[Saudi cleric Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi and his wife. (Photo: Al Arabiya.net)]
Riyadh: Amid a raging debate around the world that veil - the piece of fabric worn by Muslim women to conceal the face, is a sign of weakness and prejudice, wife of a top Saudi cleric roamed in public with her face uncovered whereas the husband not only approved her act but also said it regained confidence of women.
"Of course, I believe that this act has restored confidence for the Saudi women and opened the horizons for research, understanding and thinking in a large segment of society", Saudi cleric Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi said in response to a question posed by Al Arabiya.
Giving a message that women in Saudi Arabia have right to practice at their own will, Dr Al-Ghamdi said the decision to roam around in market with her face uncovered was his wife's own.
"For twenty years, my wife knows the different opinions in this matter. She chose to follow the opinion, which says that women can uncover their face and hands, except if there an incident that requires covering", he said.
"She went out with me with her face and hands uncovered, as she believes in the validity of this with her own free will", he added.
"The saying that it is permissible to uncover the face of a woman and her hands, it is not a permission, rather it is the opinion of the majority of the scholars and the evidence for that is obvious", Dr Al-Ghamdi said.
It is not allowed for women in Saudi Arabia to roam around with face uncovered. Dr Al-Ghamdi's statement and his wife's solo act are seen as reflection of the social change that the Saudi society is undergoing.
The issue was in the news last week when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, like Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, visited the Kingdom without covering her head with a scarf.