On Hijab Controversy: The Need for Sober Reflection
Muhammad Sagir Bauchi
Nigeria, is a country with diverse Religious and Cultural backgrounds. As such, the country can easily be describe as a Multi-Religious nation; for it recognizes the major Religions we have in the world.
The country’s Constitution grant freedom to each and every individual the right to practice his/her religion without any hindrance whether from the society or the Authority, in as far as his practices does not go in contend with Laws of the country.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, it seems like to some Religious Authorities, this freedom should have a certain limit, and the limit should not come from the constitution but from them.
Recently, there had been a serious tension regarding a statement made by Kwara state government where it approved the use of “HIJAB” by Muslim women to use in Public and grants aided schools in the state. Also, it directed the opening of some grants aided schools that were closed due to the controversy of “HIJAB”. Part of The statement reads; “Consequently, the government hereby acknowledges and approves the right of the Muslim schoolgirl to wear the hijab, and directs the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to come up with a uniform hijab for all public/ grant-aided schools, which will be the accepted mode of head covering in schools. Any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear same in public/grant-aided schools,” "Also, the government affirms the right of every child in public schools to freedom of worship. The government hereby directs that the affected 10 schools should reopen to commence classes on Monday 8th March 2021."
In the above statement, it is clearly stated that, the use of the “HIJAB” is not mandatory, but none should be harass for using it or not using it. But the statement generated a tension that lead to an alleged confrontation between Muslims and non-muslims in one of the Grants aide Schools! But what will delve someone with a sense of reasoning to an ocean of thought is that, what will harm those that wear no HIJAB by wearing the HIJAB? Could they be physically, financially or morally harmed?
May be CAN and their followers are not familiar with what the term HIJAB means, and the Important of using it in the realm of Islam. So, it’s good if we can educate them on that a little..
HIJAB” generally can be seen as a headscarf that Muslims women used to cover themselves. In Islam, women are obliged to close their bodies in front of someone that is not within the circle of their family (Father, brother et el). And they wore the HIJAB as an obedience to the command of Allah where He said to His Prophet “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment….” (Quran 24:31). In the above Verse, Muslim women are asked to cover their private parts and avoid exposing them.
If we could analyze the verse from the point of non Religious sentiment, we can clearly view the use of HIJAB from the mirror of MODESTY and a Shield of Protective. And from the Religious view, it can be seen as an act of obedience to the commandments of their Lord.. Therefore, If we must not view it from the side of Religion, why can’t we see it as a shield from promoting indecency and an act of MODESTY? The prophet of Islam describe MODESTY as part of faith: therefore, the use of HIJAB by Muslim women is inline with their effort to heed to the words of their Lord and His Prophet.
In Muslims dominated states, there are Christian ladies that dress almost half naked, but nobody harass or intimidate them despite the fact that their dress is contrary to the adopted norms and tradition of that Society they leave in. But due to the love of peace and the recognition of the right given to them by the constitution, Muslims allowed them to dress the way they like. So, if that’s the case, why the tension concerning the HIJAB in Kwara? With this, CAN resemble more of a political party than a Religious organization. For they criticised things from the viewpoint of their sentiment, but not from the point of the good it has. Rather, they choose to against whatever favour Muslims, even if it has no effect on them in whatever way!
Although, but Muslims and Christians in some cases used their religion to play their politics. But it seems like Christians knows how to play it smartly than their Muslims counterparts. It is obvious that, Christian has some divisions among them, but they usually keep aside their differences and face their common goal under the umbrella of CAN. But today, Muslims in NIGERIA has no Economic, social or Political agenda of their own, but they had an agenda of internal fight with any MUSLIM that differ with them in the understanding of some aspects of the Religion!
To be frank, I may not be wrong to say that, CAN and their cohorts found the gut to go parallel with the Muslims due to the fact that, the Muslims in NIGERIA lack a single voice to use in addressing their problems. A quick glance on the issue of Firdausi Amosa over the same HIJAB could tell us how Muslims are. The lady was almost left alone to do her own fight, despite that the clearly intention of her oppressors was not to attack her in person, but her Religion!
But unfortunately, some Muslims that adopt the culture of Western world joined the gang of criticising her and her giant stride. So, CAN saw the success of their struggle in the pass, and understood that Muslims are divided and could only face their internal rival not external, that’s why they played all their politics wisely. But if Muslims can today form a single voice to be use in addressing their problems, there would be no any Political or Religious Organization that can dare them.
Therefore, this is a call for a sober reflection to Islamic Religious Organizations to wake up from their long slumber and unite to face the political tension within them and overcome it.