Why the hijab controversy persists in Nigeria’s public schools

Hijab use in Nigeria’s general public schools has come to be hugely controversial, in some scenarios foremost to riots, fatalities, the destruction of college assets and the closure of colleges. Adeyemi Balogun, a PhD holder in the history of religion with analysis pursuits in Muslim lifestyle and Muslim/ Christian relations, sets out why the difficulty is so contentious, and what can be finished to simplicity tensions.

What is the hijab?

The hijab has grow to be a phrase made use of for all styles of veiling among the Muslim women of all ages. Some consider it to signify a scarf or any piece of outfits that covers the woman’s head, face and physique. There are a variety of veils in Muslim societies. The hijab is one. It handles the head with the experience open up and extends to either the ankle, stomach or knees. Some Muslims refer to it as the khimar.

An additional case in point of a veil is the burqa which handles the woman’s face except her eyes and the place about them. There is also the jilbab, an outer garment which handles the woman’s entire body from head to toe, leaving the encounter and palms from the wrist open up.

What does the Quran instruct about the hijab?

The Quran encourages ladies to see the hijab as a symbol of modesty and decency that potential customers to attaining piety. For quite a few Muslims, piety is a person of the biggest achievements of a Muslim in daily life. This describes why the hijab has been embraced by several Muslim females.

Some clerics say that, while God instructs women of all ages to use the hijab, He did not intend to power them to use it.

Are there penalties for not sporting a hijab?

There are scholars who believe that not donning a hijab should really incur punishment. But there are also students who really do not maintain this perspective. For some Muslim clerics not making use of the hijab is regarded to be neglecting a Quranic instruction, which is tantamount to disobeying God. The penalty for this disobedience would then be for God to come to a decision. And, if you question some Muslims what that penalty would be, they will most possible say hell!

But for a lot of clerics, it’s not attainable to predetermine what God’s choice would be on any difficulty.

This is why the problem continues to be contentious in the Muslim planet.

Why is the hijab controversial in Nigeria’s educational institutions?

There are quite a few motives.

1st is faith. Those who use the hijab claim that veiling is a religious obligation. In the meantime, the faculty is observed as a secular sphere where by any type of religiosity must be suppressed.

But, in my look at, the notion of secularism is inconsistent with the record of the university program in Nigeria.

Traditionally, educational facilities had been released by Christian missionaries as part of a venture to spread the faith from 1843. This intended that missionaries embedded religious practices in universities. In main and secondary educational institutions, pupils pray in their assemblies and sing hymns.

When Muslims started off setting up their possess universities from 1896, they also introduced Islamic techniques to mastering.

Quite a few universities in Nigeria proceed to be managed or owned by Christians and Muslims, even however authorities took some schools from them in the 1970s.

In addition, Nigeria has Muslim and Christian associations as properly as mosques and churches existing side by side with tutorial methods in its tertiary institutions.

That’s why I feel that the argument about Nigerian educational institutions becoming secular is not only deceptive – it’s baseless.

The second reason is about Muslim-Christian relations. The Christian Affiliation of Nigeria, an umbrella entire body for Christians, opposed the putting on of hijab by Muslim ladies. Its position is that carrying the hijab will guide to the Muslim religion remaining unfold by way of universities. This argument contends that the use of hijab can persuade some Christian students to embrace Islam. And that the hijab would redefine the identification of the school as a Muslim university rather than a Christian or “secular” school.

The way I see it, these fears are genuine simply because they are fearful about their have religious identification. And issues of identity are vital in the everyday living of any team or culture.

This provides us to the 3rd motive why the hijab has remained controversial in Nigeria – the job of governing administration and the point out. How has the government handled the difficulty of hijab in Nigerian colleges, in workplaces and in public spaces?

In Lagos point out, for occasion, the government defended the secularity of the educational institutions and claimed no to the hijab. But the Supreme Court docket a short while ago dominated in favour of the hijab in Lagos universities. In spite of this, the point out authorities has not directed its schools’ administrators to let girls use hijab.

In Osun and Kwara states, hijab advocates are also in courtroom.

Based on these instances it is distinct that the authorities has unsuccessful to obtain the ideal option to the concern.

Is there any connection between mastering and costume?

The uniform students place on are unable to figure out their discovering skill.

On the other hand, learners use a uniform to give them an identity that separates them from those who are not undergoing a distinct programme of discovering. It is doable to use the uniform to encourage the general performance and capability of the learners.

What is the best way to cope with the controversy?

Some Nigerians argue that Muslims should have separate major and secondary faculties exactly where they can don the hijab. The problem with this remedy gets obvious when you talk to about tertiary institutions, workplaces and general public spaces. Should Nigeria also have independent tertiary establishments and workplaces for Muslims only due to the fact they have preferred to use the hijab?

We are chatting about a multi-religious nation where it is not doable for customers of distinctive spiritual faiths to not experience just one one more. In workplaces, markets, communities and families, Muslims, Christians, atheists and African spiritual traditionalists would always have to meet or have a thing that provides them together.

We are not able to afford to build an “apartheid” technique to reach peace.

What I am consequently suggesting is, 1st, a dialogue via seminars, workshops and conferences in between Muslims and non-Muslims. The federal government and university authorities need to also be concerned. With dialogue, each and every religious faith need to have an understanding of just about every other’s spiritual methods.

Also, Muslims must recognise the fears of non-Muslims about the hijab in community colleges and undertake ways to allay their fears.

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