Women Driving Cars Is a Sinful Thing: Al-Qarni
Raid Qusti, Arab News Staff
MAKKAH, 25 January 2004 - Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni, the well-known
Islamic scholar, has denied telling the press that it was
permissible for women to drive cars in Saudi Arabia. Al-Qarni was
responding to reports in Arab News and other papers published two
"I have recently stated that the issue of women not driving cars
is not considered to be one of the basics of our religion. What I
meant by that was that it is a subsidiary issue. The statement was
used against me. It was then portrayed as if I had said it was
permissible for women to drive cars in our country and this is
something that is totally wrong," he told Al-Madinah newspaper.
The sheikh said he did not understand how his statement to the
press could have been misused when he made it clear that he would
not allow his own daughters or sisters to drive.
Al-Qarni also said he mentioned clearly that such an issue should
be brought up with the relevant religious institution. What he
meant, he said, was that the senior Islamic scholars in the Kingdom
had already issued fatwas (religious edicts) saying that women
driving cars was sinful and not permissible in Islam. "My statements
were misused. This is not the right way for those who search for the
truth," he said. He set out four statements as clarification:
"One: I do not see women driving cars in our country because of
the consequences that would spring from it such as the spread of
corruption, women uncovering their hair and faces, mingling between
the sexes, men being alone with women and the destruction of the
family and society in whole.
"Two: Sadd Al-Dharaie principle (the closing of doors which could
lead to corruption or sinful actions) is one of the values in our
religion. Women driving cars is a sinful thing. It is used by those
who want to wage a war against purity and hijab.
"Three: One of the principles of our religion is protecting honor
and moral values. Women driving cars would threaten these principles
because of the dire consequences resulting from it.
"Four: Such public issues must be brought up with the certified
religious institution who have the say in such matters as I have
said many times before."