What is the Hijab and Muslim Dress All About

Muslim women around the world adhere to Islamic requirements of modest dressing with a variety of styles and types, from headscarves to face veils to body-hiding robes. But what does modest Muslim dress exactly entail?

ohifwinterends

09/19/2011 12:53:04 PM

Anyone who says hijaab is not mentioned in Qur'an is ignorant of Arabic. "And tell the believing women that they (also) should restrain their gaze (from looking at the men whom it is lawful for them to marry, and from others' private parts), and guard their private parts, and that they should not display their charms except that which is revealed of itself; and let them draw their veils [word used is khimar - a type of hijab] over their bosoms..." [24:31] Hijab is also established in hadith. "Ayesha (rad.i-Allahu `anha) reported that Asma’ the daughter of Abu Bakr (rad.i-Allahu `anhu) came to the Messenger of Allah while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: 'O Asma’! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this. He pointed to the face and hands." [Abu Dawud] And for any Shia people out there here are some sayings of the imams: Imaam Al-Baaqir (aleyhis salam) said: It is not permissible for the girl when she menstruates except that she wear a khimaar. Except if she cannot find one. (Saheeh) From Mas'adah ibn Zeeaad who said: I heard Ja'far (aleyhis salam) and he was asked about that which a woman may show from her beauty? He said: Her face and two palms. (Muwwathaq)

maryam2010

02/25/2011 07:11:55 AM

Asalaam Alakium: While this was a very informational article, I am a member of The Nation Of Islam in the hells of North America,and was not pleased as I didn't see a representation of the Islamic dress which we we given by Allah. Who came to us in the personage of Master Fard Muhammad, and taught the most Elijah Muhammad how to create our dress code for both the male and the female. Please research and see all of our modest dress. All praise due to Allah!

boododo

12/15/2010 07:28:58 AM

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emel38

12/11/2010 08:29:33 PM

Quran 24:31

ZAR

09/18/2010 09:08:29 AM

I appreciate the education on the Muslim womans dress. I am Muslim and have been for over 30 years and chose to dress modest without the tradition head piece. i chose to wear hats that have been shunned by Muslim and non-mislims alike. It is not noted anywhere in the Quran that a woman has to wear a head piece. I chose to cover my head and also keep from being subjected to the sun which is not good for my health. I always dress modest and most times cover the parts of my body that I know men are attraced to. Too much empasize is put on dress not behaviors or Zakat which I do regularly. I am unmarried and have not endulged in any fornication in years. Lets get back to what Islam really is about and that is submitting to the will of Allah not other human beings.

josephcm@verizon.net

07/25/2010 12:47:58 PM

In this extremely vulgar society modesty has all but disappeared. I was completely unaware of the different forms of Muslim dress and found this series of slides quite enlightening. I feel that the lengths people go to preserve feminine modesty is unique, if somewhat misogynistic, however, if it is not forced on the women, then that is cool with me, a non Muslim.

samara

07/24/2010 06:45:07 PM

I think the hijab is lovely but it should be a personal choice not a dictate of the men in the society. Catholic women still wear a scarf, hat or a head covering upon entering the sanctuary as a open sign of respect and humility..it is a choice. Why are these restraints always toward the woman ? It is the man that needs the restrictions as he is the dominant human who "fathers" unwanted children or projects his transgressions by severe limitations toward the woman.

anonyma

06/18/2010 08:08:56 AM

There is not a single verse in the Quran which orders women to cover their heads. Women and men are ordered to dress modestly and the best form of dress is righteousness. So called Islamic dress is what? There is no definition of what a woman or a man should wear in the Quran and most of what women wear today comes from culture and tradition. Hijab/ headscarf has become a fashion statement today and more and more women are wearing the headscarf with jeans, high heels and make up. So a little bit contradictory.

junipertree

04/23/2010 12:57:06 PM

Let's be real here. Modesty has been given the reason for the hijabs, but be honest. This is about men who do not want their property, (women) viewed by other men. This is alll about treating women like cattle. Let's see how many women who chose not to where the hijab would do in Muslim areas or even in their families if they live in the US. I'm not anti-Mulsim, all should be free to think and do as they please with in reason but how many women are truly free if they wished to abandon this custom. I know that in Turkey and a few areas of Europe Muslim women do go out uncovered but this is a small wealthy educatied group. Only reserved for the Queen of Jordan maybe.

