Sunday, May 27, 2012

Muttawa Encounters Volume 2

I noticed that a post on one of my favorite subjects, the Saudi religious police, was long overdue. "Muttawa" is actually the third most popular search word that lands people on Blue Abaya, so something about them just fascinates (or disturbs) people and they want to find out more.

Read volume 1 of muttawa encounters here.

For many expats coming to the Magic Kingdom the concept of a religious police force is just incomprehensible or downright insane. Why do Saudi people need morality cops to tell them how to behave? Are they really THAT bad? If Saudis are supposed to be the role models of Muslims to the rest of the world, then why is it the only country that needs religious police chasing down people on the streets and enforcing morals on its citizens?
I hear so many muttawa stories from my friends all the time and unfortunately they are 99% negative. That said, there are some smart religious cops out there, I swear! Check this post for one example: Muttawa Gets It Right.
There are too many similar stories to mention here, most relating to women and covering hair and being chased by muttawa in malls. I thought of compiling another muttawa encounters list with the top most disturbing or hilarious incidents. These are all very recent cases from around the capital that happened to friends and family.

My mother visited us for few months here in Saudi and the few times we went to the mall (she hates malls) every single time would a squad of the morality cops chase her. I think we had bad luck but also during that time muttawa were on a roll. This was before the old Hai'a boss was sacked.
Her first encounter happened at Sahara Mall, she was on her own browsing shops while we were with the baby in another shop. Three muttawa came up to her. She said they could not have been much older than her teenage son (19yrs) and there she was, a 60 yr old woman minding her business when suddenly these three men started very aggressively shouting at her.
At first she did not even understand and just got scared and thought she had committed some crime. When they motioned at the scarf she understood and put it on. But that did not satisfy this blood thirsty moral squad. They continued shouting at her and by this time everyone was looking and she was mortified.

Apparently they didn't like how she had wrapped the scarf on. My mom walked out of the shop and tried to escape because she didn't understand what was wrong but they followed her like sharks. She had felt frightened and cornered.
Finally when they saw my husband and he shouted for them to go away they left. After confirming he was the "owner" of this red haired woman causing a stir of course. The same squad came three consecutive times to check on her if she still had the scarf on. I was so angry when I heard this that I wanted to go check their ID's and names and make a complaint but they had already left the mall by that time.

Mom wanted to make a complaint to the human rights commission because she felt her dignity and basic human rights had been violated, which was of course true. I felt so angry and frustrated that this was the experience and image she was getting of Saudi-Arabia. And of course she told everyone about it, so this is how muttawa vicariously spreads image of muslims as aggressive harassers, hostile toward foreigners, women haters and intolerant people.

Another incident this year that happened to two young Finnish women in IKEA. Two Hai'a officers were browsing for Vice which apparently IKEA has plenty to offer. Just look at what they have to deal with:
The horror. An uncovered smiling woman, with a dash of lipstick and some decolletage to go with it!

The muttawa at IKEA had spotted the sinful uncovered westerners and started their customary yelling. These two women have been here for years and become accustomed and immune to the harassment so they continued shopping as if nothing had happened. This angered the bearded bullies and they started following the women repeating the same over and over and now adding they should leave the store. The women ignored and cheerfully talked in Finnish about the furniture, as if there was no disturbance whatsoever. They knew muttawa cannot touch them or make an arrest without policemen present. Pretending muttawa were just a tiny mosquito making some buzz had gotten rid of them every time. The muttawa left but this time only to return with two police officers.

The women did not give up and continued walking around trying to seem calm but at this point they were furious. Now one of the angry beards lost his cool. He grabbed the shopping cart one of the women was pushing and started to drag it in the opposite direction yelling barra (out)! She held on to it with all her might and pulled the cart back yelling no! This tug of war lasted for a while with onlookers gathering around. It ended in the victory of the woman and the defeated muttawa leaving with his tail beneath his legs.

Another Finnish iron lady and long timer here who also uses the ignoring tactic was shopping by herself in the Riyadh Gallery Mall. While inside a clothing store the muttawa squad entered and asked her to cover. She initially ignored but when it became apparent they would not leave she got frustrated, took a dress from the clothing rack and placed it on her head saying inshallah! She had forgotten her scarf home. Muttawa was satisfied.

Another similar incident at the same mall, a western woman is shopping with a group of friends, muttawa approaches and they all cover expect her, she had forgotten to take a scarf. The muttawa did not leave her alone but started getting aggressive and shouting for her to cover her hair. The resourceful woman took the plastic shopping bad she was carrying and placed it on her head. Muttawa left the scene.

A friend of mine was at a frozen yogurt place and wanted to sit down but saw a sign saying women are not allowed to sit inside. She asked why not and the worker said Hai'a officers won't allow it. There was no clear indication it was single section, the place was secluded and there was nobody else around, so why not?
Why were woman allowed to enter, but not sit? The friendly salesperson then told her how the some Saudi women had sat there and muttawa had raided the place to prevent this HUGE vice. The women had left but the poor Filipino worker was accused of not preventing it and his "charge" was allowing women to sit inside. What happened then is the Riyadh Vice Cops had actually hand and LEG CUFFED the worker like he was one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. He spent two nights in jail for this horrid offense.. I don't think they even leg cuff mafia bosses. Or Hannibal Lecter.

Once while we were in a women's clothing store with mom, a muttawa came up to the entrance and started shouting in Arabic. First we thought he was shouting at us but he was targeting one of the male salesclerks. The Turkish clerk looked anxious as the muttawa approached him. The 4 ft tall muttawa continued for a good five minutes of nonstop blabbering and preaching and the clerk was nodding his head, staring at the ground, looking humiliated. By now everyone in the store and the hallway had stopped shopping and were staring at the clerk in a condemning manner as if he had committed a big crime.

When the muttawa finally left we went to talk to the salesclerk because he looked absolutely devastated and about to cry. He told me how this same muttawa comes to his shop almost everyday and always picks on him. I must mention this was a well mannered, friendly young fellow, he was definitely not one of those overly "helpful" and slimy salesmen there are out there. He continued that the muttawa always complained and lectured him on his appearance and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

The first time the muttawa midget came, it was the ear length hair which had been deemed too long. The Hai'a guy made him leave work right there and then to cut the hair short or face jail sentence.
Now the hair was short but he'd put hair gel in it which was what the lecture had been all about this time.

The young man said it felt like being publicly shamed and bullied by this so called religious representative. He told us how he couldn't wait for his contract to finish to get out of this horrible country! I told him to please ignore what the Hai'a say and that they don't represent Islam or Saudis. We tried to make him feel better, he had done nothing wrong. We told him we understand how bad that feels and were sorry he was targeted. My mom talked with him too and afterward he seemed more cheerful about it and thanked us for the support.

Last week there was an incident in Riyadh where a Saudi woman got harassed by muttawa because of her nail polish and asked to leave the mall. The video has now gone viral all over the internet. Here is the video clip with English subtitles:

Thumbs up for this brave lady for standing up for herself against her harassers. Saudi-Arabia needs more women like her!
More on this incident from these two blogs:
Saudi Jeans:
Saudi Woman's Weblog:

Some more reading about the religious police on Blue Abaya:

Meet The Saudi Religious Police

Lower Your Gaze Mr. Muttawa!

Muttawa Gone Wild

Commission Of Ex Thieves And Drug Addicts

Do you have a muttawa story, positive or negative, to share?

P.S Non-Muslim women are not required to wear head scarf or face veil In Saudi-Arabia, only the abaya is compulsory and all women mentioned in this post were wearing abayas.


*Cinderella* said...

Thank you finding one with English subtiles, I am so proud of her for standing up to them. It isnt haram to wear nailpolish nor is it haram to wear lipstick and he must of been looking at her alot to notice either. Shame on them. And like she said claiming to be God fearing, clearly they don't. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never allowed that sort of behaviour. it is beyond disgraceful and I am sorry for what happened to your mother. I hope I get to study my bachelor of islamic studies and then see them try and tell me what to do haha I will show them what they are doing is so wrong.

dB said...

Hi, Layla. Very good post.
The other day I read this in the Gulf News: the Kingdom has banned Gregorian calendar and english in hotels, agencies. Is that even true?

راوية said...

