Saudi academic and preacher Dr. Saad Al-Durihim recently said that it is in the interest of society to permit women to drive. "If the ruler believes that there is no problem with women driving, he should make this decision," said Al-Durihim, adding that "there is nothing in Islamic law to prevent women from driving." "The problem is that people consider change to be a bad thing," said Al-Durihim in the Rotana Al-Khalijiyya TV interview, which aired on January 19.
Saad Al-Durihim: Some people place you in the ranks of the opposition. I am not part of the opposition. Perhaps I used to have such opinions, but I've changed most of them. The problem is that people consider change to be a bad thing. When someone is calling for the renewal of... For example, I used to oppose permitting women to drive, and then I changed my position.
Interviewer: When were you opposed to women driving?
Saad Al-Durihim: In early 2011, but then I changed my position.
Interviewer:What is your position today?
Saad Al-Durihim:I believe that if it serves an interest, (it should be permitted), and that this should be an administrative decision. If the ruler believes that there is no problem with women driving, he should make this decision.
Interviewer: But what is your position from the perspective of Islamic law?
Saad Al-Durihim: There is nothing in Islamic law to prevent women from driving. Driving cars is like riding animals in previous generations. But some people are afraid of unlikely scenarios, and they have turned their opposition into a matter of principle.
Interviewer: Don't you think that some preachers are still spreading fears about this?
Saad Al-Durihim: Yes, and they will continue their intimidation, even after an administrative decision permitting women to drive has been made. If we give it consideration, we see that it is in society's interest for women to drive.