Women’s visits to hospitals without male guardians banned

Updated 15 February 2014
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Women’s visits to hospitals without male guardians banned

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has officially prevented women from visiting medical clinics without male guardians.
This came after a member of the Council of Senior Scholars issued a “fatwa” (edict) prohibiting women from visiting male doctors without having male guardians present.
“Islamic law does not permit women to visit their doctors without male guardians,” said Qais Al-Mubarak, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars. “Women are prohibited from exposing body parts to male doctors in Islamic law, especially during childbirth. This does not include medical emergencies. Islamic jurisprudence makes exceptions,” he added.
Male guardians can only be the next of kin in Islam. They are sons, grandsons, husbands, brothers, fathers or uncles.
Sources said that Haia members recently issued orders to employees working at a nutrition center not to admit women patients unless a guardian accompanies them during their weekly visits. This decision caused huge losses to the nutrition center in a single week, according to the source.
Many women have opposed this decision, saying their male relatives are not available to accompany them on a weekly basis.
“This is going to be a huge burden for us. Many of us don’t have male guardians. Those of us who do, can’t depend on them, as they have work and travel commitments,” said Muneera Dawood, a stay-at-home mother.
“Does this mean that I have to wait for my husband to be free to go on my weekly checkup? This is a serious matter. Going to the doctor is not a luxury like going to the hair salon,” she said.
Al-Mubarak said male doctors could conduct medical examinations on female patients only if female physicians are unavailable and only if male guardians accompany them. “Unaccompanied visits to male doctors can have negative implications,” he said.
The owner of a private hospital in Jeddah said that most female patients already attend to their appointments with their male guardians.
“We do not allow any patient, whether a man or a woman, to be inside the doctor’s room without having a nurse present. Aside from them having to assist the doctor with their work, they are also there to prevent free mixing between doctor and patient,” he said.
“We don’t see women coming to the hospital as un-Islamic and we usually don’t even see women coming alone, so we don’t have a problem with this new fatwa,” he said.
A local Jeddah clinic said it has not received word from the Ministry of Health on the matter. “Our clinic is like a beauty center for women to get facials and undergo other forms of skin treatment. It is almost impossible for men to join them and I’m sure this would make other patients uncomfortable,” said Dr. Waleed Abdulmajeed, a dermatologist at the local clinic.
“We will not ask our patients to be accompanied by guardians unless we receive an official note from the ministry itself,” he said.


Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 18 July 2018
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.