On Thursday, July 21, 2016, the decision of the Appeal Court presided by Justice A.B. Gumel, to set aside a Lagos State High Court judgment on the use of Hijab (Islamic headscarf) in public primary and secondary schools with the backing of section 38 of Nigeria’s Constitution brought excitement to the Muslim community in Nigeria.
Earlier this year, June 3, 2016 precisely, an Oshogbo High Court in Osun State presided over by Justice Jide Falola delivered a judgment that any act of molestation, harassment, torture and humiliation against female Muslim students using Hijab constitutes a clear infringement on their fundamental rights.
The much ado over the use of Hijab, especially in Nigerian schools brings to question what exactly the Qu’ran and Hadith say about the Hijab.
A look at the Quran, in chapter 33 verse 59, it reads, “Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them…”
Similarly, Quran 7:26, is quoted :.“O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition!”
Lastly, in Quran 24:31 – “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known.”
The woman is not only supposed to cover herself, except with relatives, but to look down, so as to avoid making eye-contact with men.
The books of the prophet, Hadith and Sira also further explained :
In Bukhari 6:321, Muhammad’s reply to the question if it is is right for a young woman to leave her house without a veil. He replies, “She should cover herself with the veil of her companion.”
In Abu Dawud 32:4092, as narrated by Aisha, the Apostle of Allah said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands”
The use of Hijab is truly an act of worship but Muslim female faithful use it for different reasons. And refusal to use the Hijab does not make one less of a Muslim as many Scholars, having studied more closely the mind of God and the Qur’an on the use of Hijab have agreed that it is not compulsory. Though there is a clear instruction it is for both Muslim men and women to dress in a modest way, the Quran doesn’t insist on covering the head.
– ‘Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng