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Saudi Arabia: Appointment of female 'Shura' members a welcome step
Saudi monarchy has appointed 30 female members in 150-member Shura Council. This is a welcome news and a great leap forward.

THE SAUDI monarch family al-Saud has appointed 30 female members in 150-member Shura Council, the board of advisors. This is a great leap forward even if the female advisors are minnows in the board.

A society is recognized as a viable by the voices it gives to its people and the good ears it has to listen to those voices. Saudi Arabia is a very conservative Islamic society but even it would have to change with time. The Saudi society needs to impart more opportunities and representations to its minorities; females. The fact is that al-Saud would become stronger and more powerful monarch if they hear the voices of minorities without breaking away with the Islamic traditions and values and without violating the social contracts among the various groups based on the principles of Quran and Shariah.

The fact is that Saudis need to learn that the Day of Judgment might not come. This is a hard fact but Muslims need to be literate about it. The other doomsday prophecies would also fail. There are three ways as to how the human civilization could end on earth. The first and the foremost important thing is that geophysical factors do not permit further life on earth. The second way is that humans by their conscious choice because of conflicting consciousness and arguments use the nuclear weapons in a manner which involves disordered and uncontrolled nuclear exchange between the US and the Russian Federation. The third is that extraterrestrial civilizations because of their conflicts or because of the conflicts with earth destroy it.

The last two options are very less likely and therefore, it is the geophysical factors which would dictate the end of the earth. Muslims need to understand that even if human life on earth ends on the same day as predicted by Quran and other Islamic texts it would have to do more with the pre-calculations of spaceship civilizations than with the fact that Allah created this world for those many years. Therefore, there is not much point in living life for something which appears spiritual and religious to Muslims but as such is fully scientific in nature. If the Day of Judgment comes when Imam Mahdi is born as recognized by Mecca and he fulfills at least half the predictions of Islamic texts about him then Muslims should accept it. But then they should live life normally till there is clue about the future Imam. As of now there is nothing great in living a life believing in the truthfulness of the Day of Judgment. Therefore, Muslims in general and Saudis in particular should be more optimistic and forward looking.  

It also needs to be understood that high barriers would not end biological dynamism. It is reported that brain’s evolution has stopped. May be it has stopped macroscopically but definitely not microscopically. Moreover, even macroscopically humans of various societies could be at different stage. Whatever be the reality the fact is that there is no end to human innovations and wishes. There is no end to the history; an end of a history gives way to another history. Arab upheavals are strike reminder to this reality. May be the Saudi monarch gave representations to females to avoid an upheaval in the Kingdom.

The barriers can not stop biological changes. The fact is that brain and bodies would continue to evolve be it Saudi or American. True, barriers may slow down the changes or make them evolve in a particular directions but the fact is that they can not stop the changes. All societies are at different level of consciousness and all would demand fair treatment from their states at some moment of time if not outright democracy and human right protections. Saudi probably comes at the last stratum in the hierarchy for changes but even they would also change one day and that is important.

Saudi, and this is true for all Islamic societies, would have to adjust to a post-oil world because the world would not end with the end of oil. They need to behave both as investors inside their societies and they need to invest their saved petro-dollars in the Western companies and treasuries, particularly in American ones. Therefore all have to become modern.     

There is no point in denying education and employment opportunities to females in Saudi Arabia, particularly those which are consistent with Islamic laws. No societies or no way of governance should harm the potentials of their constituents. This is particularly true for monarchies where accountability is particularly low. But Saudi females could learn arts, excluding paintings, humanities, laws, medicinal jobs, literature, some sports and even physics and mathematics.

The thinking that modernizing the Saudi society would take away traditionalism is completely erroneous as females are also part of the society and religion also belongs to them. Saudis should be fearless about the Islamic character of their society. Saudi females can also work in segregation. Saudis should welcome immigrants for all kind of works but better if they take more immigrants for the productive purposes as employees of new companies.

Saudis should embrace technology though in culturally consistent way. The Americans should offer them Islamic versions of Internet where Islamic values about veils, segregation based on gender, age etc are maintained while making Saudi society more knowledgeable and literate. But Saudis should never abandon their Islamic way of life. Democracy as of now and in any conceivable future does not belong to them.

Saudi Arabia is a society where inflation is probably the lowest among the major economies. It requires some dose of inflation to boost up economic progress and bringing up the diverse economic activities. Not only females but Shias should also get more representations to make Saudi society more just and equal without violating norms. For all the above reasons the news should bring cheers all over the world. The diversity is many times a welcome news.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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