It doesn’t look unprecedented anymore, but a brazen backlash with an utter emotional stress and religious intolerance darted to the ladies of Islam because of the hijab. The hatred has swiftly transcended from Islamophobia to “hijabophobia”. Thus many people don’t only bemoan but they’re eagerly teaching their children and subordinate to abhor women in hijab. This disease is gaining grounds in most offices in Ghana.
We can deduce that people are behaving, proverbially, like the leper whom we were told dipped his hands into the water and later cautioned his friends not to come near the water, lest they contaminate it.
However much Islam is dented, with a sheer level of second thought, one would vividly see that it’s adherents aren’t in the equation of what the media portray. There hasn’t been any record of the sought that a Christian or Jewish employee who’s working under a Muslim director has been sacked, demoted or subjugated under the pretext of religious indifference.
There are so many institutions and companies which are chaired by Muslims, yet all those under them are treated per the rules governing the company, without a look at the belief an employee holds. But when it happens that Muslims are shepherded by other adherents, then you’d hear admonitions like; “remove your hijab”, “you’re scaring the children in class”, “we don’t hire people who veil their head”, “the customers need to have a clear glance of your beauty”, “hijab isn’t one of the uniforms here”, “my customers won’t patronize the products, if you put on this ninja dressing and so on”, among such expressions. Can a Magistrate be asked to remove her wig? It won’t be possible because that’s part of the dress code of the profession, though it wasn’t prescribed by God, yet we adhere to it.
In this life, we have come across so many religions with different ideologies and methodologies upon which they worship the Almighty. Why would you ask her to remove the hijab? What evil does the hijab portray? Meanwhile, another employee has her scarf on, and even the right to wear a mini skirt. And when she says ‘no’ to your shenanigans, it means that her promotion, job offer, respect, privilege would either be stalled or denied. Isn’t that unprofessional and barbaric?
Wearing a hijab (veil) isn’t a new phenomenon to us. In every Ghanaian home, we have women who use the scarf but they’re necessarily not Muslims. And one basic component which never go missing in the dress code of our ancestors is that they’re always completely covered. In case you’ve forgotten, the ‘scarf’ is synonymous to the ‘hijab’.
If you’re oblivious about the hijab, let me gloss you; it’s not just the veil which the ladies enshroud their head with, but it’s the complete covering of the entire body with a well courteous garment. As mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:9: “Also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes. And in 1 Corinthians 11: 6: “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered”. This is in resemblance to what’s enshrined in Quran chapter 24:30-31. The hijab, as clearly shown in the above verses was prescribed by the Living God, so we shall never say no to His decree. If you wish to fling His decree behind your back, permit us to obey Him.
It’s very unethical to censure a fellow human due to a common scarf, which can’t even harm a fly. We know how you eulogize those who dress half naked to work. Muslim ladies have a Divine prescribed garment which they must adorn themselves with. Besides wearing the hijab, they just don’t know how to dress modestly but are also articulate, discerning and great innovators. We have solid women across the globe who keep the hijab; Her Excellency #SamiraBawumia , the second lady, #IlhanOmar, the U.S representative for Minnesota, Asmau Ayub, and many others. They follow Allah’s dictum, not your wish.
Hijab isn’t an idol that we worship. And it’s neither a charm nor weapon for mass killing. If it were to be so, then we put it on so that it will kill the ill-thoughts of those who consider women as a mere tool for pleasure, and to show that our privacy isn’t for public consumption. Furthermore, it guides us not to be insolent but affable, and regimental to all the affronts of Allah.
Our wearing of the hijab has now revealed the real oppressors who have hidden behind the veneer of religious supremacy. By so doing, they’re behaving like the proverbial leper. They’d sit on or behind the television and insult Isis, Bokom Haram, Al-Shabab, but in the offices with the Muslim women, they act more ravenous than the aforementioned terrorist organizations.
Though we believe that Marry, the mother of Jesus has no picture, when the Christians wanted to present a picture of her and Jesus (as), they couldn’t bring a picture of Mother Marry showing her hair, or immodestly dressed. Didn’t they present a well covered woman in the hijab? And even with Jesus (as), isn’t the “Jalabia” (religious cloak) that he wore?
It’s only a deliberate intellectual dishonesty which makes us think that any Muslim lady who wears the hijab must be haunted, subjugated, denied and emotionally touched. The same way you can’t ask the Judge to pull down her wig, that same respect must be accorded to the Muslim women too.
In Africa, they are so many problems eating us already. We haven’t solved the carnage on our roads, unemployment, illiteracy, dumping of refuse and corruption. Temerity and effrontery have made us tie somebody’s daughter, sister or mother to pull down her hijab, because she says she’s a Muslim. We do this without considering the value they add to our firm. As far as she’s a Muslim and keeps the veil, her competence doesn’t matter — what! We shouldn’t emulate #AdolfHitler with this Hijabmophobia stint.
Let’s note that Muslim women in hijab aren’t reptiles. So judge them by their intellect, impressions and contributions they make and not the way they look. And in case you’ve forgotten, Ghana is a secular state. And everyone can choose to dress and worship however they please, without fear or favor. Peace
©Abdur Rahman Odoi