Inside The Saudi Kingdom
Sharia Law Abolishing Violence against Women
For many years the Saudi kingdom has been viewed by the western observers as a country that strongly advocates for women discrimination. Over the last 26 years when the Saudi royal family started to govern the country, the image that was given from their leadership was that of a tribal customs, cruel punishment, cultural traditions, religious influence and besides conflict to human rights. The Saudi governorship is based on the teaching of the religious teaching of the Islam. Therefore, how different issues ware handled in the country strongly depends on how the leader of the time interprets the Islam Quran. The different topics relating to the Saudi Kingdom leadership are best elaborated though the documentary “Inside of the Saudi Kingdom” which revolves around the leadership of Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen. The documentary provides multiple stories relating to the Saudi Kingdom recent reforms on family ties, criminal punishment, women status, cultural traditions as well as their relation to Shariah law (Daniel, 1996).
The documentary focus on the reforms in the Saudi Kingdom under the leadership of Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen prove that there is still relationship between what is regarded as western democracy where human rights and modernity are upheld and the governance under Shariah law which relies heavily on Islam religious teachings. There are many instances in the documentary that Prince Saud portrays that the image of the kingdom should be changed since human rights are currently being respected in the country and also by the leaders. For instance, while in the first few minutes of the film we note that the prince respects the right of women by allowing different dress codes and well as visits to the palace. During his speech, the prince also openly states that under his leadership the Saudi Kingdom is now modernized. From the documentary and other related sources one can argue that the Saudi Kingdom is currently abolishing violence against the disadvantaged groups especially women.
In support that the Saudi kingdom does not uphold human rights in relation to women, it essential to look at some of the section of law that the government maintains or disregards. For instance, the Saudi government for years according to Henderson’s article (2009) does not respect article29 of the convention law especially paragraph 2 and 9. Paragraph 2 reads “States parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children”. Though this section is officially signed by CEDAW the government disregards it using multiple religious teachings on equality. Saudi has also been said to be violent against women in relation to not allowing women to drive, limiting their involvement in religious matters and strict punishment on public policy though the sharia courts. For instance, women are prohibited from filing cases such as rape and divorce related according to the sharia law. However, even though these allegations relating to violence against women ruled under sharia law in Saudi Kingdom are correct, it is also true that there are reforms under Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen leadership (Musa, 2008).
To determine whether any reforms are currently being made under the leadership of Prince Saud Abdul Mohsen in relation to violence against women. A research study consisting of twenty women as research sample and from different states in Saudi Kingdom is carried out in a period of one three days. The twenty women were from states that observe strict women convention and those that don’t. A questionnaire is provided to each woman and questions relating to their age, level of education, current occupation, dress code and marital status are attained. From the questionnaire answers it can easily be understood that changes are now being noticed in the life of these women. These are because 80% of women stated that they felt free to choose their mode of dressing. 60% stated that they were actually working in white collar jobs and 64% stated that they were had more than basic education or were currently enrolled in a class. Further, the research showed that all the married women were at least 18 years old, meaning that women were free to get married when they felt most comfortable.
As evidenced by the multiple literature materials and research in relation to Prince Saud, it is true that Saudi Kingdom is embracing reforms to abolish all forms of violence against women. From research women in Saudi can now drive, take part in conferences and participate in Islamic religious activities (Johannes, 2008). Due to these reforms the country has continued to potray its fundamental respect for women which is one of the greatest teachings in the Quran. The Quran which is one of the main references to the legal strategies in the kingdom, has been known to provide great respect for women in relation to their ability to own property, receive education and get rewarding jobs. The prince has emphasized these Quran teachings by citing Mohammad Isalmic teachings “greatest respect to your mother” then and only then “respect to your father”. Though previous leaders who were also the Islam detractors translate the teachings with the opposite view and force women to cover or hide themselves in public. Prince Saud bin uses these teachings from the Islam religion to improve the women status quo as well as abolish any form of violence against women.
Daniel B. (1996). Rethinking Traditions in Modern Islamic Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Henderson, S. (2009). Saudi Sucession–a Desert Legacy. The Cutting Edge. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
Johannes, H. (2008). Democratization and Islamic Law – The Sharia Conflict in Nigeria. Frankfurt; New York City: Campus Verlag
Inside the Saudi Kingdom retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au9Aqd_ 2hc&feature=youtu.be
Laleh, B. and Kevin, R (1996). Encyclopedia of Islamic Law: A Compendium of the Major Schools. Kazi Publications
Musa, Y. (2008). Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York