As the 2021 Eid-ul-Fitr inches closer, netizens have taken to social media with a trend of #abayachallege. The challenge sought females to put on an abaya (loose long-sleeved attire worn by women) in several colours and design, on the day of Eid.
Daily Trust Saturday observed that there has been a frenzy since the challenge started on social media with many women opting for an abaya for this Eid to be part of the challenge.
Recall that last year many Muslims could not go out for Eid due to the COVID-19 lockdown, coupled with the challenge where women, especially wives, were required to dance for or with their husband trended. This year’s challenge has, however, taken a different dimension as it has to do with an outfit, the abaya.
The sudden rush for abaya by women cannot be said to be unconnected to the #Abayachallenge.
The challenge, however, has continued to receive knocks and kudos from different individuals.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the outfit, which is often sourced from Egypt, Dubai, Morocco, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, ranges from N18, 000 and goes up to N100,000 depending on the purchasing power of the buyer as its style, pattern and texture.
The challenge has attracted renewed attention to the outfit with videos of those who donned it to show that they have accepted the challenge and sellers who peddled pictures of the outfit to potential customers competing for attention on cyberspace.
Video clips surfaced on TikTok, Instagram and WhatsApp of some flaunting their dresses while others have taken the jocular side of the situation by making comedy skits on spouses dumping their lovers due to the inability to purchase an abaya for their wives or girlfriends.
Though Daily Trust Saturday could not establish the source of the challenge, it followed the retinue of countless “#challenges” that have rocked social media platforms of late.
Just like the #Dancechallenge that was popular among Twitter users from Northern extraction last year, the #abayachallenge also has its base in the north.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that since the trend, there has been a surge in the patronage of the outfit, thereby leading to an increase in its price.
Fatima Ibrahim, who sells abayas said the most popular ones are the Dubai and Egyptian designs, explaining that the Dubai brand is the cheapest, but emblazoned with colourful stones, while the Egyptian design which has less decoration is expensive because of the type of material used.
“The use of abaya is not new but it is the challenge that created undue attention to it. The price starts from N18, 000 to over N100, 000 due to the material used in making it.”
While noting that there is an increase in its price and uptick in patronage, she attributed it to the rise in the exchange rate to the dollar.
Another seller, Zainab Ibukun Adebayo, said she has been visiting shops of dealers to get the outfit for her customers on a daily basis for the past few days. “I don’t have my own shop, but advertise the outfits on social media. There has been a high demand for abaya these past days and I get more than five confirmed orders in a day. I believe the challenge contributed to the high demand for abayas. I won’t say it is a bad thing since it brings in sales for me.”
For Amina Lawal, the challenge had made her able to purchase two of the three outfits she intended as the price for the particular designs she needed was increased from 35, 000 to 55, 000.
Though her purchase was not spurred by the challenge, she pointed out that the trend would deter people who usually wear an abaya for Eid and special occasion before now not to think of wearing one for a very long time.
“I know someone who was offering a discounted price for abayas for the Eid, but the challenge made her rethink the offer because of the influx of people to her shop. Now tell me, how has this made her get any reward? Social media challenges have a way of having followership among women, but I never thought that despite the cries of economic hardship in the country, some will still have the wherewithal to purchase just a cloth this expensive,” she said.
Similarly, Maryam Abubakar stated that she is in doubt about using an abaya to celebrate this year’s Eid as she has done for the past three years. Though she was unaware of the challenge, she expressed disgust in how putting on modest clothing would be made as a showcase of affluence as evident in its price increase.
“I often buy things online which are shipped into the country for free. The one I wanted to buy was N20, 000 but has been increased to N49, 000 the last time I checked. I don’t know if the challenge is the reason for the increase, but I am almost certain I won’t be wearing an abaya this Eid.”
However, the reason behind the #abayachallenge has continued to draw condemnation as another hashtag has emerged to counter the original #Abayachallenge trend.
Farida Lukman pointed out on her Facebook page that the challenge was introduced to make young girls buy the dress with the intention to lure them into adultery and fornication.
“Some men voluntarily give away these abayas to any girl who is ready to sleep with them. Another goal is for girls to use it without putting on underwear beneath during the celebrations. I am sure you know what that means.”
“Hence, I urge parents, brothers and sisters to watch over the situation and to call on their children, siblings and family members to avoid this challenge. This is nothing but the handy work of Shaitan and his allies among people. I urge you all to fear Allah and not to change the intention of why people wear Abaya. Abaya has been a good attire for women. Changing the course of its meaning could tarnish the image of anyone who uses it for Allah’s sake.
If you support this motion #reshare, #Repost and ##tagsomeone for the sake of Allah, ” she appealed.
Also, The Kano State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr Zahra’u Umar Muhammad, cautioned parents to warn their wards against engaging in the challenge.
In her Ramadan Tafseer, which has been circulating online, she stated: “Your daughters will go to their boyfriends and come back with an Abaya as a gift, please reject it. You should warn your daughters because this time around the devil will deceive our daughters through the #AbayaChallenge.”
“So we heard from different sources that girls request their boyfriends to buy an abaya for them and the guys too request for something in return,” she added.
However, another social media user Habibatullah Faith Akanugbo posted on a Facebook group, Arewa Genius Hub a reason every lady should wear her abaya with pride.
“To every girl out there willing to wear abaya on Eid day, I want to encourage you to wear it as a symbol of honor, modesty and respect. Don’t let the myopic stereotypes and profiling of the beautiful dress by some anyone discourage you. The fact that you wear an abaya on Eid day doesn’t mean you got it from a man.
If your parents can afford one appreciate it , rock it and if you can afford it buy and wear it with all swagger and pomposity. Any girl that can submit herself because of abaya can do that over any other thing she needs and she must have been doing it.
Where were you when some Muslim Northern girls participated in SilhoutteChallenge?” She asked.
Source: Daily Trust