Dress Code for Muslim Female: Hijab, Niqab or Veil #Islam

                                                          Got this from Facebook.

Today I came across above photo in Facebook and thought to share something about dress code of a Muslim women according to Law of Islam. The Creator has ordered believers ( women and men) to dress modestly.

I found on BBC website a translated verse from Holy Quran related to covering. It states;

 Tell the faithful women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their scarf to cover their bosom

Quran, 24:31 

For male it is necessary to cover from navel to knees and for female it means covering whole body except face, hands, feet.

A lot of discussion is going on around the world about the covering for women between many scholars.Women all around the world have different concept relating Hijab. Their interpretation of covering and specially head covering is different from each other in many aspects. 

Females wear head covering according to their tradition or according to interpretation of their scholar.

How many ways to cover ?? How much to cover??

Women use different types of head coverings, different terms are used for it like hijab, niqab, veil. 
  • Hijab; it covers hair of female , neck , ear and face is left open.
  • Niqab ; it covers hair , neck , ear and face as well but eyes are left uncovered.  
  • Veil when they go out in of their homes in public.

This dress code is observed by Muslim women when they are going out in public just to hide themselves from sight of other men. Females do not observe any such dress code when they are at their homes or with Mahram ,it includes; father,brother, son, grandfather, uncle. She is free to decide about her dress when she is surrounded by her family. It is totally up to her choice.

Many scholars believe that there is exception for face but others believe that females must cover her face as well. The thing I like the most is; Islam asks men to lower their gaze before asking females to dress modestly. 
You can check this link from BBC for different styles of head covers:
  1. Some women go with hijab, some niqab and some choose veils but some conservative women also wear gloves and socks to hide their hands and ankles from unrelated men. They want that no part of their body can been seen by any other man who is not mahram. It depends on their customs and traditions or on national dress of many countries. In some Muslim countries in South East Asia women do not even use head covering and some have a long shawl and cover their hair and body with it. In some Arab countries women wear hijab and some niqab
  2. Niqab is mostly common in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you go in any market then hardly you will find any women who have not used niqab. With niqab female also use a long loose cloak called abaya to cover their body. According to teachings of Islam women must wear such dress that her body parts or their body shape is not clear. Women are asked to keep their dresses simple so it may not attract eyes of un-related person. Now a days niqab is becoming very common in females in Asia but many females wear abayas with beautiful embroidery and have different designs and patterns on abaya
  3. Veil is actually an additional covering with niqab that also covers eyes , but eyes are covered with a sheer black piece of cloth that hide eyes as well but as it is see through so female can easily walk and continue with her work.  This piece sometimes is attached with niqabas an extra covering for eyes and sometimes bring one side of their scarf back and brings it down from to conceal her eyes.
Muslim women is not allowed to pray if she do not observe her dress code she have to wear khimar to cover her hair and upper chest , there must be loose skirt for legs as well. 

Ban on Hijab or Niqab:

In some western countries there is ban on hijab or niqab. But I personally believe that it must be choice of women to decide how she want to dress up according to Law of Islam. Women must keep their dress simple, loose and she must cover her body.

My Experience with Hijab & Niqab:

I started using hijab and abaya in 2007 and then niqab from 2010. I never had any problem with that. I think I feel more comfortable and confident when I am in public with niqab. It was purely my choice and no one forced or even asked me to do so. Many females of my family even my sister and mother do not use it.  I am happy with my decision.

I am sharing a link with you in which you can know about dress code for a Muslim women in more detail, you can also know about opinion of some females who choose to wear niqabhttp://www.apologeticsindex.org/504-muslim-veils

On last note I would like to tell you that the religion of Islam is not about keeping fast during month of Ramadan  , praying five times a day every day, wearing hijab or niqab or veil or growing long or  short beard, it is certainly not about exaggerated dialogues and debates by scholars . Try to understand Islam. I would like to request everyone to read about teachings of Islam before blaming Islam. It is a way of life a way to Peace.

What do you think is it matter of women’s rights to allow women to dress up how they want or you think that wearing hijab or niqab is any hindrance to her progress??? What do you believe that ban on Muslim dress code is fair by some countries???? Is it necessary to have dress code???

I will be happy if you will share your opinion for this dress code or If you are a hijabi then share your experience. 

