It was a struggle that lasted 208 days. Yet even on the eve of victory we couldn’t afford too much optimism. I remember running into Brother Yunus, a prominent member of the Coalition for hijab, at the National Mosque and asking him whether Firdausi would really be allowed to use her head cover at the event. I explained that my doubt was caused by the fact that I had received a message, days earlier, which said that the only concession made in her case, was that she would be allowed to use a cap like some elderly female judges do.
Brother Yunus responded that information available to them said that she would be allowed to appear the same way she did, on December 13th last year, when she was denied the chance to participate. But he added that we couldn’t afford to start celebrating until we’ve seen her clearly called to the Bar in her hijab.
Such was the level of anxiety and apprehension with which we awaited the events of July the 10th 2018. Finally, at the International Conference Centre Abuja, where she was first humiliated and denied her right to be initiated into the Nigerian Bar, Miss Firdausi Amasa Abdussalam became a barrister-at-law. We sincerely thank Almighty Allah for this great victory and pray that He rewards Barrister Firdausi abundantly, for the courage and firmness with which she sacrificed her right, to fight a colonial legacy which even the colonial masters have long since abandoned.
Twice before, when this column was in solidarity with Firdausi, I had made the point that almost everywhere in the world, especially in the developed First World, the hijab has been accepted as a Muslim Woman’s inalienable right. This is why today you see military and police women, lawyers and medical personnel in America and Europe all enjoying their right to cover their head. So why should it be a problem here?
I pity the eight lawyers who went to court to restrain the House of Representatives from holding a hearing on Firdausi’s hijab case, they now have nothing to do but bite their hands in frustration. Such is the price they’ll have to pay for championing an unjust cause. For even without a legislative hearing Firdausi Amasa has won the right to observe her religious obligation in pursuit of her worldly gains.
In joy and solidarity with this courageous young lady, the Coalition for hijab, a group of several Muslim organisations in Abuja, hosted a reception for Barrister Firdausi, the day after her victorious call to the Nigerian Bar. The following are photos from the two events.