Saudi Arabia and women – the intolerable cruelty of Wahhabism

SHAFAQNA – I was reminded these words upon reading an article in The Independent on one Saudi woman’s decision to brave the regime and stand in the streets of her city in a state of resistance: without the mandatory headscarf and her abbaya (full-body covering cloak):

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do. – Quran, Surah Al Nisa, verses 135

True to form Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis were out in their drove, foaming at the mouth at the idea that a woman … A WOMAN could dare defy their misogynist patriarchal system and claim herself free.

As the woman’s picture spread quickly across social media, reactions came fast and many … some refreshingly encouraging, others disgustingly predictable. One man cried: ““Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs.”

Others demanded that the authorities immediately address the “heinous crime”, most clamoured for the impudent to be adequately punish. One user wrote “we propose blood”, while another demanded a “harsh punishment for the heinous situation”.

I would lie if I was to say that I’m surprised … However sad this may sound there are no violence Saudi Arabia could ever call for or commit which would in fact surprise me. I suspect many others share my repugnance for this political devolution which continues to this day to claim itself Islamic.

They speak of Islam’s verses an pretend to know its laws but they are beats stumbling upon their own hatred and poisoned bigotry.

When Islam came to liberate women from the yoke of tyranny so that they could rise free individuals with ambitions and aspirations of their own, Wahhabism has worked to systematically shackle their feet and silence their voices. Under cover of piety Wahhabism made women into commodities – objects to be bartered with, and toyed with …

Those God created free Wahhabism has sought to enslave. There is no compassion, justice, dignity or freedom in Wahhabism, only an immovable hatred for all those who do not yield to tyranny.

Women most of all have been oppressed under Wahhabism. Treated like cattle, the women of Wahhabism have no rights of their own, only obligations. Men tower over them, rule over them, dictate over them … men own them, men dispose of them, men discard them.

The women of Wahhabism are not the women of Islam.

The women of Islam are brave! The women of Islam are free – they are mothers, sisters, daughters, wives … they are whomever they choose to be, however they choose to stand, whichever way they choose to go, for they are their own master.

The women of Islam have been many – they are brave and inspiring, strong and resilient, graceful and kind, ferocious in their loyalty and devoted in their faith.

The Ladies of Islam have shunned a light much too bright for the darkness of Wahhabism and the hallucinations its clergy claim, to ever dim the message they brought forth. Their names are etched in History – indelible proof that women are indeed men’s equal.

Who could compare to Mary mother of Jesus in her patience? Who could compare to Khadija in her generosity, who could compare to Fatma al-Zahra in her grace and wisdom, and who could compare to Zaynab bint Ali in her courage and resilience before adversity. The Ladies of Islam have always been free. Their stations are too lofty for any one man to reach.

Equal in religion, equal in their rights, equal in their dignity, equal in their obligations.

The women of Islam are free! No regime could ever deny that which God gave away.

And yes, Saudi Arabia may choose to vomit its venom to satisfy its psychosis, but in the end hatred will be what the kingdom will buy itself.

A woman today defied the Wahhabi regime by removing her headscarf. She removed not her hijab but the symbol of her oppression … there is a difference.

A woman’s cover we ought to remember is not about her hair but the covenant she makes with God. The hijab is about modesty of the heart – the mechanics of it are just there to act as a reminder of one’s allegiance to the Word, a testament of faith enacted.

Wearing a headscarf does not necessarily imply modesty by the way!

Maybe Saudi Arabia would do well to remember that there is more to Islam than religiosity.

Islam speaks Justice not Enslavement.

Fate would have it that the kingdom would be taught a lesson by those it abhors the most: women.

And so a woman stood alone in defiance of the House of Ibn Wahhab so that maybe a people will remember al-Muhammad.

She removed the one item which Riyadh has imposed on women not out of a need to discourage evil and promote good, but to exert power and sadist control.

Hair are just hair … And no, it is unlikely men will melt away at the sight!

Her act was not an act of disobedience against Islam but the insanity of a dogma that has denied women their humanity.

Her act was an act of resistance! Put the pitchfork away and remember that if there was ever a betrayal, it was against the religion of the Prophet Muhammad and his progeny.

“O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.” – Quran 5:8

By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies




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