ANNALS OF HIJABIS ON KNOWISLAM.COM.NG Episode 10
It was on Monday, 16th of April, 2018 when my Uncle and I went to NABTEB office to collect my long awaited original NABTEB certificate. As usual, I was dressed in my full hijab (Hijab+Niqab+Socks+Hand gloves).
On reaching there, my Uncle happened to know the Secretary of the board and they greeted and embraced each other. I greeted the Secretary too. My Uncle introduced me to him as his daughter and that he had come with me to come and collect my NABTEB results which I wrote Five years ago. The Secretary offered him a seat, I was still standing because there was no other seat for me to sit in the office. Since all my details and credentials were with my Uncle, I took an excuse to go outside. I came out with the intention of looking for somewhere to sit down but unlucky me, it seemed all the sitting areas were occupied already by people. I then decided to stand outside the office because I assumed that collecting the certificate would not last more than 15 minutes.
While I was standing, one of the staff approached me, stared at me and moved closer to some of the staff who were sitting close by. He then said to them, “Why does Islaam command Muslim women to cover themselves like this?” He looked at me with disgust again and continued, “and Muslim men are excluded from dressing same way?”. He then concluded that, the only reason is that, Muslim women are being oppressed in Islaam. On hearing this, I smiled to myself and said “Alhamdulillaah” in my mind because, this is the type of rear opportunity I never let go when it comes to the issue of a Muslim woman’s dress code. But upon my curiosity, I still try to calm myself down first to listen to the response of the Muslims he was addressing.
Surprisingly, only one among the Muslim men was able to respond to this question. He said, “you are mistaken Sir, Muslim women are not enslaved in Islaam and their dressing is a commandment from God…” The man interrupted him and continued to argue that Islaam is full of oppression, that he knew everything about Islaam because, his late father in-law was an Imam.
At this juncture, I felt it was mandatory upon me to go and defend my dear Hijab!
With full confidence and enthusiasm, I walked majestically towards them and interrupted the distinguished ‘Mr judge’.
I said to him, “well done Sir. I overheard you saying that lslaam oppresses women because of our cover (hijab) right?” He replied saying “of course yes!”. I smiled to myself and said, “you are really mistaken Sir because, this hijab/Niqob that I’m wearing is a commandment from God Almighty, in fact this piece of clothing I’m wearing is the true freedom of a chaste Woman” and to sum it up, I called it the garment of dignity which protects one from evils.
He replied that, piousness is in the heart and not in covering the whole body because he knows of my type who used to cover all their body but he used to have sex with them when he was in School. With that statement, it became obvious and I understood that the man was just trying to cook things up to give hijab a bad name.
Honestly, by then I felt so sad and I said to him, “Mr. It is very wrong of you to judge people’s action as the same. You should not judge evil acts of some people and attach it to innocent beings.” I continued that, “Islaam is a perfect way of life, it encourages modesty both in men and women, men are ordered to lower their gazes while Women are ordered to cover. Please can you tell me how many cases of rape are being recorded everyday in countries that women do not observe the hijab? Please can you tell me?” But amazingly, his response was “Madam we dey fight ni?” I smiled to myself again and replied “not at all, did I sound in any way like somebody that is fighting?”. He said, “it’s like you are trying to take the issue so high”
Then I said to him, “Sir is like you are trying to divert to another issue. Please let me give you a sincere advice, learn not to criticize other people’s beliefs and more importantly, go and research more about Islaam. Learn Islaam from the Qur’an itself please, not from Muslims and you will definitely be rightly guided.”
But it seemed to me that he wanted to continue debating with me on this but the attention of most staff was now drawn to our conversation with him, and they came out to know what was actually happening. My Uncle was done with the collection of my certificate and came out too.
He said to me, “please leave him and let’s go”, with a smile. Then, I felt relieved because I was afraid that my Uncle might be angry with me for being in such a hot exchange with one of the members of staff of the board. Some of the staff were telling me not to be angry for what the Man has exhibited towards me and I told them that there was no problem. On our way to enter my Uncle’s car, my Uncle asked me what happened between the man and me and I explained everything to him. He then told me not to worry.
