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What's in a beard?

Beardy tweets have sparked controversy in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi activist said that she would sue a religious scholar after he called for putting her on trial over a tweet in which he claimed she had insulted Prophet Mohammad. Suad Al Shimmari said that Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani wronged her by claiming that she had ridiculed the Prophet by denigrating the significance of beards that men are expected to grow as required by some religious schools.

Local news site Sabq Shaik Al Kalbani said: "I call for a swift trial of Suad Al Shimmari for her offences to the Prophet and her scorns in the tweet she posted,"

Suad Al Shimmari said in her tweet: "one of the dumbest statements is that breeding beards is to be different from the heathens. These include past and present Orientalists, Jews, priests, Communists and Marxists beards. Abu Jahl (an enemy of the Prophet) had a beard longer than that of the Prophet."

In reaction to the tweetAl Kalbani prayed that Suad would lose the use of her hand and her eyesight.

Suad however rejected the charges and said they were part of a campaign to discredit her: "Those who reacted negatively to my tweet had isolated it from the other tweets raising the same theme. They maliciously clipped them to target me and to make me look as if I was scorning the Prophet,"

"I wanted to stress in my tweets that when we criticise bearded men, we do not mean to ridicule God's teachings, verses and Messenger. In my tweet, I wanted to show that other religions also included breeding beards that are in fact longer than those that some Muslims have. This includes rabbis and clergymen,". Buddhists in India are different from Muslims through, among other features, their beards, she added.

"The length of a beard does not define the degree of religious devotion or the piety of the person. Those who say they want to emulate the example of Prophet Mohammad should adopt his morals as well," she said.

"I am shocked by all the insults and derogatory remarks. I wish Al Kalbani had really appreciated the significance of my tweets before rushing into cursing me," she said. His negative attitudes have fuelled public antagonism against her according to Suad.

Suad also said; "Al Kalbani did what he did because he wanted to gain some popular mileage and to reconcile with his group. I am now considering a law case against him for what he said against me. Islam teaches us not to rush into statements and conclusions until we are sure and certain about all the facts in order to be fair. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not responsible for what they understand or how they perceive things. I am not at all responsible about them if they want to put pressure on society or seek a deal with the state or target me because of my positions towards the Muslim Brotherhood," .

Suad said that some people are using their beards to hide their true character behind them. "The Prophet would have never treated people unfairly or rushed into a conclusion without verifying the facts and making sure about them first. What they did is not part of the Prophet's way of life. These people represent a political ideology hiding behind a beard to claim they are pious and live in good conditions,".

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Publication:American Bedu
Date:Feb 17, 2014
Words:590
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