I never felt I am different in a negative way. I’ve been beloved and precious to my family; parents grandparents, uncles, and aunts from mother and father sides. I never felt that I am less than other girls or I felt I am suppressed by my father or brothers. I lived all my life grateful for having my loving family and being Saudi with Islamic values and style of life such as wearing black Abaya and being covered from head to toe. Also, I’ve been thankful that I was born in Makkah close to the grand mosque and easily going to pray there whereas millions of other Muslim girls cannot visit because their families can’t afford the money of this holey journey to the whole family.
I wore Abaya (hijab) and never considered it an obstacle to my success, work, or fun. I wear it everywhere: from the door of my house till the door of the place I’m going to where there are some sections to give services for women such as banks, gyms or colleges. I used to remind myself it is a kind of worship, not a cultural habit or feature.
But when I went to the USA to study, I discovered how people look at me as a Saudi woman! Some of them were compassionate and tried to help me. Others acted with me as a naive poor woman with no choice and oppressed by men. Some people thought my hijab was a way of amusing a Muslim husband. They thought I can’t do anything unless I have permission from a man either a father or a husband.
Being a Saudi woman gave the people the green light to judge me and underestimate me. They let themselves interfere in my way of life and put their nose in my business. Being a Saudi woman encouraged them to speak on my behalf instead of letting me speak for my self. They actually thought they have the right to try to change me without having my permission. They didn’t even ask me if I want to change or not!
The video below is an example of family separation, not Men and Female separation where the legendary Anthony Bourdain visited Jeddah and witnessed first hand!
However, being a Saudi woman gave me the right to defend myself and say to the world STOP! Stop underestimating me for I am a free independent woman. I have this freedom from my family that you thought are abusing me! I can do whatever I want and I took that from my religion that you thought oppresses me. I can speak about myself, my people, and my country. I am a Saudi woman that means I have pride and dignity. I represent my family, my tribe and my country and all of them are proud of me.
Prophet Mohammad said “The one who brought up three daughters, or sisters, taught them good manners and treated them with kindness until they became self-sufficient. Allah will make Paradise obligatory for him. A man asked: what about two, O Messenger of Allah? The Holy Prophet replied: the same for two.” Ibn `Abbas, the reporter of the Hadith, says: “Had the people at that time asked in respect of one daughter, the Holy Prophet would have also given the same reply about her. ” (Sharh as-Sunnah).
Being a Saudi daughter means you are a door to paradise and taking care of you means a way of worshiping Allah and obedience to his messenger.
Being a Saudi mother means you have all respect of your children because paradise is beneath your feet. Your husband respects you because you are a representative of a whole family or tribe and your family won’t let anyone try to hurt you.
Being a Saudi woman, you must be treated respectfully by your brothers and they are obligated to help you and take care of you. If there is no brother or father, your male relatives dedicate themselves to have this role and make sure you are living well, don’t need help and ensure that are comfortable with a husband or not. If you need help, they will help you, if your husband doesn’t treat you well, they will discipline him!
You say:” don’t judge a book from its cover”, whereas, you judge me because I’m covered!
Saudi women have a great role in society by standing side by side by men; giving advice or support to them. If you read the history of Saudi Arabia, you will find very famous women such as Modi the wife of Mohammad bin Saudi who advised him to cooperate with Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulwahab to establish the first Saudi Arabia. Without Modi, the wise woman, there wouldn’t be a great country called Saudi Arabia! There are a lot of great Saudi women who participated in developing the country or defending it since the first Saudi era.
You say:” don’t judge a book from its cover”, whereas, you judge me because I’m covered! Being a covered Saudi woman means that I let my brain works and my head protected from curious eyes!