Abambagibus

02/24/2010 10:53:18 AM

How about a course on requisite Muslim masculine garb? I suspect that the list of this is as scanty as the female force of its social requisitiveness, while the countrapositive male force is inevitably most adamant on the subject of Muslim feminine garb.

karemiss

02/21/2010 06:33:38 PM

oops, just a note to apoligiza for my spelling of Muslim. One of those days :-)

karemiss

02/21/2010 06:29:22 PM

I'm a non-moslem, but I have found the conversation here fascinating. In my country of origin, Venezuela, rich women used to wear vails over their head when they went out and it became a way to name the rich: "mantuanos" or those who wear "mantos =veils or shawls. Catholic Venezuelan women wore veils to church until recently and in a way, the veil turned into a seduction weapon, since it created an air of mystery and piety at the same time, a bit like the use of fans in Spain. Personally, if women wear veils out of their own volition, I think it's okey, but I do agree somewhat with those who say that wearing a vail in the West actually attractas attention. If anything, I would only sugggest to maybe wear more colourful ones, and may be western-born moslem ladies could find inspiration in their own past traditions, like the middle ages, when most women used some form of veil or head and neck covering, because I feel that sometimes the negativity that some feel towards the moslem veils is not so much because of religion, but because it seems to indicate that the wearer some how is scorning western culture -in the West. Salam ( I hope that means Blessings -other wise, Blessings!)

GlobalNomad

01/09/2010 09:51:59 AM

As a Muslim woman (convert) I have to say I'm quite disappointed in this article... AGAIN overemphasis on the dress of women and some strange things (incl. "Some women choose to wear it [niqab] for total coverage and freedom to move about in public without drawing any attention to themselves." - in non-Muslim majority countries in particular you do exactly that by wearing niqab!). In the Quran the modest dress of men is mentioned BEFORE the modest dress of women (see Quran 24:31-32). Prior to the revelation of Islamic teachings 'high class' women in Arab lands would wear hijab/ niqab and slaves were not allowed to cover so as to be recognisable as such... Islam came to bring equity... wearing niqab IMHO undoes some of the progress brought by Prophet Muhammed. My 2p. In peace, Rianne

umoja

01/07/2010 01:52:23 PM

As in all things in life, one must do what one can live with, and that's the bottom line. No one can answer or stand in place for any one else, so live your life the way that you can accept. I do demonstrate hijab, and in many different ways, especially since my family is not the status quo Middle Easterners. We are more inclined to represent a more African style of covering. Although, when we attend the mosques, it's just easier to make sure you look like them, and even so, there is a much bigger controversy than hijab, and that is racism. So that is why I feel extremely confident and comfortable doing what it is I can live with and what I feel is pleasing to my creator, because I have to answer to things and live what gives me peace, and not you or the next person for me. May our most merciful and powerful creator guide us all in a way that pleases thee! Peace Freedom and Umoja (unity!)

