Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said women in his country don’t need to wear black abayas as long as their attire is modest and respectful. Photo/REUTERS
“Women in Saudi Arabia do not need to wear headscarves or black abayas — loose, full -length robes that symbolize Islamic piety — as long as their dress is decent and respectful,” said Prince Mohammed, a reformist royal candidate.
Since Prince Mohammed’s ascension to power as crown prince, the country has witnessed the expansion of women’s rights. For example, allowing women to attend public sporting events and mix with men. In addition, women are also allowed to drive a car on the highway.
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The reforms have been hailed as evidence of a new progressive trend toward modernization in a country known to be deeply conservative.
“The law is very clear and regulated in sharia (Islamic law): that women wear modest and respectable clothing, like men,” Mohammed bin Salman continued in a television interview. CBS which aired Sunday (20/2/2022) night.
“However, this does not specifically specify a black abaya or a black headgear. The decision is entirely up to the woman to decide what kind of decent and respectable clothing she chooses to wear.”
A senior Saudi cleric said last month that women should dress modestly, but this did not require wearing the abaya.
However, it is still unclear whether this statement by the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud signifies a change in the enforcement of the women’s dress code in the country.
Saudi Arabia does not have a written legal code to follow the texts that make up sharia. Police and courts have long enforced a strict dress code that requires Saudi women to wear the abaya and in many cases to cover their hair and face.