Kuwaiti cleric, Dr. Othman Al Khamees, caused quite the stir on Twitter earlier this week after a video of him saying women shouldn't be allowed to travel alone circulated online.
The statement came in reply to a question the scholar was asked by one of his followers. In a letter sent to the cleric, the man wrote:
"I am a Kuwaiti student based in the U.S. and my wife wants to come visit me here for a month, can she travel without a male guardian? I'll pick her up from the airport and another guardian will receive her when she travels back, this is because it's urgent that she comes to visit me and I can't travel back and forth to bring her here and take her back."
The sheikh's response to the man's issue? No, it's haram (unacceptable) for a woman to travel without a male guardian.
"What if her flight gets diverted?"
In his reply to the man's specific question, Al Khamees, while giggling, came up with pretty bizarre reasons why females shouldn't travel alone.
"You say you'll pick her up, what if something comes up and you don't end up doing that? What if you get into an accident, God forbids, and you're sent to a hospital where she can't find you? What if one of your phone connections suddenly fail," he said.
If you think the cleric's worst case scenarios ended there, you're wrong. His list went on and on:
"What if she had to make an emergency landing in Holland or Germany, what if her flight gets diverted? It's not right, it's just not acceptable to have her travel alone," he added.
The statement resurfaced on Kuwaiti Twitter
Even though the footage isn't new - dates back to March 24, 2018 - it resurfaced on social media after it was shared by local Twitter news pages and has now sharply divided people on the platform.
A few were all for the cleric's statement
"His statement makes so much sense."
Which is "loosely" based on this Quranic verse
"There are still those who try to elaborate on this Quranic verse, even though it's clear. ('It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to make a journey of one day and night unless she is accompanied by a Mahram - husband or any other relative to whom she is prohibited to marry.') If she's traveling for over one day, there has to be a guardian with her, but to start talking about accidents that might occur if a woman travels alone, that's considered a deviation from the text."
Regardless, many were just not having it
"So what's required is for me to go from America to Kuwait, travel with my wife from Kuwait, and then accompany her all the way back from America to Kuwait, and then get back to the U.S. by myself... our religion is easy to follow only for those who use their brains."
And argued against the statement with things like this
"In olden days, it was extremely difficult for a woman to travel alone, because travel routes were dangerous, but things have changed now."
"You know a woman can depend on herself, she's not a child"
"What if a woman's husband is a diplomat or a person who's studying abroad? Who's going to take her back and forth? A male guardian is going to travel with her every time she takes a trip? There's absolutely nothing wrong if a woman makes a transit."
Some responded to the edict with humor
"Ok, so what's going to happen if her plane makes an emergency landing in Holland? Is she going to become a zombie and destroy humanity?"
Savagery level: Kuwaiti women
"Anyways, should we choose a fragranced or fragrance-free guardian? (pun on similar word that means 'tissue' in Arabic)."
"Ignorance and what it does to people"
"When clerics interfere in people's lives, you get nonsense like this"
Some women summed it all up...
"May God give me patience to deal with these minds, everything is haram (unacceptable) when it comes to women. There's nothing left except them issuing edicts on whether we should breathe or not."