Muttawa Encounters Volume 2

I noticed that a follow-up post on one of the most commented on subjects, the encounters with Saudi religious police, was long overdue. “Muttawa” is actually the third most popular search word that currently lands people on Blue Abaya, so something about the Saudi religious police force must be very fascinating (or disturbing?) to people and they want to find out more.

Read volume 1 of muttawa encounters here.

For many expats coming to the ‘Magic Kingdom’ the concept of a religious police force is just incomprehensible. Why do Saudi people need these ‘morality cops’ to tell them how to behave? Are they really THAT bad in Saudi Arabia? Are Saudis not supposedly the role models of Muslims to the rest of the world, at least they are often portrayed as such in the media. Do they not teach good behaviour and Islam in Saudi school? Why is Saudi Arabia the only country in the world that needs religious police chasing down people on the streets and enforcing moral codes on its citizens? 

I hear stories of muttawa encounters from my friends all the time, and sadly those stories have almost always been negative. That said, there are some smart religious cops out there, I swear! Check this post for one example: Mr. Muttawa Gets It Right. Most of the incidents with Haia officers evolve around women + covering hair, being shouted at and chased by muttawa in malls.

This volume of Muttawa Encounters lists with the top most disturbing or hilarious incidents I heard of. These are all very recent cases from around the capital Riyadh that happened to friends and family during 2011-2012.

My mother visited us for few months here in Saudi and the few times we went to the mall (she hates malls) every single time would a squad of the morality cops chase her. I think we had bad luck but also during that time muttawa were on a roll. This was before the old Hai’a boss was sacked.
Her first encounter happened at Sahara Mall, she was on her own browsing shops while we were with the baby in another shop. Three muttawa came up to her. She said they could not have been much older than her teenage son (19yrs) and there she was, a 60 yr old woman minding her business when suddenly these three men started very aggressively shouting at her.
At first she did not even understand and just got scared and thought she had committed some crime. When they motioned at the scarf she understood and put it on. But that did not satisfy this blood thirsty moral squad. They continued shouting at her and by this time everyone was looking and she was mortified.

Apparently they didn’t like how she had wrapped the scarf on. My mom walked out of the shop and tried to escape because she didn’t understand what was wrong but they followed her like sharks. She had felt frightened and cornered.
Finally she found my husband and he had been very upset at the religious police how they’d been following my mother around. He told them off with strong words and they did eventually leave. After the moral cops had confirmed he was the “guardian” of this red haired woman causing a stir of course. The same squad came three consecutive times to check on her if she still had the scarf on. I was so angry when I heard this that I wanted to go check their ID’s and names and make a complaint but they had already left the mall by that time.

Mom wanted to make a complaint to the human rights commission because she felt her dignity and basic human rights had been violated, which was of course true. I felt so angry and frustrated that this was the experience and image she was getting of Saudi-Arabia. And of course she told everyone about it on her social media, so this is how muttawa vicariously spreads a bad image of muslims/Saudis as aggressive harassers, hostile toward foreigners, women haters and intolerant people.

Another incident this year that happened to two young Finnish women in IKEA. Two Hai’a officers were browsing for Vice which apparently IKEA has plenty to offer. Just look at what they have to deal with:

The horror. An uncovered smiling woman, with a dash of lipstick and some décolletage to go with it!

The muttawa at IKEA had spotted the sinful uncovered westerners and started their customary yelling. These two women have been here for years and become accustomed and immune to the harassment so they continued shopping as if nothing had happened. This angered the bearded bullies and they started following the women repeating the same over and over and now adding they should leave the store. The women ignored and cheerfully talked in Finnish about the furniture, as if there was no disturbance whatsoever. They knew muttawa cannot touch them or make an arrest without policemen present. Pretending muttawa were just a tiny mosquito making some buzz had gotten rid of them every time. The muttawa left but this time only to return with two police officers.

The women did not give up and continued walking around trying to seem calm but at this point they were furious. Now one of the angry beards lost his cool. He grabbed the shopping cart one of the women was pushing and started to drag it in the opposite direction yelling barra (out)! She held on to it with all her might and pulled the cart back yelling no! Perfect example of Finnish SISU in action. This tug of war lasted for a while with onlookers gathering around. It ended in the victory of the woman and the defeated muttawa leaving with his tail beneath his legs.

Another Finnish iron lady and long timer here who also uses the ignoring tactic was shopping by herself in the Riyadh Gallery Mall. While inside a clothing store the muttawa squad entered and asked her to cover. She initially ignored but when it became apparent they would not leave she got frustrated, took a dress from the clothing rack and placed it on her head saying inshallah! She had forgotten her scarf home. Muttawa was satisfied.

A friend of mine was at a frozen yogurt place and wanted to sit down but saw a sign saying women are not allowed to sit inside. She asked why not and the worker said Hai’a officers won’t allow it. There was no clear indication it was single section, the place was secluded and there was nobody else around, so why not she asked?

Why were women allowed to enter, but not to sit down? The friendly salesperson then told her how one time some Saudi women had been sitting there and muttawa had raided the place to prevent this HUGE vice. The women had left but the poor Filipino worker was accused of not preventing it and his “charge” was allowing women to sit inside. What happened then is quite unbelievable. The Riyadh Vice Cops had actually HAND AND LEG CUFFED the worker, treating him as if he was one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. He spent two nights in jail for this horrid offense of allowing women to sit.. I don’t think they even leg-cuff mafia bosses or serial killers in such a manner!

Once while we were in a women’s clothing store with my mom, a muttawa came up to the entrance and started shouting in Arabic. First we thought he was shouting at us but he was targeting one of the male salesclerks. The Turkish clerk looked anxious as the muttawa approached him. The 4 ft tall muttawa continued for a good five minutes of nonstop blabbering and preaching and the clerk was nodding his head, staring at the ground, looking humiliated. By now everyone in the store and the hallway had stopped shopping and were staring at the clerk in a condemning manner as if he had committed a big crime.

When the muttawa finally left we went to talk to the salesclerk because he looked absolutely devastated and about to cry. He told me how this same muttawa comes to his shop almost everyday and always picks on him. I must mention this was a well mannered, friendly young fellow, he was definitely not one of those overly “helpful” salesmen who think their job is to guess women’s clothing sizes under the abayas. The salesman continued that the muttawa always complained and lectured him on his appearance and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

The first time the muttawa midget came, it was the ear length hair which had been deemed too long. The Hai’a guy made him leave work right there and then to cut the hair short or face jail sentence.
Now the hair was short but he’d put hair gel in it which was what the lecture had been all about this time.

The young man said it felt like being publicly shamed and bullied by this so called religious representative. He told us how he couldn’t wait for his contract to finish to get out of this horrible country! I told him to please ignore what the Hai’a say and that they don’t represent Islam or Saudis. We tried to make him feel better, and convince him he’d done nothing wrong. We told him we understand how bad that feels and were sorry he was targeted. Even my mom, who herself has been on the receiving end of Hai’a officers harassments on multiple occasions, talked with him and said not all Saudis are like this. Afterward he seemed more cheerful about it and thanked us for the support.

Last week there was an incident in Riyadh where a Saudi woman got harassed by muttawa because of her nail polish and asked to leave the mall. The video has now gone viral all over the internet.

Thumbs up for this brave lady for standing up for herself against her harassers. Saudi-Arabia needs more women like her!
More on this incident from these two blogs:
Saudi Jeans: http://saudijeans.org/2012/05/25/saudi-jeans-8-nail-polish/
Saudi Woman’s Weblog: http://saudiwoman.me/2012/05/25/the-immodesty-of-nail-polish/

 

Do you have a muttawa story, positive or negative, to share?

P.S Non-Muslim women are not required to wear head scarf or face veil In Saudi-Arabia, only the abaya is compulsory and all women mentioned in this post were wearing abayas.

 

Join the newsletter

Janadriyah_camel_calendar_

Subscribe to get our latest content and updates from Saudi Arabia directly to your inbox.

We won't send you spam. Promise! Powered by ConvertKit

(Visited 3,013 times, 1 visits today)
|pin this|tweet it|Share to facebook|Contact us
  • AngelMay 27, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Thank you finding one with English subtiles, I am so proud of her for standing up to them. It isnt haram to wear nailpolish nor is it haram to wear lipstick and he must of been looking at her alot to notice either. Shame on them. And like she said claiming to be God fearing, clearly they don’t. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never allowed that sort of behaviour. it is beyond disgraceful and I am sorry for what happened to your mother. I hope I get to study my bachelor of islamic studies and then see them try and tell me what to do haha I will show them what they are doing is so wrong.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 27, 2012 - 9:26 pm

      Angel-Beyond disgraceful indeed. And then Saudis wonder why everywhere around the world people have such negative image about them. Well here is one of the biggest reasons! Hai'a tarnish reputation of not only Saudis but Muslims and Islam in general. Nothing about them is Islamic in my opinion. Just shameful!!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousJune 10, 2012 - 6:33 am

      I agree with you Sister Laylah but I think the main reason why Saudis have a negative image is the fact that Saudis in general are complete idiots. By the way I am a Muslim with a beard from the West currently residing in Saud’s Arabia. The government of Saud’s Arabia intentionally keeps the people ignorant and the so-called Haia are just a reflection of the Saudi people. Do you remember the game “Where’s Waldo?” My friends and I have a game called “Where are the Public Libraries?”ReplyCancel

  • SoileMay 27, 2012 - 11:52 am

    Luckily I only had a few minor incidents with Muttawa while working in Riyadh, but one of them was a little scary.

