at the hands of ignorant, fearful men?

  34. Anaa Abulfaraj

    Hey Ladies,
    I am doing some research for a college paper and need your input! I have created an online survey that is designed to aid my discussion paper.
    Could you please take literally two minutes of your time to fill in my survey. Your input will help me to shape my paper. All you have to do is follow the link below!
    Thank you so much for your input – I really appreciate it.

  35. AK

    I liked your article, not so much some of the comments.

    It seems to me that if Islam, or any religion for that matter, is made complicated, it is made inaccessible, and becomes the exclusive and convenient province of scholars who usually have no practical experience of life, of so-called “experts” who derive social and political power from their professed ability to interpret God’s intentions and meanings better than the rest of us; or of argumentative-by-authority amateurs who keep a few references to their favorite scholarly texts close by in online whose-shariah-is-right battles.

    Best that you spend your time trying to cure cancer, trying to solve the world’s food problems, or helping the poor and needy and war-torn. Is that more worthwhile than to spend endless cycles on topics like the Godliness of nail polish, the appropriate opacity of the veil, or which shade of lipstick is more sinful.

    The Devil is indeed in the details.


    • bigstick1


      You are correct that, that would be the best. Unfornuately the waste of time expended as you call it, is necessary to clear the way to enable others to actually spend their time assisting humanity verse engaging in petty dictatorship, oppressive tactics that are based upon scripture that can be interpreted in any number of ways.

  36. acaffrey

    Reading that a woman could be asked to leave the mall for nail polish is so foreign to me when in my state it is actually legal for men and women to be naked in public without penalization. I was wondering you you feel stories like this one are received in other places, and if you think it promotes ideas in other countries that women are being oppressed because of abuse of texts? Does the opinion other places form based on news stories and viral videos like this matter to those who actually live Saudi Arabia under these rules?

    • Yes, I think others opinions effect Saudi Arabian women very much. With the abuse and atrocities these women are forced to live with every day, this is the only way they can make the world see the degradation they are subjected to every day – in and out of the home. That is why, this is called Saudiwoman’s Weblog. Personally, it is very interesting to view others’ opinions from the world over. The inter-net has made it possible to be everymans’ neighbor and to stand up for injustice the world over. Our comments and replys give women courage and support to let them know other women care very much about their plights and causes.

  37. Pingback: Saudi Women Test Reins Under an Aged, Liberal King

  38. Mohammed

    those dudes need to get a life. it’s none of their business what anyone wears. they should be imposing their religious beliefs on others. religion should be for the private sphere, it has no role in public life.

    • Every man has the right to woship as he sees fit. When a man goes home to pray, he does so in private. Prayer is between man and his God. No-one has the right to interfere with prayer and how I choose to worship. If one does not agree with how another worships,fine, however, this is not his business. How you choose to worship is not my business. I respect you, I respect your choices. They are not mine not are they supposed to be. If one is an honest man with respect for God, no one has the right to take that away. No one has the right to take away your choice of worship. Why,then,does one make anothers’ choice a point of contention with others? One has every right to disagree with another and keep it amongst themselves. Anyone who openly hates, leading others with this hate and to this hate, is not filled with the love and mercy of God. For God is love and mercy, itself. Without God, there is no love and mercy.

      • bigstick1


        Yes everyone has the right to worship or not worship and believe how they chose so long as it is kept to themselves and not enforced upon others.

        I can easily stated that with God of any religious text (particular Abrahamic) there is no love or mercy as evident by the books of religion as it prescribes death, torture, slavery, etc. It depends on how you look at it.

  39. Mohammed

    i meant that “they shouldn’t be imposing….”

  40. Pingback: Saudi Women Test Reins Under an Aged, Liberal King | Womens Articles

  41. Jack Vigdor

    Who really is the immodest one? The Woman who wears a dress with some skin exposed, or the man who upon seeing the woman, has sexual thoughts and blames the woman for his own thoughts and feelings? A pervert can look at a woman dressed on an abaya with a mesh veil over her eyes and feel sexually aroused. This sheikh and his goons are clearly sick and perverted since they get their pleasure from harassing and controlling women. True jihad is looking inward at one’s own internal conflicts and not looking outward to create conflict by focusing on other people. It is only through introspection that one can become closer to God. By trying to control others and forcing them to live to your own standard, you create conflict and war in the world. This sheikh is a sick man who uses religion to cover up his own perversions and immodesty.

  42. Colin

    Is it possible in the 21st century that so much space and mental effort is given to this mumbo-jumbo?

  43. real muslim, no psychiatrist needed

    Wahhabi version, of so called “Islam”, is so pre-occupied with women that they would be considered mentally ill in other countries, even in other Islamic countries. Come on, think of something other than the female genitalia for God sake..

