Saudi allows women to drive, decision supported by Saudi Scholars

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Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail|27 September 2017|06 Muharram 1439

Women in Saudi Arabia are now legally allowed to obtain driving licences following a decree issued by King Salman today.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the King had issued the order after “we looked into what the negative consequences of not allowing women to drive, and the positive aspects of allowing them to do so, taking into consideration the application of the necessary Shari’ah regulations and compliance with them.”

It added that the majority of scholars “do not see a reason why women should not be allowed to drive a car.”

The new ruling will take effect in June next year.

Scores of women in Saudi Arabia have long protested their inability to drive, with the issue being a symbol of the government’s repression of female rights.

Saudi scholars approve
The Council of Senior Scholars, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body that advises the king on religious matters, has endorsed the decision to allow women to drive in the kingdom.

“May God protect the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, who maintains the interest of his country and its people in the light of Islamic law,” the council posted on its Twitter account following the announcement of the decision.

In his order to issue driving licences to men and women starting June 2018, King Salman referred to the approval of the Council of Senior Scholars.

“We refer to the view of the majority of the members of the Council of Senior Scholars regarding women driving vehicles and which states that the religious ruling in this regard is permissibility.

“The view of those who opposed it is based on considerations related to preventing possible [negative] results that are not certain or almost certain,” the royal order stated.

“The scholars do not see anything preventing women from driving, provided there are all the necessary legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid [negative] results, even if they are within the scope of doubtful possibility,” according to the royal order.

The order said that the state would do its utmost to protect the country’s religious values.

“Since the state is – with the assistance of God – the guardian of Shariah values, it considers their preservation and care among its priorities, whether in this matter [women driving] or others, and it will not hesitate to take the necessary measures to maintain the security and safety of society.”

Source – MEMO| Gulf News