By ARAB NEWS
He was a member of the muttawa, the religious police*
JEDDAH: A court in Al-Masarha in Jizan region has sentenced a 56-year old Saudi employee of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Hai’a) to 120 lashes for being married to six wives at the same time, 20 lashes per wife.
- Al Reuters:Â Lashes for Saudi religious policeman with six wives
He has been ordered to memorize two chapters of the Holy Qur’an. The court also banned him from traveling abroad for five years and delivering sermons or leading prayers in mosques. The accused had claimed he did not know it was against Islamic law to have more than four wives at the same time. He told the judge that he had no education beyond elementary school.
He faced the possibility of being stoned to death, a sentence applied in Islam against married men and women for adultery. Under Sharia rules, a man may marry up to four wives. However,Â the judge in the case, Sheikh Salman bin Yahya Al-Wadaani, said there was insufficient evidence to apply the Had Al-Zina (the sentence for adultery), according to Al-Watan daily.
The man was charged originally in June 2008 after he was reported for having three Saudi and three Yemeni wives. It also emerged during investigations that two of his Yemeni wives were resident illegally in the Kingdom.
The judge said there would be a separate case against him for marrying foreign women without official consent. No Saudi man or woman wishing to marry a foreigner may do so without approval from the Ministry of Interior.
* “Mutawwa’Ã®n” (plural; sing. mutawwa’) originally was a casual synonym for the religious police ofÂ Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, the formal short term for the Saudi religious police is Ù‡ÙŠØ¦Ø© “hay’ah” which is Arabic for “commission” and is a shortened version of “the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices” which serves as the infrastructure ofÂ proselytization and enforcement of islamic tenets.