Nurses and Midwives Council (NMC) of Malawi has finally responded to the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) call to allow Muslim nurses to wear Hijab while on duty.
The development comes in after the Malawi Government through the Immigration Department also allowed the Muslim women to have their passport photos taken while in Hijab.
NMC Registrar who is also Chief Executive Officer Mrs Martha Mondiwa confirmed the development in a separate interview with Malawi Muslims Official Website from Lilongwe.
“It is true that following our discussions with Sheikh Dinala Chabulika of Muslim Association of Malawi [through Islamic Information Bureau], we came to conclusion that the proposed Muslim women dress code should be approved. We did a research and found that in other countries Muslims are able to perform their duties while in their attire without any problem, the thing that made the council to allow Malawian Muslim nurses. This means that now Muslim nurses and midwives are free to put on their Islamic attire without any problem,” said Mrs Mondiwa.
Mrs Mondiwa also said the council decided to bow down to the Muslims request as one way of encouraging Muslim girls to join the nursing profession.
“We are also having plans of changing our uniform in the near future and we have seen that the uniform that the Muslims showed us it is not quite different with the one we are going to come up with. However, the board of directors have formed a task force to look into the actual uniform to make sure that it is still in compliance with our dress code,” she added.
According to their code of dress, nurses are not allowed to wear miniskirts as one way of allowing the free mobility and quick enough even in case of emergency. It also requires the nurses to tight or completely hide their hair ‘because dangling hair may interfere with their work especially where they have to bend over the patient thereby posing a danger of cross infection,’ which is compliant with the Islamic teachings because Islam encourages women to cover their hair all the time.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika Islamic Information Coordinator said he is happy that the council has accepted their request and said his organisation will do everything possible to make sure that Muslim girls join the profession.
“This is a welcome gesture by the government. They have made the entire Muslim community proud. Last year, it was the First Lady Madame Calista Mutharika asking our women to wear Hijab in their workplaces, which I have seen today with my own eyes. Honourable Nareen Pilani put on Hijab in parliament. And now, it is the ministry of health accepting our request. This is what we have to thank the government of Malawi for,” he said.
Sheikh Chabulika therefore issued a warning to the other companies that denies the Muslim women to wear Hijab.
“We will now take them to task. They must be careful because if the government approves our women to wear their attire everywhere, what about them?” he lamented.
One of the Muslim nurses from Mangochi Lucia Jonasi who has been in fore front in fighting for this freedom could not hold her happiness.
“Alhamdulillah! The battle has been won. I am happy now to hear that the council has accepted our request. At first, when Sheikh Chabulika communicated to me, I could not believe it. This is really a welcome move for us Muslim nurses because this will give a morale to the upcoming young Muslim women who were reluctant to join the profession,” she told Malawi Muslims Official Website in a telephone interview from Mangochi.
“This is a welcome development to our Muslim sisters and mothers in the nursing field in particular & the Muslim ummah in general. It may also be taken as a lesson to other Muslim women professionals to push for the same in their various workplaces. A word of caution to the entire Muslim ummah, this might be a direct result of cordial relationship that exist between Islam and other faiths hence a need to maintain this relationship and this should not be taken for granted,” Imran Chiosa posted on Malawi Muslims Official Website Facebook page.
Former Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) President Muheeb Banda also welcomed the move but wondered why it has taken long time for the council come up with such decision.
“…you mean mpaka panopa [until then] the council did not recognise that there are Muslim women in Malawi who had a specific dress code. This anti-Islam thing, I really hate it. How could they recognise the catholic nuns and fail on Muslims?,” he asked.
Khalid Mdala Luzinga also did not hold his excitement.
“Alhamdulillah MashaAllah. It sounds great. May ALLAH bless those who fought for it… though so am not sure of how is the hijab is going workout on mini skirts? or else am I left behind! And short sleeves? Can’t wait to see a complete Islamic nursing attire… Takbeer Allah Akbar!”
Another brother Alhaji Ngwazi Yakeen Yamu to him was just a question: “Why should they approve it this time so it means all this time they have been infringing their freedom of dressing?”