No mahram? No shisha

Updated 15 April 2014

No mahram? No shisha

Restaurants and coffee shops in Jeddah have put up signs saying women should have “mahrams” (male guardians) to order shisha, and anyone who orders a shisha should be above 18 as per the order from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia).
The move has elicited sharp reactions from Saudi women.
“I don’t want to drag my husband or my son to a café in order to have shisha,” said Alaa Daani, a businesswoman. “What if I want to go to a women-only gathering where we don’t want men with us,” she said.
“I don’t see the need of a male guardian for this. This has nothing to do with gender mixing or anything against the rules of Islam.”
Many women don’t even share their love of shisha with their “mahrams” which makes this bad news for them. “No one knows I smoke shisha, this is why I don’t smoke at home because my family doesn’t want me to do anything that harms my health,” said Hayat Ali, a college student. “I go with my friends once a week to any café to smoke shisha and have a good time ... There is nothing else to entertain us here but shopping and smoking shisha. What are we going to do now,” she wondered.
The news created quite a buzz on the social media where many supported the idea while others rejected it.
“I am totally supporting this idea because it is sad when I see young women smoking shisha in public,” said Ahmed Al-Shammari on Twitter. “It makes them look cheap and easy.”
Coffee shop owners say this might harm their business, especially since it comes after the ban on serving shisha indoors. “We lost a lot of money and many clients after the regulation of serving shisha only in outdoors property which led us to rent more space and expand the café to the rooftop in order to serve it,” said Jameel Mohammed, café manager.
“We have not yet received anything from the Ministry of Commerce or the Haia but once we do, I guarantee our business is going to lose a lot and we might have to shut down the café.”
Haia spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Qaffari said the sign that surfaced on the social media is of a Makkah-based coffee shop called Layalina Al-Helwa.

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.