Will Saudi Arabia Free Its Women? – The Wall Street Journal

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The full article was originally published by the Wall Street Journal on March 8th 2018. 

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, is in the United Kingdom this week to meet two female leaders: Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May. He will see for himself that women have as much to contribute to public life as men.

In Saudi Arabia, governed by Shariah (Islamic law), a woman must live under the authority of a male guardian, her wali al-amr. The Quran (4:34) says, “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means.” The General Presidency for Scholarly Research, an official body in charge of Islamic legal opinion, has issued a fatwa construing the verse strictly: “A woman should not leave her house, except with her husband’s permission.”

Saudi women do not have freedom of movement and never become fully independent legal persons. Regardless of age, they need permission from a male guardian to travel overseas, apply for a passport, marry, or be released from prison. The guardian is usually a woman’s father or husband, but can also be a brother, cousin or even son. Imagine the humiliation of a middle-aged woman having to ask a young son’s approval for important and mundane life decisions.

Read Ayaan's Full Op-Ed Here

Ms. Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and founder of the AHA Foundation.


  1. susan says:

    I am interested in following Ayan but not the Wall Street Journal

  2. Mia says:

    You are amazing. Thankyou for saving lives and helping woman all over the world! You are the woman that has changed the way woman are treated at the micro level. Thankyou so much Ayaan. you are an inspiration and you have so much support as you speak nothing but the truth for this horrid and very wrong treatment of a human being just because they are Woman.

  3. James Leuck says:

    Why do you post this here? I can’t read it without paying for a subscription. I’m a big fan of you Ayaan, but if you want to get your words out, you might want to rethink charging money for them. Unless, of course, you’re doing this for money now.

  4. Vic says:

    American feminist cannot be bothered with this… they are too busy demanding free stuff and knitting pussy hats… besides the feminist and Islamist have a common enemy called Christianity .. they wouldn’t want to jeapordize that bond..

  5. Sarah says:

    It would be worthwhile if colleges would let her speak yet they allow Sarsour. Hmmm.

  6. Patricia Spayd says:

    Will muslim countries renounce Wife Beating in Koran Suri 4:34?

  7. Kathleen Fenton says:

    I wish I could read the Op-Ed in its entirety without paying for a WSJ subscription! Please let us know if it gets reprinted somewhere else!

  8. Gonda says:

    Brave woman you! Wish you the best of luck, patience and wisdom…. and be safe!!! <3

  9. A Blanch says:

    This lady opened my eyes to Islam, sharia, she has put her own life at risk. All people should listen to her.

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