Pick a scholar, any scholar… Saudiwom…
Saudiwoman lists the four arguments heard in online Saudi forums for why women should not be allowed to drive. Reason #2 struck me, as it reminds me of one of the issues that has prompted huge frustration in conversion – that anything can be argued to be permissible – or forbidden – if a scholar said it some time, some where, or is willing to say it now. This is also known as fatwa shopping:
2- That women driving is prohibited in Islam. This has been refuted by the majority of living Saudi sheikhs. However the people who use this argument keep going back to fatwas written by two dead sheikhs who were the inspiration for today’s Taliban lifestyle in Afghanistan.
From the ‘fatwa shopping’ link above:
To me, the fatwa phenomenon underscores a key problem in trying to foment any lasting change or reform in the Middle East. There are so many competing voices, all claiming legitimacy and competing for authority. The cacophony hampers singling out any one ruling as authentic. Who can sort out the contradictions, when fatwas issued on exactly the same question — like whether the sexes can share a car to Mecca, or whether women can run in elections — wind up promoting opinions that are polar opposites? Critics say too many fatwas are rooted in decidedly worldly objectives, such as a desire to push a particular policy, far more often than in weighty religious wisdom. The fact that some governments keep senior clerics on the payroll obviously casts doubt on their rulings. It is difficult for anyone to separate fatwas rooted in a genuine desire to interpret the faith from those formulated to achieve political goals.