The Muslim women and students in Nigeria continued their World Hijab Day activities on Saturday, February 3, with a walk to enlighten members of the public on the significance of the hijab.
During the walk that kicked off from the Allen Avenue Roundabout and terminated at the Alausa Secretariat Mosque, Ikeja, hundreds of advocates were seen chanting “My Hijab, my Dignity”, and calling for an end to the discrimination against Muslim women and students who choose to wear the hijab.
As they walked through the busy roads at the state capital, they carried placards with educating inscriptions such as “My Hijab: The regulator of my morality”, “With my hijab, I can move mountains”, “my Hijab, a cloth of morality”, and others.
Accompanied by relevant security agencies for safety, easy flow of traffic and an ambulance in case of emergency, the Muslim women also distributed free hijab and educative pamphlets to passers-by on the significance of the hijab, Allah’s ordained attires for believing women.
While addressing the gathering, the Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Hajia Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, a lawyer, said it was to educate the people on the huge benefits in the use of hijab and the misconception in some areas.
She explained that the wearing of hijab among Muslim women was an injunction from Allah which is also backed by the Hadith of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (May the blessings of Allah be upon him) and some sections of the nation’s constitution.
Hajia Orolu-Balogun said that it was high time the society did away with some misconception on the use of hijab which includes religious extremism and lack of quality education.
She reiterated the need for government offices, both federal and state, companies, public facilities, and schools, to respect the rights of Muslim women to freely wear their hijab without any intimidation or harassment.
FOMWAN Amirah Lagos State, Hajia Sherifat Ajagbe thanked Allah for the success of the walk, calling on Muslim women to unite, work and think together as a family, saying that doing this will make them strong.
She also urged the Muslims in hijab to be shining examples to others who are using the hijab through their behaviours, calling on the students to be obedient and respectful to their superiors except if they ask them to remove their hijab or violate God and their constitutional rights.
Hajia Modinat Oyedokun from Akhwaat Lagos described the walk as a “Gathering of wonderful people”, saying that this World Hijab Day activity in Nigeria isn’t the first and won’t be the last.
She said, “As I am seeing you all in hijabs, I am fulfilled! I believe in the end, we shall all be in Jannah. Our hijab is our right. It’s our logo; our strength.
“With this walk, we have been able to educate and sensitize many people on the streets, on our coming. Some aren’t even wearing the hijab, but they collected our flyers and pamphlets designed to educate people about the hijab. Alhamdulillah for the outing.”
Also speaking, the Amirah, MSSN Lagos State Area Unit, Hajia Rafiah Tijani cautioned school principals in Lagos against forcing the students to tuck in their hijab or remove it under any circumstances.
She told the students that the use of hijab is their fundamental rights, saying no one has the right to discriminate against them for wearing it. She added that they aren’t supposed to tucking their hijabs on school uniforms but put them on appropriately, without revealing what Allah has ordered to be covered.
According to her, “we have heard reports of principals, vice principals, teachers, especially at public schools asking our children to tuck in their hijabs or remove them at the assembly grounds all because they want to check their hairs. This isn’t right.
“We call on our students not to obey this instruction. Don’t tuck in your hijab because it’s meant to cover your chest and other sensitive parts of your body. On no account should you remove your hijab for anyone in the public. Let female staff check it in the office where there is no man. It’s time to speak up!
“Lagos isn’t a lawless state. We have laws backing all our activities. We’ll bring anyone who violates our students’ rights to book”, she added, as she addressed the crowd.
Alhaja Toyyibah Ajani-Abduqadr, a representative of the Izharul-Haq Movement, commended the resilience of Muslim women who still comply with the wearing of hijab despite the enormous challenges that confront them in the country.
She encouraged students to be obedient at home for their parents to allow them to use the hijab, saying that the hijab symbolizes good conduct.
Hajia Rahmat Lawal Ajayi – Lagos Secretariat Central Mosque Secretary re-affirmed the sanctity of the hijab as a cloth of dignity and pride for Muslim women.
She said, “Nobody will give you your right to exercise it, you have to fight for it because the hijab is our right. After that, what comes next? That is our adab (good conduct). We have to exhibit good character. Our good conduct must reflect in the hijab we wear.”
Alhaja Barakah Saliu, Head Women wing of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) urged Muslim women to remain united in the struggle for the recognition and acceptance of the hijab in the country.
She also cautioned young female students in hijab to avoid unruly behaviour that could make teachers tag them but rather see themselves as a role models for good conduct in society.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Veiled in Strength”.
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