Widowhood Practice among Contemporary Yoruba Muslims of South-West Nigeria
Widowhood practice is a universal concept as every woman who lost her husband to death must necessarily observe certain widowhood rites according to the religion or culture in which she got married. Some of these rites which range from confinement, defacement, ritual cleansing, ostracism etc are dehumanizing as well as terrifying. These are in addition to emotional stress, depression, loss of self-esteem and possibly sexual harassment, disinheritance, and loss of custody of children or the challenge of bringing them up that the woman also has to contend with at this critical time of her life. Because of the stigma attached to it, widowhood has become the most dreaded thing by women all over the world. Conversely, however, Islam has a comprehensive rule regulating the practice of widowhood for Muslims in such a way Muslim women are guaranteed right to cleanliness, freedom and decency during this period. The extent to which contemporary Yoruba Muslims comply with these regulations in the face of cultural interference is the focus of this paper. An attempt is made to offer suggestions that will help in achieving total compliance with the dictates of the Shari’ah on this.
Keywords: widow, widowhood rites, Yoruba Muslims, Southwest Nigeria