    It was the day before I was going to leave Saudi, in 2002, and I went alone to Kuwaiti souq to get my ring that I had designed. I was wearing my scarf, as I always did when I was out alone, but a carfull of Muttawas started to shout at me to cover my face, and theyReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 27, 2012 - 9:58 pm

      Mayve they thought you looked Arab because of your brown eyes :)ReplyCancel

  • Kuwaitin kaunotarMay 27, 2012 - 1:02 pm

    Iranissa on myos muttawat liikenteessa ja minut ne kerran heittivat pihalle, koska mulla oli varvastossut ilman sukkia. Iranissa ne tosin pidattaa todella herkasti ihmisia, varsinkin paikallisia. Nain muutamankin tapauksen missa riepottivat paikallisia naisia todella vakivalloin.ReplyCancel

    • Kuwaitin kaunotarMay 28, 2012 - 6:01 am

      Alkuperaisesta tekstistani puuttuu paikka josta heittivat ulos… Ostoskeskuksesta. :)

      Niilla on vihreat vaatteet paalla, mutta kylla tavan poliisikin pysayttaa jos huomauttamista. Lakihan koskee siella kaikkia. Et voi liikkua missaan ilman huivia ja riittavan pitkaa takkia.

      Jos vastustaa, niin pidattavat ja ilmeisesti myos pahoinpitelevat. Kuulin myos, etta joiltain ovatReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 29, 2012 - 11:06 pm

      Onpa mielenkiintoista! Tuntuu etta ne on paljon pahempia siella siis!
      mita nais muttawalla on paalla? Musta kaapuko?
      Iranissa ei kuitenkaan ole abaya pakkoa niinko? Onko siita kauan kun olit siella?ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Mc KennaMay 27, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    "I told him to please ignore what the Hai'a say and that they don't represent Islam or Saudis."

    I understand why you say this but having religious police clearly is what the Saudis (at least those who post on blogs in English) want.
    What Saudis need to understand is that it is impossible to reform the religious police. There is no way the system can work in aReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 27, 2012 - 10:06 pm

      Jerry there are plenty of Saudis who want to keep religious police force as it is, but then there are many who would want to abolish it altogether or at least reform it totally.

      I agree, and the regular police force can always be called to deal with serious offenses such as men harassing women in malls, or there could be a patrol present on the weekends.
      The other "offenses&ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 27, 2012 - 9:30 pm

    Can't say if that's true or not but many places use both gregorian and hijri calenders side by side. This would be next to impossible to implement and supervise anyways..ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 27, 2012 - 9:56 pm

    I would have to disagree with you on the reason Saudi has Hai'a.
    First of all, Hai'a only started very recently, with the rising of wahabbism and the conservative movement..before this Saudis were more free and relaxed..now there is a feeling of constant tension.

    Second, there was nothing such during the days of the Prohpet. So how is this following Sunnah or the Prophet?ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلMay 27, 2012 - 11:52 pm

    Layla, I know that you are still new to Arabic, but if you read the newspapers, you will find a lot of good done by the Hia'a. But people chose to ignore it and only see the minor incidents like that one in the mall. They are rarely appreciated and thanked for their good work, and are way more sincere than the police in their work, which is sad but true. I will always trust a Hia'a manReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 28, 2012 - 2:22 am

    very good post! I hope the Muttawa encounters part 3 comes out soon!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 28, 2012 - 8:30 pm

    Whether you are a Muslim, Jew or Christian one religious truth is clear. God gave us all THE CHOICE to do what is right or wrong. He never forced anyone to do the right thing. God does not need RELIGIOUS POLICE. Why would a God who created all things need enforcers? He does not. Xenophobic religious leaders who MIGHT NOT ALWAYS be led by the will of God as they would have everyone believe are the only people who need enforcers like the Religious Police. The Saudi government has already taken power away from the Religious Police by placing them in an ADVISE ONLY role. That means you are paying a bunch of men to do virtually nothing at all but wear a uniform. They should have simply dissolved the organization completely. Then incidents like this could never happen. Xenophobia is no way to govern a country in the 21st century if you want your country taken seriously. if you are going to do as God would do – then you must do what HE DID, teach people what is right and wrong then let them exercise the free will choice he gave them. If God gave you all choices, and he clearly did, who are the Ayatollahs, Mullahs and Imans to take that choice away? Do they know better than God?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 29, 2012 - 10:55 pm

