Saudi Salafi Scholars: Women not allowed near the Kaaba

Sorry sisters, you can’t pray near the Kaaba. We’ll make a special area for you guys to pray, inshaAllah, just not so close to the Kaaba.

Women face curbs in Makka mosque

Religious leaders in Saudi Arabia want to impose restrictions on women praying in the Grand Mosque in Makka, one of the few places where male and female worshippers intermingle.

But women activists in the kingdom, the birthplace of the religion and where a strict interpretation of Islam is imposed, say the idea is discriminatory and have vowed to oppose it.

At present, women can pray in the immediate vicinity of the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure inside the mosque, believed to have been built by Ibrahim (Abraham) – seen by Muslims as a prophet – and his son.

Muslims walk around this seven times according to rites first established by Ibrahim and re-established by Prophet Muhammad.

Plans by the all-male committee overseeing the holy sites would place women in a distant section of the mosque while men would still be able to pray in the key space.

Not final

Osama al-Bar, head of the Institute for Haj Research, said: “The area is very small and so crowded. So we decided to get women out of the sahn [Kaaba area] to a better place where they can see the Kaaba and have more space.

“Some women thought it wasn’t good, but from our point of view it will be better for them … We can sit with them and explain to them what the decision is.”

The decision is not final, he said, and could be reversed.

Pushing and shoving is common in the tight space around the Kaaba where thousands of pilgrims crowd mainly during haj.

Worshippers can walk round the Kaaba at any other time as well.

The plans are likely to provoke a furore among Muslim women in countries whose traditions are less strict.

Muslims say it is a basic right to be able to pray as close as possible to the Kaaba.

It is towards the Kaaba that Muslims around the world turn when praying.


Suhaila Hammad, a Saudi woman member of a body of world Muslim scholars, said: “Both men and women have the right to pray in the House of God. Men have no right to take it away.

“Men and women mix when they circumambulate the Kaaba, so do they want to make us do that somewhere else too?

“This is discrimination against women.”

The Grand Mosque is one of the few places where men and women pray together, although technically there are separate spaces for each gender throughout the vast complex.

Religious police charged with imposing order ensure that women do not pray outside the prescribed areas.

Hatoun al-Fassi, a historian, said the move to restrict women’s prayer in the mosque would be a first in Islamic history.

“Perhaps they want women to disappear from any public prayer area and when it comes to the holy mosques that’s their ultimate aim,” she said.

She said that the religious authorities have already restricted women’s access at Prophet Muhammad’s burial place in Madina.

Source: Women face curbs in Makka mosque

24 Replies to “Saudi Salafi Scholars: Women not allowed near the Kaaba”

  1. Has anyone actually been there………..its a logistical nightmare

    What they’re trying to do is to get the women out of the court yard and give them another place further away. In my opinion thats actually better. Most of the people (men and women) are extremely inconsiderate. Not that I have any sympathy for the women that pray in the middle of the tawaf area during a “rush hour”.

    Another thing that should be noted is that it doesn’t really matter how close you are to the kabbah when you’re praying. Even the Imam isn’t on the first saf, but usually in the middle.

    As for the part about them restricting access to the prophets mosque, Id love to see someone come up with a better idea. I just went there a month ago, and considering all the factors and time constraints (have to get the women out of the area and get it cleaned up) its amazing they even do what theyre doing right now.

    I know this may sound a bit old-fashioned or sexist, but to tell you the truth most of the persons doing “dumb” or “retarded” things there are females. You will see the security over there has an extremely tough time dealing with females and quite a few men. Any other country would have called in the riot police and quite possibly the military for crowd control.

  2. There’s something about the Saudi Police: Having an umbrella with holes during an Indian monsoon would be more useful than asking a Saudi policeman for directions. Another thing, some of the King’s advisors should seriously advise His Royal Highness to invest some of the US Aid he receives in toilet flushes for their airports…How many Saudi nationals have ever had their hands amputated for stealing?

  3. Absolutely Unecessary…
    this means that the wahabis are emposing their own laws rather than following the hadith and the Quran.

    Men and Women has EQUAL RIGHTS!

    inna lillahi wa inna illahi rawjeunn…

    PS: not to mention the CLOSING DOWN OF THE MIZABUL RAHMAH(ZAMZAM PLACE)…Ya Allah, Ya Rabbi…

    IF RAsulallah SAW is here…shame on these “so-called-royalties”…!!! tsk tsk

  4. amir,
    why are you wasting time and efforts propogating this crap just to further your anti salafi ideals?

    isnt there anything more worthwhile and maybe, i dunno, unifying to post about?

    rather than sit here and point fingers and try to make salafis look so bad- why dont you post something beneficial? alot of people come to your site and you’re somewhat responsible for what people walk away with after visiting this site.

    c’mon now, this is retarded.

    my best friend just moved back to saudi, her whole family lives there. they go to the kaaba all the time- and the situation there is getting more OPEN, not more strict like this-

    women are supposed to start driving soon in many parts of saudi- they walk without their hijabs-

    this is just more crap to seperate people and promote anti-salafi ways of thought.

    sorry if i come off harsh, but this kind of stuff bothers me.

    salam 🙂

    you doing ok? inshaAllah everything is going aiight.

  5. man, subhanAllah

    no one hesitates to sit here and bash huge groups of people.

    a muslim is a muslim. and backbiting is backbiting.


    May Allah swt forgive us for all of our shortcomings.

    I find your humorous articles more worthwhile.