teed

09/29/2009 05:42:07 PM

Here are some comments relevant to this discussion from my blog "If I were a muslim" http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com/ The first recorded instance of veiling for women is recorded in an Assyrian legal text from the 13th century BCE, which restricted its use to noble women and forbade prostitutes and common women from adopting it. The interesting thing is that this legal text clearly considered the veil a privilege not a restriction, because it forbade lower class women from wearing it. It's important to remember that the same social practice can have a variety of meanings depending on the social context in which it occurs. I have read about a Muslim queen in pre-British India who always appeared in public in a veil. This woman was an absolute monarch, and did not wear the veil out of humility. Instead, her veil said " I am not your plaything, and you will not be permitted the pleasure of seeing my face. Your job is to listen to me when I give you orders, not fantasize about my beauty." Remember that the Old Testament says that no one was allowed to see the face of God. In this context, the veil of a powerful queen gave a very similar message. I don't think that the veil has that meaning for any modern Muslim woman, but it also has a very different meaning now than it did Muhammad's time. The Koran actually requires only the wives of the prophet to wear the veil. According to Karen Armstrong, this rule arose because Muhammad always consulted his wives when he made an important decision, and took their advice very seriously. Consequently, people who wanted to persuade Muhammad of anything would often talk to his wives. Understandably, young men would often try to use flirtation as a persuasive tool, and this resulted in gossip. The purpose of the veil was to remove this flirtatious element in those communications. When the rest of the women in Muhammad's community heard about this, they demanded the right to wear the veil as well, and Muhammad said in effect, "sure, why not?". Once Islam began to acquire an empire, it encountered cultures (including Byzantine Christianity) which regularly veiled women, and this right to wear the veil gradually transformed into an obligation. What does the veil mean today? Some women say that wearing a veil in a non-Muslim culture is an expression of national pride, not an expression of weakness. I've also talked to other Muslim women who REFUSE to wear the veil for a similar reason. They say the purpose of the veil is to make you less ostentatious, and because wearing the veil in the west draws unnecessary attention, it is therefore immodest. The important point both sides are making is one I will return to again and again: the exact same action can have a different meaning and moral significance when performed in a different context. That's why it's a mistake to treat the Koran, or the Bible, or any other sacred text, as a computer algorithim that should be followed mechanically the same way in every circumstance.

sahelaziz

08/11/2009 04:42:12 PM

In countries where there is a dress code (very few): they are wrong for doing so. For the rest of us, we wear hijab if we want and no one forces us. If some arrogant or well-meaning Muslims tell us to wear it when we don't, we don't have to. But those who wear it do so because they believe in it. And for those who say that it is a uniform, that is not true. See the differences in styles here: http://www.examiner.com/x-17773-Dallas-Muslim-Examiner

nofooling

07/04/2009 12:37:05 PM

No matter the excuses for enforcing the so-called simplicity of dress code for women, it is a conformist style that leaves little freedom to personal creativity. There's hardly any difference between 2 sheep in a herd of sheep or 2 soldiers in a battalion or any 2 like-costumed/uniformed outfits. And for those who claim a creator god forget that that god made every individual a separate entity recognizing their separate distinctiveness even when naked, so why do fundamentalist Moslems insist on veiling the godly presence in each of us except for imposing a male authority is obvious in their treatment of Woman as a subservient, second class being that also includes polygamy in many regions controlled by them.

billd

07/03/2009 02:41:06 PM

An outdated measure in civilized society. Man is expected to be correct in his treatment of women. Telling anyone what to wear is a form of tyranny or dictatorship. They want control and this way they can control the women even more making her a baseless slave subject to his whims. Maybe this needded to be done in early society so those in power could control those beneath them. In a free society God sees us for what we are his creation our actions and thoughts are how he judges us. Time for everyone to be free of tyranny and oppression, God wants us to express ourselves and conduct ourselves in a correct manner. Treating everyone with respect man and women.

GlobalNomad

07/03/2009 01:34:12 PM

In its true meaning, 'hijab' is not 'headscarf', but 'modesty' (in dress & character). In the Quran, men are FIRST (24:30) told to abide by this, THEN women (24:30). Can get sad when some Muslims and non-Muslims alike can get obsessed by how much fabric women wear, at the behest of the bigger things in life, such as peace, justice and mutual respect... In peace, Globalnomad (a happy Muslim convert sister)

townncountry

05/16/2009 08:17:51 PM

How did Aiesha and Muhamad's other wives dress? WHich of these did they wear when they went to the market and how was Aiesha dressed after her husband was dead and when she weighed in on her father's and brother in law's councils?

JabinRahman

02/10/2009 12:06:44 PM

There are many ways you can cover...but the whole point of covering is not show your body off in a negative way...there is no point of wearing a hijab with your chest revealed and your legs all out there...

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