Man shielding wife with shumagh makes waves on social media

Man shielding wife with shumagh makes waves on social media

The photo that went viral on social media shows the Saudi shielding his wife with his headscarf from the view of other diners at a local restaurant. — Okaz photo

Jumanah Al-Mizani
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The picture of a man covering with his shumagh (headscarf) the window of a restaurant where he and his wife were having a meal went viral on social media websites with users divided over his action.

The man took off his headscarf and covered the window glass where his wife was sitting to shield her view from other male diners.

Some tweeters found excuses for the husband saying he was extremely jealous while others said the man was a male chauvinist obsessed by the chastity of women.

“The husband’s action was a violation of the mutual trust between couples and had distorted the general view of the place,” on tweet said.

Others looked at the matter from a different angle and said the photo was the evidence of a bigger problem from which Saudi society suffers from. They said photographing people in their intimate moments is a violation of their privacy.

The hashtag #husband-covers-wife-with-shumagh-in-a restaurant has crossed the barrier of 100,000 followers in just a few hours.

Muna Al-Sawwaf, a consultant psychologist, would not condemn or condone the husband’s behavior, saying it is not possible to judge a person from a single conduct. She said some families believe that restaurants do not usually conform with their customs and traditions as they do not like others watching them eating.

“The husband might be jealous or had fears for the safety of family. He might also have been keen to preserve the privacy of his wife,” she said.
Sawwaf said some men suffer from “sick jealousy” and will therefore try to keep their wives away from the eyes of other men.

“Such people do not usually take their wives with them to public places and they fence them off strong barriers,” she said.

She warned that such exaggerated jealousy might adversely be reflected on the women who will not hesitate to show their irritation.

Talal Al-Nashiri, a sociologist, said the husband’s behavior was a normal reflection of Saudi social habits.

He criticized the person who took the photograph and said if the woman was content why would he object by taking the picture?

But Al-Nashri jokingly said if the husband was concerned about the safety of his wife this much he should have taken her to a place where nobody would bother him.


  1. I think whoever took this photo either did so in bad taste or did not know what it’s consequences would be because of this action. Those people who are mentioned in the article should have better things to talk about rather than a private matter involving a man and his wife at a public place. I am aware of couple of incidents of non Muslim men where they had shielded their wife in disgraceful situations but this didn’t create shock waves in the social media. I think there are tendencies amongst some secular minded educated people who out of whatever personal or cultural taste pick on Muslim beliefs and culture that they don’t want to agree with. If a man or woman wants to follow a certain way of allowed in Islam and in a Muslim society, then who are we to find fault with them?

  2. Being out in the public presupposes exposure. Putting cover only catches the attention of many who are actually do not care in the first place.

    • Agree with you Roy. Ordinarily, no one would have paid attention to a man and woman dinning out if not for the headscarf. He attracted attention to himself and the woman by his singular act which is to me unfortunate. I have no issue with anyone trying to maintain his or her privacy but do it intelligently and not in a way that it becomes counter-productive.

  3. let’s just respect the Saudi traditions … as long as they don’t harm others … that’s their social orientation so let it be … just mind our own business…

  4. There is nothing wrong by the man… everyone deserves privacy!
    Why the media doesn’t go crazy when the so called A-list celebrities shield their families from the eyes of camera? Why a Christian nun covered in almost same cloths (as Muslim women’s abaya) is seen as a symbol of nobility, chastity and devotion to God while a Muslim woman who also covers similarly as she believes it is a command from God is deemed oppressed?
    If a man and woman decide to obey their God’s commandment in observing a certain clothing or discretion in public place, it is their right and freedom of belief why it should be judged??

  5. A wealthy business man was riding a subway one day. A man and 2 preteen boys entered. The man sat down oblivious to his surroundings and his boys were terrorizing everyone in the car, running up and down and being very obnoxious. This went on for several stops until the business man couldn’t stand it any longer. He angrily asked the man to please take control of his children. The man slowly snaps out of his seemingly trance state and says “I’m sorry, we just came from the hospital and their mother had just died.”
    Point to this story is, nobody knows the couple in this picture’s situation. Maybe she was recovering from facial surgery, maybe she just had her teeth pulled because of some mouth disease, or maybe she was crying, maybe she wanted to be covered from others; the possibilities are numerous. But, only the couple knows and it is their business. Shame on all of you for assuming the worst of this couple without a heartfelt concern that they may be suffering in some sort of way.

  6. The photo should not be taken. What for? You want to criticize the husband. No way the photographer violated privacy. Unless he ask permission to develop and publish the scene. For there was fault on the man taking the picture that the man being taken.

