Hijab is Arabic word which means “cover”. It is mostly worn but not exclusive to people of the Islamic religion and a part of the women’s everyday dressing as the religion forbids women from exposing their bodies in front of adult males and publicly. Over the years, the type of hijabs used especially by women in developed countries and the exposed women have changed from the typical long hijabs that swept the floors to just scarfs and veils which provide enough covering nonetheless.
If you have seen pictures or videos of IDPs in the north east, you realize they wear the long hijabs. Girls who hawk on the street and women who sell in the market also wear these very long ones. The long hijab is mostly worn by the poorer Muslim folks (I mean this with no disrespect and I do not intend to stereotype). It looks like the more exposed you get, the shorter your covering becomes but that isn’t the issue on ground
There is a saying “the longer the hijab, the more secrets it covers”. What truth lies in this? After talking to many Muslim women anonymously, we’d like to share some of the secrets from underneath the hijab.
Whether marital rape or just sexual assault, Rape as a whole is one secret hiding under the hijab. Many women in the religion have been victims of sexual assaults. Be it children on the streets hawking and begging or women in their homes, the hijab not only covers their faces but also covers their mouths. They never say anything because they wouldn’t be the victims as the society wouldn’t treat them as such. We are aware of honor killings in Islam and other repercussions a woman faces if she is dishonored. Even her own family thinks she is a disgrace for being a victim.
What astonishes the most is the men of this religion preach purity and covering for their women but still rape them with their coverings. They do not even spare their own daughters after handing them the hijab to wear. So why wear the hijab if the aim of it which is modesty is defeated?
Another secret the hijab has covered is domestic violence and child abuse. The giving off of little girls to older men in marriage, the snatching of their innocence, the violation of women, the abuses they have to face both verbal and physical, battering, assaults among many others. We never hear these issues because the hijab covers it all and the ones we manage to hear are tragic. It has covered not just the heads of women in the religion but also pains, sorrows and tales we might never hear about. So many struggles the hijab has hidden that when one was overturned, an Islamic cleric threatened to lead a spiritual jihad on the senate if the inheritance bill was passed.
In recent times, the rate of female suicide bombers has risen. Women now wear hijabs to kill innocent people. It now covers bombs and guns. There have been more than two incidents of female bombers who wore their hijab as cover for the bombs they carried. Issues like this caused the NYSC to consider a ban of it especially the long ones and schools who allowed students wear hijabs on their uniform to reconsider that decision. But as usual, the Muslim society felt their identity was being threatened and warred against these ideas.
No one is against the hijab and we do not expect women of the religion to throw away their identity. All we want the women of this religion to be taken care of. We do not want the little girls wearing coverings to be subjected to torture under their clothing. We want the hijab to cover their heads but not their mouths. Speak out or we can’t help you. Speak out for your daughters alive and unborn. The hijab covers your head not your brains. You must therefore use it.