      I agree, it should all be about choices. We were all created with a brain and a conscious..Everyone should be able to use them however they want to.
      In the end they will be judged accordingly. Whether or not religious cops told the person to go pray that one time or to cover their hair, has no significance on that day.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 28, 2012 - 8:30 pm

    non mulsims are not required to wear scarf!ReplyCancel

    • AhmedApril 9, 2014 - 1:27 pm

      They aren’t required but if they are asked to put one on, they must do so.ReplyCancel

  • HelenMay 28, 2012 - 8:42 pm

    mutawa have always been such bullies! I lived in this country for over 13 years and have so many run ins with these haia folks I can’t even begin to count them! All negative and this puts me off learning more from their religion because to me it’s just religion of the oppressors and the oppressed.ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahMay 28, 2012 - 9:14 pm

    Her Arabic is so beautiful, even when she’s yelling at them. lol.

    Good for her :) I’m proud of her.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMay 30, 2012 - 2:14 am

      If she had true courage she should have shown her face for all to see her so that she can own her actions, anyone can hide behind an iPhone but I'm sure she wouldn't have been so verbal if the camera was turned on her. No one was screaming at her or trying to do anything to her and she seemed to be reacting as if they was trying to rape her..very dramatic! She seemed like a spoiltReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 30, 2012 - 7:57 pm

      hmmm well I guess it could be determined as either feisty, courageous, rude, or dramatic, according to different viewpoints..
      In any case I think it doesn't matter she doesn't show her face here. When you think of this situation she is clearly enraged about something, and I honestly don't think she would've been this outspoken if something didn't really upset her, andReplyCancel

  • Coolred38May 29, 2012 - 10:14 am

    The religious police are a joke…while professing to enforce islamic “rules”, they break so many of them themselves. Speaking disrespectfully to others, lookng at women with open eyed purposeful stares…shaming people in public and the list goes on. Look in the mirror and correct your own failings before having the audacity to presume to correct others. I seriously wish that instead of just shouting back at these “pious” men…someone would kick their damn asses and humble them into the men they pretend to be rather than the asinine fools they act like.

    And yes..I have had my experiences with not only them…but some “religious” policewomen (I’m sure that is not what they were but they had uniforms on) while in the prophet’s mosque in medina. Such rude and condescending women that I nearly wanted to hold up a mirror to their faces and tell them…take a good look at how your face looks while you are busy condeming other muslim women as sinners.

    Doing ‘god’s work” my foot…god can handle things himself it would seem.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMay 29, 2012 - 11:22 pm

      Coolred I have had same happen in grand mosque mecca, woman muttawa came up to beat me with a stick because I was not praying the way she thought was correct. Another occasion two came to say I can't pray there because I was too close to few males sleeping. Why can't the males move is my question? Always the women are to blame. truth is the religious cops are misogynist hypocrites.
      ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 29, 2012 - 9:18 pm

    From Italy – KSA hosts the two Holy Mosks of Mecca and Medina, while Italy hosts Vatican City, Rome. As an Italian I can assure you I’ve never heard we are supposed to be role model Catholics. Both Catholics and Muslims should simply do their best to worship their God..that’s all. It’s not up to human beings to decide who’s next to or far from the Truth. And the Truth, for both Catholics and Muslims is God, btw.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 29, 2012 - 10:23 pm

    Helen I am sorry you have this experience. But just keep in mind these are only a few bad and rotten seeds among other good ones..I know how you feel though I might have had the similar inclination when I fist came here and was treated like crap by these men..But then I realized what they do is not from Islam and I think that’s the main point to understand here!

    Honestly I don’t think the best way to go about and answering her is to make things worse (image of muslims and Saudis)by calling her ignorant and immature..because she obviously felt she wasn’t treated with respect. A respectful response I think would’ve generated perhaps better understanding.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 29, 2012 - 10:35 pm

    Not Saudi-Why in the world would I bother to write multiple posts on a subject like this if it were, in fact required of them?

