In what is being termed a bit of rather progressive advice coming from an ultraconservative Saudi cleric, who is an open supporter of polygamy and has been asking women to wear loose-fitting clothes, has given Saudi women the right to refuse sexual advances from husbands during coronavirus quarantine.
Abdullah Muhammad Al-Mutlaq is a leading voice in Saudi Arabia and given his influence in the country as an adviser to the Saudi royal court and member of the council of senior Islamic scholars, what he says has strong implications.
The cleric, who was part of a live show on television who was asked by a female caller on whether she can deny sex to her husband as he was not abiding by the Coronavirus quarantine orders.
"I am terrified" that I will get the China virus through my husband," the Saudi woman said on the phone while complaining that her husband "never stays at home" and doesn't care about the coronavirus quarantine put in place by the authorities.
"When he asks me to sleep with him, I'm going to refuse because I'm scared for myself and my kids. Am I falling into sin?," the KSA woman asked.
In a rather "unusually" forward-thinking response, Abdullah Muhammad Al-Mutlaq assured the woman that she was perfectly within her Islamic rights to deny sex to her husband.
"If he isn't listening to you and if he isn't staying at home, you've got no reason to be worried [by rejecting his advances]. You should avoid him and keep away from him. He must [...] self-isolate for 14 days," the cleric said reported London-based Al Araby.
His reply is a big step forward coming from the Saudi religious echelons that are dominated by proponents supporting dogmatic literalism.
As per Islamic traditional values, women do not have the right to refuse sex to their husbands.
A leading Islamic religious scholar Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria was once quoted as saying on Why women can refuse sex to her husband: "Even the Prophet says, even when they're riding on the back of the camel, when the husband asks her, she must give."
The Islamic religious books literally have no concept of marital rape and wives are given "no right" to turn down her husband's sexual advances. The only time, the woman can say "no" to her husband is when she is menstruating, sick or has just given birth.
Coronavirus Saudi Arabia
As of April 4, the number of Coronavirus cases in KSA has reached 2,179 after 140 new cases were reported on Saturday following which seven neighborhoods in Jeddah were placed under lockdown.
KSA has introduced a slew of measures including a curfew at the Holy sites of Meccah and Medina. A man in KSA currently is jailed and could face a death sentence after he was caught spitting on shopping trolleys.