  6. Sorry but I agree with amir’s decision to post this article. If Salafi’s are a plague for the Ummah, we’re not obligated to cover their tracks for them. The terrorism that has plagued our ummah originated from the wahhabi school of thought. And Saudi Arabia is a hypocrite nation, with its ‘ulama telling everyone to hate America and that Americans are infidels, while the oh-so-benevolent Saudi government turns around and sells all its oil to America in return for various benefits.

    And I’m sick of how they shove their heels into my feet.

  7. Isra – you are right there is a movement in Saudi Arabia to rebel against this extremism.

    I’m sorry you feel this way for disunity, but this ummah will not be united we stand, divided we fall. If you look at the history of this ummah it was more like “divided we stand, united we fall”.

  8. SubhanAllah.

    I thought Allah {swt} was Al-Hakam.

    Everyone is so quick to stuff an entire group of people into one box and pass judgement, condemning them all.

    May Allah guide those who are misguided and keep us all from going astray. Ameen.

  9. isra on September 5, 2006 at 11:42 pm said:


    I thought Allah {swt} was Al-Hakam.

    Everyone is so quick to stuff an entire group of people into one box and pass judgement, condemning them all.

    May Allah guide those who are misguided and keep us all from going astray. Ameen.

    I said Saudi Salafis, not Ikhwaani Salafis, or Jihadi Salafis, or AlMaghrib Salafis.

    they do have one thing in common though. They don’t like sufis. hahahah

  10. this is a moral outrage.

    so men are more righteous and have more right to being nearer to the kabaa? if they’re going to impose an idiotic restriction like that mayb they should have 12hr shifts for women and men. I love how condescending this article is:

    “Some women thought it wasn’t good, but from our point of view it will be better for them … We can sit with them and explain to them what the decision is.”

    because women are too stupid to know wats better and because they are men they inherently are better descision makers, eh? Oh and women are so stupid we can just convince them that they really dont know what they’re talking about.

  11. JEDDAH, 12 September 2006 — Saudis and expatriates have welcomed the decision taken by the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs to reject a proposal to shift the women’s prayer area in the mataaf (circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba). The presidency has also decided to allocate 53 percent of the Grand Mosque to female worshippers.

    “There is no truth in press reports that the presidency was planning to shift the women’s prayer place in the mataaf to other areas inside the mosque. This was merely based on a proposal (made by a special panel),” Muhammad Nasser Al-Khozaim, vice chairman of the presidency, told reporters.

    “No change has taken place in the prayer area for women in the mataaf. In fact, we have allocated two more wider spaces overlooking the Kaaba for women to pray,” the official said emphasizing that women were equally entitled to the prayer complex as men.

    “The presidency has arranged special prayer areas for women during Ramadan and it covers 53 percent of the whole Haram, including the mataaf and three floors,” explained Al-Khozaim, adding that media reports on shifting the prayer place of women from the mataaf to a different area were based on a misunderstanding.

    The proposal to shift the prayer area drew stiff criticism from Muslim women across the globe. In protest at the proposals, a petition had been posted at the website, which has so far attracted over 1,000 signatures. Mawaheb Ezzulden, a Sudanese pilgrim, told Arab News that many women were crying after they heard that there were plans to stop women from praying in the mataaf area. “I thank the Saudi government and the Two Holy Mosques Affairs for all their efforts in serving pilgrims and visitors. I thank them for allocating more space for women. This is good news for people and shows clearly that Islam is definitely not against women enjoying their rights,” she said.

    Sultan Abdullah, a Saudi government worker, said that many people attacked Saudi Arabia because of the misunderstanding. Abdullah said: “I wonder what they feel now? As Saudis we will not bother with what the enemies of Saudi Arabia and Islam say and we will continue serving pilgrims to the Two Holy Mosques honorably.” Abdullah added: “It is just unbelievable how much Saudi Arabia came under attack because of a silly misunderstanding. Doesn’t Islam tell them to have good thoughts about people and to not jump to conclusions?”

    Ghayth Al-Otaibi, a long-time Makkah resident who prays in the Grand Mosque five times a day, laughed when he heard the news. “I knew it was a huge misunderstanding. Look all around you, women are everywhere. It would be crazy to even think such a plan would have materialized.”

    Suhaila Hammad, research director at the Saudi National Society for Human Rights, told Arab News she was glad women would be able to continue praying in the circumambulation area. “It is simply our right and it is of great joy that we can continue enjoying this right,” she said.

    Laila Al-Ahdab, an Arab columnist who writes for the Al-Watan newspaper and an advocate of women’s rights in the Kingdom, said she was sure that the authorities would not have gone ahead with the proposals. “The Haram is for Muslims all over the world, men and women. When I first heard about the proposal, I was sure that it would be rejected,” she added.

    Hammad, who is from Madinah, urged authorities to allocate more space and time at the Prophet’s Mosque for women to pray and visit the Prophet’s grave. “Our Prophet has advised us to pray standing between his grave and his platform, saying it is a garden from the gardens of Paradise. But women are allowed only a limited space in the area to pray,” she said. Speaking about time constraints, she said women are allowed to visit the Prophet’s grave only for five hours a day from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and one hour in the afternoon,” she said.

    Amira Kashgari, one of the participants in the second National Forum for Dialogue held in Makkah, said she was glad that the “voices of wisdom were victorious at the end.”

    Sara Yousef, a pilgrim from Egypt, commended the Kingdom’s efforts in the service of pilgrims. “So many millions of people come here, people from all types of backgrounds. The Haram is always kept clean, tidy and the environment is so beautiful. It costs money and a lot of effort to do this. People should appreciate these efforts,” she said.

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