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When Slaves Choose Their Slavery

"I hope there will be no decision to allow women to drive at this stage because we have first to respect the wish of the people and the society." — Rawdah Al-Yousif, female "guardianship" activist in Saudi Arabia.

by
Robert Spencer

Bio

May 13, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Some slaves prefer slavery: “A prominent Saudi female activist,” Emirates 24/7 reported recently, has come out against the decision by Saudi Arabia to lift its ban on women driving cars.

Rawdah Al-Yousif complained that campaigns to give women the right to drive ,

continue despite the clear response by the rulers of this country that any decision to allow women to drive cars is up to the community not to just 3000 people or to some articles in newspapers or online. I hope there will be no decision to allow women to drive at this stage because we have first to respect the wish of the people and the society…Women are also not ready yet to bear their responsibility and leave their homes at a time when news of blackmail against the women are widespread.

Ah, yes. Women are not yet ready to bear their responsibility, just as we heard in the antebellum South that black Americans were not yet ready to bear the responsibilities of freedom, or in the Jim Crow South that they were not yet ready to bear the full responsibilities of citizenship. This is a common argument that oppressors make to justify oppression; it is unusual to hear it offered by one of the oppressed themselves.

Yet Rawdah Al-Yousif is the prime mover behind a recent campaign in Saudi Arabia called “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me.” This involved, according to Emirates 24/7, “sending letters to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in which women confirmed their full support for an Islamic approach in administering the Kingdom.” Al Yousif expressed her “dismay at the efforts of some who have liberal demands that do not comply with Islamic law (Shariah) or with the Kingdom’s traditions and customs” and railed against what she characterized as “ignorant and vexatious demands” to abolish the guardianship system.

A manual of Islamic law certified by the foremost Islamic institution among Sunni Muslims, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, as conforming to “the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community” explains the guardianship system:

A husband may permit his wife to leave the house for a lesson in Sacred Law, for invocation of Allah (dhikr), to see her female friends, or to go to any place in the town. A woman may not leave the city without her husband or a member of her unmarriageable kin accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the hajj. It is unlawful for her to travel otherwise, and unlawful for her husband to allow her to. (‘Umdat al-Salik, m10.3).

This is based on a statement attributed to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam:

It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to allow someone into her husband’s house if he is opposed, or to go out if he is averse.

In other words, a woman is her husband’s slave: he controls her movements, and if she dares to get out of line, another Sharia provision that is rooted in a Qur’an verse offers husbands a ready remedy:

Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. (Qur’an 4:34)

Muhammad’s example is normative for Muslims, since he is an “excellent example of conduct” (Qur’an 33:21) – and according to a canonical hadith, Muhammad’s favorite wife, his child bride Aisha, reports that Muhammad struck her. Once he went out at night after he thought she was asleep, and she followed him surreptitiously. Muhammad saw her and, as Aisha recounts: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Sahih Muslim 2127) Aisha herself said it: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women.” (Sahih Bukhari 7.72.715)

The Qur’an commentary Ruhul Ma’ani reflects mainstream Muslim understandings of this verse when it gives four reasons that a man may beat his wife: “if she refuses to beautify herself for him,” if she refuses sex when he asks for it, if she refuses to pray or perform ritual ablutions, and “if she goes out of the house without a valid excuse.”

If these divinely sanctioned threats and terror don’t work on a woman so recalcitrant as to leave the house without a valid excuse, there is always the opprobrium of her peers like Rawdah Al-Yousuf, who love their slavery and want to make sure their Muslim sisters remain slaves. It is, after all, the will of Allah.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Unless you're Saudi, stay out of it. It's their business, not ours. If their people want Sharia, have at it. My only problem is when they try to spread Wahabism here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have to take the position that, if some Saudi women don't want to drive cars, then they shouldn't drive cars. That shouldn't prevent Saudi women in general from being allowed to drive cars.
Just because they're comfortable in their chains doesn't mean they should be able to fit others for them...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's like Stockholm syndrome but at the point of a sword...quaint.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
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Being the weaker and more vulnerable sex, women instinctively value security over freedom. That's why government grows from under 10% to over 50% of GDP wherever women are allowed to vote. It's also why, among native Europeans, three times as many women as men convert to Islam. It makes them feel protected.

