Saudi Scholar says Women Don't Necessarily Have to Wear Abayas

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A top religious cleric said Friday that women in Saudi Arabia don't need to wear the abaya, the robe-like full body dress Saudi women are now required to wear.

More than 90 percent of women in the Muslim world do not wear the abaya, Sheikh Mutlaq noted, according to Reuters.

Ironically however, women have faced arrest and detention for refusing to wear the abaya in public. Their interpretation of the Islamic laws lays the foundation of the Saudi Arabia's legal framework.

Over the past few years, women in Saudi Arabia have begun wearing abayas that are more colorful instead of wearing the traditional black abaya.

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq-a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, on his television show said that the Muslim women must dress in an appropriate modest way, but this does not mean that they should necessarily wear an abaya.

Women use the Careem app on their mobile phones in Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Saudi Scholar says Women Don't Necessarily Have to Wear Abayas

The Guardian reported that until now however, the government has not said it will change the law but this is the first comment in this regard by a senior cleric. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently introduced a series of reforms in favour of the women. Open abayas over long skirts or jeans are also becoming more common in some parts of the country. Local media reported that she was detained after a complaint was filed with the religious police.

These are some of the many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom.

Rights for women in Saudi Arabia have seen a drastic change. But women still face some tough restrictions in the country.

Last month Saudi women were allowed to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a game.

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