Salam Laylah.
Intresting post. The reason why we have Hai'a in KSA is because we try our best to follow the teaching of Quran and the Prophet.

Sura 3:104"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity."

I do support having Hai'a in malls. I do feel safe when they are around knowing that no bad lurking guy would dare to approach me. I and my family had many positive incidents with them and one bad. Many of them work overtime and use their own cars (and gas) to do their jobs because the government does not provide them with much support. And even when they succeed in stopping serious crimes such as prostitution, they are not rewarded and sometimes punished for exposing criminals. Especially if those criminals were from the filthy wealthy people.

However, I think the problem with the Hai'a system is mainly in their training. They seem to forget that they are talking to their Muslim brothers and sisters, not to their enemies in a battle field. And that the Prophet, who we all try to follow, has always told his companions to be "compassionate amongst each other" sura 48:29.

I think the Hai'a system should undergo a lot of training and make the Prophet their example
sura 3:159
"It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)."

As for the last clip, it only shows one side of the story and not the whole thing. He was harsh, she was rude. Maybe if she filmed herself, people would be on her side. But most of the comments in you tube are against her.

Soile said...

Luckily I only had a few minor incidents with Muttawa while working in Riyadh, but one of them was a little scary.

It was the day before I was going to leave Saudi, in 2002, and I went alone to Kuwaiti souq to get my ring that I had designed. I was wearing my scarf, as I always did when I was out alone, but a carfull of Muttawas started to shout at me to cover my face, and they followed me. I shouted back at them, in english, that I'm not a muslim, or Saudi, and I don't have to cover my face. They still kept following me, and shouting, so I went to hide in a shop. Luckily they left me alone after that :-)

Dohan Diiva said...

Iranissa on myos muttawat liikenteessa ja minut ne kerran heittivat pihalle, koska mulla oli varvastossut ilman sukkia. Iranissa ne tosin pidattaa todella herkasti ihmisia, varsinkin paikallisia. Nain muutamankin tapauksen missa riepottivat paikallisia naisia todella vakivalloin.

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

"I told him to please ignore what the Hai'a say and that they don't represent Islam or Saudis."

I understand why you say this but having religious police clearly is what the Saudis (at least those who post on blogs in English) want.
What Saudis need to understand is that it is impossible to reform the religious police. There is no way the system can work in a large rapidly urbanizing society. Saudi culture is based on village society in which there is a clear consensus. The system doesn't exist today at least not in large cities. Those large cities have large populations that include many foreign born (and a significant proportion of those are not Arab and not Muslim.

What Saudi Arabia needs to do is either make very clear public laws on behavior or abandon the attempt to micro-manage personal behavior.

Layla said...

Angel-Beyond disgraceful indeed. And then Saudis wonder why everywhere around the world people have such negative image about them. Well here is one of the biggest reasons! Hai'a tarnish reputation of not only Saudis but Muslims and Islam in general. Nothing about them is Islamic in my opinion. Just shameful!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Layla said...

Can't say if that's true or not but many places use both gregorian and hijri calenders side by side. This would be next to impossible to implement and supervise anyways..

Layla said...

I would have to disagree with you on the reason Saudi has Hai'a.
First of all, Hai'a only started very recently, with the rising of wahabbism and the conservative movement..before this Saudis were more free and there is a feeling of constant tension.

Second, there was nothing such during the days of the Prohpet. So how is this following Sunnah or the Prophet?
On the contrary the Prophet was very lenient and tolerant with people and would never publicly shame ppl like they do.
The surah you refer to does not imply there should be a religious police force, that is VERY far fetched I think. It can mean all Muslims should remind others.

I don't support Hai'a in malls or anywhere else. Saudis can do very well without them. A "bad guy" can lurk anywhere.
Government doesn't offer support??? Isn't over 100 billion sr called support, even bribery?

What I support is people to mind their own business, respect others, respect other ways of dress than one uniform, respect other ways of thinking (outside the box), respect other cultures, respect other religions, respect women.
If Saudis can implement those into their daily behavior no Hai'a will be needed.
Problem is Hai'a do not respect any of those things. They are not the best of muslims, on the contrary they are the most hostile, intolerant disrespectful and ignorant people I have met in the whole Saudi-Arabia.
That's why I say they don't represent Saudis, or Muslims.

Even with training these things will not change because it has been ingrained into their minds and education will not broaden their horizons, make them more friendly or respectful or tolerant of other ways. that's in their nature and it can't be changed with any kind of training, unfortunately.

Hai'a should go back to their original job description, keeping an eye on shop keepers for honesty and corruption. In addition they could start implementing and following through the laws on littering. Look at how this country looks like, a huge dump yard!!
Another idea is focusing on domestic violence and helping battered women.
Animal rights are in horrific state in Saudi which is such a shame, there's another MUCH more important thing for them to try put their time in.
Ya but we all know Hai'a will never do any such things but I can keep dreaming they would do something actually beneficial to this society :)

Women's hair, lips, nail polish, hijab style, shoes etc are not what I call important factors to deal with but this is where 90% of their time seems to go to.

Police force is there to catch criminals such as alcohol and drug smugglers,to deal with prostitution and so forth. They should be trained for that anyways, so why need Haia' to interfere? Just recruit and train the regular police force better,

And the last clip shows an enraged woman, she has EVERY right to be angry at them. Nail polish, make up or whatever is not a reason for some "religious" man to start chasing her.

I never even open the comments on youtube because they are so ridiculous on any subject, mostly from immature teenagers and so forth.

Layla said...

Mayve they thought you looked Arab because of your brown eyes :)

Layla said...

Oho en tienntykaan! Nayttaao ne samanlaisilta siella vai mista ne voi tunnistaa? Mita tapahtuu jos vastustaa? Kamalaa..saa mun veren kiehumaan tommoset inhottavat ukot!!

Layla said...

Jerry there are plenty of Saudis who want to keep religious police force as it is, but then there are many who would want to abolish it altogether or at least reform it totally.

I agree, and the regular police force can always be called to deal with serious offenses such as men harassing women in malls, or there could be a patrol present on the weekends.
The other "offenses" such as hair or nail polish are only criminal offensive to the muttawa, it seems.

راوية said...

Layla, I think most of your information about Hai'a's background is from others and not from your own research of Islamic history.

What we call Hai'a today, is called Hissba or (7issba), at the time of the prophet. He spent all his life teaching people to do good and forbidding them to do bad. When he died, the hissba system was established by all those who followed him, because now the Muslim number has grown to hundreds of thousands and they are all over the Arabian peninsula and Iraq, Levant, and Egypt.
This system continued for centuries and with the end of the Golden Ages and the fall of Islam, people forgot about it.
It was revived by Mohammad ibn Abdelwahab, who saw people being used by their mullahs and they were worshiping graves and trees. All that man did was remind people of the monotheism and true Islam. This took power from the Mullahs and money. That is why he is hated most today by those who do not follow Islam. I am sure you can find his books in English today and you can read them and judge for yourself.

As you said, the prophet was kind and merciful with his people and that did not stop him from correcting their mistakes and encouraging virtue. That is what I think the Hai'a should be trained to do.
You say they get hundreds of billions, I assure you they only receive a tiny fraction of it. I am sure you are aware of the corruption in the Saudi Government. It is all for show and news.

Let me give you two incidents, one happened to us, the other to my father's friend. The first was that we had a driver who worked for us a few years, every Thursday, he would invite his friends to his room in our house. We did not mind that. One night after 2 am, the bell rang. I asked who is it and a guy -Hai'a- asked for my father. When my father came he was told that there has been a lot of complaints about suspicious things happening in our driver room. My father went and knocked on the driver's door. The driver opened the door, drunk and barley conscious. The Hai'a entered with my father and found the living room and bedroom turned into a bar and casino. Everyone was drunk. They lead them to a bus, which belonged to one of the drunk men, and were all took to the police station. The Hia'a men told my father that they have been observing the house for a few weeks and were using their own family cars because there are not enough cars for all Hai'a officers like those provided to the police.

the other incident, is that one of my father friends who works in the Hai'a, disappeared for 3 weeks. When he finally came home, he told my father that he was in jail the whole time with other Hai'a officers. The reason was that they have caught a prostitution network managed by one of the high rank police officers. And since it was their word against the police, they decided they will film the whole capturing operation as evidence. As a punishment to the Hai'a they were all put in jail for 3 weeks! The incedent of course was never filed and was dismissed.

