Dear Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan

Dear Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan

BBC reports that you have recently called on women in Saudi Arabia to “wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye.” You say that “showing both eyes encourage[s] women to use eye make-up to look seductive.”

I believe, sir, that showing only one eye will make matters worse. You see, whenever a woman and a man are together and the woman blinks, the man might think that she is winking. Is the hidden eye open or closed? If it is assumed to be normally open, then a momentary closing of the visible eye could be assumed to be a wink. If it is assumed to be normally closed, then the woman may be considered to be perpetually winking, which is equally problematic.

I have an alternative solution to your problem. I suggest that you introduce veils for men that cover both their eyes. That way it will make no difference if the women are winking, blinking or, heaven forbid, naked.

Good idea, no? You’re welcome.


Amit Varma


Link via email from Chandoo. More open letters here.