Saudi Arabian women
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Saudi Arabian women

by Ayame
(Yokohama)

In Saudi Arabia, women are of low social standing. It is because of Islam. They don't have the right to vote or travel alone. Moreover, they are prohibited to walk alone! Surprisingly, they have a custom of polygamy. I can’t believe!

One sees this culture as a terrible discrimination against women, the other as a protection for women. It is difficult to understand different cultures, but very interesting, too. It is beyond my imagination!

Anyway, I am happy to be born a woman in Japan!

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Jan 05, 2023
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Cultural Misconceptions Vs. Islam in Saudi Arabia
by: Saudi Woman

Hello there
I understand that this article is old but hopefully you’ll see this
I enjoyed reading this article a lot thank you so much for sharing your own perspectives and experiences
Reading articles on this blog has been keeping me company during my long commute to work, may I note, on my own. I am a Saudi woman born and raised in Saudi. I and many of women whom are my own family members, friends and acquaintances travel in Saudi on our own or in groups. There’s this widespread misconception that women cannot travel on their own in Saudi. The claim is Islam forbids this. I live in Hijaz region where Mecca and Medina are located and often women performing Hajj travel alone from the two cities, myself included. Islam doesn’t forbid a woman from traveling alone it merely advise against traveling alone and suggests traveling in groups. Note, for men and women both.
There are many mathaheb "مذاهب" under the umbrella of Islam, some which forbids a woman to travel alone. There’s no text in Quran which orders such, the texts that do exist merely advise against it. The main and most popular mathhab (singular for mathaheb) that is practiced in Saudi is under the Sunni umbrella which follows the scholars (Hanifi, Malki, Shafiy, Hanbali) whom are the mathaheb named after.
Most people don’t follow a specific scholar and prefer to follow the text directly from Quran or Hadith (me included).
As for voting, Saudi Arabia is not a democratic country. It’s a monarchy. However, it’s unlike the traditional monarchy in Europe as the King is chosen in different means, either via the previous King or via collective agreement from The Commission which includes women as some of the members. Then the general public performs Baia’ah "بيعة". it is structured more like a ladder of if statements and not a certain concrete thing. The process is available to the public under the document (Succession Commission Law) if you wish to read more you’ll find it here laws.boe.gov.sa

In my opinion, Saudi Arabia culturally is mostly a collective society rather than individual. I believe this is where most misconceptions come from, some families who seek to uphold their image and control their children use that in the name of religion as to scare their children into submission. Unfortunately, this has been the norm for some regions in Saudi for so long. Fortunately, people been breaking away from this norm and it’s not a recent thing. I am almost 40 and I have been raised by loving parents who didn’t follow this "norm". I view this as it actually is: cases of domestic abuse where the parents make up things to scare their kids into following their commands. If you were to look up the texts they use to scare their kids you’d either find it’s made up or that it’s taken out of contexts into a made up context nowhere near the original intention.

Hopefully you won’t be discouraged into coming to Saudi Arabia I highly recommend viewing this country with your own eyes and experience it yourself it has a lot of good things to offer so please if you can give us a visit it’s a great honor to be your host.

Oct 15, 2012
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Happy to be born a woman in Japan!
by: Gary Wolff

Ayame, I'm happy you were born a woman in Japan too, otherwise we would have never had a chance to meet! :-)

Thanks for your cultural observation of Saudi Arabia...

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