Recently I came across this study related to women who wear hijab.
  • It is not necessary to cover face but female must have proper dressing while going out in public. It is better to dress up depending on where are you going.

  • I practice hijab and I believe this is best thing I have learned to be a civilized and better than cave man

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Its in fact remarkable paragraph, I have got much clear
    idea about from this article.

    Also visit my web blog … aksesoris jilbab

  • Thank you Maryam I really appreciate your time and sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you will join me again here.

  • It’s human nature to have understanding of limits & boundaries in relation as well as the dress code, all human are agreed that they should wear & cover their body based on their believes & spirituality. You many agree or not all religious practicing scholars Muslims, Jews & Christens always wear complete clothes. But issue is only with Muslims, when a Muslim veils they are being targeted & labeled as terrorist but when any Jew or Christen scholar will appear the same school of thought appreciates the modestly & holiness.

  • Hello Zafreen
    Thank you for sharing your story and for the link. I really appreciate that but unfortunately I can not understand Arabic.
    I will try to get help from some friend and will try to figure out what is told about scarf or head covering.

  • I started wearing headscarf in 2009, then took it off after 2 yrs for 2 yrs then put it back on. I live in the UK but from Bangladesh. Modesty in Bdesh is different to the modesty in other countries. Our national dress is the sari. The belly is exposed in a sari but it is not considered to be tasteless. The head covering is not common. If i grew up in bdesh i dont think i'd start wearing the scarf. I feel very uncomfirtable wearing the headscarf in summer as I cannot stand heat, i get flustered and irritable and the scarf makes it worse. I get pervy men approaching me whether i wear a scarf or not n i dress to look ugly! I know covering hair is widely regarded as a must in Islam but there is a scholar from Al-Azhar university who wrote about how our understanding of the hijab is mistaken. Here is the link. Plz do read all of it inc the comments below http://sfqomhz.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/20130724-035753.jpg

  • Hello Llaria

    In most parts of the world they are not forced , there are just a few parts in South Asia , like in Afghanistan where they are forced , in almost rest of the world it is their own choice , some follow and some do not. You may have seen so many Muslim women in your country around you some following and some not.. as it is their choice.

  • Very interesting to know Anna! Sounds very strange for me, as you know European culture is very different πŸ™‚ I was not aware of the different kind of covering head you mentioned. I hope muslim womens like to follow this kind of dressing code without be forced to. Cheers!

  • Hello Jerri
    in Islam man is also asked to dress modestly. The question here is why to emphasise more on females…. you must have come across many news about harassing females the idea behind is same…. see if all r covered then one can not know if one passing by is mother ,sister ,wife etc…. so no one will dare to trouble any female …. as I think you must be believing we don't want any harm for our family members.

  • Thank you Siraj

  • Hello Sherryl
    thank you for your thoughts,I really appreciate. Many around us are confused about hijab and many ask me this question when they see me with scarf when there is no ine around with that….. but I believe it is my choice and the way I feel comfortable.
    Comfort is first when it comes to your dressing as you go for what you feel comfortable to wear…. so its more about choice and it should be.

  • Hello Debra
    I agree with you.
    I want to share one thought, I feel sorry if you feel it harsh
    I believe that if one donot stop anyone to expose her body then why to restrict someone to cover. …. just thoughts

  • Thank you for the clarification in head coverings. I don't agree with a ban on any sort of garb, though Americans can sometimes exhibit bad taste by wearing tasteless T-shirts. I will admit I don't like and/or agree with the different standards for what should be covered between men and women. If both had to cover themselves, that I can understand. But when just a woman is expected to and not a man, my American mindset perceives that as a woman being in a lesser role. I don't mean to sound harsh or ignorant, but that is just how my culture shapes my view on the matter.

  • wao wat a gr8 discussion ovr here!!!!!!!

  • Thank you Yasir. I really appreciate.

  • Hello Valerie
    I am really happy to read your message. It is really nice comment.
    You are right in saying that head covering is not only associated with Islam but comes from others religions as well.
    I am observing niqab and it was my choice , not even a single female is covering face in my family , it shows that there is not restriction but choice that matters.
    The main purpose is to dress modestly and this is what we are lacking now a days.
    Thank you for your time and positive response.