راوية said...

Layla, I know that you are still new to Arabic, but if you read the newspapers, you will find a lot of good done by the Hia'a. But people chose to ignore it and only see the minor incidents like that one in the mall. They are rarely appreciated and thanked for their good work, and are way more sincere than the police in their work, which is sad but true. I will always trust a Hia'a man than trust a police officer.

I believe all our government systems need to be reorganized, retrained, and all the corrupt should be punished. Only in doing that can we live in a modern civil country.

When I was in KSA last summer, a Hia'a man was walking and reminding people of prayer time in a very calm voice. Never stared at women or stopped. Just walked and reminded. Four Arab women who were not covered, motioned to the man to come closer, made fun of him in a loud voice, and then giggled with each other. The man stood there for a moment then continued walking quietly. This made me furious. Making fun of a government official, is making fun of my government and my country.

As for the comments, they are not teenagers. You know teenagers are most rebellious and do not want any one to correct them or advise them. So I do not think they will be on the side of Hia'a. They are adults who lived and witnessed a lot and who know the importance of the Hai'a system even if it still needs some fixing and update.

Anonymous said...

very good post! I hope the Muttawa encounters part 3 comes out soon!

Dohan Diiva said...

Alkuperaisesta tekstistani puuttuu paikka josta heittivat ulos... Ostoskeskuksesta. :)

Niilla on vihreat vaatteet paalla, mutta kylla tavan poliisikin pysayttaa jos huomauttamista. Lakihan koskee siella kaikkia. Et voi liikkua missaan ilman huivia ja riittavan pitkaa takkia.

Jos vastustaa, niin pidattavat ja ilmeisesti myos pahoinpitelevat. Kuulin myos, etta joiltain ovat katkaisseet akillesjanteen, jos nilkat nakyvat. Itselleni ei onneksi nain kaynyt...

Iranissa osa muttawoista on naisia, esim. nama jotka minut pysayttivat olivat naisia.

Not Saudi said...

If it is (I don't know) required to wear a scarf or cover your head in some other way in Saudi Arabia then why not do it? Why would your mother or other finish women NOT respect the norms of the Saudi society?

The other incidents like the nail polish one seems excessive to me.

Anonymous said...

Princess Aisha, are you kidding me?!?!?! can you explain how walking around ikea with your friends and chatting is disrespecting saudi culture? as far as I'm aware, expats are allowed to walk around with theri heads and faces uncovered, so how were they breaking the law?

On the other hand, I will give u that memri is absolutely biased and they take statements out of context or even quote so-called-intellectuals or "sheikhs" that even locals consider to be lunatics, also they change the translations in order to suit their intentions.

Anyways, defending something as the Haia in the 21st century is absolutely horrible providint all the mistakes they have made during their existence in the kingdom, also telling people to leave places just cause they dont like them is a form of bullying and sirespect... all I can see here is that you have been under a significant level of brainwashing dear, poor you...

Anonymous said...

Princess Aisha, are you kidding me?!?!?! can you explain how walking around ikea with your friends and chatting is disrespecting saudi culture? as far as I'm aware, expats are allowed to walk around with theri heads and faces uncovered, so how were they breaking the law?

On the other hand, I will give u that memri is absolutely biased and they take statements out of context or even quote so-called-intellectuals or "sheikhs" that even locals consider to be lunatics, also they change the translations in order to suit their intentions.

Anyways, defending something as the Haia in the 21st century is absolutely horrible providint all the mistakes they have made during their existence in the kingdom, also telling people to leave places just cause they dont like them is a form of bullying and sirespect... all I can see here is that you have been under a significant level of brainwashing dear, poor you...


Anonymous said...

non mulsims are not required to wear scarf!

Helen said...

mutawa have always been such bullies! I lived in this country for over 13 years and have so many run ins with these haia folks I can't even begin to count them! All negative and this puts me off learning more from their religion because to me it's just religion of the oppressors and the oppressed.

Anonymous said...

Her Arabic is so beautiful, even when she's yelling at them. lol.

Good for her :) I'm proud of her.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
راوية said...

I see. So because of a few men you will reject learning about a faith followed by over a billion. How mature!

The best way to answer someone is to learn the language they speak in. I cannot have a fruitful conversation with a doctor, a scientist, or a religious scholar, without knowing enough about their field. Knowledge will benefit you, but if you choose to be ignorant, that is your problem.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coolred38 said...

The religious police are a joke...while professing to enforce islamic "rules", they break so many of them themselves. Speaking disrespectfully to others, lookng at women with open eyed purposeful stares...shaming people in public and the list goes on. Look in the mirror and correct your own failings before having the audacity to presume to correct others. I seriously wish that instead of just shouting back at these "pious" men...someone would kick their damn asses and humble them into the men they pretend to be rather than the asinine fools they act like.

And yes..I have had my experiences with not only them...but some "religious" policewomen (I'm sure that is not what they were but they had uniforms on) while in the prophet's mosque in medina. Such rude and condescending women that I nearly wanted to hold up a mirror to their faces and tell them...take a good look at how your face looks while you are busy condeming other muslim women as sinners.

Doing 'god's work" my foot...god can handle things himself it would seem.

Anonymous said...

Hello from France!

Thanks for your blog!

Here's link for paper in prestigious french newspaper "Le Monde":

Numerous comments are also interesting!

Scuse me for my "bad" english langage writing!

Best regards!

Youcef / Avignon / France

Julia said...

Funny post. Why are Saudi's supposed to be role models? That's like saying Italians are supposed to be role model Catholics... both are far from the

Anonymous said...

From Italy - KSA hosts the two Holy Mosks of Mecca and Medina, while Italy hosts Vatican City, Rome. As an Italian I can assure you I've never heard we are supposed to be role model Catholics. Both Catholics and Muslims should simply do their best to worship their God..that's all. It's not up to human beings to decide who's next to or far from the Truth. And the Truth, for both Catholics and Muslims is God, btw.

Layla said...

Helen I am sorry you have this experience. But just keep in mind these are only a few bad and rotten seeds among other good ones..I know how you feel though I might have had the similar inclination when I fist came here and was treated like crap by these men..But then I realized what they do is not from Islam and I think that's the main point to understand here!

Honestly I don't think the best way to go about and answering her is to make things worse (image of muslims and Saudis)by calling her ignorant and immature..because she obviously felt she wasn't treated with respect. A respectful response I think would've generated perhaps better understanding.

Layla said...

Princess Aisha-I don't understand why you first write so long and judgmental response, and then when you get a reply, you deleted it?
I saw your first post and what you said about my friends and mother going about without headscarves is completely untrue and you clearly have no idea of Saudi customs and culture or the law.
They are NOT required to cover their hair let alone faces in Saudi-Arabia.

These women have EVERY right to be able to shop in peace without disturbance from a man that is not supposed to be

A) looking at them
B)talking to them
C) harassing them
D)chasing them

Also, you thought they were out without abaya? Do you think first of all they are that stupid, and secondly that I would even let my mother go out and get herself in trouble for not wearing one? I mean come on!
I really have no clue where you get these ideas from, because they are just absurd to me..

Regarding the link, if you can find me a version of this video with subtitles from other than Memri than submit me the link and I will change it. Just because I linked to it doesn't mean I support it. Just the only one with subtitles at the time that was available. The translation is very accurate btw.

Layla said...

Not Saudi-Why in the world would I bother to write multiple posts on a subject like this if it were, in fact required of them?

Foreign non-Muslim women don't have to cover their hair, abaya is enough.

Layla said...

I agree, it should all be about choices. We were all created with a brain and a conscious..Everyone should be able to use them however they want to.
In the end they will be judged accordingly. Whether or not religious cops told the person to go pray that one time or to cover their hair, has no significance on that day.

Layla said...

Proud of her too! I thought she was one feisty and brave woman! She is now famous all over the world :) good for her for exposing these men for what they are!

Layla said...

Well role models, supposedly because they are the custodians of the two holy mosques and the country is run according to sharia so everyone and everything should be ideal, right ;)

Layla said...

