SHAFAQNA – Before I delve into the serious matter which is women rights in Saudi Arabia – or rather the lack of … I would like to make abundantly clear to readers that my anger … even though justified, is not aimed at Saudi Arabians, but the regime which claims to represent them.
A violent and reactionary theocracy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has leaned on both the monarchy – as represented by the House of Saud, and its Wahhabi clergy – as represented by the descendants of Muhammed ibn Abdul Wahhab: the founding-father of the kingdom’s state religion, Wahhabism.
Although Wahhabism has often been presented as a puritanical interpretation of Islam – the only unadulterated expression of the Words of God, I would imagine that the decades of abuses against religious minorities, and the Terror which rose from its clerics’ lips long ago put to rest any misconceptions the public may have harboured vis a vis Saudi Arabia. Islam I’m afraid does not sit in Riyadh … it is its antithesis rather which has grabbed hold of the Hejaz – the very land which witness the walk of the last prophet of God.
Wahhabism I will say it again neither speaks for Islam, nor does it represent the people of Islam. Note that I used the word people of Islam, as opposed to Muslims … there are in fact many people, and nations within Islam, each to their kind, and each to their traditions, and customs. Islam speaks for pluralism, tolerance, and justice. Wahhabism only spoke bloodshed and colonialism …
Islam I need once more to assert does not deny Christianity or Judaism. Islam is together Christianity and Judaism, in that it embraces, and affirms those Truths which are expressed in the Book – Islam as the prophet said himself came as a reaffirmation, a completion and a correction on which had been lost and/or perverted by the greedy. Islam did not simply replace the Scriptures, it transcended them to offer God’s most direct message: The Holy Quran.
Let me know go back to the matter at hands: women in Saudi Arabia.
Where Islam has celebrated women, and honoured their status to the extent where the Heavens have been laid down at the feet of mothers, Wahhabism has systematically worked to undermine, deny, disappear and reject women’s rights – reducing them to mere commodities, things to be traded off and objectified.
Women in Saudi Arabia live at the mercy of a system which recognizes not even their humanity … women under Wahhabism can claim to nothing but the crumbs men would concede them. Women in Saudi Arabia are not even that … women – they are but shadows standing in the shadows of men.
While few would dare deny Saudi Arabia’s extreme chauvinism, the kingdom stepped into the morbidly despicable when it publicly institutionalized the systematic persecution of women: both physically and spiritually, by offering a tutorial on how best to beat your wives.
Yes you read correctly, Western capitals’ most loyal partner, this shining beacon of political stability and wealth just issued an “how to correctly beat your wives” to its male population, and not one Western official has dared blinked at the mention. As the old adage goes: silence is compliance.
Silence in this particular case could equate to a crime against humanity. But then again the kingdom has become a grand master in this field. In between Yemen, and Bahrain where al-Saud’s genocidal hands have been most visible, and Riyadh’s covert terror games in Syria, and Iraq, I would say that there is no atrocities the kingdom will refrain from committing.
Allow me to summarize Wahhabist Saudi Arabia’s view of women by borrowing the words of its most senior cleric: Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh (you will be interested to know that al-Sheikh is a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab.
“Driving is a dangerous matter which exposes women to evil … 10 year-old girls can marry due to good upbringing …Our mothers and our grandmothers married when they were 12.”
Islam does not in any way, shape or form condones such aberrations. Islam does not institutionalize paedophilia, and certainly does not call for women to be oppressed by over-zealous bigot whose understanding of the Scriptures end at their desire to wield power over men. Before anyone throws at me that the Prophet Muhammad, himself married a young girl: Aisha, and thus set the tone for Saudi Arabia’s abuses, I will refer you to the book of Dr John Andrew Morrow: The Covenants Of The Prophet Muhammad With The Christians Of The World. There, Dr Morrow, a prominent scholar, demonstrates, evidences in hand that Aisha, one of the wives of the prophet Muhammad was in fact a grown woman when she married. She was not 9 years-old as many have claimed, nor was she forced into wedlock. If Wahhabis have been keen to perpetuate this lie it is really to justify, and somewhat legitimize their own psychosis – as for non-Muslims it has comforted them in their hatred for all things Islamic. It is easier to hate out of ignorance then to actually seek truths, and stand to be corrected.
But back to Saudi Arabia and its clergy’s lesson in bestiality.
“The national television of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has aired a video, in which a self-styled Islamic family doctor is seen teaching men in the country how to ‘properly’ beat their wives. The video is believed to have been aired in the country in early February, 2016. The Kingdom’s government is said to have approved the video, and that is why it was given airtime on national television,” read a report published by The Watchdog this May.
The report further read: “According to Al-Saqaby, husbands should not immediately attack their wives, but should discipline them ‘properly’ first. He then makes it clear that in marriage, there is nothing like equality, and that men should take charged and rule the home.”
My oh my! Thank you Saudi Arabia and thank you Wahhabism for illuminating mankind with your knowledge and wisdom. We all needed for your good doctor to school us on how best to brutalize women. I imagine that the forest-setting was meant to reassure the public as to the righteous concern this Imam may have had that men would ever use the wrong “stick” to educate their silly little wives.
Rather than debate the undebatable, I will offer the words of the First Imam, Islam’s True Heir, the Keeper of Tradition, Imam Ali: “Be respectful of women, for they are the mothers of mankind … Women are like flowers. They should be treated gently, kindly, and with affection … Don’t use the sharpness of your speech on the mother who taught you how to speak …”
The prophet Muhammad said himself: “Can you expect to hug your wife at night, having beaten her in the day time?” He also stressed: “I wonder about a man who beats his wife, while he himself deserves to be beaten more.”
Women are not toys to be discarded. Women are not properties to be sold off or traded. Women are not slaves, and they are certainly not lesser than men.
Long before Wahahbism was born from the desert of Nejd Muslim women have mapped themselves on the deeds of some of Islam’s most glorious heroes – each to their own: Lady Khadija, Lady Fatimah, Lady Zainab – The Prophet Muhammad’s wife, his daughter, and his grand-daughter.
Who will ever deny the magnificence of those ladies and the light which still shines from the deeds and wisdom they imparted on the world?
Wahhabism is a caricature onto itself … Islam speaks not through Wahhabism.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna