Why Niqab shouldn’t be an Issue at BUK

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A niqāb or niqaab is a garment, usually black, that covers the face, and worn by some Muslim women. Muslim women who wear the niqab do so in places where they may encounter non-mahram (men who are not related to her in blood).

Once someone decides to start donning the niqab, she must fulfil all the rules guiding its usage as dictated by Islam, one of which is to never unveil her facial outlook to anyone except her mahram (close male relatives) like her father, brothers, uncles, husband, father-in-law, sons, nephews, women in general and children.

Anybody outside of this listed few are considered her non-mahram and shouldn’t admire her beautiful look, manifesting in her face. A person who wears the niqab is called a niqabite. Across the world and even in many parts of the country, some Muslim sisters prefer been clad in a niqab. And nobody or authority has ever attempted to harass them.

But it seems some staff of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) have scores to settle with the modest item of Islamic fashion. These staff, some of whom are lecturers and security guards in the school, have been clamping down on female students who like wearing niqab.

About a month ago, when the second semester examinations of the 2022/2023 academic session were being written, some niqabites at BUK had the most ’embarrassing’ situation of their lives in the hands of some exam supervisors.

Acting like lords of the manor, the supervisors in question, marched out female Muslim students in niqabs, from their examination halls. They insisted the female Muslim students remove their Islamic fashion attire before allowing them sit for examinations.

Then, there are also some security personnel manning the university entrance, who do not hesitate to always confront Muslim sisters on niqab, insisting they remove the niqab before accessing the campus.

Indeed, the attitude of these aforementioned individuals, truth be told, is negatively affecting the image of BUK: unarguably the only institution in the North which many people regard as the custodian of true Islamic ethos and traditions.

Anyone who physically witnesses either of the instances perpetrated by some BUK examination supervisors and guards will not be wrong to conclude that Islamophobia is steadily gaining ground at the institution.

Already, some niqabites at BUK have temporarily stopped donning their niqab or put off its usage temporarily till after their graduation. This is to curb the spate of harassment they regularly endure at examination venues, as well as other parts of BUK campus.

Insecurity is now pervasive. People now disguise themselves to perpetrate evils and commit atrocities. Yet, BUK is not short of female lecturers, staff and security guards. They can handle the task of thoroughly searching female students who are always adorned in niqab, before allowing them into the exam halls or even the school premises.

Since the university has not prohibited the usage of niqab, no member of the BUK community should outlaw it, wittingly or unwittingly. Niqabites of BUK should not become objects of ‘victimisation’. Their right to showcase and promote decency in an era of decadence and immorality should not be denied them. It’s time the BUK management reigned in lecturers and staff who ‘resent’ niqab for no justifiable ground. Lest, it will be condoning iniquity against a modest group of its students.

Abdulhamid Sakina Shuaib,

Bayero University Kano