  44. outside observer

    It is amazing to me that Muslim men are really that weak that they can’t handle the temptation of seeing painted fingernails or lips. They proclaim to the world that they have no will or brain to control their genitals. It brings shame to Islam that this is broadcast to the world.

  45. Ex Oilworker

    How much longer must the world put up with these 2-faced hypocrite Arab men.
    The main judge in Bahrain used to punish people severely for drink driving,..yet he gorged himself on Scots whiskey in Awahli main restaurant of BAPCO oil company. Same hypocrite whinged and whined about the Jewish people ,..yet wore Marks & Spenser clothes
    The “elite” (more money than brains) local Arab men used to leer and lecher after USA & UK women on the local darts night ,..pawing them,..trying to grope them,.. while they kept their own ugly wives locked up at home

  46. Gary

    More women should follow this brave woman’s example. We don’t live in the dark ages anymore and I suspect if more women were in power we would have less wars and fewer killings. Women empower yourselves the men need you.
    Keep posting let the world know how you are repressed, fight for your equality

    • Muslim sister from US

      perhaps some of the non-muslims commenting on this should be cautious of intellectual imperialism…..cough cough
      to you your way and to our our way.

      Our women are not going to wear skimpy clothes designed by Italian men( or other nationality men). We are not a commodity for men to enjoy. If indeed this man was not good, he would have let teh woman dress as she is dressed so that he can enjoy her looks and get satisfaction in his heart.

      You guys are the hypocritical ones, you check out pretty women scantily dressed on the streets of manhattan and dare blame muslim men’s lack of control as the ONLY possible reason for why muslim women are covered or would be covered or are recommended to cover. COMON now 😉

      Rather our women have not been raped by men’s eyes and if any Muslim women truley respects, honors herself will recognize this great honor.
      I am a muslim woman niqab(face veil wearing, in your face in fact) on the streets of Manhattan and indeed anywhere else where I may be permitted( minus europe offcourse 🙂 thanks liberalism).

      Indeed, chivalry is not just limited to men in our religion. What we call gheera or ghayra is a concept pretty close to chivalry but women also have this charactersitc, where you cherish, honor, protect yourself and other women. And to cover up more is a sign of nobility and honor. To cover up less is to be lets just say really unclassy my friend 🙂

      • Monica

        You wrote: “Our women are not going to wear skimpy clothes designed by Italian men”. Just a specification: the italian men, you are talking about, the stylists I mean, are more “women” then you&me toghether. Then.. italian style is exported and sold more in USA and Far East then in the whole Europe. So.. yes.. “your” women are going to wear clothes designed by Italian men, more then you imagine. I called it.. hypocrisy. Sorry for my frankness.

    • Sandy

      Gary, I agree. As a Muslim woman living in Saudi- we need to stand up for ourselves. These men are nothing more than bullies.

  47. Pingback: A Rebuke for Saudi Morals Officer Who Chastised Woman Wearing Nail Polish -

  48. anony

    I read through some of the posts above and then gradually as a I scrolled down and my reading transformed to mindless skimming, I caught a few words here and there and noticed, as usual, the conversations gradually inching away from the topic. Next thing I know, there are debates of Irish history and the permissibility of music going on.

    I would only like to say that if we remember the ultimate objective of our life on earth as Muslims is only to please Allah, we would find it easier to swallow things like music and Niqab, and would not even feel the need to argue. Because it is only the _nafs_ that requires debates on these things, the ego, the self, the “I, me, myself”. But certainly, happiness and ultimate Paradise do not rest on listening to music and unveiling faces and debating who ought to be fulfilling their modest responsibilities.

    The only reason we seem to think Islam is putting limitations on our life is when our lives are _full_ of those FEW things that Islam prohibits us from, and because our objectives of life are not in line with the objectives that God told us He created us for. But those who are not Muslim and have serious long term goals in life, that they work towards, they don’t waste time in such debates. They don’t need to be told by God to dress modestly or stay away from pointless music but you will find them automatically doing so, simply because they recognize that these things are pointless distractions from their life’s ambitions.

    What has become of the Muslim Ummah? As the Prophet (SAW) said, the Muslims would be so numerous on earth, but they would be plagued by two diseases: love of the life of this world, and fear of death.

  49. Pingback: A Rebuke for Saudi Morals Officer Who Chastised Woman Wearing Nail Polish

  50. Sinner

    She was so disrespectful. She should be raped, stoned and killed. How dare she exist to insult our true Islamic values?

    • ummhussain

      Wonderful analysis (sarcasm). You are another reason why the ummah is not respected.

      • bigstick1


        I think it is because of the stoning of women, killing of witches, imprisoning tweeters, discrimination of women, lashing women and jailing women for driving, ownership of women, belief in evil eye, putting women in jail at age 35 for not wanting to live with their abusive father, Inquisition tactics, etc.

