Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

Updated 19 October 2017
0

Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is to monitor interpretations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teachings to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism, the Culture and Information Ministry has said.
In a decree, King Salman ordered the establishment of an authority to scrutinize uses of the “hadith” — accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet that are used by preachers and jurists to support teachings and edicts on all aspects of life.
The ministry said late on Tuesday that the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”
The body will be based in Madinah and overseen by a Council of Senior Scholars from around the world, according to the decree. The ministry offered no specific details of how it would work in practice.
Militant groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda have used interpretations of hadiths — numbered in the thousands and pored over by scholars for centuries — to justify violence and to urge supporters to carry out attacks.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said last month that thousands of extremist clerics had been dismissed, although he gave no timeframe.
The ministry said the body would serve Islam by creating “a solid scientific reference to vet and verify the authenticity of hadiths,” which are second in importance only to the Qur’an in Islam. It did not say what form the reference would take.
The decree issued by the king, whose official title is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques — Islam’s most revered places in Makkah and Madinah — said the body would be chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hassan Al-Sheikh, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which serves as Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 28 min 27 sec ago
0

World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”