The Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, FCT Chapter, has said that it celebrated this year’s World Hijab Day with non-Muslims to extend the “meaning, significance and experience” of hijab to them.
The group’s Secretary General, Haija Ajara Iye Abu, said this has become necessary because of public misconceptions about hijab use.
“Years back, we have been relating with non-Muslims. But this year, we extended our invitation to them to share the idea of hijab wearing with them. “We want to extend the meaning, significance and experience of hijab to non-Muslims to better their understanding. This is a way of life of Muslim women that we want every body to understand and appreciate,” Haija Ajara said.
She urged parents to inculcate in their children, the attitude of hijab wearing. “By the time they grow up, the habit will become part of their lives,” she said.
Mother celestial Bola Opaleye of Celestial Church of Christ, Abuja, said though she had earlier wondered about the invitation, her participation enhanced her understanding and appreciation of hijab.
“Initially, I thought hijab was for particular set of people, whom I will call fanatics. Now, I know that it is Muslim women’s way of life.
“Let’s put sentiments apart, the hijab is all about dressing, and a woman must dress moderately and neatly without exposing her body,” she said. The guest speaker, Imam Musa Buhari, said the hijab is Allah’s injunction that must be obeyed by all Muslim women.
He therefore urged them not to follow the whisper of Shaitan, whose aim was to lead them to trampling upon the laws of Allah.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Nigerian Muslim Women urged Nigerians to be more tolerant of hijab.
Speaking at the forum’s World Hijab Day in Abuja, the vice president of Women in Da’awah, Hajiya Rahmatu Musa Sani, said there would be more harmony if the people accept and respect the hijab.
She said, “Nigeria is a multicultural secular country. The need for us to accommodate and tolerate each other the way we are is very important. There should be unity in diversity. If we respect each other, there will be peace and development.
“If they accept and respect us as Muslims and give us the right to practice our religion, there will be harmony between us and the country will progress.
“We are not preventing anyone from practicing his or her religion, we should also be allowed to practice ours to the fullest. And I cannot be a true Muslimah if I’m denied the right to cover myself.” In the uniformed agencies, she said Muslim women are being denied their rights to participate because the dressing was not in conformity with Islam.
“The hijab is compulsory and obedience to Allah must be total,” she said. On schools that are not hijab-compliant, she said the organization is networking with the PTA for students to be allowed to don the hijab.
Wife of Kebbi State Governor, Zainab Bagudu, called for more awareness campaign on the hijab to remove the stereotype and spread a positive message. This, she said, would make Nigerians “see that we are indeed a peace-loving people, who contribute to the growth of the country and the world.”
She also urged the young Muslim women to embrace hijab use, saying it would not hinder them from excelling in their careers. “If you continue to propagate this idea, it gives the young ones the confidence to know that they can wear the hijab and still excel in their professions. I’m a medical doctor and the hijab does not hinder me from reaching the pinnacle of my career,” she said.