Why do women have to wear black hijabs at work in Saudi Arabia?


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Women in Saudi Arabia are to wear an Abaya when they go out for work or at a public place. They are not required to cover their heads or face, yet have to wear a loose cloak over their shoulders. Expat women, also have to abide by the same rule. There is a separate work regulation for females.

A labor law requires a woman to wear a hijab when they are at work. According to the law, if any woman is seen without a modest Sharia hijab at a workplace such as a shop, she would be heavily fined. So women shall be aware of what actually a hijab is! But to our surprise, there is no consensus among the Muslim scholars regarding the hijab.

Some are of the view that hijab includes face and head-covering. The conservative view does not allow a woman to uncover their heads and face. While others are of the view that woman is allowed to wear the only black-colored Abaya at the workplace. So the law asks to wear a Sharia-compliant Abaya and woman do abide by it.

But what is wrong with us? Why do not we let the woman work freely? If they wear an Abaya, we have problems regarding the shape of the Abaya and the color of it. A worker, either male or female is to be judged by his expertise, level of efficiency, punctuality, and perfectness. By no means shall they be judged by their Abayas.

They wear Abayas, what color and size is their right. Why create an issue over it? Our female workers are not allowed to wear colored Abayas. Even if they choose to wear a light colored Abaya or Abaya in the grey shade, the employer would send a notice that they have violated the imposed labor law.

Well, dear employer, the law does not require a woman to wear black Abayas. It only requires them to wear an Abaya! But if a worker ignores the notice she is fined heavily. If a worker appears in a differently colored Abaya then black, the second time, she is fined more than the first time!

Is this sensible and justifiable? Let women work. They get out of their homes in a great trouble. They fulfill their duties as a mother, daughter, wife, and a sister before leaving for work and after coming back. So let them wear colored Abayas, that won’t cost you a penny!

A colored Abaya does not pose threat nor decreases their work efficiency. Don’t behave unjustly in the name of the law. Law has not specified the color of the Abaya. Laws for males and females at work and scenarios shall be made equally.

A woman shall not be oppressed at the workplace. Fining a woman because of a colored Abaya is certainly unjust and people and employers need to think about it! Let woman work freely, let her work for her family and for the country! Don’t create issues that are pointless.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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