On banning the Hijab and Other Thoughts


Happy New Year folks, welcome to first blog post for 2016 I hope the year will is a great year for us all. Thanks for reading my ideas in 2015, and I hope you all enjoy reading the blog in 2016. This year I hope I get to do more posts that you will all enjoy and I hope I get to read from you guys too. Without much ado let’s do this.

What if the Marvel Comic Universe were real?
I have been following reactions both online and offline on the suggestion that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari made at his first Presidential Media Chat on the 30th of December 2015 , that the hijab might be banned on Muslim women especially in the troubled northeast and northwest regions of the country. I am not here to make a value judgement on if the hijab should be banned, given that first of all, President Buhari has not ordered anything in that direction, and secondly I am not a Muslim so I do not have sufficient grounding in the moral and spiritual implications of such a move on the people concerned. The reactions which have trailed this decision from the president reminded me of an article I read on the web sometime ago, where the writer asks the question that I started this piece with “what if the Marvel Comic Universe were real?”

If you have watched movies such as the X-Men, or the Avengers, then you are very much familiar with the MCU. The Avengers for example features Thor,  who is patterned after the mythological Norse god of the same name. Thor according to Norse mythology, for example can flit between Asgard (which is like heaven for the Norse gods) and earth, he can create thunder and lightning, and rain and he is generally invincible. Storm of  the X-Men can influence the weather, and generally use nature to wreck shit for people she doesn’t like. Now imagine we lived in a universe where they are both real and they are a phone call away. Why for instance would anybody need to pray to Jesus or Allah, for favourable weather, when you can call Thor or Storm to create rain for your crops? Why would you need to pray to God to defeat Book Haram, when you can call Magneto and pay him some money to go wreck their shit? Would you pray to any god for a favourable response to your job application, when you can beg Professor X- to use mind control powers on your prospective boss? ( and don’t give me that ethics bullshit, he used his powers for mind control in X2 and First Class after all). I could go on and on, but the point I am trying to make is that living in that kind of universe will affect the world’s traditional religions.
I was tempted to agree with the submission above, but when I scrolled down to the comments, I found a commenter, who agreed that even though a real MCU would initially affect traditional religions like Christianity and Islam, it would not affect them much, because religion contrary to its general perception by non religious people is  actually extremely adaptable and it would not take them long to adapt to the new reality. For instance, the church persecuted scientists during the inquisition, but how long was it before the church realized that the flow of science was inevitable and started to sponsor their own scientists?  one should not also forget that most of the Arabic mathematicians or astronomers who gave us the scientific theories we still use today, were Muslim and were able to remain so inspite of the much quoted “contradiction” of religion to science.

That brings me to the point about banning of the hijab, a lot of religious people often argue that the doctrines of religion are immutable and altering any of those doctrines, even out necessity, is tantamount to inviting the wrath of the deity they serve on them. Those people often forget that every religion in every era has always been a a matter of shelving rules for convenience and necessity. Religion, contrary to what fundamentalists would have us believe has always been open ended. It is why no Christian leader can argue that driving a car is a sin, despite the fact that Jesus Christ had no car. To illustrate, look at the chapter 10 of the  book of Acts of Apostles in the Christian bible, it a clear contravention of the rules God himself gave to the Jews in the books of Moses. God himself realized that if he put non Jews under the same strictures he put the Jews, the non Jews might be sceptical about accepting the new message.  I do not know much about Islam also, but I do know that pregnant women, nursing mothers and very young children are exempted from  fasting during Ramadan. The often quoted maxim about God’s decision being unchanging is something often spouted by religious leaders who are scared of devotees questioning their God’s authority and by extension theirs. As a christian I can give  many examples of Biblical heroes arguing and negotiating with God and getting their way. I like to believe that as old as God is, he is not out of touch with reality, and can recognize when it is necessary to reconsider his stance on issues. To not ramble too much, if President Buhari has called for banning the Hijab out of necessity, it is because he recognizes that  it might help ease the suffering and death cause by people who use them to inflict pain and suffering on innocent people. If banning the Hijab would help in reducing the suffering of people in the regions under attack, it is worth a try. I am sure even Allah will not be unhappy with President Buhari for that, unless anybody wishes to convince me that Allah would choose his “precious instructions” over human suffering and pain, which as far as I know can not be true.

One thing I also know is that religion tells us not only to respect our leaders, not just religious but political as well, so I believe that Muhammadu Buhari being a Muslim and also the President of Nigeria, is worthy of respect since he has been appointed by God and is an instrument of God’s agenda. Therefore if people want to come up against banning the Hijab, they need better arguments than the “Holy Book” does not allow it. Show me a religious devotee who claims that he observes every single verse in his Holy Book and I will show you a hypocrite and a liar. We all guilty of the sin of cherry picking the parts of the scripture that fits our way of life to obey. As the Yoruba adage goes “the deity that does not allow children (with their potential for disregarding rules) to be its devotees will soon die out and be forgotten”. Of course all of these opinions might end up to be speculation and Buhari might not ban the hijab after all. If however, he carries out that plan, I am sure that even God will understand. If you suddenly discover one day that you serve a god who is averse to negotiation and change, then perhaps it is time to assess that god, and yourself.

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