Hijab - (Arabic - meaning "modesty") - 1. Colloquially and
popularly, especially in the West, the name of a specific type of garment worn by
Muslim women in fulfillment of the modesty
prescription of a Hadith of Bukhari (as opposed to the Niqab and the
Burqa (see illustration at right) 2. In
classical Arabic, "modesty." 3. A general name for female garments used to fulfill the requirements of modesty,
Burqa, Chador, Hijab and Niqab.
Muslim religious authorities differ on what sort of garments are required to fulfill the various requirements of the
Surah XXXIII, Verse 59 of the Qur'an is most often cited in support of these practices. It states "O Prophet! Tell
thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close around them. that will be better,
so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever forgiving, merciful...."
"My Lord agreed with me ('Umar) in three things... (2) And as regards the veiling of women, I said 'O Allah's
Apostle! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men because good and bad ones talk to them.' So the
verse of the veiling of the women was revealed" (Bukhari, v1, bk 8, sunnah 395).
In certain countries, Muslim women have taken to wearing the Hijab as a sign of protest against Western society, and
in some cases, legislation has been introduced against the practice.
In Iran and Taliban controlled portions of Afghanistan, stricter garments are mandated, such as the
Burqa (Afghanistan) and the Chador (Iran).
In Turkey, the wearing of such garments was forbidden by the
reform of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, but
the ruling Islamist-leaning party wants to permit the wearing of the Hijab, provoking a constitutional crisis.
In ancient times, veiling and similar practices were part of the oppression of women and the purdah regime which kept
them separated from society. Some Muslim authorities point out that veiling and similar practices were part of Jewish, Christian and other traditions.
However, in modern western countries, they have been abandoned.
Synonyms and alternate spellings:
Further Information: Hijab,
Hijab, See Also -