  7. Comment: leave them alone! what they do is their business. I don’t even wear niqab ( veil) but I would be a little shy as that glad isn’t frosted enough and I would appreciate my husband making me feel more comfortable by covering the glass.
    People are just too bored and want to make as mountain out of a molehill.
    how will we benefit from cross examining this man’s action?
    everybody grow up! There are big problems in the world, worry about those!

  8. dilemma ..husband and wife matters no need to comment disagree or agree…many secrets…so please give it a rest,….. shame on the photographer… shame really

  9. I think what happened was that his wife does not like wearing the veil while she eats, thats why her husband always covers the glass window door just in case.

    Even though i dont like the idea and i think it is degrading, it is there own business in the end.

  10. i appriciate the man who covered the window may be the wife wants to do that.he was responsible for her safety and security.may be she was not comfortable as saudi ladies are covering their face from strangers or outside the house.she wants to maintain the a days very common people taking the selfies along with the people around you without their knowledge and display on Facebook.

  11. It is their culture, Religious beliefs, and marrige. How they choose to conduct themselves within their marrige in public, or private is between them. Unless their is notable abuse then it should be of no concern to others.
    People are quick to point out any possible problems with control, and jealousy on the male part, but there are just as many reasons why it could have been the females choice.
    Perhaps she has a condition of fear of being warched? Fear of strangers, fear of being looked at while eating? Maybe she normally carries something to cover windows in such situations , and she just forgot it at home so her husband valiantly removed his head covering and made her comfortable.
    People are quick to judge a situation they see, missunderstand, and twist , and turn it to gain attention by posting intrusive photos of others .
    Maybe she didn’t feel comfortable in this public situation because she is used to wearing a full veil and needs to remove it to eat? Maybe it is she who is hesitant to leave home and go into public , and her husband wanting to treat her to a special meal was just accommodating her shyness?
    I think the real issue here should be 2 things. The person who violated this couples privacy by taking a photo without permission, not thinking how they could be in violation of a law, or possibly sued.
    2nd how people should not judge others. There is only one person who can pass judgement on people’s actions.

  12. This is an unwanted interference into a couple’s life. Did anyone bother to check with the lady if she requested her husband to cover her side. It is very common in many Asian countries also females are uncomfortable of attention and usually requests the spouse to make suitable arrangements. Let us not deliberately blame a culture or tradition using such photographs. What if it was a normal action where in the male for comfort removed the scarf and just placed it there without much thought of the photographer’s perspective. Let us not judge anyone just with our perspective.

  13. People should not make it as issue, it’s a personal matter of a couple irrespective of any religion.
    why and who has started criticizing. please my friends do not start such things on social n/w sites.
    SM-Arif (Dubai – UAE)

  14. I hope that she could have asked her husband to cover the window. besides, it is none of our business as it is purely the couple’s personal matter. one should also agree that the restaurant has allowed the husband for his deed.

  15. It’s absolutely no body business: cover, uncover,habit, culture what ever….
    This is what they say “Social Media crap”
    It’s simply the man want his wife to eat comfortably.

  16. The fact that this picture was taken proves that some people wanted to see this man’s wife, but why they should do it? Are they suggesting others should do the same to their sisters, wives and daughters. Why criticize the man when you don’t know the view of his wife. Also, the commentators are Muslims but no one is talking based on Quran and Sunnah which would not approve such interest to make a picture and share on social media. Is this Islamic culture or western culture? Even in the west such behaviour is not approved. Strange in the land of Islam we see such intrusion and then covering is condemned when the wife of the man is not asked for her own view…

  17. What a beautiful careful approach to keep any kind of harm away from his woman!!!it’s simply beautiful that how much Muslim men take care of their honour of family! Respect for those men who respect their women’s honour!

  18. Well as a woman who veils I can tell you the reason he put his Schumagh there was because the door was transparent so he covered it so his wife can lift her niqab and eat comfortably, it’s not rocket science. Many of us choose to and love to wear niqab, we like to eat out also and it’s much easier to do so if we are able to lift our niqab knowing we won’t get disturbed. Obviously they wanted to enjoy some quality time together and did so in the most comfortable manner available. If done for me, I’d be perfectly happy that my husband helped me preserve my modesty. We call for freedom of choice and to stop oppression but taking my choices and mocking them is just as oppressive.

  19. all people comment on the matter but no one care about the woman right. women in some Islamic countries are deprived of being in society .they cannot protest because they accused to having non islamic behavior. but according to Islam the face and hands can be open. you can see a lot of similar behavior in islamic countries.

  20. It is not a matter of the Muslim culture or the practises in Islam. When the world around do not care for certain habits and practises, you create a hype of supremacy in true and best practises which get noticed and get criticised and intimidated. It is a human tendency and psychology that, people believe that forbidden fruit is, or may be sweet. Thus, starts the curiosity to tresspass into the privacy and expose and debate on the veracity of the thinking or practises. This is the basic problems in the world around leading to revenge, intimidation, lust, indecency, muder, greed etc. Believe all as equal and respect each other and their practises and belief as human and keep a positive attitude to help each other but not harm.

  21. Being nude in the public, people call it freedom but if some one is following his religious & traditdional values people get surprize. I think everyone has the freedom to do whta he likes from any perspective. Who took the photo is totally unethical. No body will say any thing on this but just go on criticizing everything is v poor.

  22. I don’t think we should interfere in their private life. They are husband and wife, I am sure they love each other a lot. And, who are we to decide or conclude about them. Shame on the person who clicked the photo and sent on social media.

  23. I don’t feel that the husband action shouldn’t be of public topic. I wonderful why some jobless people making fun and abuse comments on the modesty couple. What a good quality husband indeed protecting his wife privacy. I Believe if his wife doesn’t like it then they would have remove shade. The person took the picture has committed offence breaking family privacy. I think the person that took the picture will love to see the woman (someone wife) naked so they can enjoy viewing her or make fun of her and her hubby. This people should grow up and respect other people’s privacy. The couple is happy and that’s most important. Those people that doesn’t have happy home wants to see happy home destroy. I pray to God bless the husband and his family.

  24. This is entirely a private matter between a husband and his wife and need not to be discussed. The One who has taken and spread out this Photo is ill minded. One has to take care of his Family as per the prevailing situations while out door and it become serious among Muslims because Muslim Culture and Civilization is entirely different compared to Westernized…..
    The Guy who has pictured this scene is a shameless and has in fact shared not a picture, but just his ill personality.

  25. Dear All,

    It is not a great issue. We are all human beings. Traditions / culture / religion came later. We don’t no what happened there whether scarf put intentionally or not.
    All human beings in this world are one and same. Every one in the world doing our daily needs like breathing, eating, sleeping, etc., in same manner either it is muslim, Christian, hindu, or any others.
    So think broadly. Develop humanity (if possible help others (whichever religion the person belongs to) or keep silent), charity.
    Human beings in this world are one and only one belongs to Human Religion. Nothing else…..

  26. It is just a normal thing to cover family area as in this picture.
    I am sure he did it because his wife wants to eat and has to open her face to do so.
    Surprisingly, many are objecting on this instead they should be appreciative.
    To me it shows that he cares for his wife a lot so he brought her to restaurant of choice and enjoyed meal with his own privacy.

  27. Guys, there are enough and other problems on earth that the energies be diverted to. The person who took the picture and posted it need to be reprimanded, as that act is a blatant intrusion into the couple’s privacy. Religious, non-religious, jealous, non-jealous etc. are non-existent issues because, for all you know, he was merely preventing someone from taking the picture in the first place. It is for him and his wife to decide and not for others. Period.

  28. Nothing to discuss and pass comments on the husband. Please know the quran, what it says. and know islam what it says. I would say the husband is follwing the islam instructions.

  29. If this happened in a developed country it will NOT be a big deal
    you are entitled to your privacy as long as you are not interferring with other people rights.
    so why this is such a big deal, simply because it happened in Saudis Arabia!!??

    This woman has the right to go out for dinner and has the right to keep her privacy/modesty while doing so , it is NOT other people’s business, is it ??
    if u have a problem with that, it is your problem

    People to blame are the one who took the photo and websites who are spreading it !

  30. 1. A wife is the crown jewel of a man. Just like he espouses and jealously guards his precious jewels so does he guard his wife. He is fully within his rights to prevent unwanted gazes on his wife.
    2. Do not forget that his wife may not like to be seen by other men’s dirty gazes. It could be her initiative. Do not presume that the man is being jealous.
    3. I would like to know why should anyone photograph a private moment of a couple and violate someone’s privacy? Is it not a reason enough for the woman and his wife to protect themselves against probing eyes and minds?

  31. so what is the problem to so called western cultured and western people if that man observing the Religion rules. We Muslims do not object on the nude beaches then what the hell this picture so viral? Sick Social Media. And also the authorities should arrest that person who has caught and uploaded this picture.

    • I agree with you friend why don’t they give them their own privacy because I am sure those people around them aren’t so affected with what they are doing?