A prominent Saudi Muslim scholar, Mohammed Alarafe, has twitted his advice to Saudi women asking them not to ware embodied abayas as well as stay away from using makeup. He wrote: ‘O daughter: Don’t buy any abaya that has any decorations. No embellishment, no slits, no openings. Please, daughter, don’t show any makeup, and don’t wear makeup like in Jahiliyyah era.’
The tweet, that has been shared for more than 36,000 times and liked for 21,400, has prompted a massive discussions on social media, with many Saudi women responding sarcastically for the advice. Some of the women started writing to the cleric asking him to review their clothes.
@VegiAlaa wrote: ‘Shaikh, what do you think about my abaya’
@Nedal_1996 is wondering which of the two is better
Others were wondering if the advice covered those living outside of the country.
@ib__aa wrote: “I was just embroidering my open, crazy, bling abaya. But this is considered modest and not revealing according to the rituals of each country. I am from Palestine not Saudi Arabia.”
@nbaa2t user posted a collection of her revealing abayas as a response.
Abayas market in the Gulf is booming, with a lot of designers and fashion chains, like Harrods, serving millions of shoppers every months. Abayas are also getting prominence in the world, often appearing on catwalks in Europe and on front cover magazines.
In December 2016 a picture of a Saudi woman standing on a Riyadh street, without a tradition abaya created an outcry on social media.
The picture, supposedly of a woman called Malak Al Shehri, prompted over 9,000 tweets calling for her detention.