Where is the hijab donned by the new Miss Nigeria?

By Abdulkadir Salaudeen


Is Shatu Garko really a hijabite or a scarfite? And is her emergence as Miss Nigeria really good news for the Muslims worthy of celebration? I will address these questions. But before then, other questions are as relevant. What are the criteria for choosing the most beautiful lady in Nigeria? Are ladies really beautiful? How do we determine beauty? What is Miss Nigeria? Is it a worthy title or a useless one? I can go on and on to ask other pertinent questions.

Let me make two important points before going into the real meat. One, Nigeria is a democratic state. So, there are some certain rights (or if you like freedoms) enshrined in its constitution. To that extent, Nigerians have the right to participate in beauty pageant as active or passive participants. This is not to say beauty parade is good in and of itself. It is just to highlight one of the dangers of democracy: it has no respect for religion, cultural values and common sense.

Apparently, the new Miss Nigeria owns her body and she can display it and even share it with countless number of people—especially now that she is Miss Nigeria. But she owns it temporarily. Ultimately, she will account to her real owner (God) who owns her and she will explain to Him how she uses her body. She is not alone; we shall all account to our Creator what we use our bodies for.   

Two, I like to sound liberal. Thus, there shouldn’t have been any need for someone like me to write on this topic. But attributing herself to the ‘hijab’ calls for questioning. For, by her participation in the beauty show, she has really exhibited a behaviour of someone who has nothing to do with hijab, with Islam, or with Allah.

And as if she knew, she thanked her mother and the organisers for her emergence. She did not thank Allah. For this, one can say she is wise enough to know that Allah ought not to be thanked for her emergence. This will be blasphemous as Allah does not command—public display of licentiousness—which we tactically euphemise as beauty.

To say a hijabite won a beauty contest is a misnomer. It is like saying a drunkard, while in a state of drunken stupor, won a Qur’anic competition. This is compunctionless disregard for the hallowed symbol which the hijab is. I hope we can all relate to this logic.  

Her claim that religion and culture are not barriers to achieving one’s dreams can be waived and excused. This claim could be considered as coming from a kid who doesn’t know anything yet about culture and religion, and who should be in school.

But to be fair to her, she did not mention Islam. She only said religion. If by religion she meant Islam, then she will be wrong. Religion and culture (especially Islam and northern Muslim culture) are barriers to achieving one’s dreams if the dreams were to act shamelessly, anti-Godly, and retrogressively—spiritually speaking.

I initially thought her being addressed as hijabi was the normal media antics to make a captivating news headline. However, the media is not to be blamed. She actually said she is the first hijab Miss Nigeria. I wondered and asked: a Hijabi or a scarfi? That is why she needs to be in school.

To briefly answer the questions I raised earlier, Shatu donned scarf during the contest, not hijab. So, she is a scarfi, not a hijabi. Her emergence is not good news for the Muslims because beauty pageant represents what Islam actually comes to eradicate—shamelessness, bestialism, and disregard for Allah.

To contest for Miss Nigeria, one has to be unmarried, not pregnant, and childless—though one might have been sleeping around with men. One also has to be between the ages of 18 and 25 with good command of English among others.

Let’s put religion (Islam) aside, the contest has not been free from criticisms and scandals. But the bait could not be resisted. The bait of N10 million, a brand new car, brand ambassadorship opportunities, and one-year residency at a luxury apartment—I wish I had an idea of what she will be doing in the luxury apartment.

If we bring Islam into the discussion again, we shall say no conscious Muslims would approve such participation for their daughters. But here is a mother who solidly stood behind her daughter. The father was not really in support—as Shatu herself states— but one needs to be very determined (with the help of God) not to be vulnerable to women’s manipulation.

Esther Vilar was very meticulous in choosing a befitting title for her book “The Manipulated Man”. She explains how adept women are at manipulating men. Ordinarily, a Muslim father—especially in a state like Kano—will not allow such for his daughter.

As for the title ‘Miss Nigeria’, it is worthless if considered within the Islamic moral compass. So, it is senseless to say a Muslim is the new Miss Nigeria. If beauty contest would be permitted by any religion, it should be among men, not among women. Though a woman, Esther Vilar argues that man, unlike woman, is beautiful, because man, unlike woman, is a thinking creature.

If women are actually beautiful, why the need for heavy makeup? Why the need for cosmetic surgery? Is it not to improve their ugliness? The real beauty of women lies in their character, manners, fidelity, intelligence, and righteousness. All these combined is what make our mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, and teachers beautiful.

Until a woman proves to be a thinking creature, there is nothing beautiful about her. Thus beauty contest is a scam—a display of fakery and shamelessness. The hijabite Muslimah should not be hoodwinked.

Has anyone found the hijab donned by the new ‘hijabi’ Miss Nigeria? May Allah guide us to the right path.

 Salaudeen can be reached via salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com



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