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Monday, 26 January 2015

Women in Saudi Arabia and Private Drivers - Isn’t it non-Islamic?

All of us know about the restrictions and limitations in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on women. There are certain rules for them due to religious issues, country’s law and also security purposes. These women need to follow those laws in order to live in the country. Wearing black Abayas all the time, staying in house and not allowed to drive are some main issues. Even leaving house without a Mahram is prohibited as it is in Islam. Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive, never! They are not given license and are arrested if found driving. This is a very hot issue raised by almost every other Saudi woman. It is banned by the council.



Mahram might be her brother, father, husband or son. Without permission of the Mahram, women can’t carry out the daily chores and can’t go out. They need permission of these Mahram at every point; this might range from Job applications, to health and surgery issues, marriage or studies, traveling or doing business. She cannot even open a bank account without the guardian’s permission! There is some contradiction as well which is sort of a conflict between what the law is and what is followed. These women in order to get out of the house or travel hire drivers. Yes male drivers! These of course if not Mahram, are hired privately.



Isn’t this thing against Islam? Drivers are also non-Mahram to those women, and traveling with them alone is just against the law, but they are traveling with them and it is allowed and not viewed as a conflict. Sounds strange! There might be issues such as sexual harassment or the driver may take these women to some place which they don’t want to go or which their relative/Mahram would never take them to. Women need to have a conversation with that non-Mahram to take them to their desired spot and a relation might develop. He might be attracted to them. This is risky and dangerous even security wise. Then why is this allowed and nothing is done against it? Aren’t those drivers considered men?




Upon questioning most of the Saudis replied that yes those drivers aren’t considered as men. The drivers may be Saudis or Pakistani, Philippines, Indians or others. The word “invisible” is given to these drivers. There were many campaigns and protests held in past to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia but nothing worked because the country is strict in its rules and follows Shariah. But a woman traveling with a driver is just considered fine, which means a woman can own a car but cannot drive herself. This seems to be weird when a woman in every situation or at every point needs to have a Mahram but while driving; these non-Mahram drivers are considered fine. They are said to be invisible just to satisfy themselves that they are not violating the country’s law or going against Shariah. This must be viewed seriously.



Other Laws of Saudi Arabia
  1. Couples Living in same Flat before Marriage
  2. Laws related to smoking cigarettes and Shisha in KSA
  3. Travelling without Iqama or Expired Iqama
  4. Rights of Apartment Tenants in Saudi Arabia
  5. Can we worship any religion in Saudi Arabia other than Islam?

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