With Scotland and Canada adding Hijabs to their Police Uniform recently and France being in the news again for banning some religious fundamental freedom. We are sure you must have heard a lot about the terms like Hijab, Niqab, Burqa, Shawl etc. Today, in this article, we will explain what is the difference between each headscarves.
The Headscarves are worn by Muslim Women since the advent of Islam, and probably before that. It has both cultural and religious significance. For some, it’s a sign of modesty and their symbolic attachment with God. For some, it’s a sign of Freedom and Independence. It means various things to various people. So without getting into the technicalities let’s dive in to see it in more detail.
Pronounced (Hee-Jab(Ja as in Jam)) is a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family(non-mahram), which usually covers the head and chest.
Many believe this to be a directive of God given in Qur’an as many believers during the time wore it, and many think it’s not as the word Hijab isn’t used in Qur’an. Either way, there is some vagueness and Muslim Women are free to practice what they believe in. This is mostly popular in the Western Countries like US, UK, France and also countries like Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
Pronounced (Nee-kab (“a” in ‘kab’ is the “a” of ‘Idaho’ and not “a” of ‘Cab’)) is a cloth that covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab. It’s worn by some Muslim women in public areas and also in front of non-mahram men. The term Hijab and Niqab are often misunderstood and used incorrectly as one meaning the other. A niqab covers the face while a Hijab doesn’t. This one is mostly popular in the Middle East, Pakistan and South India
Pronounce (Boor-ka) is an enveloping outer garment by women wore in some Islamic traditions to cover their bodies when in public. The face covering is usually a rectangular piece of translucent cloth attached to the portion of the head-scarf. There are many style variants, but this one is usually the most often used. Mostly wore by women in Afghanistan.
One variant of Burqa is the body covering with the Hijab instead of Niqab, so the face isn’t covered. This Variant is usually worn by women in North India and Iran.
Pronounced (Khee-maar) is a head covering worn in public by Muslim women. Typically it covers the head, neck, and shoulder but varies based on the individual’s taste and fashion interest. Technically it’s no different from Hijab but can be used in a much broader sense. The word Khimar is mentioned in The Qur’an and was a traditional dress worn by Arab women in Pre-Islamic Arabia and was mostly used to cover the hair. Women who don’t see this as a religious directive argue that the directive in Qur’an is to cover the chest and need not be applied to hair as well. Those who consider this a religious directive think the use of the word Khimar itself mandates the covering of hair. Either way, the law again is kept a bit vague giving each woman freedom to practice what they think as appropriate. This is mostly worn by women in the West and is slowly gaining popularity in the sub-continent as well.
Pronounced (Shawl-like bowl) is a loose piece of clothing used to cover the upper body, arms and sometimes also over the head. It’s usually a rectangular or square piece of cloth, folded in a triangle shape.
This is now worn across the world originates from Kashmir, India. Where a Cashmere craftsman Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani used some goat wool to give it as a gift to the king of Kashmir, Sultan Qutubuddin back in 14th century.
It’s worn mostly in North India and some parts of Pakistan but has also gained popularity in many western countries.
Pronounced (Doo-pat-ta) is a length of material worn as a scarf or head covering, typically with a salwar or Kurti by women from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The Dupatta has for long been a simple of modesty in these countries and is not limited to Muslim communities only and is worn by women from other religious backgrounds as well.
And that should be it. I hope the next time you hear this terms, you have a fair understanding of what’s being mentioned or what’s being banned 😉