  • Thank you Tuhin.

    I appreciate your words and time. I am happy you have learned something new.

  • Thank you Crystal.

    Yes this is main point …. it depends on one's choice and there must not be any dictation from anyone.

  • Hello Jacquie
    You are true about that. There is nothing permanent like change.
    This dress code must have gone through a lot of modifications and transitions.

  • Hello Jason
    It is interesting , different and protects from may harmful effects of environment.

  • Thank you Arleen
    I am trying to bring forward some common concepts of Islam and mostly I talk about females so I just tried to write about dress code for females.
    I am happy with the fact that you have gone through the post.

  • It is nice to know that Welli.
    I am happy about that. I believe we should understand and accept the differences.

  • You are welcome Becc.
    There are many different opinions on that . But it is up to a female how she want to dress up and what she want to pick from preaching.

  • You are welcome William. I am happy to know that.

  • You are right about that , no one should dictate the dress code.
    Thank you for your time Tim.

  • Hello Meredith
    There are many benefits of covering as it saves from harmful rays of sun as well.
    Yes this is what we believe that people do not consider my dress or body or features but consider what I will speak

  • I was not aware of the differences in coverings. Not sure why, and I am asking some of my friends that cover in different degrees. I personally think it should be your choice based on your convictions and not a rule imposed by someone else.

  • Thank you for the explanation. I'm in the same school of thought as Paul. Any dress code should be about choice. People should be free to choose how they express their beliefs, religious or otherwise as long as they are not imposing their perspectives on others. A ban on what people can wear is to me as distasteful as forcing someone to wear something they don't want.

  • Hey Andrew, the most important thing you said is women's lives are controlled by men. This is the main cause of many problems. We men don't think anything like this for ourselves and no women ever dictates that how we should dress, behave or live our lives but for women it is the opposite

  • Hey Cristina, it depends. for example if you are in Pakistan (muslim country) it is up to you. as the government has no rule about it. But in countries like Suaidi Arabia (muslim country) and Iran (muslim country) women are not allowed to go out without a head covering.

  • Nice neutral and open minded point of view. Appreciated.

  • Hello Paul.

    Yes there are different interpretations of laws of Islam by different scholars and head covering is also seen in other religions as you have mentioned but niqab is an exception.
    But I strongly believe there should not be any ban on head cover or facial cover as if female have no restriction to show her face then why restrict her to cover.
    Thank you for your comment.

  • Hello Catarina

    There are different stories , how the niqab or hijab was adopted , another person siraj ( Third comment) have shared another story related to it's origin.
    You may know there are different sects , groups and scholars in Islam each one has it's own interpretation about laws and customs , no matter how , when and where it started , it become popular in some time or observed on a small scale , it will remain in practice by the end of the World. Some Muslims , you know ….they are so orthodox and stick to every rule and custom.
    Head covering is not only in Islam as some other religions have this custom (that is just limited to some members) but Islam has a small addition of niqab as explained by some scholars.
    thank you for taking time , your comment was very informative.

  • Very informative post. As an American woman, with many freedoms, I did not realize there were different head coverings. I truly cannot give an opinion as to whether it is right or wrong, because I do not know enough about your culture. I will say I have many Muslim friends, some cover their head, some don't, so I am not sure what the proper answer is. To me, a person is a person and if their tradition dictates one thing over another, I respect that. Who am I to judge, after all?

  • Hello Catarina
    Actually I do not know about this group but have heard about some people back in Pakistan taking benefits. Head covering is not only in Islam it is also in other religions but Islam have face cover that is different and unfortunately some take benefit from this custom. On face cover there are many debates going between different scholars some are against this and some ask to follow, so best is to do , what one wants.

  • Very well written Andleeb, I can see you are getting popular in blogging world.
    Keep up your good work!

  • Thank for explaining the differences among the head coverings and their names. There's going to be different viewpoints depending on cultures. Yet in the U.S., what some women wear today would not have been acceptable 50 years ago. A curiosity I have is what happens if a woman does not wear the head covering while in public?

  • Andleeb thank you for shedding light on a topic that is all too often misunderstood. I have several Muslim friends who have chosen to dress according to this tradition even though they live here in the United States. They've been clear that it has been their choice and nothing something that has been imposed on them and takes away their freedom, which is what most of us westerners have always thought. We (I'm using "we" as a general term) often see the covering as being a sign of inferiority and restrictive, rather than understanding it as a way of being chaste and pure. Within the Catholic church the tradition used to be for women to cover their heads when they entered the church. More and more women are bringing this tradition back as they see it as a sign of respect for God and our fellow parishioner. As the mother of three girls I want my daughters to dress modestly and with self respect. Too many young ladies forget the importance of modesty these days and the media does not hep to uphold these values.

  • Nice post Anna!
    I was not aware of the dress codes you mentioned! And I agree with you that women should be free to choose the dress in which she feels confident and comfortable! One thing I like about your posts is that you write about different customs/topics which are out of the box! Keep it up!

  • I think a person is entitled to wear what ever they want. If one wants to wear a veil, then wear a veil. Great insight. =)

  • What an incredibly interesting article! Thanks so much for the enlightenment:) I really have never heard of the three types of head coverings. As to having an opinion on the customs…that's difficult. All cultures have customs and all customs change over time. Otherwise we'd all still be dressing like the Romans!

  • Thanks so much for sharing the information about Muslim customs for women's dress. I feel everyone should have the right to practise their own religion in a peaceful manner. As Susan said, it is extremists of all faiths that give religions a bad name. However, I do feel that cultural aspects come into play, as Catarina alluded to, and certainly in Iran, women were much more free to wear what they wanted in the 1970's. They were presumably all still practising Muslims. Women's lives are traditionally controlled by men in many societies, the west being no exception. The degree to which they are controlled just varies.

  • Catarina

    There has been huge problems in Saudi Arabia with men in make-up covering themselves in Niqab, abaya, black gloves, stocking and so forth. Al-Queda use it all the time as a disguise and people have died as a result of this custom.

  • That dress code is very interesting. Thanks for the knowledge.

  • Not knowing much about the the customs you are giving us all a better insight to the Muslim culture. I can't say I fully understand it but I think that goes with all customs

  • Hey Anna thanks for an educative post. I Did not know the distinctness of the three types of dressand now i know. It helps me understand our diversity.

  • I am always interested in learning more about what I do not fully understand, so thank you.

  • Thank you Andleeb for sharing these customs, as it gives me a greater awareness and understanding of Muslim culture and expectations.

    Kind Regards,

  • I do not believe that any country, Islamic or not, should be able to dictate a dress code for anyone. It seems such a small thing and insignificant in the world today. I appreciate the explanation. Thanks, Tim

  • This is so interesting, and something I have wondered about. I can see the appeal of covering up and being able to go about your business without worrying about what people think of your dress or body, or even face. As a westerner, I think women should have the option, rather than being forced, but I like that you've explained the reasons so thoughtfully.

  • Dress code certainly is controversial and there are differing opinions even within the branches of each faith. Each has their reasons for what they do and in some cases the garb is similar to that worn by Christian nuns so critics should carefully consider their motives. For me anything that is chosen rather than coerced seems appropriate.

  • Catarina

    Hijab is compatible with Islam dress code but Niqab is an exaggeration, to put it mildly.

    Wearing abaya and Niqab is a custom from the Arabian peninsula and has nothing to do with Islam. It started a long time ago when there were constant wars between the different tribes on the peninsula. The victorious tribe used to grab the beautiful women as part of their bounty.

    So someone came up with the idea of covering the women which made snatching women a gamble. They could after all end up with a train wreck:-)

    Did you know that in the 70's the abayas were getting shorter and shorter. But then the Iranians occupied the mosque in Mekkah and the Wahhabis got more power. In other words, if that occupation had not taken place wearing Niqab and abaya would most likely be a thing of the past in Saudi Arabia.

  • Hello Sandy.
    You have raised a new point here. When women observe niqab or hijab in many Muslim countries their are special female counters to for identification.
    It is also true that there are many who take benefit of this dress code… Some criminals use it to escape . Everything have two sides , positive and negative… Just my thoughts

  • Thank you Lenie.
    As you have mentioned that tolerance comes with understanding you are right about that. Tolerance can bring a better tomorrow.
    Thank you. .

  • You are welcome Jay.
    I appreciate your time.

