SPUR OF “CHANGE” IN SAUDI ARABIA
It is the wave of change in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it happened to keep at bay the gender inequality. Women are no different in Saudi. They have realized to stand up for their rights. And guess what they are being aided by the government itself. In what the kingdom’s officials describe as a “significant milestone in progress towards a participation-based society”, municipal elections will be held across the country later this year. And in a remarkable move for a country where women’s rights are severely limited, women have been allowed to both vote and stand for election themselves. Saudi Arabia is governed by the Islamic Laws. Women are being portrayed has having limited rights in the Islamic shariat. That is not true. It’s the time to quote the scriptural basis of Women’s right in Islam especially to those masses who have fully equipped their minds that women in Islam are meant to be delimited in every walk of life. THE EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS The first instruction in the Qur’an was, not to pray or fast or to give zakat, but to READ. This instruction was to both male and female. Islam gives a great deal of importance to education. “Read! Recite! Proclaim! In the name of thy Lord and cherisher who created – created the human, out of a congealed clot of blood (a leach-like substance). Read and thy Lord is Most Bountiful. He who taught (the use of) the Pen- taught man that which he knew not”- (96: 1-5). According to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) “It is obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, to acquire knowledge. And Most Importantly – THE POLITICAL RIGHTS Both men and women are allowed and should participate in public affairs in the interest of society. “The believing men and women are protectors of one another.” – Surah Al-Taubah Chapter 9 Verse 71 (9:71) The Arabic word is “Baiaan” which is not equivalent to modern election but is much more than that. There are still many restrictions placed on the women of Saudi for instance they aren’t allowed to drive themselves to the booth. They are still unable to travel, engage in paid work or higher education. According to the Saudi Gazette, two women named Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat became the first to register as voters in their country’s history. Shamat described it as a national duty for women to participate in the elections. One of the female candidate said that she would be campaigning on a message of “change”. Haifa al-Hababi, 36, said: “Change the system. Change is life. The government has given us this tool and I intend to use it.” ‘Change is inevitable’ yes it is. Saudi Women are experiencing a great opportunity! Or rather the whole Kingdom will experience a different kind of wave called as “CHANGE”. Once a woman gets into power she can use it as a tool for the excellence of the society in which they live and address the issues which they face. Indeed it was a need of the hour for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well, better late than never! Go ahead and revolutionize for good!! ——————– About the Author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Vrinda Chauhan.