    Foreign non-Muslim women don’t have to cover their hair, abaya is enough.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 30, 2012 - 11:22 am

    "It's your country woman, you should be the one who is defending her not me lol"
    Alhamdulillah for Islam…where we don't have to stand with those who are of same nationality just because we share the same culture and skin colour but we should stand with those who are good in there Islam and not just for the sake of nationality as u suggested.
    Like someone else saidReplyCancel

  • Coolred38May 30, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    Hbla…have you heard the phrase, "the straw that broke the camel's back"? Possibly those men confronting her was her last straw in this regard and her reaction is one of continued frustation over being treated like a child who cannot police her ownself but must face the continuous scrutiny of these bearded pious men who appoint themselves judge and jury in such cases. You say sheReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 30, 2012 - 8:21 pm

      Coolred38- good point about the saying the straw that broke the camel's back. I have got the feeling myself MANY times here, when something unfair has happened over and over, there is just a limit for everyone and maybe this was her limit. She just could not take it anymore and flipped at them.
      We will never know for sure of course.

      But I can relate to this feeling, there wasReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 30, 2012 - 2:03 pm

    Asalamu alaykum dear sisters,
    I agree with sister Riya (not sure how to spell your name in English) that both sides were not evident in the video and we cannot make a judgement. I don't think that this Hai'a man asked her to leave the mall for merely wearing nail polish. I live in Madina (the Prophet pbuh's city) and countless women here wear nail polish and no one even raises aReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 30, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    An idea just hit me, if we as Muslims in this Ummah take the initiative and start to advise one another with sincerity then there won't be a need for the Hai'a. But, unfortunately we don't do that. So what do they say, "we can be the change we want to see…" (something like that).
    It was nice reading both of your views and sister Laylah i really enjoy reading yourReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 30, 2012 - 7:46 pm

    I would advise you to read more on this blog then because you've got the wrong impression!

    Every society has their ups and downs, even Finland :)ReplyCancel

  • Sara93May 30, 2012 - 8:20 pm

    What an interesting blog !
    You know what’s going on in Saudi is Wahhbisim, which is not Islam at all, it is a religion which contains strict traditions and that had been created by selfish men who are brain washing the society under the cover of Islam and sadly majority of people believe them. And what do these men want? WOMEN POWER AND MONEY!
    Anyway, I’m a Muslim girl and I refuseReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 31, 2012 - 6:56 pm

      Sara93-thanks for the comment, ya I wish I could move to Jeddah :) Especially because of the beautiful Red Sea you guys have over there!
      Heard also Hai’a are not that numerous, aggressive or influential there as they are in Riyadh, and I personally don;t know any western woman who had any problems with muttawa in Jeddah.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousJune 10, 2012 - 6:57 am

      Don’t worry abou the Hai’a, you feel more at home because Jeddah is a bigger dump than Riyadh. Garbage and Yellow Poop trucks everywhere!!!ReplyCancel

    • Don SolanoJune 14, 2012 - 6:00 am

      I was in Jeddah too and I think the mutawwas there are a bit forgiving : )ReplyCancel

  • Omani Princess (not Omani...yet)June 2, 2012 - 12:34 am

    I totally agree with the woman being harassed about her nailpolish. a religious man would only notice if she were doing something VERY wrong, not something he’d have to be staring very hard to see.

    If he bugged me I’d be yelling in arabic “I have my period, I don’t have to make wudu, so leave me alone!!!!” and see if menstration frightened him away or if I got arrested for lewdness. I mean, come on people.

    Yes, in Islam we should advise people to good. But we are ALSO supposed to give them many excuses even for their obvious wrongs. We are then, supposed to cover their sins. Advice is for them, then leave them alone. The Prophet Mohmmaed sallalahu alahi wa salaam was instructed by Allah ALmighty Himself: “Yours [Muhummed] is but to warn.” So did he tell her, sister, did you know wearing nailpolish nullifies your wudu or would you like to know why there is reward for veiling the face?” No, he followed her around, which is harassment, stared at her body, tried to publically shame her, and followed her out of the mall. He should have warned nicely, and left her to follow as she saw fit, which would be the sunnah of “advice”.ReplyCancel

  • YaelianJune 2, 2012 - 8:57 am

    Olipa mielenkiintoinen postaus ! En tiedä miten itse reagoisin tuollaiseen,mutta kai olisin raivostunut. Täällähän on myös joukko kiihkouskovaisia,jotka vaativat että kaikki on peitettävä,mutta se on vain vähemmistö,eikä näy jokapäiväisessä elämässä.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 3, 2012 - 12:25 am

      Yaelian-onhan se valilla aika raivostuttavaa :) Eli teilla ei ole minkaanlaisia ns moraalikyttia siella?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 2, 2012 - 8:58 am

