Muslim women are allowed to mix with males at shopping centres and hospitals, but they should be dressed decently and avoid seducing men, according to a senior Saudi Islamic scholar.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Suleiman bin Manei, a member of the seven -man Supreme Scholars Authority in the conservative Gulf Kingdom, said women should spend more time at their homes but advised men to listen to their wives and not to ignore them.
‘Sada’ Arabic language published what it said were new Fatwas (Islamic edicts) by Sheikh Manei on various social issues in the country, where gender mixing is strictly banned in most places, including schools and universities.
“As for gender mixing in public places, unintentional mixing in such places as shopping centres and hospitals is not prohibited, but my advice to women is that they must dress decently and keep their face veil on.
“They should also avoid seducing men,” he said.
Asked about women who are sterilised, he said such acts are prohibited in Islam but Muslim women can stop getting pregnant temporarily to contribute to birth control “This is because women need rest sometimes and also need to look after their children. Stopping getting pregnant for a while will benefit women,” he said.
Sheikh Manei, also an adviser at the Saudi Royal Court, said women can go out shopping and to other places but advised them to spend much of their time at home to look after their children and stave off problems that could lead to a divorce.
“As for men who seek to sideline women, I say that women who present their opinions are not violating their decency.
“Women are our sisters and we should listen to their opinion and accept it if it is right.
“There have been many cases when women presented the right opinions and view points,” he said.
Sheikh Manei also appeared relatively open to women getting jobs but again stressed they should be dressed decently.
“Women can take any job provided they do not hold all the powers in any company.
“They can start business and have a position in a company.
They also can manage their own assets as long as they stick to a decent appearance.”