The Saudi Women Who Never Remove Their Veil

In the Nej’d region of Saudi Arabia (which includes Riyadh) there are tribal women who never remove their veil.  This is a cultural custom that has been in practice for many generations.  Although they come into this world unveiled, once a woman from this tribal region begins her menses, she puts on the veil and it remains on her face until the day of her death.  Even when she comes of marriageable age and the marriage is arranged (within the tribe) it is very unlikely that her husband will ever see her unveiled as well.  This woman is also unlikely to unveil with her children either.

The only instance of which I am aware in which a woman from this tribal region allowed herself to be unveiled was when she had traveled outside of the region.  At that time, when she was only with other women, she chose to remove her veil.  Her reasoning was that since she was away from the tribe and no one related to her would see her, it was okay to unveil if she chose to do so.  However within the tribe the custom is that a woman’s face should never be shown until the day she dies.  The premise being she would leave the world in the same manner as she entered.

The younger generation of women from this region are becoming more liberal in the sense that some may only veil when out among those not within the immediate family circle.  They will choose to unveil among the immediate family which certainly includes the husband and children.  The older generation of women typically remain loyal to the traditions of the tribe.

 As I have been saying all along about Saudi Arabia, it is always contrasts and contradictions.


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