The tyranny of the mahram, or “male guardian” turns women into perpetual minors at any age. To artificially limit the rights of adult women in this way is to render them second-class citizens, in keeping with Muhammad’s declaration that women are “deficient in religion and intellect” (Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301).
Stories like this are the consequences of such provisions in Sharia, as the inherent injustice and absurdity of such rules set the stage for further abuses. “Saudi woman jailed for disobeying father freed,” from Middle East Online, October 26 (thanks to Twostellas):
JEDDAH – A Saudi woman jailed for disobeying her father has been freed after more than six months in prison, her lawyer said on Tuesday.
Samar Badawi, who was thrown in prison without formal charge or trial by a Jeddah judge, was released on Monday after a 12-day concerted media and internet campaign on her behalf by human rights activists inside and outside Saudi Arabia, said lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair.
The activists had petitioned for King Abdullah to intervene in the case, which they said was an example of the abuses of the country’s rigid guardian system for women.
Repeating from the introductory comments above: “The inherent injustice and absurdity of such rules set the stage for further abuses.”
“The release came after judges saw the 12-day campaign, which made a lot of people pay attention to the case,” Alkhair said.
Badawi was released into the guardianship of her uncle but was seeking hospital treatment for an unidentified ailment, the Jeddah-based lawyer added.
“She told me, ‘if you didn’t write about me in the newspapers and internet, I would still be in jail,'” he said.
Under the guardian system, a Saudi woman must have the permission of her official “mahram” or male guardian — her father, husband, son, or another male relative — for matters such as travel, work and marriage.
It is enforced by the kingdom’s uniformly male judges, clerics who enforce the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic sharia law with broad powers to set charges and punishments.
Badawi, a 32-year-old divorced mother, had filed her own case asking the court to remove her father as her guardian, saying he had mistreated her since childhood and had denied her permission to remarry.
Badawi had fled her father and lived in a shelter for women.
The judge instead accused her of being disobedient to her father and sent her to prison on April 4.
She remained in jail despite the governor of the Mecca region Prince Khaled al-Faisal having written to the courts three months ago asking for Badawi’s release and recommending her uncle become her guardian, Alkhair said.
While Badawi’s own case is finished, Alkhair said the activists have petitioned the court for an investigation into the judges who summarily threw her into jail.