        I believe this and much, much more is why the ummah is not respected. Not (sinner’s) comment that has sarcasm which just points out the known atrocities and absurdities within the ummah.

      • Muslim sister from US

        reply to bigstick1,

        true oppression of the underdog has kept our ummah back, but lets take a balanced view rather than a totally ( all women are oppressed view) one sided. targetting shariah only towards women is utterly not correct and if I recall correctly male magicians have also been punished. No place is perfect but we can all try by first instilling sense of muslim pride, identity, and willingness to embrace it in ourselves and our children. If each member of society starts to do this then things will fall into place even not in our generation then in the next generation. Rather our focus is at puttting blame on religion( or shariah for that matter), other people’s applicaton of it even if it be authority. However, how much of the shareeah on an individual level have we instilled in our personality and our mannerism. i dont mean to sound self -righteous(indeed that will probably be a critcism leveled against me) but rather I mean to sound self-reflective.
        again, I am not condoning oppresion of women or other people and indeed many a “religious” people have I come across have been quite repressive on themselves and others not to mention the lack of akhlaaq but this is no reason to not take ownership of our identity as muslims and pride about it by apply the sunnah in our lives. We lack sense of committment and humbleness and gentleness. Everyone is criticising the man not being humble and gentle what abou teh supposedly “libral” woman. She was pretty arrogant in her mannerism as well. She could have just apologized and went home and thought, reflected about what happened to her and whether she was in the right or the religious police.

      • Sandy

        Reply to Muslim sister

        The woman was under attack- she defended herself. It is absolutely none of their business if she wears nail polish. She absolutely should not have apologized. And people are not obigated to go home and “reflect” just because would-be oppressors try to bully them.

      • bigstick1

        Muslim Sister:

        Have you been to Saudi and experienced discrimination or do you speak as a woman who is afforded western women’s rights of self autonomy, adulthood, and intelligence?

        The fact of the matter are women have died over what they wore and until people realized that women are more than the sum of what they wear and women start demanding nothing less then this is what they are nothing more than an object. This is because what they wear defines them and that is the case here as well as the manmade belief (religion) imposing a dress standard on women that she is somehow better by cloth. In other words her worth is not more than an object of what she wears – she is an extension of cloth. Until you realize this you will never break free and understand individuality, freedom or worth. You are nothing more than an extension of an object of clothing. Similar to girls being forced back into a burning building due to articles being more valued than them.
        This incident is nothing more than another extension of such a belief and it is worth standing up to lest you be driven back to a burning building for violating a clothing standard which apparently in Saudi and Islam is worth more than a woman’s life.

        If a woman wears makeup and nail polish her business and it doesn’t effect me. She is the sum of more than what she wears as far as I am concerned.

        However to negate that women, men and society don’t turn certain cloth into a symbol meant to insure compliance and control is to stick your head in the sand. It is also absurd not to stand up for oneself in the face of tyranny and whether you see this or not such enforcement is just that; a way to control you, to objectify you and to ensure you understand that you are an awrah and an awrah has no more value than that.

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  52. to ms. rickman,

    both the catholic church and islam have been very effective in keeping women in their place. please don’t rock the boat, darling.

    • The fact that, as you say, “both the catholic church and islam have been very effective in keeping women in their place” does not signify that the earthly authorities of both religions are correct in their disgraceful treatment of women. I have every intention of rocking any boat I can find, at least where the Catholic church is concerned.

  53. Jello

    “Here I’m going to put the actual hadeeths I was referring to above and their sources so that people don’t start accusing me of lying since Saudis are rarely exposed to hadeeths that prove that many women at the time of the Prophet were empowered and did not cover their faces.”
    So if these hadeeths didn’t exist, would you cover your face? If not, then what the hadeeths say shouldn’t matter.

  54. Muslim sister from US

    wow, I love this blog more, look at the controversy. Let me just say this perhaps the guy’s way might not have been ahh “very kind…” but that does not mean we go on our ways and not encourage people to be more modestly dressed.

    There was apparently a true story of a woman(I dont know if it is the same one, maybe not) who was told by a mutawwa to cover properly and she was rude and disrespectful and defiant back at him. And he even had told her that you dont know when death might come to you. Anyways, she goes about her business in the mall dressed the way she was and bam… her death came and she died a natural death.

    bottom line, it is easy to say the other person is wrong but the day we start taking responsiblities for our actions, our fingers will not point at others and needless to say we might be annoyed at someone’s lack of discreetion in doing wa’mir bil ma’roof and nahin anil munkar but at the end of the day, that guy is not gonna benefit from her adhering to islaam and following the sunnah but she’ll be accountable to Allaah SWT.

