Proactive woman preacher becomes popular among Asir girls

Published: Jun 17, 2010 00:03 Updated: Jun 17, 2010 00:03 

ABHA: When a local female dawa activist approached five high school students in 
Khamis Mushayt they tried to run away afraid they would be badgered for not 
donning their hijabs properly and for wearing abayas that had colorful 

The dawa activist, called Noura Al-Saad, however, remained calm and impressed 
the girls with her politeness, kindness and respectful way of giving dawa. She 
made such an impression that the girls invited her to deliver a speech at their 

Al-Saad, who works for the Islamic Affairs Office in Khamis Mushayt, is a 
popular name amongst women in the region, particularly students, as her 
speeches are moderate, positive, constructive and kind.

The five high school students who initially tried to make a run thought Al-Saad 
was a stereotypical dawa activist - harsh, unkind and abrupt. Such women try to 
force women to wear large, black and dull abayas, something many women feel 
uncomfortable with.

Haila Nafis, a specialist in social affairs, said what these girls did was 
expected because the majority of dawa activists have a tendency to preach in a 
harsh manner, which drives people away.

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) had a different tone, he was welcoming. His 
methodology was based on forgiveness and being positive," she said, adding that 
all extra-curricular activities in schools tend to be religious and that other 
activities should be included.

"Most women preachers criticize girls if they see a minor decoration on the 
sides of their abayas. These types of attitudes keep girls away. I have been 
criticizing this strict method, which is also adopted in schools. How can they 
force girls to wear full black abayas, gloves and socks and then when they 
leave school they see a teacher who isn't wearing the face veil," she said, 
adding that these strict rules are introduced by certain individuals who wish 
to force their own ways on others.

"My daughter was suspended from school for a month because she took off her 
face veil in the school bus. She only did this to take medicine," said Nafis.

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