Al-Watan Daily: "Saudi ''morality police'' head causes theological uproar" by Ahmad Zakariya


A number of Kuwaiti religious scholars have severely condemned a statement made by the Saudi Arabian director of the Committee for Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Mecca, Dr. Ahmad AlـGhamidi, who said that the hijab (head scarf) was only meant for the wives of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and is not applicable to other women.

His statement has come as a blow, he being one of the top officials of Saudi Arabia''s so called "morality police," and having already stated that
men and women can mingle together and therefore segregation is not a necessity.

The Head of the Kuwaiti organization Human Rights Essentials, Dr. Adel AlـDamkhi, responded immediately to the statement, saying that AlـGhamidi is not a religious scholar and therefore is not in the position to pass religious judgment of this nature or otherwise.

"He is not even a student of Islamic jurisprudence, and therefore he is not entitled to delve into such matters. What AlـGhamidi is stating has a resonance in the writings of orientalists who have long raised their doubts over the hijab," he said to Al Watan, adding that the hijab is a wellـestablished tradition in Islam.

Similarly, Islamic Sharia Law Professor at Kuwait University Saud AlـRabia said AlـGhamidi''s views are very much contradicted by what Muslim scholars have been saying for so long.
"There is no doubt that his argument is utterly illogical," he stressed, adding that the number of Quranic verses as well as Prophetic sayings regarding this particular point are too numerous to simply brush them off in such manner.

Another Muslim preacher, Hay AlـHay, condemned AlـGhamidi''s statement that there is no need for gender segregation. " AlـGhamidi''s statement causes sedition within the Islamic nation, and his evidence is nonsensical," he remarked. AlـHay further added that it would have been much better on the part of AlـGhamidi
to remain silent over this issue. He urged scholars to double check and investigate matters before discussing them and passing their own legal opinions publicly.

AlـHay admitted, however, that AlـGhamidi''s statement could have an unpleasant impact "because he is one of the leading figures in the field of Islamic propagation in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, when I read his statement, I was totally shocked."

For his part, member of the World Islamic Union Dr. Ahmad Hussein said that all Muslim schools of thought agree that the hijab is an Islamic duty, but significantly added that for the two genders to mingle with one another is permissible as long as the motive to be promiscuous does not exist.

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