By Rasheed Abubakar
The jealousy of the adherents of Christianity over Islam in Nigeria has once again showed its ugly face following the controversial refusal of the Nigerian Law School (NLS) to call to bar a University of Ilorin law graduate, Amasa #Firdaus, over the Hijab, the Muslim headscarf.
In a bid to justify the unjust decision of the Body of Benchers, such Hijab haters have written thousands of comments/posts/write-ups on Twitter and Facebook – and I have read at least 500 of them – where the anti-Hijab Christian warriors and the so-called humanists throttled Ms Amasa, the Hijab heroine with a barrage of insults.
Suddenly, they started crying foul at the Nigerian Muslims’ demand for the Hijab at the NLS, insisting that the NLS dress code must be “respected” by the Nigerian Muslim community.
In their words, if traditionalists too should be allowed to wear their religious garb, all sense of professional modicum will be lost, but they have forgotten that the traditionalists do not wear their garbs all the time like the Muslim women wear their Hijabs. They even made a case for the white-garment Christians who appear barefooted once they are in their religious attires, but once again failed to realise that their religious attire is meant for worship periods only, not day-to-day activities.
They claimed the Hijab is a foreign attire imposed on Africans, but we told them that Islam is a universal religion with over 1.6 billion global adherents, who willingly, through Allah’s guidance, embrace Islam. Muslims all over the world are one, irrespective of their colour, race or language.
Interestingly, I didn’t know it is a sin for Christian ladies to wear trousers until they reminded us about Deuteronomy 22: 5, where it is forbidden for women to dress like men. Unfortunately, unlike Muslims, Christians have never sought redress at the courts of law because their women derive joy in wearing different kinds of jean trousers and leggings, while competing in such with their male counterparts. They flaunt such clothes to churches, offices and other public places. Why the ranting and wailing now? Even if they go to court and win, they will still violate the Biblical rulings and wear trousers.
Personally, I don’t like to engage Nigerian Christians in intellectual discussions of this nature. I don’t like to be misunderstood and be tagged anti-Christ, the same way Daddy Freeze, the popular controversial presenter, was castigated by his fellow Christians, especially Pastors, for preaching against tithing to pastors.
I could have ignored their rantings on social media over Amasa’s decision to fight for her right, based on my understanding of the Biblical verse which says: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” – Proverbs 26: 4, but my attention was later drawn to the following verse (5) of the same chapter, which says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Hence, I was encouraged by the latter biblical verse to join other Hijab advocates, including some upright Christians who got bashed by their fellow Christians for #StandingWithFirdaus.
The truth is that apart from the jealousy of wanting equal benefits in everything with the Muslims (in the case of pilgrimage, Sukuk etc.), many Nigerian Christians are ignorant of the religion they profess. In fact, they pretend to know Jesus more than Jesus knows himself. Whereas, little do they know about the son of Maryam (may Allah be pleased with both). That is why many of them still worship and adore the pictorial representation of several American actors who have played the character of Jesus in movies.
Yet, these same people who mocked and called Firdaus Amasa unprintable names for her obedience to Allah as stated in the Noble Qur’an, will select whatever suits their purposes in the Bible. They obey some parts, but ignore others. A practical example is a biblical verse (1 Corinthian 11: 5-6) which states: “Every woman that prayed or prophesied with her head uncovered dishonoured her head. And, if she can’t cover it, let her shave it.”
How many Christians follow this injunction? Is this not the same battle Muslims are fighting on their behalf? Even if the Christians go to court today, and win court injunctions to wear the Hijab as ordained in the Bible, they will still not use it.
I also read in Chapter 14: 34-35 of the same 1st Corinthians that women should keep silent in the Church for it is not permitted unto them to speak. But, today’s Christians flagrantly violate the injunction, as their women don’t only lead congregations; they are now Pastors/Evangelists, Reverend Mothers, Prophetesses, etc.
Sadly, some ignorant Muslims in the Western world are now advocating for female Imams, with the support of the so-called feminists whose motive is to destroy Islam, the same way they destroyed the true message of Jesus.
Had it been that God wished that women should be prophetesses, He would have put them (women) among the Prophets (men). Q. 21: 7
They expected Ms Amasa to have obeyed the NLS rules by removing her Hijab and compromising her religion. They claimed they begged her to remove her Hijab so that she can also be like them. They wanted her to disobey her Lord, the same way they have disobeyed their Lord. They wanted her to respect man-made regulations over divine and constitutional laws, the same way they abandoned the Biblical injunctions.
Unfortunately, some Muslims fell for their antics, but Ms #Amasa didn’t.
Allah warns: “…they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand.” Q. 3: 118
There shouldn’t have been any fuss over the use of the #Hijab if we all respect people’s fundamental rights as entrenched in the Constitution. No law, circular, rule or regulation, including the NLS dress code, is superior to the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion and association.
It is high time the Nigerian Christians, traditionalists, humanists and the so-called human rights activists learned to be tolerant and respect individuals’ religious beliefs. Don’t let us overheat the polity. Let all other religions emulate the Muslims by going to court to seek redress. There are constitutional provisions that support Muslim women to wear the Hijab in all public institutions. There are numerous favourable court judgements in this regard.
– Rasheed Abubakar is a journalist and the author of “Hijab and the Nigerian Press”. Email: email@example.com