Saudi Arabia: Son of Former Mufti says Women Should Be Allowed to Drive
In his article in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, Sheikh Ahmad bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz ibn 
Baz wrote: "...First of all, [women] driving is a matter of the [human] 
rights... that Islam gave [women]; they include the right to possession and the 
right to freedom of movement...

"[When a woman] lives in a palace, with a lot of property, servants, and 
drivers... gets around by taxi... and saves money to pay the wages of a 
[foreign] driver... these are not luxuries. Islam gave her the right to live 
with dignity, and to protect herself and her property, because she is equal to 
a man...

"Property and freedom are [every] individual's birthright... they are not 
something that is granted [as a favor], or something that [needs to be] voted 

"The fear that women will be attacked [if they drive] does not warrant 
preventing them from driving. This is a crucial problem of safety and of 
upbringing, [but] it is not [the women's] problem. Our clerics once banned 
women from driving for considerations that are not relevant today, and there is 
no point in discussing them again.

This article calls for giving [women] their human and legitimate dignity, and 
the rights granted them by Islam." [3]

In an interview on Al-Arabiya TV, ibn Baz stated that his father's 1990 fatwa 
was issued during the first Gulf War based on national and security 
considerations, but that since then the reality has changed: "Rulings on 
contemporary issues are made based on an examination of the reality, [and] the 
reality can change with the time and place and with the people and 
circumstances [involved]. Therefore, fatwas can change with the times... I am 
not saying that my father's fatwas were deficient... I [only] mean to say that 
my father issued a fatwa for a specific person in specific circumstances, and 
this fatwa does not necessarily apply to another person just because there is 
some similarity [between the two cases]. I mean to say that the circumstances 
and times may be different, so one cannot extrapolate [from one case to 

"My article did not refer only to women's driving, but also to [their other] 
legitimate rights, which are sometimes disregarded based on artificial and 
illogical arguments that drown in a sea of excuses..."[4]

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