Hijab and the Muslim Women: Changes in Perspective

Hijab is worn by some muslim women because they believe that Hijab wearing is a way of obeying the commandment of Allah.  Allah has instructed women to wear it as a way of fulfilling instructions for modesty, as this is a symbol that requires one to be organized.

Of recent, Hijab wearing has generated controversy across the country, this is because  some people believed hijab was being used as a cover by suicide bombers to perpetrate their evil act. ECOWAS has recommended the ban on Hijab in sub-African nations. This was a topical issue in the last presidential media chat where President Muhammadu  Buhari stated that the Federal government could consider a ban on Hijab if its being used by the suicide bomber persistently.

“Hijab is an Arabic word meaning barrier, a veil that covers the head and chest of a muslim woman which is worn beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside their immediate family”, as defined by an Islamic Scholar, Mallam Abdullahi Ndayako.

He further clarified that wearing Hijab by women is a mean to reflect one’s personal devotion to Allah.

For the question of Hijab being Islamic or cultural, Mallam Ndayako explained that Quran admonished women to dress modestly as it is not a cultural thing but a means to visibly expressing islamic identity.

Mallam Ndayako emphasised that part of the reasons why women put on Hijab is based on their personal believe or devotion to their faith. “My wife uses Hijab even before we got married. Infact, it was one of the major things that attracted her to me. I saw the passion of Islam and a committed muslim  woman in her because I always wanted my children to grow up in a proper direction of Islam, not being misled”, he added.

Some Islamic scholars argued that Hijab wearing is not a true test of muslim faith, instead emphasis should be placed on internal and spiritual relationship with Allah.

A lecturer with the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Mrs. Fatima Sani gave an elaborate enlightenment on different type of hijab  “Hijab is one name for a variety of similar head scarves: Niqab which consists of a head scarf and facial veil that leaves the eye and part of the fore head visible. Others are Chador which is a full body length shawl held closed at the neck by hand or pin, and covers the head and the body but leaves the face completely visible. Another type Burqa which is a full body veil that covers the entire face and body and the wearer sees through the mesh screen on the face”, she said.

Mrs Sani said the Burqa which covers the entire face and the body are used by women who want to avoid pressure from men or mostly under the directives of their husbands to use it.

She expressed concern over the recent ban on Hijab in public places in countries like France and Germany.  “I wonder why Hijab, such an important symbol of Islam poses controversy in the society today. I feel so sad how Hijab wearing has been associated with terrorism in Nigeria”.

A student of Computer Science Department, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Aishatu Badamasi, a muslim who has been wearing Hijab since childhood said “I am very comfortable wearing Hijab as an expression of my cultural identity. Anyone who sees me will know where I come from. As for the issue of terrorism and Hijab, I do not think ban of Hijab can solve that problem. The only way to bring terrorism to an end is to come together as one Nigeria”.

Aishatu Badamasi expressed her love for Hijab; despite the embarrassment faced at times, she said “I have series of experience especially in the market. At times shop owners usually demand the removal of my Hijab before coming into their shops. Well, nothing can stop me from using Hijab; even my husband cannot stop me”.

Whatever the reason women have chosen to wear the hijab, it is believed that it is about women. Hijab wearing should be taken with sanctity also rather than abusing and subverting it.

However, the principle of modesty and holiness should not lie only on the use of Hijab but other moral practices such as good behavior or character, patriotism and respect for one another. Charity, they said ‘begins at home’.

~ Millicent Fatima Aliyu (15D/7HMC/007)

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