Al-Ghamdi is actually correct when he says: “No one is saying that it is not allowed for a woman to cover her face, but I am saying that it is not obligatory and I have evidence in jurisprudence of this.”
A hadith has Aisha recount that Muhammad said to a woman: “‘O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this,’ and he pointed to her face and hands.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4092)
But it is customary in some areas for Muslim women to cover their faces as well, as the whole idea of the veiling is to remove temptation from men, and the face can tempt some men. Thus al-Ghamdi is now facing calls for him to be tortured or killed.
“Saudi cleric, who once headed Mecca’s religious police, receives death threats after his wife appears with him on TV wearing make-up and without a veil,” by Belinda Robinson, Daily Mail, December 19, 2014:
A Saudi cleric who once headed Mecca’s religious police has received death threats after his wife appeared with him on TV wearing make-up without a veil.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi and his wife told the audience of a chat show that Islam does not require women to hide their faces behind a niqab in public.
However his ‘radical’ views have created a storm of controversy after his smiling wife, Jawaher bint Al-Sheikh Ali, was seen uncovered, even wearing nail varnish.
‘Happy now? Every mobile phone now has a picture of your wife, you pimp,’ one outraged post on Twitter read.
On the show, Al-Ghamdi told viewers: ‘The Prophet did not order women to cover their faces. Wearing make-up is allowed.’
‘No one is saying that it is not allowed for a woman to cover her face, but I am saying that it is not obligatory and I have evidence in jurisprudence of this.’
It’s a shocking U-turn for the former head of the religious police who was responsible for policing the dress code and behaviour of Saudi citizens to ensure that they met strict religious requirements.
The ‘police’ work on behalf of King Abdullah and make sure that people do not go against strict Islamic rule. They patrol the streets checking dress code and strict separation of men and women.
The host of the TV show, Badria al-Bishr, also appeared with her face uncovered in a move praised by liberals.
At the time of writing, the interview had racked up over a million views on YouTube since it aired over the weekend.
But Al-Ghamdi told local paper, Al-Watan, that he had received several death threats with one radical cleric allegedly calling for him to be ‘tortured.’
Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric, the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh joined the chorus of condemnation against him and urged him to ‘ask repentance from God, and back away from this mistake.’
Al-Sheikh told news website Sabq: ‘My message to Sheikh al-Ghamdi is to fear God.’
Meanwhile, a group of Saudis from Jeddah said they will take legal action over the stunt….