JEDDAH – A call by a Saudi imam for a full face-veil for baby girls to protect them from sexual abuses is sparking a controversy among Saudi Muslim scholars and social media for tainting the image of Islam.
Muslims should “ignore unregulated fatwas”, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jzlana, a former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, told the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya channel on Sunday, February 3.Special regulations are “set by Saudi authorities to administer religious edicts and appoint those who are entitled to issue them,” he said.
Sheikh Abdullah Daoud has triggered a controversy by calling for full face-veils for baby girls in the Saudi kingdom.
Speaking on Al-Majd TV, he argued that wearing the face-veil will protect baby girls against sexual molestation.
But the argument drew fire from Muslim scholars.
Sheikh Al-Jzlana said the imam’s opinion will cause Islam and Shari`ah to look bad.
He said he feels sad when he sees a family with a veiled baby, which he considers “an injustice to children.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
A Muslim woman is obliged to wear hijab as soon as she reaches puberty and Muslim parents should encourage their daughters to wear it.
Forcing baby girls to wear hijab is against the Islamic teachings.
The fatwa has prompted wide condemnations from Saudis on social media websites.
“Burkas for babies is disturbing! Now the baby victims are blamed for men’s crimes. Allah help us stop the ignorance,” one user wrote.
Other Twitter users called for the imam to be held accountable for his statement.
“Saudi Cleric Abdullah Daoud should have his "Sheikh" status stripped. He is effectively blaming baby girls for being molested!” one said.
The uproar reached other Muslims outside the kingdom.
“What the fatwa?! Saudi cleric Abdullah Daoud says baby girls should wear face veils to prevent abuse. How about a fatwa on abusers instead?” an Indian Muslim wrote on his Twitter account.
While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil.
Scholars believe it is up to women to decide whether to take on the face-veil (burqa or niqab), a loose outfit covering the whole body from head to toe and wore by some Muslim women.
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