    Wow that sounds so cool..hope u get a saudi stamp soon!!
    MaraReplyCancel

  • talal07June 2, 2012 - 11:52 am

    Everyone have stories with Hay’ah(religious police), mostly are bad. however beyond the stories is the fact Hay’ah is a police with juridical. executive & legislative privileges. they have the right to change laws and apply them anytime. That whyI get a head-shave when I get caught in a date, while my friend get caught with a girl in a mall and then get lashed and jailed and expelled out of college.
    And the reason the government allow them is from a Machiavellian point of view, keep the people struggling for their own little freedoms and they won’t bother the government in the big issues. that why they fill news and media on account on any local political/economical discussion.
    I could go further but just wanted to list the big point people keep missing around here.ReplyCancel

  • flawlessvelvetJune 3, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    A HAI’Ah POST, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES…

    2 weeks ago me and my mother were shopping inside Tamimi during prayer time. The y came in and she told me to hide in the storage room so I did. They ended up arresting the manager of the store and the security guard, but I always thought it was common knowledge that supermarkets didn’t kick people out during prayer time.

    Last weekend our cousin from Kuwait and his wife came to attend my Grandfathers funeral (allah yerhamo) and she and my aunt wanted to go to Gazaz so I took them. The hay’ah was there berating the female staff in the second floor (the male staff worked on the first) then the came down stairs and started berating a Saudi male employee who looked my age for about 10 minutes BECAUSE OF HIS HAIR! He told me that they’ve been coming every few days since they employed the women. I was shocked because the government said women should be employed in these types of shops.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:50 am

      flawlessvelvet thanks for sharing your muttawa stories!I can’t count how many times I’ve been stuck inside Tamimi or other grocery store and nobody ever got kicked out, how did they even let the Hai’a guys in that is so strange!
      Sound like those muttawa at Gazaz had sadistic tendencies, putting people down like that and humiliating them..makes me so angry. So they are working against the government now too?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 4, 2012 - 5:29 am

    “moraalikyttä” hahahhhaah :D

    EmanReplyCancel

  • LaylahJune 7, 2012 - 12:47 am

    Hi Emilio what an interesting hobby you have there!
    Inhallah myself or someone else from Saudi could help you with the letter soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 7, 2012 - 2:48 am

    Had there been any alterations during 1,400 years, there would have been no way these millions of muslims read and memorised the same Qur’an.Here are two different studies involving the Bible and Qur’an respectively:
    Dr. J.K. Elliott,of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University, wrote an article published in The Times, London (10th Sept., 1987) entitled “Checking the Bible’s Roots”. In it, he stated that: “More than 5,000 manuscripts contain all or part of the New Testament in its original language. These range in date from the second century up to the invention of printing. It has been estimated that no two agree in all particulars. Inevitably, all handwritten documents are liable to contain accidental errors in copying. However, in living theological works it is not surprising that deliberate changes were introduced to avoid or alter statements that the copyist found unsound. There was also a tendency for copyists to add explanatory glosses[9]. Deliberate changes are more likely to have been introduced at an early stage before the canonical status of the New Testament was established.”
    The author went on to explain that “no one manuscript contains the original, unaltered text in its entirety,” and that, “one cannot select any one of these manuscripts and rely exclusively on its text as if it contained the monopoly the original words of the original authors.”
    The same principles of analysis which were applied to Bible manuscripts by Bible scholars and which exposed the flaws and changes, have been applied to Qur’aanic manuscripts gathered from around the world. Ancient manuscripts found in the Library of Congress in Washington, the Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin, Ireland, the London Museum, as well as Museums in Tashkent, Turkey and Egypt, from all periods of Islamic history, have been compared. The result of all such studies confirm that there has not been any change in the text from its original writing. For example, the “Institute fur Koranforschung” of the University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated over 42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’aan. After some fifty years of study, they reported that in terms of differences between the various copies, there were no variants, except occasional mistakes of copyists, which could easily be ascertained. The institute was destroyed by American bombs during the Second World War.
    One of the leading orientalists, Kenneth Cragg, said the following regarding the memorization and preservation of the Qur’aanic text, “This phenomenon of Qur’anic recital means that the text has traversed the centuries in an unbroken living sequence of devotion. It cannot, therefore, be handled as an antiquarian thing, nor as a historical document out of a distant past.”[49] Another orientalist scholar, William Graham, wrote: “For countless millions of Muslims over more than fourteen centuries of Islamic history, ‘scripture’, al-kitab has been a book learned, read and passed on by vocal repetition and memorization. The written Qur’an may ‘fix’ visibly the authoritative text of the Divine Word in a way unknown in history, but the authoritativeness of the Qur’anic book is only realized in its fullness and perfection when it is correctly recited.”[50] Yet another, John Burton, stated: “The method of transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to the next by having the young memorize the oral tradition of their elders had mitigated somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solely on written records…”[51] At the end of a voluminous work on the Qur’aan’s collection, Burton stated that the text of the Qur’aan available today is “the text which has come down to us in the form in which it was organised and approved by the Prophet…What we have today in our hands is the mushaf of Muhammad.Schwally concurs that “As far as the various pieces of revelation are concerned, we may be confident that their text has been generally transmitted exactly as it was found in the Prophet’s legacy.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 7, 2012 - 2:49 am

