Saudi professor makes the case for women driving
By Dr. Abdullah Rashid Al-Sunaidi
A large percentage of Saudis support the idea of women driving their cars. You ask people around, whether in your community or family, and you will see that the majority of them are for allowing women to drive.
Today, it is important for women to drive in order to deal with modern realities. Moreover, there is no conclusive evidence in the Shariah that says women are prohibited from driving a car in public. On the contrary, the Shariah considers everything permissible, except on matters that have been banned by the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sayings.
Women all over the world, including those in Gulf countries which have many things in common with the Kingdom, are permitted to drive. We are part of the world and our country has made advancements in many fields. I am worried that the positive image of our country might be tarnished by the driving ban on women. It is necessary for women to drive in our country for the following reasons:
- It is a basic right of women to drive. They are human beings, just like men.
- Driving allows women to get easily to the hospital, their work, and other places.
- Many families, if given a choice, do not want to hire an expatriate driver to drive them around.
- By allowing women to drive we will reduce the number of expatriate drivers. This will boost the national economy.
- A large number of women rely on expatriate drivers to get them around in the city. If women are not allowed to drive for fear that it is not in keeping with our moral norms, then what about making them ride in the same car with private drivers they are not related to? Which is better: Women should ride alone or ride with an expatriate driver?
- Expatriate drivers came here to work and will not protect women if something bad happen to them.
Women in other countries can drive their cars freely - without any restrictions. If women are allowed to drive in our country, there should be restrictions on what time of the day they can drive, how old should they be in order to be allowed to drive and if there a pressing need for a women to be allowed to drive.
Let me sum up the restrictions:
- In order for a woman to drive, she should be over 25 years old.
- The time to drive is from sun-up to the Isha prayer.
- She should be a widow or a divorcee and has children or she should be an employee in the public or private sector.
- The car should be brand new to prevent frequent breakdowns.
- The glass windows, except the windshield, should be tainted so that no one could see her and the other women riding with her in the car.