For the first time in Saudi Arabia, women authorized to issue fatwas

The Shoura Council holds its regular session in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 29 September 2017
0

For the first time in Saudi Arabia, women authorized to issue fatwas

RIYADH: Saudi women are now allowed to issue fatwas following a vote in the Shoura Council.
The historic move was approved by 107 votes and ends 45 years of only specialist men being able to issue fatwas in the Kingdom.
The female muftis are to be chosen by a royal decree.
The Shoura Council approved the recommendation, made by one of its members, during its 49th meeting, calling on the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, the only governmental body authorized to issue fatwas in the Kingdom, to open independent sections for women.
Women members of the Council last March had demanded that the issuing of fatwas should not be limited to men, through the involvement of female academies specialized in the study of jurisprudence in issuing fatwas.
The Council called on the General Presidency to appoint specialists for the issuance of fatwas, and provide the necessary human and material requirements, asking it to involve specialists in the Islamic Shariah sciences in some of its works.
The Council also called for the establishment of Ifta-affiliated endowments, and work to develop a mechanism to follow up the implementation of the order to organize the fatwa.
The Shoura Council’s decision was welcomed by specialists in Islamic law and jurisprudence, as well as the majority of the population.
Professor of Juristic Policy at the Naif College for National Security, Saad Al-Quwaie, told Al Hayat newspaper that the involvement of women in Islamic jurisprudence and their participation in scientific activities was one of the key issues in the Kingdom.
“Confirming the work of women in the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta is an important requirement of Islamic law and jurisprudence. It is governed by the rule of warding off evils takes precedence over bringing benefits for the sake of gender balance, without forgetting that each one has its own role,” he said.
He also said that “the work of women in the General Presidency will be in the field of dissemination of science and awareness.”
He added that the recommendation opened up new horizons regards solving the problem of unemployment among women, guaranteeing the right of women to have a flexible and safe working environment, as permitted by Shariah.
Al-Bishi, a specialist in Shariah policy said that women are central in Islamic communities and the move allowing them to issue fatwas would benefit society.
“This recommendation coincides with the Kingdom’s comprehensive renaissance in the fields of social, economic, political, scientific and juristic.” Al-Bishi said.
He added that the global and regional fluctuations and transformations have forced the Ifta institutions and the scientific and research centers to develop their programs and originate new specialties compatible with the changing course.
“It also imposed the need to introduce women with jurisprudential skills and expertise in emerging cases to repel external interference from those who deal with Saudi women’s issues contrary to Shariah law and the system of this country,” he said.


Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Updated 6 min 45 sec ago
0

Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

  • The project will see 7.5m trees planted and the creation of the world's biggest park
  • There will be 70,000 jobs created across the four major projects

RIYADH: The world’s biggest park will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of a $22.9bn project that promises to create vast open green areas in Riyadh, creating thousands of new jobs, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday

The aim of the project is to “significantly improve the lives of its citizens, transform the city into an attractive destination and make it one of the world’s most livable cities,” the report added.

The four projects - King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art – will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” Program and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to create sustainable cities and communities, while driving urgent action against climate change.

Developed with a government investment of $23 bn, the four projects will offer opportunities worth $15bn for the private sector to invest in residential, commercial, recreational and wellness projects.

As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the project will also help boost efforts to improve the city’s health and wellbeing with a commitment to wellness, health, sports, culture and the arts, underpinned by a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Measuring 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be the world’s biggest park, with residential areas, hotels, and will also feature a Royal Arts Complex, theaters, museums, cinemas, sports venues, water features, restaurants and an 18-hole Royal Golf Course.

The park will also boast several landmark assets, including the Riyadh Fountains and a Vertical Garden. As an environmentally sustainable urban development, it will offer opportunities for the international community in arts, entertainment and culture.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

One of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase Riyadh’s green cover with 7.5 million trees.

The massive planting project will help increase the city’s green cover from 1.5 percent of Riyadh’s total area to 9.1 percent – that’s approximately 541 square kilometers, by 2030.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Green space availability will increase to 28 square meters per capita from the current 1.7 square meters per capita, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 9 square meters per capita.

Green Riyadh will help reduce average ambient temperature by 2C, and will use more than 1 million cubic meters of treated sewage effluent daily for irrigation, for the sustainability of water resources in the city.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Sports Boulevard  - a health and wellness destination in the heart of the city- will feature a 135 kilometer-long professional cycling track covering the city and the surrounding valleys, the first of its kind in the region.

Adding 3.5 million square meters of new open space across the city, this grand project will also feature a sports pavilion, riding stables and athletics tracks.

Riyadh Art will be the world’s largest government investment in public art and will establish the city as “a gallery without walls” through a world-class interactive public arts program.

With 1,000 artworks curated through 10 separate programs and an annual arts festival, this project will feature large-scale art works with the aim of drawing art lovers and creators from around the world.

The projects are part of Saudi Arbia’s strategy to meet their Vision 2030 goals, they are expected to provide 70,000 new job opportunities.

Construction work is due to start in the second half of 2019.