Hijab - Understading Women’s Islamic Dressing - The Modest Clothing

Posted by Imran Pathan on

Takeaways from this Article :
A) Intentions behind Islamic Dressing Style
B) Quran references on Women’s Dressing
C) Understanding differences between Hijab vs Jilbab vs Burka / Burkha / Burqa vs Niqab / Nikab / Naqab / Nakab vs Khimar / Khimr vs Abaya / Abaaya / Abayaa vs Scarf / Dupatta / Odhani / Chunri

A) Intentions behind Islamic Dressing Style :
‘Modest Dressing for Safety, Security, Privacy, Comfort and thereby inducting Confidence in Woman’ is the basic and clear intention behind the Islamic teachings on Women’s Muslim Dressing or commonly known as Hijab. Following is the list of minimum aims, which must be fulfilled, by adopting Hijab Style.
(01) Social Safety and Security of Woman through Modest Self Clothing
(02) Woman’s Privacy Protection by covering her Body Parts and Figure
(03) Comfortable, Breathable, Work Efficient, Free Falling Fabric Design and Shape
(04) Induction of Confidence in Woman by proving her social Safety, Security, Privacy and Comfort through Dressing

B) Quran references on Women’s Dressing :
Surah An-Nur (24) and Surah Al-Ahzab (33) of Quran provide clear guidance on the same. Following is the exact Quranic text and translation.
(01) Surah 24 An-Nur, 31 Ayah :
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَ‌ٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ إِخْوَ‌ٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَ‌ٰتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُو۟لِى ٱلْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفْلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا۟ عَلَىٰ عَوْرَ‌ٰتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ
(Credits : https://myislam.org/surah-nur/)
“And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal;a they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attend them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.” [a Literally ‘beyond what [ordinarily] shows’. This phrase is ambiguous in Arabic. Recourse is commonly made to the hadith (prophetic tradition), which uses the same verb dhahara in the sense of its being permissible for a woman to show only her face and her hands in front of strangers.]
(Credits : The Qura’n - A new translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Oxford University Press)
(02) Surah 33 Al-Ahzab, 59 Ayah :
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَ‌ٰجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورًۭا رَّحِيمًۭا
(Credits : https://myislam.org/surah-ahzab/)
“Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them so as to be recognized and not insulted: God is most forgiving, most merciful.”
(Credits : The Qura’n - A new translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Oxford University Press)

C) Understanding differences between Hijab vs Jilbab vs Burka / Burkha / Burqa vs Niqab / Nikab / Naqab / Nakab vs Khimar / Khimr vs Abaya / Abaaya / Abayaa vs Scarf / Dupatta / Odhani / Chunri :


There are several clothing items, which when used in solo or in combination with other items, fulfil basic Women’s Islamic Dressing guidelines. Coverage and Usage are the two basic criterias to examine any Mulsim Clothing Item. At the same time, identifying the limitations of any dressing item and combining it with other items, to cover up those limitations is a wise and economic choice.
First, let us see, the basic definitions of each item.

Hijab : This is a Persian word, derived from Arabian word ‘Hijaba’, which literally mean ‘To Veil’ (to cover)

Jilbab / Jilbaab : This Arabic word (جِلْبَاب‎) is present in Quran. It means ‘The headscarf freely falling to cover neckline (free fall not limited to upper body only and may cover from head to toe)’.

Burka / Burkha / Burqa : ‘Burka’ is a Urdu word derived from Persian word ‘Burqa’’, originated from Arabic word ‘Burqu’’. Burka is a a long, loose garment covering the whole body from head to feet, worn in public by women. It can be of 1 piece or 2 piece.

Niqab / Nikab / Naqab / Nakab : ‘Niqab’ is a Arabic word, which means a veil covering all of the face apart from the eyes.

Khimar / Khimr : ‘Khimar’ is a Arabic word mentioned in Quran, which means a head covering or veil, typically covering the head, neckline and shoulders.

Abaya / Abaaya / Abayaa : ‘Abaya’ is a Arabic word, which means a full length outer garment covering neck to toe, majorly used in combination with Headscarf or Niqab.

Scarf / Dupatta / Odhani / Chunri : A length or square of fabric worn around the neck or head.