Onpa mielenkiintoista! Tuntuu etta ne on paljon pahempia siella siis!
mita nais muttawalla on paalla? Musta kaapuko?
Iranissa ei kuitenkaan ole abaya pakkoa niinko? Onko siita kauan kun olit siella?

Anonymous said...

Coolred I have had same happen in grand mosque mecca, woman muttawa came up to beat me with a stick because I was not praying the way she thought was correct. Another occasion two came to say I can't pray there because I was too close to few males sleeping. Why can't the males move is my question? Always the women are to blame. truth is the religious cops are misogynist hypocrites.
But we all know the saying what comes around goes around. That day will be hard for them.

Layla said...

Point was there was no religious police force during the time of the Prophet. If he deemed such to be necessary it would have been established during his time. But since "there is no compulsion in religion" the wise Prophet of course could and would not have established a religious police FORCE to FORCE people to do things and thus, go against what God had said about religion.

Re those youtube comments, if they're not teenagers, which many of them are, they are mostly from immature, ignorant hateful adults. You don't see the educated, open minded and enlightened people commenting on there.

I mean look at what you will find in the internet, it's full of fanatics. Look at Al Arefe on twitter, he has over 1 million followers. All he has to do is condemn her to hell and call her a prostitute (which I wouldn't be surprised he hasn't already done) and all his followers will go to the video like sheep and call her that.

It's so easy for them to condemn a woman like her anonymously, call her a w***e and what else, these are the lowest of people and this is why I stopped reading YouTube comments on anything especially to do with Saudi because they are just full of hate and ignorance it makes me physically sick and want to vomit.

Bigstick1 said...

To the poster that discussed Hissba, could you provide some source documentation on this practice. In particular a hadith location, the sira, something. I have looked and currently unable to locate it.

Next I am never able to post on the reply for whatever reason and yes I have checked all the internet settings hope that answers why it is a new post verses a reply

The poster posted on May 28, 2012 at 2:52 am.

Anonymous said...

If she had true courage she should have shown her face for all to see her so that she can own her actions, anyone can hide behind an iPhone but I'm sure she wouldn't have been so verbal if the camera was turned on her. No one was screaming at her or trying to do anything to her and she seemed to be reacting as if they was trying to rape her..very dramatic! She seemed like a spoilt teenager who didn't get her way

Anonymous said...

@ Laylah, I wanted to ask if you could define Wahabbism for me?
It seems so common in todays society that this term is incorrectly used and misused and misunderstood.
Whats is Wahabism? Wahabism doesn't mean anything. The word was taken from a mans name called Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab..and why? Because he tried to implement tawheed or Islam, back into the arabian peninsula at a time when Muslims were deviating from the very essence of Islamic monotheism. Why is it always use to insinuate negativity? I would encourage you to read Abdul Wahhabs "Kitab Al Tawheed".

Anonymous said...

I hope this is not disrespectful but the stories you tell about Saudi are so horrible that I wonder why you choose to live there.

I am an American but I wish I were Finnish - you are from a much more humane and decent society than mine. Saudi Arabia however offends dignity on so many levels and in so many ways it seems utterly intolerable. If you are able to tolerate it, how ever do you do so?

راوية said...

I am so shocked at your reply Laylah. And disappointed. I thought that I would be hearing a fair reply to my comment. But it seems that you stand against religion and anyone who represent it. If you want to stick with the basics of Islam, that is up to you and I am sure God will reward your sincerity, but do not attack others for trying to be and do more than the basics.
There are reasons why many support religious men, wither they are Al Arefe or Hai'a. I wonder if you have ever thought about that. Those people have done more good to the society than any one of us bloggers.
I am so shocked that you view us as sheep, brainless and helpless. We know that they, Hai'a and scholars, are people who make mistakes and they know that too and admit to them. We advise them when they are wrong- via twitter and facebook or face to face- and they do the same.

And by the way, Al Arefe is not free to comment on such trivial incidents. He has been busy for months trying to get the government to start supporting the Syrian people and still has not given up.

Layla said...

I honestly don't know why you were so shocked :) I was stating my opinion and trying to give some insight to why I think in certain way, just like you did.
Stand against religion and anyone who represents it? What in the world does this mean? That's pretty unreasonable.

You're right about the basics, that's what I am trying to say all along, that if the basics say something, then for me going against that is absurd and I don't see the point..I did not attack anyone.

Look you know a lot more than me about these things and I respect that, but I just disagree about the necessity of having Hai'a in the first place.

Yes I think there are a lot of "sheep" out there, who blindly follow. I think you know this too. Again, I didn't say you are a sheep..Don't know where you are getting these ideas from..

My example on Arefe was meant just to point out about those nasty and immature youtube comments, that I don't think it's a good idea to read them or rely on them to give clear picture of what's going on, they might as well be generated by something a very influential person like him said and there you go.

I mean they are slandering this woman! We as women should give her the benefit of doubt and stand behind her, not against her assuming the worst, don't you think? It's your country woman, you should be the one who is defending her not me lol

راوية said...

Maybe because I spelled it wrong. I think the correct spelling would be Hisbah.
You can google the word and will find about it.

Anonymous said...

This is a wrong assumption. In fact, throughout history, we have found that Saudis have strayed away from their religion. Look at the time of Ibrahim, the men were circumbulating the Kabaah naked.

Look at the time prior to the arrival of Ibn Abdul Wahab, many were back to worshipping graves.

With all due respect Lailah, I think you need to read more about the beautiful religion that you have recently embraced, Islam. Please don't take this as an insult, as it's a sincere advice from a sister to another sister (you) whom I love and respect. I also did not know much about Islam, despite being born into it.


Mrs Bawazir said...

I dont get the part about Al Arefi hving 1million fans n the fanatics u mean the fans are fanatics bcoz they like n look up to this Islamic scholar or how? I personally like Al Arefi's videos,the way he teaches.

Anonymous said...

"It's your country woman, you should be the one who is defending her not me lol"
Alhamdulillah for Islam...where we don't have to stand with those who are of same nationality just because we share the same culture and skin colour but we should stand with those who are good in there Islam and not just for the sake of nationality as u suggested.
Like someone else said we only saw the girls side of the video so it was not a fair representation of the entire situation.
I really don't see that what she did was SO noble like many women are saying...if she was shouting around in the mall about how the saudi government isn't doing a thing about the situation in syria or how the government is corrupt then i would applaud her but for some random girl to stand up for her "nail polish" thats just pathetic. People shouldn't waste their time talking about her and its really sad that we are even given her any attention considering almost 50 children died in houla Syria recently and we are saying how courageous she is for screaming at men because she wants to keep her face uncovered and her nail polish in tact....when the real women of courage who actually matter are those who are fighting for their lives in muslim countries around the world. Astaghfirallah

Coolred38 said...

Hbla...have you heard the phrase, "the straw that broke the camel's back"? Possibly those men confronting her was her last straw in this regard and her reaction is one of continued frustation over being treated like a child who cannot police her ownself but must face the continuous scrutiny of these bearded pious men who appoint themselves judge and jury in such cases. You say she is acting like a teenager who didn't get her way...this is funny considering she lives in a country that treats her like a child...but then she is condemned for acting like one (in your eyes). Interesting.

Also, what difference would it make if you could see her face or not? Would that validate her experience more...make it more real for you or anyone else? If the haya can confront people with their opinions of what constitutes piety...they should be willing to take the opinion and reactions of others as well.

Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaykum dear sisters,
I agree with sister Riya (not sure how to spell your name in English) that both sides were not evident in the video and we cannot make a judgement. I don't think that this Hai'a man asked her to leave the mall for merely wearing nail polish. I live in Madina (the Prophet pbuh's city) and countless women here wear nail polish and no one even raises a disapproving eyebrow; basically what i'm saying is that it's a common day fuss from anyone. I definitely do not believe that this was something caused by nail polish. Perhaps her hair was uncovered or something else...again i don't want to assume but for nail polish to be the issue just seems out of the question and false. Also I think there was mention of her hair in the video (not too sure but i don't feel like watching it again just to check). This reason seems more plausible for something like this to happen b/c like sister Laylah posted there have been incidents where they tell women to cover their hair being Muslim or non-Muslim. I don't agree that they tell non-Muslims to cover their hair b/c they are not Muslims for goodness sakes and the shari'a (rulings and orders of Allah stated in the Quran) of Islam do not apply to them. As long as they are respecting that they do live in a Muslim country and are wearing the abaya then this is more than enough. Although for Muslim sisters living in a Muslim country I think that it is acceptable that the Hai'a remind them to cover as this is what every believeing Muslim woman should do. All in all I don't think we're getting both sides of the story in this video and we need to do that before we judge. Also remember that the woman in the video is our sister in Islam and we support her. If it was a mere reason of nail polish then this Hai'a man entirely went over the limits b/c a woman can wear nail polish especially if she has her menses meaning she is not required to pray and therefore not required to make ablution. This is none of his business for sure. But if it was for some other reason (i.e. not wearing proper hijab) then I don't think he overstepped his bounds, and he didn't even need to be in the Hai'a to advise her. If i saw this in a shopping mall i would myself kindly go up to the sister and advise her in the best Arabic that i can muster up. I have done this before myself and mashallah have had very kind responses back. Again lets also remember that this man in the video is also our brother in Islam so we should also not assume bad things from him. Also concerning the necessity of the Ha'i I have to say again that I agree with sister Riya (sorry about spelling) that i welcome their presence because as long as they are advising, and not harassing, their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters then they are doing something that is commanded in the Quran. When Luqman advises his son, "O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination." So this is something that as Muslims we should all be doing for another, NOT JUST the Hai'a. i also agree with you both that there are probably sometimes where they are too harsh (i haven't experienced it myself) and probably need to be re-educated in some aspects.

Anonymous said...

An idea just hit me, if we as Muslims in this Ummah take the initiative and start to advise one another with sincerity then there won't be a need for the Hai'a. But, unfortunately we don't do that. So what do they say, "we can be the change we want to see..." (something like that).
It was nice reading both of your views and sister Laylah i really enjoy reading your blog and i think it has very insightful, well written, sometimes hilarious articles that make me laugh out loud. Please keep up the good work. However, I will say that sometimes I disagree with articles but in the best way possible and i love the exchange of ideas and opinions. My mom herself reverted from the Church of latter day saints and became Muslim over 25 years ago. alhamdulillah she is still learning about Islam to this very day. May Allah continue to bless you with knowledge for His sake.

Love you all for the sake of Allah

Layla said...

Hi Louloula, I was not being totally serious just meant this is the general assumption that people tend to have about Saudis as role models :)

Layla said...

Bigstick-I think the problem might be that if there's already a reply to what you want to reply to, you have to click reply to that lower comment, not the original one, not sure that made any sense lol I'm not sure what the problem could be otherwise, strange!

Thanks for the links ربة منزل

Layla said...

I would advise you to read more on this blog then because you've got the wrong impression!

Every society has their ups and downs, even Finland :)

Layla said...

hmmm well I guess it could be determined as either feisty, courageous, rude, or dramatic, according to different viewpoints..
In any case I think it doesn't matter she doesn't show her face here. When you think of this situation she is clearly enraged about something, and I honestly don't think she would've been this outspoken if something didn't really upset her, and what would upset a person like this? Reasons can be many of course and maybe she was having a bad day (her nails were painted so maybe just maybe it was that time of the month as well) and what just ticked her off was the Haia'a guys picking n her for something like that, be it her hair or nails or both, I think it's none of their business to do other than what their job says, kindly remind and move on..
Well we don't know the backgrounds but I still think she did a good thing by posting the video because hopefully this will cause reform and change within Hai'a!

Layla said...

Mrs BAwazir-no I meant in one sentence there are many fanatics out there (re the youtube comments). Then I went on to say look at how many followers Arefe has, and how they are influenced by what he says. So lets assume he says something negative about a female public figure, many his followers will "spread the word" so to say, such as ,in the youtube comments. We can see many influential sheikhs giving negative statements of Manal Al Sherif for example.

Sara93 said...

What an interesting blog !
You know what’s going on in Saudi is Wahhbisim, which is not Islam at all, it is a religion which contains strict traditions and that had been created by selfish men who are brain washing the society under the cover of Islam and sadly majority of people believe them. And what do these men want? WOMEN POWER AND MONEY!
Anyway, I’m a Muslim girl and I refuse the existence of Hia’a and the funny thing is these Hia’a think the good people in this ayat "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity (bliss) are them ! While they are the complete opposite! The concept of this ayat - Hisbba was established in early ages of Islam which means advising and encouraging people to do the good in every aspect of life especially in financial and governmental issues! For example Monitoring Muslim’s money, making sure that nobody is cheating or stealing, giving the poor what they need, monitoring souqs and make sure that there is not cheating in goods etc.. and when it comes to morals you just advise people in a good way and go away! and nowadays Hia’a do not do any of that, they are good at chasing women is malls and shouting on non-Muslims! Why the hell do you want them to cover their hair?! And even for Muslim women Muttawa have no right to shout at them at all! Especially when it comes to the face covering thing! We don’t need men yelling at us and teaching us what’s right and what’s wrong!

P.S you should move to Jeddah  I rarely see these creatures lol, In my 19 years of exciting I only saw them twice the second time was in mall of Arabia they passed by a western women sitting in a café and she wasn’t covering her hair and didn’t say anything.

Keep on going : )

Layla said...

Coolred38- good point about the saying the straw that broke the camel's back. I have got the feeling myself MANY times here, when something unfair has happened over and over, there is just a limit for everyone and maybe this was her limit. She just could not take it anymore and flipped at them.
We will never know for sure of course.

But I can relate to this feeling, there was a time I was constantly bothered by muttawa at malls and the more it happened the more frustrating it became somehow,if you get what I mean?

It starts getting irritating for western women. In the beginning you can walk away, ignore, cover your hair and move along. But at some point this gets to you because you know you should not be required to it because you're not muslim, it doesn't seem fair. This feeling of unfair treatment and the feeling of being harassed by men of all people, piles up on the irritation levels.
So when it all piles up, some people break.

It might be the woman in the clip has got her fair share over the years for not covering in the way the Haia guy thinks is proper way. Her frustration levels tipped off and there you go..

Layla said...

to anon above, sorry but I'm not getting into a debate about wahabbism, it's just too time consuming and I've seen these type of conversations which I feel never go anywhere, there seems to be lots of different opinions and so be it. All I will say is that I think the original meaning has changed.

and to other anon I was not suggesting that we should only defend someone because of their nationality..

But what I do think is that women should be much more forgiving and understanding of other women and act less judgmental. I find it sad that most of the time it's other women who condemn women such as the video girl, when we should show solidarity and support and always think the best of her, which I am trying to do here..

thanks for the interesting comments, I wish you guys would use nicknames because I don't know who I am addressing this to. How hard can it be to type something in the name url field;) I mean use your pets name, your neighbors name, whatever but PLEASE identify yourself!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Layla said...

Sara93-thanks for the comment, ya I wish I could move to Jeddah :) Especially because of the beautiful Red Sea you guys have over there!
Heard also Hai'a are not that numerous, aggressive or influential there as they are in Riyadh, and I personally don;t know any western woman who had any problems with muttawa in Jeddah.

bigstick1 said...


Yes my reading on the subject indicates that, that is what hisbah is supposed to be; a courtesy comment to let you know in a discrete manner , then they have done their obligation but it has turned into the morality vigilante. There is also no documented evidence that such a practice every existed prior to the 9th century according to much of my research. So in essence, you have a bunch of thugs bullying people into compliance with material that is often times a weak hadith with no support of the Quran.


The book you have provided to Laylah to read is controversial in its assessment. It has numerous points that go against the alleged companions of the prophet. In addition even his own kin opposed his assessment. Next it is stated that what was never bidah or haram before he made it so which counters the early scholars thought as well as the earlier companions sunnah and thought. In other words this individual interpretation is being used counter to the early scholars and the companions of the prophet’s concepts. I can always go further on the topic should you like that matter address in more detail.

Anonymous said...

Although its completely up to you but may I suggest to not post videos from MEMRI? MEMRI is a propaganda wing of Israel and much of their content is shaped around their own goals.

Wonderful article by Biran Whitaker that highlights the problems with MEMRI

bigstick1 said...

@ Princess Aisha H:

Here are some websites on the hair coverings. I have more on the Pauline Bible regarding his adminstrative letters to churches to which have become divinely canonicalized should you wish to discuss this more. You should know that the one everyone likes to harp on is one letter to one church of the time regarding women and it was not sent to all churches just this church was located in Corinth.

