By Delly Aisha Alabireh
As today 1st February, 2019 marks World Hijab Day, let’s rethink on how some view the hijab.
“Why don’t you cure the sick with your hijab?”
“Why don’t you find a job with your hijab?”
“Why do you wear this in such a hot weather?”
“Why don’t you just go and stay in Saudi Arabia?”
I ask, why do people make all these jokes, and this is exactly where/how stereotypes comes from or starts.
WHY ARE YOU AFRAID OF MY HIJAB?
It is just a harmless piece of cloth. It is just simple layer that symbolizes and covers the Muslim woman. Its is also part of who we truly are and goes ahead to show our identity. Mind you it is a layer that tells one something about us, but doesn’t define whom we truly are.
The hijab is a mandatory part of our religion (Islam). A beautiful part of our religion that we embrace with all our heart, body and mind. It also signifies our modesty, our beauty and our honour.
The hijab is a garment which covers the body of a Muslim woman from head to the ankle. It is key and important in the life of every woman, because it preserves her identity and shows how modest she is.
WHEN SHOULD ONE WEAR THE HIJAB?
When girls reach puberty, hijab becomes mandatory. Its is also to be worn when in public, especially around men one is not related to. This is stated in the Holy Qur’an (33:59) ‘’O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women, to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognised and not molested. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful”.
Our men also observe the hijab by ”lowering their gaze”.
One may be a Muslim but not a hijabi (to them, it is a choice of living, that is purely between that person & their maker). However, Islam makes it obligatory of every Muslim woman.
To you reading, nobody forces us to wear the hijab and nobody can ever force us to wear it, not even our parents, brothers or husbands. We do wear it because, it is part of our religion(obligatory) and our identity. Yes, we do that we so much pride. Moreover, it is our constitutional right as stated; ‘’Article 21(1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana, “all persons shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice”. The underlined word in there is ”manifest”
WHY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MY HIJAB?
As it stands, we Muslims consider it not only as religious intolerance, but also a breach of the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana, for Muslim students and workers to be forced to take off their hijabs in schools and workplaces. I am a victim of such discrimination in search for jobs.
To add to that, know that the hijab doesn’t limit us. We can be anything with our hijabs on. We can be professionals, including doctors, lawyers, journalists, teachers, bankers, CEO’s, engineers, public speakers, presidents, ministers of state, entrepreneurs, nurses, psychologists, among others.
To those who find problems with our hijab whenever they see us wearing it, you can ask questions about us or keep your silence! A famous writer once said; ”It is better to be curious, than being indifferent” and this is because indifferent begets fear, and fear can possibly become hatred and hatred is what is destroying us.
Islam is a religion of peace and LOGIC.
Dear all, if you don’t want to stand up for yourself, that’s fine, but at least do it for your children. Tomorrow might just be too late.
Nothing will stop us!
Nothing will intimidate us!
Nothing will break us!
The hijab is an act of worship!
The hijab is sacred!
The hijab is an identity!
With pride, with passion and knowing that we’re embracing our religion everyday, we shall voice out till our last breath! May Allah see us through!
Happy world Hijab day!
Editor: The writer is a Muslim rights activist and a public relations practitioner.