How to Make Guide Dogs Halal for Blind Muslims
In my previous post [May a Blind Muslim Use a Guide Dog?] we discussed the difficulty that blind Muslims have in obtaining guide dogs. Let me say that I do not like to bring up a problem unless I can offer a solution.
But before I do that, some of my readers may need to be reminded of the following story from 2008: a Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has deemed the Niqab, which exposes two eyes to be too attractive and has decreed that Muslim women should wear a veil which exposes only one eye (1).
Allow me to digress for a moment. If the Muslim world were fair to women, then the cleric would have asked men to wear an eye patch so that women would appear only half as attractive no matter what they were wearing. Really now, why should women have to suffer walking around one-eyed? That can't be good for their vision.
OK, back to my solution to the guide dog problem. Actually the solution involves the Saudi cleric's suggestion for women but applied to guide dogs to make them Halal, or acceptable, to Muslim families:
The One-hole Niqab for Seeing-eye Dogs
I know what you're thinking: "How can the dog help the blind if it can't see anything?" Well, in the case of blind Saudi women, they don't need no stinkin' guide dog - they're not allowed to walk around unescorted anyway, so there is always someone around to help them navigate.
Burqa-dog photo credit: purple-twinkie.com.
BBC, 3 Oct 2008, Saudi cleric favours one-eye veil
A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.