Religion is an activity of the heart and not always based on what we see in the physical. In most cases it has nothing to do with your mode of dressing (we may be hypocrites in how we dress). Most of us tend to judge others by the way they dress even for the fact that we believed in the saying that ‘dress the way you want to be addressed’ but an hausa adage says “baban kaya ba shi ne baban mutum ba” meaning that big clothes doesn’t define a big man.
Within Islam, dress codes are known as hijab, a term which refers to the principle of modesty and which includes behavior as well as dress. Although recent controversies have focused on what Muslims women wear with rules for men too.
These rules are open to a wide range of interpretations. Some Muslim women believe in covering every part of their body, others do not observe any special dress rules (does that make them non-Muslim?). Here is a quick look into the various dress.
This is the most common type of headscarf worn by Muslims women in the UK. It’s a headscarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear. The scarves comes in many different shades and shapes and are often color coordinated with women’s outfits.
This is the combination of a head covering and scarf that covers all of a woman’s face except their eyes. It actually flows down to the mid-back to cover a woman hair and may flow down to the mid-chest in the front. It is most often worn by Arab countries but an increasing number of Muslim women in the west are choosing to wear it. Although majority of the scholars agree that hijab is obligatory.
The term niqab and burqa are often incorrectly used interchangeably; a niqab covers the face while a burqa covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground. It is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire face including the eyes (with a mesh clothes to see through) and the body.
The chador is a body-length outer garment, usually black in color and worn mainly by women in Iraq. It is not secured at the front by buttons or clasps, so the woman hold it close.
These are long, loosely fitted garments worn by Muslim women to cover the shape of their bodies. They are often worn in combination with the hijab or niqab.
Face veiling was practiced by some cultures before Islam and scholars says Muslims adopted the practice to fit in with these societies but today, niqab is seen as a symbol of the very opposite of separation or difference. Reference in in the Koran dealing specifically with women’s dress and this has led to different interpretations.
It was known that the wives of the prophet Muhammad covered themselves. However, the Koran explicitly states that the wives of the prophet are held to a different standard.
O prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful. (Quoted from the Koran)
It’s now clear that every of the foregoing veils plays different role as used by Muslim women in different part of the world. Nevertheless I want us all as Nigerians to understand ourselves when it’s time for us to reach a compromise
However, I am not trying to encourage indecent dressing as I know the havoc this too can bring to our society but on the contrary we should not take our mode of dressing as a yardstick for shying away from our responsibilities.
Recently, there have been several talk on the use of hijab in some public places. Muslims sees it as a means of showing how decent, holy and pure their women folks are. Meanwhile, many other ladies who are not Muslims have inculcated the habit of putting on hijab/niqab with their reasons best known to them
Some of these ladies in hijab use it to perpetuate evil in the society i.e. stealing, deceit and even suicide bombing etc. (they might not be Muslims though) am only trying to let known of the things people can do under the disguise of the hijab.
Muslims should however concentrate less on the use of hijab as the Muslims always pick offence each time a talk is raised on the negative use of the hijab. For instance, in the recent JAMB Computer Based Test (CBT) held in Lagos a report came that Muslims students were deprived access to their exams hall while others were delayed but the case was just simple as for the exam scenario. If a student with niqab is allowed into the exam hall without proper scrutiny that’s not proper because it simply means that anything goes in that exam center but we should all know that even if it is said that hijab or niqab should not be used I don’t think that should bring any problem because it’s just for the purpose of the examination after which the students can go about with their normal dressing after the exams. Freedom of religion is guaranteed and no one is trying to deprive anyone of that but we should always be conscious of the economic situation and do what is needful for peace to reign.
We are more religious but less godly, if we can work on our religious differences we are going places as a nation, let’s do away with ethnocentrism and religious fanatics.
GOD BLESS NIGERIA