Saudi cleric tells Al Arabiya ‘it was my wife’s choice’ to uncover her face

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About 35 years ago, Saudi cleric Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi held opinions that today he is not convinced with anymore. These views gradually changed after he seeked knowledge from the experts.

He led a pious life for about seven years and then gradually abandoned it. Ghamdi tells Al Arabiya how it all changed for him.

Some adopted the renewed visions that appeared and you are one of them, what is the reason behind this; is it a secure reflection of the social change that the Saudi society is undergoing?

There was no choice of timing for what was proposed and it was not a secure reflection of the influence of society. I have mentioned earlier that the community was under the influence of many customs and traditions, but only a small percentage has awareness and some of them were confused and had questions, which had no comprehensive answer in what is presented.

Many are afraid of facing the mainstream opinion, when the challenges appeared under the reign of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, may God have mercy on him , a lot of voices emerged against the reformation without having any right to do so.

The Saudi government and Kings always supported enlightenment, therefore, due to the circumstances the support of the enlightenment was given more attention under King Abdullah ruling, which is the same in the era of King Salman as well, may God protect him.

All these circumstances are what encouraged me to speak out against the tide of exaggeration, falsehood and ignorance.

As for your wife and uncovering her face, do you always consider the permissions in fatwas? Has confidence in Saudi women already been established? Does this make Saudi women regain confidence?

For twenty years, my wife knows the different opinions in this matter. She chose to follow the opinion, which says that women can uncover their face and hands, except if there an incident that requires covering.

She went out with me with her face and hands uncovered, as she believes in the validity of this with her own free will.

The saying that it is permissible to uncover the face of a woman and her hands, it is not a permission, rather it is the opinion of the majority of the scholars and the evidence for that is obvious.

Of course, I believe that this act has restored confidence for the Saudi women and opened the horizons for research, understanding and thinking in a large segment of society.

What is your motto in life? How can you live quietly in a society that rejects change?

My motto in life is to satisfy God as much as I can. I determined to rely on God, be satisfied with his fate and destiny and be honest and sincere to God.

I want to give good advice for my religion and country. I trust that the reward of philanthropists is benevolence and I am optimistic of society’s awareness in the future, confident in the wise leadership of the Kingdom that supports what is right. I always had faith in God, I am always thankful to God.

The full interview is available in Arabic at Al Arabiya.Net.