Why are some Saudis against cinemas and women driving?

Why are some Saudis against cinemas and women driving?

Ahmad Al-Hanaki

Ahmad Al-Hanaki

MY wife and I studied and worked abroad. My wife has three driving licenses from three different countries. My children say she is a better driver than me.

Why do so some conservative Saudis not want women to drive? Why is it that only Saudis are against women driving while the rest of the world is okay with it? Religion cannot be the reason otherwise Islamic countries would ban women from driving. I do not really understand. Do Saudis who oppose women driving think that computers and cell phones are less dangerous to women? Women can talk to anyone over a cell phone and can read and write whatever they want using computers.

On the other hand, let us look at women driving from another angle. What are the negative effects that women face because of not being allowed to drive? Those who oppose women driving have to recruit drivers from abroad to help their wives get around. It really does not make any sense to me. How can they trust a driver when they cannot trust their own women? How can they trust a driver and let him drive their children to school? Some people make the housemaid accompany the driver on these errands. But how can we be sure that the driver and the housemaid will not engage in an illicit relationship?

When my wife and I were working abroad, we used to take turns dropping off our children at school. Our sons are over 18 now and they all drive. When our daughter becomes an adult, she will drive her own car. It is a natural thing. What is unnatural is to make our women and children remain at the mercy of a driver’s whims, a man who is under a lot of pressure as he is away from his home and family. Moreover, drivers need to be paid and provided with accommodation; all of these are additional expenses.

What about cinemas? Why do some Saudis oppose them? They oppose them because, in their opinion, cinemas open the door for the intermingling of the sexes and immoral behavior. If you have been to a cinema, I want to ask you a question. Do the seats inside a cinema look the same as those on an airplane? You can choose who sits next to you in a cinema but you do not have that privilege on a plane. Sometimes, a family refuses to let a man sit next to them on an airplane and asks the air hostess to make him change his seat.

The intermingling of men and women takes place in malls and hospitals. Why men and women are not allowed to attend a match at a stadium does not make sense. Stadiums are like cinemas, you go there to watch a movie or a match and leave without knowing who was sitting next to you.

As for the content of movies, we all know that immoral content can be censored. Those under 12 and 15 would not be allowed to watch certain movies. Can we control what our children watch at home? I am not generalizing here. But there is a good chance that children may watch violent or immoral scenes without us knowing about it. In cinemas, this cannot happen. For example, there are cinemas in the United Arab Emirates and the government imposes strict control on what is shown. We can certainly do the same.


  1. Muslim can doubt that the cinema that exists nowadays is a house of sin, which spreads images of that which Allaah has forbidden, pictures of women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait. Indeed in many cases it propagates and promotes sinful sexual relationships between men and women. This is in addition to the music and songs, and the films of crimes that corrupt society. It is haraam to spread and propagate each of these things, so how about if they are combined?
    As for women driving it is just that it is a Saudi Law. Islam does not prohibit women driving.However a woman cannot drive, ride or fly without a MALE GUARDIAN(MAHRAM). That’s it!!!