    To Bigstick,
    I highly recommend you get a copy of The History of The Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments by Muhammad Mustafa Al-AzamiReplyCancel

  • HudaJune 8, 2012 - 3:10 am

    Islam means to submit to Allah SWT that’s correct. If bigstick1 doesn’t agree with Islam that’s not our problem, there will always be people who won’t submit to the legislation of Allah. Allah guides whom He wills.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 8, 2012 - 3:26 am

    The authenticity of the Quran has been agreed upon by nearly all experts, both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. Hardly anyone has contensted the authenticity of the Quran, and those that did their theories were quickly destroyed.

    The main method of preservation was through memorisation, and secondly through the form of a book. Right from the begining, many muslims memorised the whole Quran, and along with it the chains of transmission back to the Prophet s.a.w.

    When you have millions narrating the Quran from memory, and all do so through different chains of transmitions, and yet each and every person is narrating EXACTLY the same text – do you not think this is enough to prove it’s authenticity?

    Then there is the fact that the Companions compiled the Quran from both memory (what was agreed upon through consensus to be the Quran) and the written forms which were recorded down, and they were checked and verified by the Prophet s.a.w. Himself ensuring there were no mistakes. The first Quran’s are still available and can be checked in museums in certain countries. When present day copies of the Quran were compared to that of the very first, they were found to be EXACTLY the same without an iota of difference. I therefore think there is more than enough evidence to prove the authenticity of the Quran.

    And most importantly for us as Muslims,We have faith in it as Allah has promissed to guard it from any falsehood. As this is the last scriptures. Its not in Allah’s interest to let the last of his word go the same way as last ones.

    This is the real thing and the final one.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 9, 2012 - 1:35 am

    Huda,yes you are right. In Arabic, the word “Islam” means submission or surrender – however, it was derived from the root word “salam”. From this root word, you can also derive the words peace and safety.

    Many religions have a concept of surrender to God. In Jewish history, when the ancient Hebrews obeyed God’s commands, they had a long period of prosperity and stability.

    In Christianity, surrendering to God is a way of putting your life into more capable hands – in fact, Jesus asked many of his disciples to surrendertheir livelihoods and follow him.

    So, if we look at the word ‘Islam’ in this way, we can understand why obeying Allah’s commands and trusting in Allah’s wisdom could bring about peace for a Muslim.

    The word does not represent a one-sided relationship, where the believer is enslaved to Allah. Rather, the word Islam indicates a covenant between Allah and his followers, where a Muslim surrenders his or her will to Allah in return for peace or safety.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 9, 2012 - 1:48 am

    To bigstick,i dont know why you are laughing at my reply when i gave a sincere and well meaning answer,but it does show your blind arrogance and condescending manner.even if you disagree,there’s no need to be smug.this is typical trait of Richard Dawkins who rather than motivate secular values has called for atheists to show contempt and ridicule the religious.one wonders why an intelligent man would promote scorn instead of discourse.perhaps the fear of conviction?ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 10, 2012 - 12:15 am

    Salam bigstick,

    I don’t wish to enforce anything on you and you are free to choose between right and wrong. Just a kind request, please don’t insult our God by calling Him a psychopath, sex-obsessed, dementia etc. This forum is not the place to insult people’s belief. Ma’salama.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 10, 2012 - 12:55 am

    I will answer your query for my source by giving this link http://www.ilaam.net/Articles/AuthenticQuran.html

    An excerpt : The historical credibility of the Qur’an is further established by the fact that one of the copies sent out by the Caliph Uthman is still in existence today. It lies in the Museum of the City of Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia [41]. A facsimile of the mushaf in Tashkent is available at the Columbia University Library in the USA [42]. This copy is proof that the text of the Qur’an we have in circulation today is identical with that of the time of the Prophet and his companions.

