As the world prepares for the World Hijab Day, Nigerian Muslims took the lead by launching #Myhijabstorychallenge to narrate their Hijab experiences.
Millions of Muslim women and girls have been harassed, fined, intimidated and arrested for fulfilling their rights to practice their religion and follow its injunctions.
Following the incessant molestation and accounts of personal experience, a Bangladesh Native, Nazma Khan launched the World Hijab Day to fight bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women.
It also focuses on promoting the Hijab, establishing and encouraging “global citizens of all faiths and backgrounds to wear the Hijab (head-covering) for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide”.
The Event which was launched on the 1st day of February, 2013 has gained momentum and wave across 190 countries. Muslim women in those countries gather to mark the day with awareness rallies, seminars and other events.
Ahead of this year’s #WorldHijabDay, young Nigerian Muslim women have launched an online campaign to share their stories with the hijab.
“I was born into a faith-conscious family, so I was brought up wearing the Hijab. However, I attended a supposedly non-religious primary school at first… and you know how that goes with our Christian brethren.
“The Christian influence became so much that I used to throw my hijabs into the dustbin or hide them in unthinkable places just so I wouldn’t have to wear them. As I grew up, I realized I actually loved to cover my hair and dress decently but I just didn’t want to wear the full, proper Hijab as prescribed by Allah because I had become fascinated by the Christian cum Western way of dressing. Then, all of a sudden, Allah softened my heart through this marvelous female mentor I met (May Allah bless her for me) and I have held on tight to my hijab ever since. I have stood by it when I was being oppressed and I have helped others fight for it when they were being oppressed. I quite simply love the Hijab and all that it signifies!”
– Hajia Asmaau Adenowo
“I was surprised then when my Jaye Jaye banker Dad suddenly woke up and started reprimanding us for not wearing the hijab. He would come from office and ask us to go bring the hijab we wore for the day. Chai! We would run to our Grandma, who always rescued us by giving us one of her iboruns to save us from being beaten. (May Allah grant her & other dead muslims jannah). I actually thought this new development was something that would happen for a while and go. But it Didn’t…… The reality dawned on me when my Mummy started wearing the full hijab. Ha! This thing no be shere shere o. I had it at the back of my mind that I wouldn’t ever dress like her, not in those very hideous clothes. NEVER! And the environment I grew didn’t also help matters cos I didn’t want to be looked down on. I later grew to understand the real meaning of hijab and by Allah it was one of the best decisions I took in life. Only Allah knew what would become of me if I didn’t. AlhamduliLLAH! for where I am today. AlhamduliLLAH! for my parents’ effort (I love and appreciate them soo much). And those of my teachers, both in Ilorin and Lagos. May Allah reward and bless you all. Aameen”
– Habeebah Abiodun Abdur-Rahman Lawal
“I didn’t understand why people will choose to cover up at first. But I was sure I wanted to be obedient to God. (guess my name somewhat influenced me.) With more knowledge, I knew I just had to surrender to His will, I met a lot of beautiful and awesome ladies wearing the Hijab who encouraged me. I’ve not looked back since!. I picked the Hijab 20 years ago! I wear it, work to protect it, advocate for it, defend it! Alhamdulillah”
– Barrister Mutiat Orolu-Balogun
Additionally, 13 Nigeria Muslim Organisations have formed a Coalition to amplify their voices for the World Hijab Day and will be staging a 2-day virtual event which will hold on Sunday 31st of January and Monday 1st of February where prestigious personalities will discuss around the theme: #EndHijabophobia.
By Abdul Basit Abdusalam
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