In addition, there are more on the early construct of the Torah in particular to women.

Here are a few articles regarding the matter of hair.

Next most nuns today do not wear the habit, nor do most people who attend services wear head coverings.

As far as the Jesus's mother Mary. There is no actually picture of her so no one will ever no what she wore. There is only a artist rendition many centuries later after her alleged death.

Layla said...

Like I said above already, it's the only one with english subtitles available at the time of posting.Please send me a link to another source with accurate translation and I can change it. thanks.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

I totally agree with the woman being harassed about her nailpolish. a religious man would only notice if she were doing something VERY wrong, not something he'd have to be staring very hard to see.

If he bugged me I'd be yelling in arabic "I have my period, I don't have to make wudu, so leave me alone!!!!" and see if menstration frightened him away or if I got arrested for lewdness. I mean, come on people.

Yes, in Islam we should advise people to good. But we are ALSO supposed to give them many excuses even for their obvious wrongs. We are then, supposed to cover their sins. Advice is for them, then leave them alone. The Prophet Mohmmaed sallalahu alahi wa salaam was instructed by Allah ALmighty Himself: "Yours [Muhummed] is but to warn." So did he tell her, sister, did you know wearing nailpolish nullifies your wudu or would you like to know why there is reward for veiling the face?" No, he followed her around, which is harassment, stared at her body, tried to publically shame her, and followed her out of the mall. He should have warned nicely, and left her to follow as she saw fit, which would be the sunnah of "advice".

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Saudi Arabia? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Saudi Arabia in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

And you are using the term "wahaabism" to mean the Political Religious Dogma purported by the saud royal family, because wahaabism should mean what was taught by the scholar the name derives from and he just wrote about Tauhid. As a makeup wearing niqab-isn't fard but good on those who wear it kind of girl, I agree 100% with his writings on Tauhid and get offended when people who don't know the correct term for what IS practiced in Islam in Saudi decide to use the scholar Wahab's name in a dirty way. It isn't the Islamic term for extreme Islam. It is a term for adhering to Tauhid "the oneness of Allah" and not worshipping idols. Call me that and I'd be proud. All Muslims should be. Same as using the word "salafi" which means the period of the Prophet and the immediate companions (not the generations after them), and wanting to follow what they followed. Of course, extremists like to CALL themselves salafis to gain respect but you can know you aren't following Islam when you disrespect others and look down upon them.

Anonymous said...

You just said that as muslims we should make as many excuses as we can for our muslims brothers and sisters..yet you just assumed many things about the brother..when u weren't there to know both sides.
"No, he followed her around, which is harassment, stared at her body, tried to publically shame her, and followed her out of the mall. He should have warned nicely, and left her to follow as she saw fit, which would be the sunnah of "advice"."
Please explain how you know for sure he was staring at her body? How do u know he tried to intentionally publicly shame her? maybe he wanted to keep the convo on the low but she started hysterically screaming and attracting more attention which is what it could look like from the vid..Just as you are ASSUMING many different negative things about the brothers ...your doing the same as what they MAY have assumed of the girl...which is both wrong i think

Jael said...

Olipa mielenkiintoinen postaus ! En tiedä miten itse reagoisin tuollaiseen,mutta kai olisin raivostunut. Täällähän on myös joukko kiihkouskovaisia,jotka vaativat että kaikki on peitettävä,mutta se on vain vähemmistö,eikä näy jokapäiväisessä elämässä.

Anonymous said...

Wow that sounds so cool..hope u get a saudi stamp soon!!

talal07 said...

Everyone have stories with Hay'ah(religious police), mostly are bad. however beyond the stories is the fact Hay'ah is a police with juridical. executive & legislative privileges. they have the right to change laws and apply them anytime. That whyI get a head-shave when I get caught in a date, while my friend get caught with a girl in a mall and then get lashed and jailed and expelled out of college.
And the reason the government allow them is from a Machiavellian point of view, keep the people struggling for their own little freedoms and they won't bother the government in the big issues. that why they fill news and media on account on any local political/economical discussion.
I could go further but just wanted to list the big point people keep missing around here.

Layla said...

Yaelian-onhan se valilla aika raivostuttavaa :) Eli teilla ei ole minkaanlaisia ns moraalikyttia siella?

Layla said...

talal-That's a very interesting point you got there! Looks like they are succeeding :)

Anonymous said...


2 weeks ago me and my mother were shopping inside Tamimi during prayer time. The y came in and she told me to hide in the storage room so I did. They ended up arresting the manager of the store and the security guard, but I always thought it was common knowledge that supermarkets didn't kick people out during prayer time.

Last weekend our cousin from Kuwait and his wife came to attend my Grandfathers funeral (allah yerhamo) and she and my aunt wanted to go to Gazaz so I took them. The hay'ah was there berating the female staff in the second floor (the male staff worked on the first) then the came down stairs and started berating a Saudi male employee who looked my age for about 10 minutes BECAUSE OF HIS HAIR! He told me that they've been coming every few days since they employed the women. I was shocked because the government said women should be employed in these types of shops.

Anonymous said...

"moraalikyttä" hahahhhaah :D


Anonymous said...

I believe the purpose of these Sheikhs whom you refer to as 'Muttawas' are only trying to carry out their obligations as Muslims.

One of the Muslims' duties is to ENJOIN right (good deeds) and PROHIBIT evil (sinful deeds). As Muslims we are encouraged in Islam to encourage one another to do only what is good and to prevent one another from committing evil/sin.

Islam = Peace

If you truthfully follow the rules of Allah, as Muslims, you will insha-Allah attain not only peace within yourselves but peace on earth.

Allah knows best.

I am amazed at how you can say these kind of comments while you claim that you're married to a Saudi. If you're really married to a Saudi, you should know better -info about these men you refer to as 'Muttawas'.

bigstick1 said...


I am amazed that people put up with this in Saudi myself as it is a form of oppression and subjugation. Islam is not peace it is submission.

Next whose version should people be enforcing? Maybe we can start with the versions prior to the 9th century when the Quran became more uniformed and codified?

How about which interpretation? Grape or Virgin? I see a problem with enforcing something that many don't really fully appreciate just how problematic the earlier manuscripts are let alone the various problems of interpretation. It could be that women are to wear a belt (girdle) vs. a covering. Again interpretation is everything. Amazing how many scholars have different interpretations, isn't it?

Layla said...

Hi Emilio what an interesting hobby you have there!
Inhallah myself or someone else from Saudi could help you with the letter soon :)

Layla said...

flawlessvelvet thanks for sharing your muttawa stories!I can't count how many times I've been stuck inside Tamimi or other grocery store and nobody ever got kicked out, how did they even let the Hai'a guys in that is so strange!
Sound like those muttawa at Gazaz had sadistic tendencies, putting people down like that and humiliating them..makes me so angry. So they are working against the government now too?

Layla said...

Well Mariam these are certainly not sheikhs :)
I guess I'm not REALLY married to a Saudi then lol

Layla said...

Mara I didn't see any hysterical screaming but it was clear he was not treating her with respect and was looking at her to notice all those thing he complained about. He should've jut moved along and not continued arguing.
Now even the Hai'a boss has issued a statement this muttawa guy was WRONG in what he did.
So the case is closed!

Affinity for Modesty said...

Here we go, trying to promote Atheism on a Muslim blog.

Islam is Peace, ask any Arabic speaking person.

Affinity for Modesty said...

