In another attempt towards modernization in Saudi Arabia and giving women more rights and greater freedom, a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said that “Saudi women need not wear the abaya.”
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, a Member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said on his program that Muslim women should dress modestly, but this does not necessitate wearing the abaya.
“More than 90% of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas. So we should not force people to wear abayas,” said Sheikh Mutlaq on Friday.
The cleric’s statement is the first of its kind and follows a recent pattern of changes that the kingdom has been witnessing lately, including allowing women to drive and attend mixed public sporting events.
In recent years Saudi women have started wearing more colorful abayas instead of the traditional black, open abayas over jeans or skirts have even become common in some parts of the kingdom.