The state of Osun has done nothing utterly new by going to court; the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab. Not just that, they also have the right to punish those who would forcefully deny it. As it is in the United States of America and some other developed countries, there is complete freedom to choose and practice a religion of choice, anywhere in Nigeria according Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While religious bodies and the entire Nigerian state are still voicing their opinions about the State of Osun Hijab ruckus through the print media, TV/Radio commentaries, social media analysis, let’s step outside the political waters and come to terms with why hijab is used, the types of hijabs there are, where they are used and how the hijab presents a user.
‘Hijab’ is a word of Arabic source which literally translates as covering or veil. It is used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women and is seen as a sign of modesty, and a symbol of religious faith; they could come in different styles and colours depending on the users’ choice.
The origin of the Hijab goes to the Qur’an, in chapter 33 verse 59, it reads: “O Prophet Muhammad, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers (that is the Muslims), to bring down over themselves, part of their outer garments. That is more suitable; that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”
Now, to seven types of hijab that exist:
1. The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. Though, some may wear it with a separate eye veil like an accompanying headscarf.
2. The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils that covers the entire face and body, leaving just a mesh screen to see through.
3. The al-amira is a two-piece veil which consists of a close fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and a tube-like scarf.
4. The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf popular in the Gulf region. It is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders.
5. The khimar is a long, cape-like veil that hangs down to just above the waist. It covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear.
6. The chador, worn by many Iranian women when outside the house, is a full-body cloak. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath.
And here are few other reasons why female Muslims use Hijab:
1. To feel protected and/or respected.
2. Saves on the cost of hair products.
3. To always stay warm.
4. To be seen as some kind of Islamic scholar by others.
5. Being a hijabi means people hold you up to higher standards.
Use of Hijab is conspicuous in different organizations and professions, especially on female Muslim doctors, nurses, teachers, law courts and walks of life.
-Seyifunmi Adebote for Encomium.ng