Following are excerpts from a show delivered featuring Saudi cleric Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, former head, Mecca Chapter of the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which aired on MBC TV and posted on the Internet on December 12, 2014:
TV host Badria Al-Bishr: Sheik Ahmed Al-Ghamdi has provoked much controversy. Recently, Twitter has been boiling with a special hashtag devoted to his tweet where he wrote that women may reveal their faces. What does this man want? Sheik Ahmed Al-Ghamdi is my guest tonight to answer this question.
Voice of reporter: Sheik Al-Ghamdi has some daring opinions on Islamic jurisprudence, which often contravene conventional notions. His entire family sometimes has to pay a price for this.
Jawaher bint Al-Sheikh Ali Sheik Al-Ghamdi's wife: This definitely affects us, positively and negatively at the same time. Our children sometimes complain that their fellow students, and even their teachers, challenge them: Why did your father rule this way or the other? Sometimes this affects them psychologically, especially the little ones, who do not understand. They ask our advice: How should we respond to them? Thank God, they got used to it, and by now, they share their father's opinions.
Voice of reporter: In one fatwa, he allowed women to reveal their faces and wear makeup. This stirred a new controversy in Saudi Arabia, especially as the opposing views are still quite prevalent.
TV host Badria Al-Bishr: Some of your opponents say: How can he claim that women were not commanded to wear the hijab, when the hijabi was mentioned in the Quran.
Ahmad Al-Ghamdi: A great deal of confusion exists when describing the khimar [head scarf] and the jilbab [robe] which Allah commanded women to wear.
The books of the ancient scholars never referred to the khimar and the jilbab as hijab. Later, however, people confused the hijab, which was imposed only on the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, with what Allah imposed on Muslim women in general.