    • juma

      “but that does not mean we go on our ways and not encourage people to be more modestly dressed. ” — whaaattt!!! are you for real???
      why on earth should total strangers come by and advise nay encourage me to dress modestly, don’t they have anythng better to do, and why would i listen to random strangers????
      i can’t unerstand the pvpv idiots. mind your own business and don’t stare at women should be dinned into their heads so should keep your gaze lowered 🙂 isn’t that the prescribed behavior for men.. keeping the gaze lowered? no conflict inthat rule, keep your eyes down and you won’t get to see my lovely nail polish or face…

    • Sandy

      And she might have gone straight to Janna! And she may even have been rewarded for standing up to a bully, who later when his time comes will have to account for all his harassment.

  55. بنت عثمان

    The muttawa are just as hard on men as they are on women. My cousins have to carry around beanies with them to cover their hair…which is apparently too long for the mutawwa’s taste.

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  69. Emina

    Regarding the original topic: “The immodesty of nail polish” I think wearing nail polish does not nor does display the virtues of a woman. If a woman’s nails and hands are clean, kept at a modest length then it should be considered pretty and feminine. The religion a woman chooses or is born into should not control something as trivial as this. Nail polish is not the sin however, the bearer of it may or may not choose to live a life of sin. It is not my place to condemn or pass judgement. Only Allah our creator can truly judge us. My grandmother and mother raised me to be very feminine and modest. Wearing light makeup, perfume and nail polish are things that are part of my daily routine as being a woman. I know no human that walks this earth to be free of sin, including myself. I do believe in Allah our creator. Allah is who I choose to pray to and ask for guidance in my life. Only Allah will be my judge when I pass from this earth and enter another life that Allah will provide for me.

    Reading about Muslim women wearing nail polish or henna during the menstrual cycle is something I was not aware of. Is this requirement used to display a young woman and/or mature woman is at a child bearing age? I do know that in some cultures that when a woman is on her menstrual cycle she cannot partake in some ceremonies and rituals. I am what is called “old fashioned.” I was raised to keep certain things very private and not bring attention to my bodily functions, and I choose to continue doing so.

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  79. Reblogged this on Jean Sasson and commented:
    Saudi Arabia is a very unusual country and there are rules and regulations for women that startle many from other lands. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years and dressed modestly, covering my hair, and wearing the abaaya but not covering my face (unless I was doing research for myself to find out what it felt like to full veil.) I rarely had any problems although anytime I was in the souk I was glared at by the religious police but they only glared, thank goodness. They are angry faced men that rule by fear of what they “might do.” But one day after I had been in the kingdom for about 6 years, I was stopped at entrance of the mall and told that I could not wear nail polish. I very quietly asked to see the religious ruling on nail polish, which of course they could not produce. Those men (they were young, and obviously in training to become mutawa’s and we always noticed that the younger mutawa’s were always more aggressive — out to show their power, I guess.) I didn’t move, but kept inching inside the mall and kept telling them if they showed me the restriction about nail polish, I would take it off. I finally got in the mall but I remember how frustrated and angry I felt that SOME men of Saudi Arabia simply wanted to show their power over women and if they didn’t see anything about a woman that broke the moral/cultural laws, that they would simply make up something. When I was there, Saudi women were very shy about facing down authority and no Saudi woman would have become aggressive like the woman you are about to read about — I remember telling Saudi female friends that only THEY could bring change — that THEY must push back in order to gain any freedoms — and finally now it is happening. So things are changing in Saudi Arabia and the men need to change, too. There is no need in harassing women about nail polish, lipstick, uncovered faces… The tide is turning. Here is the story I am talking about — and, I would take with a grain of salt the way the men are describing this woman — most likely they want to discredit her and make themselves look good.

  80. Reblogged this on Thoughts of Kat Canfield and commented:
    On the day we celebrate our freedom, remember those in other countries who cannot. Something as simple as nail polish is a lost freedom for women in some Islamic countries. (I do apologize if the videos do not work, they may have been removed from Youtube by Saudi Authorities, another freedom we in America take for grated!)

  81. Hanifah Abbadi

    As a believing woman, I’m aware that to many I am an awrah and to many only certain parts are. To not offend and to seek the blessings of Allah SWT SWT, I chose, without compulsion mind you, to wear the full abaya with niqab and gloves. It was not hard and I feel the benefits every day. It should not take a badgering by the CPVPV to convince you to do what in your heart you already know to be right. There is nothing wrong with beautifying yourself, but keep in mind it is for yourself and your husband, not for anyone else, Public modesty is one of the virtues of our religion and it is shameful so many seek to place their own desires ahead of what has been revealed for us.

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  88. MimiR

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