Are you having difficulty finding relevant information on the hijab?
You might feel like you already know a lot about it, but are you sure they’re not misconceptions? Even if you’ve been wearing hijab for years now, a deeper insight into hijab will help you value it even further.
Where do you start?
There’s no user’s manual when you first start wearing it. You can scour the internet, but going through all those results can be tiresome.
It’s alright because we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about hijab here.
1. What is Hijab?
To cover is the literal translation of the hijab. It originated from the Arabic word “hajaba.” However, that definition only touches the surface of what hijab means.
What lies underneath is a set of codes deeply-rooted in history and tradition.
Hijab is more than a headscarf used to hide a Muslim woman’s hair, neck, and bosom. It represents modesty, privacy, and morality. It serves as protection to women from potential harm and harassment.
2. Is Hijab Mandated by the Qur’an?
There’s no literal mention in the Qur’an about the constant wearing of the hijab. Several passages, however, imply the need for its consistent use.
A verse from Qur’an 24:30-31 highlights the advantages of wearing a hijab. It highlights three points:
- A woman shouldn’t show her beauty.
- The headscarf (hijab) should cover the hair, neck, and bosom.
- A woman does not need to wear hijab when in front of her father, husband, or sons.
Some Muslims argue whether wearing hijab is a strict rule or a strong suggestion. Regardless, this Islamic dress code fosters modesty in both men and women’s heart and mind.
3. Why Wearing Hijab is Important
There are other reasons why wearing a hijab can benefit you. For one, it’s your identity as a Muslim woman. Hijab offers a constant reminder to be modest and pure.
Being able to exercise your right to religious expression is also empowering. On a more practical level, wearing a hijab helps you get away with a bad hair day.
4. Can You Take Your Hijab Off?
As a general rule in Islam, you should always wear a hijab when in the presence of non-Mahrams only.
You can take it off when you’re in front of people whom you cannot marry. Your brothers and sisters can see your hair, as well as your parents and their siblings.
You can take it off when at home as long as there’s no other marriable person around.
5. Is Hijab Better Than Covering Completely?
You can sum up the dress code in Islam in two words: modest dressing. Choosing between covering up or only wearing a hijab is a matter of preference.
However, some Muslim women have no choice but to cover up because their country requires them to. Sometimes a strict family might insist on following the Islamic dress code. Other times, the whole nation should follow it without question.
Aside from adhering to tradition, covering up has its advantages as well. It’s a bold statement that you’re a Muslim woman.
It can downplay your physical beauty. However, the best part is that it allows people to appreciate you for your brains and not your looks. Compared to covering up, the hijab is more flexible.
Many Muslim women in Australia choose to adapt to western fashion. This includes wearing a headscarf over a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. It’s a fusion of the old and new, allowing you to dress in modesty and style at the same time.
Modern Muslims have a keen eye for business. Online stores like modanisa.com cater to this market of modest fashion. They offer styles such as loose silhouettes and layering.
With these options available, you can be stylish without showing your body shape.
6. What are the Types of Hijab?
There’s no uniform style for hijab. It comes in many different fabrics, colours, and patterns. However, even with such diversity, they all exude modest dressing.
Popular in the Persian Gulf region, this type of hijab leaves the face uncovered. It’s a long, rectangular scarf that you wrap around your head and pinned in place at the shoulders. It comes in different fabrics and styles.
This head covering is popular in Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore and Brunei. Sometimes spelt as tudong, it has a distinctive appearance as to that of a traditional hijab. It leaves the face exposed while cover the hair, ears, and neck.
Eşarp is a square scarf often worn in Turkey. Made from silk fabric, it has various beautiful patterns and designs.
You’ll see this type of hijab in countries with large Shia population, and a large part in Iran. It’s sometimes worn over a smaller headscarf. Chador’s most often used colour is plain black.
The chador is semicircle in shape and draped over the head. It’s held together in the front under the neck by hand, like how you wear a shawl.
Designed as part of a swimsuit, Burkini is another type of hijab. It’s a modern innovation in hijab design.
Burkini allows Muslim women to take part in sports, like swimming. They can join without compromising on the ideals of modest dressing.
Made from cotton, Al Amira hijabs are for long-term wear. Conventional Al Amira consists of a close-fitting cap and a tube-like scarf. It’s easy to wear and covers the neck and bosom as well.
Married women from the rural areas of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia wear this hijab. Older women in these regions prefer this as well. Its most distinctive feature is the metallic-looking mask covering the nose and mouth.
Khimar is a long veil that could reach up to the knees. It leaves the face clear, but covers the neck, should, chest, and down to the waist. Khimar is popular among Egyptian women.
Boshiya is a full black veil covering the entire head, including the face. It has no opening for the eyes, which is why the material is a bit transparent. Muslims in Australia also know Boshiya as the burka.
Dupatta is a long rectangular veil with gorgeous embroidered edges. It’s something that you’ll often see in women from India and Bangladesh.
Muslim women wear them over the head like a shawl. The fabric can vary from light to heavy, and its intricate design allows for modest fashion.
Jilbab is a protective article of clothing mentioned in the Qur’an. It’s a long dress covering the head up to the toe.
However, the fabric doesn’t have intricate patterns. The cut of the dress is what makes it fashionable at the same time keeping you covered all throughout.
The niqab is often mistaken to be the same as the burka. While they both cover the whole body, a niqab leaves an opening for the eyes. It’s usually worn together with a long and loose black garment that reaches down to the feet.
7. What Myths Surround Hijab?
Misconceptions that surround hijab are not exclusive to non-Muslims only. Separating truth from fiction will help you see the intrinsic value of wearing hijab:
Hijabs are Simple Head Scarfs
Hijab is more than a simple headscarf. It’s more of a concept that encompasses all types of coverage to help you dress in modesty.
Going deeper to its original purpose, hijabs don’t refer to a piece of clothing only. It’s living a life of modesty and purity.
It Oppresses Women
Some people view wearing a hijab to be restrictive and oppressive to women’s rights. It’s especially true with the niqab and burka types.
However, dressing in modesty does not in any way restrict Muslim women. They can still perform well in their familial and societal duties.
If seen through its true purpose, wearing hijab empowers women. They become appreciated for the actual work they do instead of their physical beauty. It’s a compliment to see the true beauty that lies beneath the physical veil.
Only Women Can Wear It
This is the most common of all misconceptions. Dressing in modesty does not apply to Muslim women only. Men showing off their muscles when wearing tight T-shirts are not dressed up in modesty.
Hijab is for Practicing Muslims Only
Wearing a hijab is not an indication of how religious a person is. Some wear hijab every day but don’t always fast during Ramadan.
On the other hand, some don’t cover themselves but pray and fast all the time. Hijab is not something reserved to Muslims only, practising or not.
Now You Can Wear Your Hijab with Confidence
There are different kinds of hijab, from fashionable to plain traditional. Regardless of what type you wear, the value it promotes should always be at the forefront. Dress modestly and live modestly.
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Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.