Christianity used to give women that warm, safe feeling too, before it was washed away by the Sexual Revolution.

If a man is forbidden to beat his wife, he cannot control her, and what you cannot control, you also cannot protect. Did your parents spank you because they hated you or because they loved you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is unusual for slaves to defend their slavery only if their slavery is in fact called slavery. If they call it something else, e.g. Sharia or gun control, then most slaves will support slavery (or at least pretend to do so).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
funny thing is that so many people, and so many blacks while decrying slavery, actually prefer the slavery of being taken care of by the nanny state government.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I keep saying that if we are going to defeat Liberalism we must attack it not from the Right but instead attack it FROM THE LEFT. This is a perfect example.

Play devil's advocate: expound on how wonderful Sharia is. Women cannot drive. Women cannot appear in public unaccompanied by their husbands. Tell Nancy Pelosi that you are outraged she is offending The Prophet by appearing in public with her head uncovered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unless you're Saudi, stay out of it. It's their business, not ours. If their people want Sharia, have at it. My only problem is when they try to spread Wahabism here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Failure is often its own explanation; a tidy package. Now if only they'd enact a law about emigrating out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Saudi Arabia you need an exit visa to leave.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And if you're female, your male guardian's approval is required.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So long as they have the free option if they choose to take it. The problems are deeper than just whether or not they decide to drive. Islam has created a man/woman, husband/wife dynamic that is unrecognizable as normal to those of us in the West, even those of us with a relatively conservative and old-fashioned world-view. Note - I'm not at all apologizing for them. I think their version is poisonous and not at all healthy in most cases (I'm sure there are those who find a way, as a couple, to make peace with it, but they'd be the wives choosing to drive).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have to take the position that, if some Saudi women don't want to drive cars, then they shouldn't drive cars. That shouldn't prevent Saudi women in general from being allowed to drive cars.
Just because they're comfortable in their chains doesn't mean they should be able to fit others for them...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's like Stockholm syndrome but at the point of a sword...quaint.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They really are afraid to go out without a man. This will take a generation or two to turn around even after enough women want it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Given the way they can be treated by strange men who find them out and about by themselves, they have good reason to be afraid to go out without a man. As I said above, this goes much deeper than just the surface issues we see - it goes right to every crevice of man/woman relations in the Arab/muslim world.

What good is it to be "free" by law to walk out a drive if your own father or brothers might deem it a black mark on the family honor for you to have done so and come for you and kill you and not be held responsible for that under the law?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, they've had over a thousand years! Even in this Country, they walk behind covered from head to toe when there are plenty of "Women's Shelters" run by nice, caring lesbians who'd be happy to "liberate" them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Having lived in Saudi Arabia in the 70's I can tell you that homosexual sodomy is the rule there. The highway outside our camp at Dhahran North was a big homosexual truck stop. However, I never saw any of the women outside of their big black lump clothing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Huh? I thought they killed homosexuals in Muslim countries. How then does that work?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's a 2007 article titled "The Kingdom in the Closet" (published in The Atlantic and available on the internet) that details the thriving (but underground) homosexual culture in Saudi Arabia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Real Deal, oh come on, where'd you hear that? If they're open, and they get caught by cops who don't like them for some other reason, maybe there's a problem. But circle jerks are the rule among young Saudi males who have no hope of hearing a woman's laugh or touching her sleeve until marriage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Saudi many of the locals liked to live life on the edge. For instance, liquor is strictly illegal. They distill ethanol much like Americans did during the Prohibition. They call it siddiqui (var. sadiki) (check out the Urban Dictionary to get various flavors of these words). Ignore propaganda, pretty much the only prohibition that was really in effect there was the one against women. They were and are highly-repressed black lumps.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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