Had there been any alterations during 1,400 years, there would have been no way these millions of muslims read and memorised the same Qur'an.Here are two different studies involving the Bible and Qur'an respectively:
Dr. J.K. Elliott,of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University, wrote an article published in The Times, London (10th Sept., 1987) entitled “Checking the Bible’s Roots”. In it, he stated that: “More than 5,000 manuscripts contain all or part of the New Testament in its original language. These range in date from the second century up to the invention of printing. It has been estimated that no two agree in all particulars. Inevitably, all handwritten documents are liable to contain accidental errors in copying. However, in living theological works it is not surprising that deliberate changes were introduced to avoid or alter statements that the copyist found unsound. There was also a tendency for copyists to add explanatory glosses[9]. Deliberate changes are more likely to have been introduced at an early stage before the canonical status of the New Testament was established.”
The author went on to explain that “no one manuscript contains the original, unaltered text in its entirety,” and that, “one cannot select any one of these manuscripts and rely exclusively on its text as if it contained the monopoly the original words of the original authors.”
The same principles of analysis which were applied to Bible manuscripts by Bible scholars and which exposed the flaws and changes, have been applied to Qur’aanic manuscripts gathered from around the world. Ancient manuscripts found in the Library of Congress in Washington, the Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin, Ireland, the London Museum, as well as Museums in Tashkent, Turkey and Egypt, from all periods of Islamic history, have been compared. The result of all such studies confirm that there has not been any change in the text from its original writing. For example, the “Institute fur Koranforschung” of the University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated over 42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’aan. After some fifty years of study, they reported that in terms of differences between the various copies, there were no variants, except occasional mistakes of copyists, which could easily be ascertained. The institute was destroyed by American bombs during the Second World War.
One of the leading orientalists, Kenneth Cragg, said the following regarding the memorization and preservation of the Qur’aanic text, “This phenomenon of Qur’anic recital means that the text has traversed the centuries in an unbroken living sequence of devotion. It cannot, therefore, be handled as an antiquarian thing, nor as a historical document out of a distant past.”[49] Another orientalist scholar, William Graham, wrote: “For countless millions of Muslims over more than fourteen centuries of Islamic history, ‘scripture’, al-kitab has been a book learned, read and passed on by vocal repetition and memorization. The written Qur’an may ‘fix’ visibly the authoritative text of the Divine Word in a way unknown in history, but the authoritativeness of the Qur’anic book is only realized in its fullness and perfection when it is correctly recited.”[50] Yet another, John Burton, stated: “The method of transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to the next by having the young memorize the oral tradition of their elders had mitigated somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solely on written records...”[51] At the end of a voluminous work on the Qur’aan’s collection, Burton stated that the text of the Qur’aan available today is “the text which has come down to us in the form in which it was organised and approved by the Prophet...What we have today in our hands is the mushaf of Muhammad.Schwally concurs that “As far as the various pieces of revelation are concerned, we may be confident that their text has been generally transmitted exactly as it was found in the Prophet's legacy.

Affinity for Modesty said...

To Bigstick,
I highly recommend you get a copy of The History of The Qur'anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments by Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami

bigstick1 said...

Umm Gamar:

Let's see now I already have the following:

The Qur'an Historical Context edited by Gabriel Said Reynolds (Routledge Studies in the Quran); The Quest for the Historical Muhammad by Ibn Warraq; In search of the Original Koran by Mondher Sfar; Which Koran by Ibn Warraq; The orgins of the Koran by Ibn Warraq; The hidden origins of Islam by Karl-Heinz Ohlig and Gerd R-Puin; The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam by Herbert Berg (Routlege Studies in the Quran) and will I could go on. Now my question to you would be how do you think this study will influence my thinking as I considered the Old and New Testament to be bogus and manmade?

Here are a couple of points: Many scholars and archeologists state the exodus did not occur, mose's books were written by numerous authors over a large period of time, Mose and Abraham did not exist as they were allegorically stories, God cannot defeat iron chariots, God's name is Jealous, Yahweh was a pagan god based upon El-Elyon and Anasherah prior to the inception of the invention of Yahweh, etc., etc., etc.,

So again how do you think this is going to influence me?

bigstick1 said...

Umm Gamar:

In the religious sense - Islam means submission.

Here is something from the atheist side of things and an excellent read. :)

Anonymous said...

Islam means to submit to Allah SWT that's correct. If bigstick1 doesn't agree with Islam that's not our problem, there will always be people who won't submit to the legislation of Allah. Allah guides whom He wills.

Affinity for Modesty said...

The authenticity of the Quran has been agreed upon by nearly all experts, both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. Hardly anyone has contensted the authenticity of the Quran, and those that did their theories were quickly destroyed.

The main method of preservation was through memorisation, and secondly through the form of a book. Right from the begining, many muslims memorised the whole Quran, and along with it the chains of transmission back to the Prophet s.a.w.

When you have millions narrating the Quran from memory, and all do so through different chains of transmitions, and yet each and every person is narrating EXACTLY the same text - do you not think this is enough to prove it's authenticity?

Then there is the fact that the Companions compiled the Quran from both memory (what was agreed upon through consensus to be the Quran) and the written forms which were recorded down, and they were checked and verified by the Prophet s.a.w. Himself ensuring there were no mistakes. The first Quran's are still available and can be checked in museums in certain countries. When present day copies of the Quran were compared to that of the very first, they were found to be EXACTLY the same without an iota of difference. I therefore think there is more than enough evidence to prove the authenticity of the Quran.

And most importantly for us as Muslims,We have faith in it as Allah has promissed to guard it from any falsehood. As this is the last scriptures. Its not in Allah's interest to let the last of his word go the same way as last ones.

This is the real thing and the final one.

bigstick1 said...

Umm Gamar:

Okay when I stop laughing at that I will answer.

Now, there is no authentcity of the Quran only conjecture and many and I do mean many scholars question it. Most consider it to have a history and was developed from existing dogma and tradition of the time. Even the manuscripts that are not the originals differ. In addition, the Quran is just coming under great scrunity and those who have made the determination that it has a history and most is allegorical are ostrasized, jailed or killed. Of course Saudi is quickly trying to stop people from looking into the text as well as destroying all alleged historical archeological sites that could contradict the current belief system. Even the Sanaa manuscripts are not well protect as many would like to see them go up in flames as they contradict the (it hasn't been changed)standard mantra. In addition, prior to the standardization of the Egyptain Quran in 1924 there was no one consensus nor was the Quran clear cut but I will let you research that point. Just think the Quran has peaked many interests and it will be garnering far more scrunity. It will become know as a fairy tale book for many muslims over time as the Bible has become for many Christians and the Torah for many Jews. In other words this was the statement by tribal people who thought lightening was a sign of god not atmospheric condition which has a natural law based upon chemicals, temperature and conditions.

Affinity for Modesty said...

Huda,yes you are right. In Arabic, the word “Islam” means submission or surrender – however, it was derived from the root word “salam”. From this root word, you can also derive the words peace and safety.

Many religions have a concept of surrender to God. In Jewish history, when the ancient Hebrews obeyed God’s commands, they had a long period of prosperity and stability.

In Christianity, surrendering to God is a way of putting your life into more capable hands – in fact, Jesus asked many of his disciples to surrendertheir livelihoods and follow him.

So, if we look at the word ‘Islam’ in this way, we can understand why obeying Allah’s commands and trusting in Allah’s wisdom could bring about peace for a Muslim.

The word does not represent a one-sided relationship, where the believer is enslaved to Allah. Rather, the word Islam indicates a covenant between Allah and his followers, where a Muslim surrenders his or her will to Allah in return for peace or safety.

Affinity for Modesty said...

To bigstick,i dont know why you are laughing at my reply when i gave a sincere and well meaning answer,but it does show your blind arrogance and condescending manner.even if you disagree,there's no need to be smug.this is typical trait of Richard Dawkins who rather than motivate secular values has called for atheists to show contempt and ridicule the wonders why an intelligent man would promote scorn instead of discourse.perhaps the fear of conviction?

bigstick1 said...

Umm Gamar:

Really you gave me a well sincere and well-meaning answer? I think not. You gave me the statement that everybody thinks this way thus you are wrong answer. The statement about all experts Muslim and non-muslims believe in the authenticity of the Quran. In you words, do not question what is as I have stated this so therefore it is. The arrogance, deceptive and condescending manner is yours as you imply a truth and respect based upon a lie. The reality is that many do question the Quran and its origins.

There have been many who have lost the lives doing so, being imprisoned doing so, have been tortured doing so, have been enslaved doing so, and in effect silenced for questioning the non-original text and pointing out the obvious that they had been numerous versions. Even to the point that the different versions be burned or those who follow different oral renditions were killed or forced to agree to a standard and told this is the correct version.

Now your attempt a silencing me on that statement will not work and it is therefore laughable.