The story did not end here. My Uncle went ahead to the NABTEB Secretariat the next day, and reported the case to the Director, that his daughter was harassed by one of the staff and he wanted the issue to be addressed with immediate effect. The Director showed his sadness and disappointment towards what happened and he assured my Uncle that serious action will be taken with regard to the issue after necessary confirmation. I didn’t know until later in the evening, when my Uncle called and told me that he had reported the case to the State Director of NABTEB, that he wanted the man to be disciplined for harassing me in public.
I felt honoured by my Uncle and I thanked him for his efforts regarding the issue and he further encouraged me to be firm in my Deen and never should I feel discouraged for the challenges I might face in the cause of observing my Hijab and he concluded that he was ready to fight for Islaam even if it will cause him to lose everything. I again thanked him and he ended the call.
After the call with my Uncle, I smiled and remembered a verse from the glorious Qur’an and I quote:
وَٱلَّذِينَ جَـٰهَدُو فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا، وَإِنَّ ٱللّٰهَ لَمَعَ ٱلْمُحْسِنِيْنَ.
“And (as for) those who strive hard for us, we will most certainly guide them in our ways, and Allah is most surely with the doers of good” (Q29:69).
Few days later, I got a call and the person introduced himself as the State NABTEB Director. He asked if he was speaking to Miss (name withheld), and I replied in the affirmative. He then told me that he was sorry for what transpired between one of their staff and me, that my Uncle reported the case to the state board and all necessary confirmation were on going regarding the case, and he said “presently, the staff has been suspended from work place before further actions will be taken.”
He then asked me to write a letter of complaint for harassment that I was subjected to by the staff, addressing it to the Director, General Service NABTEB Headquarters, Benin City.
Upon ending our call with the Director, I called my Uncle and informed him of the latest development and he gave me the go ahead to write the letter. I wrote the letter and the NABTEB Headquarters email address was sent to me by the Director and I sent the letter through the email.
Days passed by, my Uncle called me and told me that the Man who harassed me had been coming to his office to plead with him regarding the issue, that he was not particularly addressing me, and that he had been sending people as well to plead on his behalf, but he told the man that he was still on his words, he must be disciplined so as not to repeat such mistake.
Months passed by, there was no update from NABTEB, and I felt perhaps they could have later buried the case and let the man go scot free. But to my surprise, few weeks back which happened to be on Monday(17/09/18), I received a call from the State NABTEB Director, and he greeted me with a smile saying, “Miss …. your case with one of our staff has been tackled, the man has been kicked out from the NABTEB State Secretariat.” He further said, he has called my Uncle already, so once again, on behalf of NABTEB, they were sorry for everything that had happened.
” I’m grateful Sir, thank you for everything”, I replied. Then he said “you are welcome”, and then ended the call.
I felt very happy and immediately called my Uncle to thank him.
He picked the call and l greeted him with my usual enthusiasm and proceeded, “Uncle the NABTEB Director just called me now and….,” he cut me short saying, “he called me too.”
However, that was the least I expected from them, and I said, “Uncle, thank you for your beautiful efforts towards seeing this case being handled successfully”.
He then said, “my daughter please don’t mention, anywhere you are and anybody tries to embarrass/harass you because of your mode of dressing, please kindly inform me with immediate effect, I will not get tired to stand by you in any similar situation like this Inshaa Allaah”. Then, I felt much more honoured by my Uncle and I said, “thank you Uncle and I’m really grateful for everything Sir”.
” You are welcome my dear, just continue to be a good girl wherever you find yourself”, he said with his calming tone and he then, ended the call.
Allaahu Akbar! I said to myself raising my hands up to thank Allah. “Alhamdulillaah, Indeed Allah has said it in the glorious Qur’an in Surah Saff:
يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِؤُاٱنُورَاللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَٱللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ، وَلَوْكَرِهَ ٱلْكَٰفِرُونَ.
“Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s Light (by blowing) with their mouths: but Allah will complete His light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).”
هُوَٱلَّذِىٓ أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ، بِٱ لْهُدىٰ وَدِينِ ٱلْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ، عَلَى ٱلدِّينِ كُلِّهِ،وَلَوْكَرِهَ ٱلْمُشْرِكُونَ.
“It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth. That He makes it prevail over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).”
The above verses I remembered, made me feel encouraged and gave me the maximum hope that Allaah will continue to protect His religion no matter how the unbelievers may blackmail it.
Dear honourable Sisters in Hijab, continue to be patient and steadfast in your Deen, Allaah will always make a way out for you where seems to be no way. So be firm and never give up!
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