  • You are right about every word you have written.
    Extremists have no religion. As they do not care about religions their main aim is to get benefit out of everything possible.
    They just use religion as label. Truly there are many religion in world and it is hard to know or understand their traditions.
    The meaning of word Islam is " Peace"
    I am happy to know that you learned about something new.
    Thank you.

  • Hello Susanna
    Yes media is giving so many false news and have propaganda. If you come across teaching of Islam you will see that it condemns and harmful or violent action against anyone , even advised to be kind with animals.
    I appreciate your thoughts.

  • Hello Beth
    Yes I can understand. I am happy you came to know about different styles of head covering.
    Thank you for your time.

  • thank you Siraj for explaining the origin of hijab
    I really appreciate your time.

  • Thank you umar for sharing some verses
    I appreciate your time and I have learned more from them.

  • Hello Faisal.
    Abaya and niqab is different thing. Niqab is face covering and Abaya is cloak that is used for body.
    islam does not allow women to wear any such dress that attracts the eyes of a person who is not mehram. If you check the link of video and listen complete video then you will get idea about what I have written.
    Thank you for your time.

  • Interesting post. Women should have the right to choose what they are comfortable in, we should all have the freedom to wear what we want however sometimes religion and where you are don't mix – like in airports where security is a priority, covering your 'identity' here could pose a problem πŸ™‚
    Sometimes we don't have as much freedom as we think…

  • I am copying from what you have written

    Now a days niqab is becoming very common in females in Asia but many females wear abayas with beautiful embroidery and have different designs and patterns on abaya but it is not actually allowed.
    How can you say Islam does not allow different designs and patterns, why is that. Also very strict dress code for the women comes only under certain conditions.

  • Thanks for sharing this information – the more we understand about other cultures, the more tolerant we can become. I love your posts – they give us a glimpse of a totally different lifestyle and that is important.

  • Jay

    Wow, thanks for the information. I had only known about the hijab and have never heard of the other one. Thanks for sharing

  • All religions have some sort of traditions that we may or may not understand. That said, I really appreciated this and gained some insight from what you described. On another note. I am very aware of the fact that the Muslim religion is a faith based on peace. Extremists, regardless of their religions are the ones who distort that purpose. Just my thoughts. πŸ™‚

  • A woman can dress in whatever way is comfortable for her. Differing headwear, cloak, veil, abaya, And yes, we all have to learn about Islam, a way of peace, our media is full of negative stories.

  • I found this article quite interesting. I didn't know the three types of head covering. This is too complex for me to have an opinion because I have not experienced the teachings. Thank you for writing this.

  • its a gr8 thing you have shared, I just want to share here one of the very precious advice of Hazrat UMAR RA. to Hazrat MUHAMMAD SAW;
    It happened that, once Both of the above Great Men were sitting with a Badhu of Arab, suddenly Hazrat Ayesha RA appeared on the scene to ask some thing from Hazrat Muhammad SAW, (She was very beautiful and that was why she had been named as HUMAIRA by MUHAMMAD SAW), now when She appeared the Badhu at once saw her and was then staring at her beauty, Hazrat UMAR RA noted this thing and when Badhu left Hazrat UMAR RA asked HAZRAT MUHAMMAD SAW to ask Azwaj-e-Mutaharat to observe veil when we are sitting with some one and don't come out,. ….. At this He SAW said that, "How I can tell them to keep them selves in home, When ALLAH never ordered some thing like that for them (The Women), At this reply, Hazrat UMAR RA kept quite, but, at the same time Hazrat Jibraeel AS appeared and brought in the verses of Sura-e-Ehzaab saying;
    "Aye Muhammad SAW Apni Biwion or Momin Aurton cy keh do, k jab wo Ghr cy bahar niklain to apny Chehron ko or apni CHation ko Achi trah dhanp liya kerain, Or kisi Sakhs cy Naram Naram baatein mat kerain ta K Jis k dil ma marz hy wo koi galat Umid na Lga Baithy"………..Now tell me if its obligatory for a MUSLIM women to keep her self veiled fully or not??………….. that's what we read in our School in our Islamic studies and our Teacher (LLB IN SHARIAH) told us……..

  • "And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover (khimar in Arabic) their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to God, O you believers, that you may succeed." (24:31)

  • O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God's signs, that they may take heed." (7:26)