Now as far as the ploy that you try to use to divert the attention away from you stance on the Quran you employ the typical Muslim transfer (politician move) off topic move. The old hey this is an atheist so let’s hit him with Richard Dawkins (a least he is a critical thinker) and he will get off my point and the fallible Quran thus I can bash on this topic thereby elevating the whole pointing out the development of the Quran and the many issues of the Quran in the view that the book is the one true version to which it is not.

Next your point is correct that Islam can mean peace but it has conditions. You must submit to the will of Allah or someone in charge who espouses they know the will of Allah and be obedient in order to have peace. Of course peace in this situation depends on a few things that you adhere to the doctrine created by man for the purposes of control and then calling it divine and codifying it into God/Allah law. Next to not question your lot, to suffer, be miserable, etc should that be what your life is once surrendered to Allah (Government/Madman) as that is his will. Slavery, child abuse, female ownership, murder, rape, pedophilia, torture, etc are all sanctioned by the God/Allah of Abraham, Jesus, Mose and Muhammad. At the instruction of God; men have killed or at least the statement by a man who proclaimed to be God’s message who instructed them to do so.

I am always amazed by God’s screw ups as well with the Vastness of the universe that it gives a damn about what women wear, the proper sexual positions, the imperfection of his creation such as foreskin removal, and the fear of other Gods.

Of course I have problems with the, I can’t remember what I stated so I will replace it with something better. God/Allah with dementia? I can’t defeat an iron chariot. Superman’s disease? Can’t protect sacred verses even from goat! Omnipotence problems maybe that is like male erectile dysfunction? I like betting with Satan and doing a good man wrong (Job). Gambling issues? Let’s go forth and kill those wicked infants, children and animals? Psychopath? This is the path that your God/Allah has taken in its history of Abrahamic religion. It even states that its name is Jealous. I am amazed by the very human traits this Allah/God has and always obsessed by sex a low base natural instinct but apparently God screwed that up too.

How about a game of trivia:

List the 10 commandments?

Maybe you will stop trying to sidetrack as really even the wearing of nail polish is a dictate of Islam and the following of the Quran and source material. So if you plan to tackle a problem or address the insidiousness of the fanatical and/or ludicrous aspects being forced upon you or others then you must address its source.

Affinity for Modesty said...

Salam bigstick,

I don't wish to enforce anything on you and you are free to choose between right and wrong. Just a kind request, please don't insult our God by calling Him a psychopath, sex-obsessed, dementia etc. This forum is not the place to insult people's belief. Ma'salama.

Affinity for Modesty said...

I will answer your query for my source by giving this link

An excerpt : The historical credibility of the Qur'an is further established by the fact that one of the copies sent out by the Caliph Uthman is still in existence today. It lies in the Museum of the City of Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia [41]. A facsimile of the mushaf in Tashkent is available at the Columbia University Library in the USA [42]. This copy is proof that the text of the Qur’an we have in circulation today is identical with that of the time of the Prophet and his companions.

May Allah give us guidance.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Sister Laylah but I think the main reason why Saudis have a negative image is the fact that Saudis in general are complete idiots. By the way I am a Muslim with a beard from the West currently residing in Saud's Arabia. The government of Saud's Arabia intentionally keeps the people ignorant and the so-called Haia are just a reflection of the Saudi people. Do you remember the game "Where's Waldo?" My friends and I have a game called "Where are the Public Libraries?"

Anonymous said...

Don't worry abou the Hai'a, you feel more at home because Jeddah is a bigger dump than Riyadh. Garbage and Yellow Poop trucks everywhere!!!

Layla said...

Bigstick-part of your last comment went overboard, I mean you obviously disagree with lots of things here but there is no need to throw around nasty comments about God like that, I think it's totally unnecessary, and if you're trying to reach a point here, it gets lost in all that hate..
I mean really what is the point of insulting other beliefs than yours? You have just come to different conclusions.

Anyways this thread was to discuss Hai'a issues!

bigstick1 said...


There is no insult I can pull out this information from the text of the very sources that the religious chose to use. Some just chose to ignore it. Truth is not an insult nor does it go overboard. It just is. Would you like me to provide you the passages that supports every point that I have stated as I can.

So again, Truth is not an insult nor is it a disagreement when pointing out the factually and written accountings of what God is stated to have done.

It is also the very reason why the Hai'a issues exist is based upon this type of textual interpretations which they have expoliated from the very text you and yours base your religion and have determined it to mean such.

Quite frankly, I get insulted when a person is jailed for insult a dead alleged prophet or killed for it or told fingernail polish is haram. Again it is in the text and God sanctioned, isn't it or did I misread the text?

However, the fact of the matter is every part of what I wrote is truth as it exists in the holy (use this word loosely) books.

Umm Gamar issue is that I point out fact. By the way where do you think they come up with the concept of Hisbah? They have explolated it from the text or religious practices. Again in order to address the issues you must deal with the source and that means dealing with the parts that you don't like to see.

What you fail to understand is this issue is part of a greater problem. Now I know that people get into religion for some type of guidance for spirual reasons but quite frankly Islam has turned it into a penal code and a prison system where God counts the points based upon trival aspects with life threaten consequences for many. All in hopes of scoring a point on a imaginary tally board. Quite frankly I can't think of which is more insulting the belief in this type of system to which brings destruction due to the unbelievable sensitive nature of the dead prophets followers or the fact that people who don't believe this don't challenge it as it doing great harm to the masses particular children from mental to physical.

bigstick1 said...

Umm Gamar:

I have looked at the site and it provides a few individuals that I have cursory information on at this time; so I will not comment as I need to do further research. Therefore I will hold off on that aspect to see how they are preferencing their agruments.

However let me leave you with a couple of sites:

In addition, please check out the book:

The Hidden Origins of Islam by Karl Heinz Ohlig and Gerd-R. Puin. This is an excellent book.

Dcs said...

I was in Jeddah too and I think the mutawwas there are a bit forgiving : )

Anonymous said...

Hoy Mariam, bobo ka na mapang-husga kapa.

Kala mo kung sino kang santa.

Anonymous said...

asalaamu alaikum...I think this may be a Riyadh thing, I lived in Al-Khobar for a good year a few years ago and while the haia DID occasionally patrol the malls...I never ever saw them aggressively going after anyone really...the ONLY times I saw them talking to people was when it was those young guys who would go to the malls during "family times" and be all sleazy, harrassing women..actually in Khobar atleast they arent bad...they dont do this stuff. You see plenty of foreign, non-Muslim and Muslim women in abaya but no scarf. It could be because its by Aramco which has a huge non-Muslim, western expat population and so they dont wanna screw that up...I dunno...but really...overall I personally didnt mind them as they would patrol the ladies suqs in the evening...and generally the men didnt perve around so much, annoying women when they knew the haia were around, ditto for the malls...and this was usually during "family" hours when single, young men wouldnt be allowed in the malls alone. infact my husband on several occasions had some friendly convos by some of them...and in his class-he was a professor he had like 3 male students who were haia and he said they were the best behaved and most decent of all of them...they never cheated or lied to get better grades...or attempt bribery. They did try to give him salafy literature...but that was the extent of it. I guess Khobar is just more low key. I'm not going to say that SEEing they sweep through the mall isnt a bit frightening at first...BUT, I never ever saw them bother a woman without a scarf on or intimidate anyone cept young men who were probably up to mischeif anyway. yea...Riyadh is a diff. land apparently...LOL. For the record...I do think they are kinda unncessary...but at times in certain situations...maybe not so bad-i.e. like the ladies suq and family mall times thing to keep sleezy guys at bay.
p.s. I also saw some expat Muslim women in like long tunics and pants in the malls and they never said anything to them either...once I did that...or maybe twice and I had haia walk right by me...didnt even look! But, I DID have elderly saudi women say stuff to me...LOL. go figure.

Q said...

Ok, so, if in Saudi some Finnish women are walking in IKEA without a headscarf is "insulting the culture and religion" and that means some men can go yell at them. And this is totally acceptable and the right thing to do.

Howcome then, if some muslim woman in Finland goes to IKEA in a niqab and abaya, she is not yelled at? Is it not as "insulting"? Maybe there should be a bunch of people chanting "strip off, strip off" ?

If that latter sounds bizarre or somehow unfathomable - well, turn the mirror.

Layla said...

Q-yes can you imagine the reactions if the latter were to happen? Why is it acceptable only one way around?