    May Allah give us guidance.ReplyCancel

  • Umm IbrahimAugust 4, 2012 - 6:02 am

    asalaamu alaikum…I think this may be a Riyadh thing, I lived in Al-Khobar for a good year a few years ago and while the haia DID occasionally patrol the malls…I never ever saw them aggressively going after anyone really…the ONLY times I saw them talking to people was when it was those young guys who would go to the malls during “family times” and be all sleazy, harrassing women..actually in Khobar atleast they arent bad…they dont do this stuff. You see plenty of foreign, non-Muslim and Muslim women in abaya but no scarf. It could be because its by Aramco which has a huge non-Muslim, western expat population and so they dont wanna screw that up…I dunno…but really…overall I personally didnt mind them as they would patrol the ladies suqs in the evening…and generally the men didnt perve around so much, annoying women when they knew the haia were around, ditto for the malls…and this was usually during “family” hours when single, young men wouldnt be allowed in the malls alone. infact my husband on several occasions had some friendly convos by some of them…and in his class-he was a professor he had like 3 male students who were haia and he said they were the best behaved and most decent of all of them…they never cheated or lied to get better grades…or attempt bribery. They did try to give him salafy literature…but that was the extent of it. I guess Khobar is just more low key. I’m not going to say that SEEing them…as they sweep through the mall isnt a bit frightening at first…BUT, I never ever saw them bother a woman without a scarf on or intimidate anyone cept young men who were probably up to mischeif anyway. yea…Riyadh is a diff. land apparently…LOL. For the record…I do think they are kinda unncessary…but at times in certain situations…maybe not so bad-i.e. like the ladies suq and family mall times thing to keep sleezy guys at bay.
    p.s. I also saw some expat Muslim women in like long tunics and pants in the malls and they never said anything to them either…once I did that…or maybe twice and I had haia walk right by me…didnt even look! But, I DID have elderly saudi women say stuff to me…LOL. go figure.ReplyCancel

  • QAugust 8, 2012 - 10:34 am

    Ok, so, if in Saudi some Finnish women are walking in IKEA without a headscarf is “insulting the culture and religion” and that means some men can go yell at them. And this is totally acceptable and the right thing to do.

    Howcome then, if some muslim woman in Finland goes to IKEA in a niqab and abaya, she is not yelled at? Is it not as “insulting”? Maybe there should be a bunch of people chanting “strip off, strip off” ?

    If that latter sounds bizarre or somehow unfathomable – well, turn the mirror.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahAugust 8, 2012 - 11:43 pm

    Q-yes can you imagine the reactions if the latter were to happen? Why is it acceptable only one way around?ReplyCancel

  • Eileen HoodMay 26, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Yep, sure brings back memories!!! Cherene – people have used yr plastic bag idea! lolReplyCancel

  • ...September 1, 2014 - 2:30 am

    I understand how you feel Laylah.
    My parents has been in this country for more than 30 years. (We’re a filipino family)
    They know much and adapted well the tradition and culture of KSA and we actually like to call them muttawa and not haia.
    I recalled the experience one time that my hijab was resting over my shoulder while shopping groceries at a mall then suddenly two muttawas walked at our side but not facing at us shouted “Cover your hair! Cover you hair!” So I quickly covered them and glanced while they were leaving. Alhamdulillah I never encountered that not much these days.
    I discovered that muttawas are so sensitive and love to scold women most of time! And I’ve heard that they do that even if the women have her family or husband or father with them. Astaghfirullah!
    They won’t stop until they’re satisfied.
    I understand what ربة منزل is trying to stand for the muttawas purpose but they don’t do it the gentle and positive way – or perhaps what our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam or the sahabas (may allah be pleased with them) does or will do if they’re in that very situation.
    As if they don’t understand the part that Islam and the Qur’an teaches us to be respectful to our mothers, which includes the women, so much that the paradise lies at the women’s feet! SubhanAllah! How great is that!

    I couldn’t stand up for myself on times when they (muttawas) try to do those ‘cover you blah blah’ stuff because they can bring me to jail, so fast like 1, 2, 3.. It’s like a talk back and your dead.
    Good thing you’ve met some of those well-mannered and educated muttawas bcoz rarely see one yet! Haha yes I think it will be quite impossible for me.
    Although I have to say something that which perhaps might help others who are facing what Laylah and others does.

    *you can buy those abayas that has hoodies! (I was stunned to see one bcoz idk it reminds me of those ppl in the movies lol. But i think its helpful so that it can save from ‘oh no i forgot my hijab’ problems)

    *bring a wali (guardian, protector, family member..) or husband with you (its a struggle i know but you’ll get used to it. And so that someone can save you from those harsh and abusive talks, esp. if they speak arabic too!)

    *learn a little arabic (like omg i know its difficult. I’m learning too btw but try to know some phrases and sentences you can use when they (muttawas) are over the top so that you could response, esp. when you see that they’re furious or mad bulls {lol})ReplyCancel

  • […] These are all real situations that have occurred within the last 3 years in Riyadh to friends of mine and some of them I was involved in myself. You can find Muttawa encounters Volume Two here. […]ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked * *

*

*