Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Nasser Al Obaikan, member of Saudi Council of Senior Scholars and adviser to the king, has unwittingly sparked an usual debate. The renowned scholar said Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to become their sons and brothers to their daughters.
Under this relationship, foreign drivers would then be allowed to mix freely with all members of the family without breaking the Islamic rule which does not allow mixing of genders. Breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood relationship in Islam.
"A woman can breastfeed a mature man so that he becomes her son. In this way, he can mix with her and her daughters without violating the teachings of Islam," the scholar said.
A number of Saudi women initially condemned the fatwa. Fatima Al Shammary was quoted by the local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying the fatwa was "ridiculous and weird. This fatwa has become a hot topic of debate among women. Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?" she said.
Another Saudi woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned: "Does Islam allow me to breastfeed a foreign man and prevent me from driving my own car? I have not breastfed my own children. How do you expect me to do this with a foreign man? What is this nonsense?" she said.
Another woman said the fatwa should also apply to the husbands who should be breastfed by housemaids. By doing so, all will be brothers and sisters," she said. Saudi writer Suzan Al Mashhadi sarcastically asked: "Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone? Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?" she asked.
But in an even more bizarre twist, other Saudi women are using the controversial fatwa in their long-running campaign to obtain the right to drive cars. If the demand to drive automobiles is not met, women are threatening to actually follow through on the fatwa which gives them the permission to breast-feed their drivers and turn them into their sons. The campaign will be launched under the slogan: "We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners."