Life As A Woman In Saudi Arabia


What is it like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia?

At the end of May a news story came out about  Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, who claim that they are imprisoned in the royal compound in Jeddah, and two of their sisters are held in another mansion nearby.  The ladies have stated that they are being starved and physically and psychologically abused.

‘On their orders, they have been literally starving us since last Wednesday. We are now living on one meal a day, leaving the little remaining meat for our pets and sipping little water in this heat, to save up. Our energy is quite low and we are trying our best to survive.’ Sahar, wrote to AFP.

Sahar publicly began to complain to her father about the poverty endured by most of the Saudi people, and the rights of women in the country, and since that time, have been restricted from leaving the compound, and has been starved.

Ms Alfayez, the ladies mother was only 15 years old when she married King Abdullah.  The king was in his 40s, and the couple divorced just over a decade later.  King Abdullah has 38 children by a number of wives, and has placed his four daughters by Alfayez under the control of three of their half-brothers, according to Sahar.

The government under King Abdullah has been regarded as “progressive”, but is it?

The country has seen it’s first co-educational university, appointed the first female cabinet member, and prohibited domestic violence.   Gender segregation is still enforced, and the traditional values found in Islam are central to society which keeps women behind closed doors in Saudi Arabia.

What are the rights of women in Saudi Arabia? 

It is important to know that Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are defined by Islam.

The 1979 Iranian Revolution and subsequent Grand Mosque Seizure in Saudi Arabia caused the government to implement stricter enforcement of sharia law. Saudi women who were adults before 1979 remember being able to drive, being able to invite men who were non-related into their homes, and recall being able to be in public without a full-body covering veil.

Many Saudis view their country as the closest to an ideal and pure Islamic nation.

This leads to me to the foundations expressed from Islam regarding women……

  • Women Are Viewed As Sex Objects -Mohammed said the witness of a woman was half the value of the witness of a man; and Muhammed said a woman goes to Paradise because she satisfies her husband sexually; The Bible teaches that a husband is to love his wife and be willing to die for her. (Ephesians 5:25).
  • Mohammed Embraced Stoning Women For Adultery (Muslim 4206), Yet Jesus, when called to stone a women for adultery said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)
  • Mohammed Married Many Women – 13 wives and kept sex slaves(Bukhari 5:268, Qur’an 33:50), Mohammed encouraged beating wives if they didn’t obey.  (Sura 4.34)  Jesus on the other hand was celibate, and lifted up women and taught men should love their wife as Christ loved the church.  In addition, Christ taught husbands that they should lay their lives down for their wives.
  • Mohammed Was A Pedophile, he slept with a 9-year-old child (Sahih Muslim 3309, Bukhari 58:236), Jesus didn’t sleep with children.
  • Mohammed Ordered The Murder Of Women(Ibn Ishaq 819, 995), Jesus never harmed a woman.
  • Mohammed Encouraged Rape, He advocated for men to rape enslaved women(Abu Dawood 2150, Qur’an 4:24), Jesus on the other hand Never encouraged rape, Never enslaved women.

A woman’s punishment in Islam for unlawful sex is a 100-lash public flogging, or stoning to death.A women raped often goes unpunished. Rape cannot be alleged by any woman without four MALE Muslim eyewitnesses. The sharia requirement of four eyewitnesses severely limits a woman’s ability to press rape charges when a crime is committed without eyewitnesses. The burden falls on the shoulders of the victim to establish eyewitnesses. Failure to provide evidence is treated as a crime of false accusation, which the woman is then punished with flogging. It is common for a Muslim woman to claim rape, and then to be denied justice AND be charged with fornication or adultery. On the other hand, males are able to have sex with a non-Muslim slave women, as it is not considered adultery. More so, men can also engage in temporary marriages, which allows by law being able to have sex, which the agreement will have an expiration date that doesn’t require divorce. He we see a strict double standard between men and women

  • Mohammed Built His Kingdom Off Violence, Theft, And Slavery– He ordered a slave to build the very pulpit from which he preached Islam (Bukhari 47:743)…Jesus washed his disciples feet. (John 13:5)  See more comparisons at this website.

Jesus Lifted Women Up To The Status Of Women- “No rabbi of Jesus’ day included women among his disciples, yet Luke said that Jesus included women in His circle of followers–even women from questionable backgrounds.   Jesus was sensitive to the social and religious handicaps with which women had to struggle, and He lifted those burdens.   Jesus then did five things that are astonishing because what He did broke through the cultural mold of that day. First, He called this woman forward from the place of the women (the back of the room) to the place of the men (the front of the room).  He interrupted the teaching of the Word of God–the most sacred time in Jewish life–to minister to a woman. Pharisees were so strict in their observance of the Law they would not even look at a woman. If they sensed that a woman was going to cross their path, they would close their eyes tightly and walk straight ahead.  Jesus laid His hands on a woman.   Jesus affirmed her worth in society. These men in the synagogue were probably thinking, What is she doing in here? What is He doing? He’s touching her.  Read more about this here “Jesus and Women” 

The views the Islam directly effect how women are treated.  In fact, In a 2013 statement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation noted that many Islamic nations restrict education opportunities for girls. UNICEF noted that out of 24 nations with less than half female enrollment rates, 17 were Islamic nations.  They noted that half the adult population is illiterate in Islamic countries, and 70% among Muslim women.

While many western women embrace the thought of mom’s advantage being at home, raising her  children,the choice should be hers.  Predominant news sites in the west features news stories with actresses, and celebrities in scantily outfits, which increase readership.  Most women dress modestly.  Furthermore, the choice should be the woman’s not her husband or brothers.  Women should have all the rights that men have, and be given the same freedoms by law.

The Good News For Women In Saudi Arabia

Here is the good news for our sisters around the world trapped in these countries that have such a low view of them………

More Saudi women are using online social networking as a way to share ideas they cannot share publicly.  They are able to have friends with other ladies around the world, share info, keep up with the news and politics.

As one woman put it:

In Saudi Arabia, we live more of a virtual life than a real life. I know people who are involved in on-line romances with people they have never met in real life … And many of us use Facebook for other things, like talking about human rights and women’s rights. We can protest on Facebook about the jailing of a blogger which is something we couldn’t do on the streets.

Many people in Saudi Arabia have called for Facebook to be banned because it allows “gender mingling”.  For now, the internet has opened up for these women around the world, in restricted nations, where they can educate themselves, and form an opinion on subjects without filters.

Interesting Videos

– Saudi Women: in Focus  Youtube

-Our World Behind the Saudi Veil –Youtube

-Violence against women in Arab and Islamic countries –Youtube

-How to Beat Your Wife in Islam – Youtube

What do you think about Islam’s treatment of women?  Does it change your views about Islam being embraced in America which was founded upon Christianity?