Saudi Lawyer creates App for Women's Rights

Clock Icon May 21, 2024
Nasreen Alissa's app empowers Saudi women by educating them on their Sharia-based rights. (Source: iStock)

Nasreen Alissa's app empowers Saudi women by educating them on their Sharia-based rights. (Source: iStock)

Recently I came across the website of Saudi female lawyer, Nasreen Alissa, who created a mobile application in 2016 that helps women understand their rights.

Maybe that’s because Saudi Arabia has not made enough effort to market itself, making it easier to dwell on prejudices.

What is the reality about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, in any case? It is true that in many Saudi families, women are controlled by their fathers, brothers, husbands, or whoever else may be their guardian. This very famous word “guardianship” is the umbrella for the misuse of power by men. In Islamic law (Sharia - which Saudi law is based on), a woman lives under the protection of her guardian.

Note the subtle difference. Protection, not control. Unfortunately, some men tend to use the power of guardianship as a means of control and neglect to take on their full responsibilities towards those they should protect.

The Quran says in Sura An-Nisa: “Men are in charge of women by (right of) what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth.” The exact interpretation by the famous Islamic scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim states that men are responsible for women financially, but also responsible for the way they are treated and respected. When those obligations are not fulfilled, rights are taken. It’s abuse.

So, Nasreen Alissa - who has a law firm in Riyadh and regularly appears in Arabic and international media advocating for women - is doing important work in developing this app teaching women about their rights given by Sharia. It’s also a fundamental step in the journey towards rights for Saudi women; if men base their arguments on Sharia, you need to understand what Sharia actually prescribes.

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