Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saudi women use 'breastfeed the driver' fatwa in driving bid

"Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone?"

"Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?" she asked.



Saudi women plan to turn a controversial fatwa (religious ruling) to their advantage and launch a campaign to achieve their long-standing demand to drive in this conservative kingdom.

If the demand is not met, the women threatened to follow through the fatwa which allows them to breastfeed their drivers and turn them into their sons.

The campaign will be launched under the slogan: "We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners," a journalist told Gulf News.

Amal Zahid said that their decision follows a fatwa issued by a renowned scholar which said that Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to become their sons.

"As every Saudi family needs a driver, our campaign will focus on women's right to drive," she said.

The controversial fatwa, which was regarded as both funny and weird, issued recently by Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Nasser Al Obaikan, member of Saudi Council of Senior Scholars and adviser to the king, has sparked a debate in society.

The renowned scholar said Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to be become their sons and brothers to their daughters.

Under this relationship, foreign drivers can mix freely with all members of the family without breaking the Islamic rule which does not allow mixing of genders.

Breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood relationship in Islam.

"A woman can breastfeed a mature man so that he becomes her son. In this way, he can mix with her and her daughters without violating the teachings of Islam," the scholar said.

‘Ridiculous and weird'

Al Obaikan based his fatwa on a Hadith (saying) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which was narrated by Salim, the servant of Abu Huzaifa.

Later, Al Obaikan clarified that his fatwa was being distorted by the local media which ignored the condition that the milk should be drawn out of the woman and given to the man in a cup to drink.

Speaking to Gulf News, a number of Saudi women condemned the fatwa. Fatima Al Shammary was quoted by the local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying the fatwa was "ridiculous and weird".

"This fatwa has become a hot topic of debate among women. Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?" she said.

Another Saudi woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned: "Does Islam allow me to breastfeed a foreign man and prevent me from driving my own car?

"I have not breastfed my own children. How do you expect me to do this with a foreign man? What is this nonsense?" she said.

Another woman said the fatwa should also apply to the husbands who should be breastfed by housemaids. By doing so, all will be brothers and sisters," she said.

Hamid Al Ali, a journalist for an electronic newspaper, recalled that an Egyptian driver who had a crush on a female teacher he drives to school asked her to breastfeed him. When she retorted angrily, he said: "I want to be your son."

Saudi writer Suzan Al Mashhadi sarcastically asked Al Obaikan: "Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone?"

"Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?" she asked.

Read about life in 'Islamic' Iran HERE