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Islamic Headscarves

February 4th, 2010
05:41 PM ET


  • HIJAB: Tightly worn scarf that covers the neck but not the face. Most common head covering.

  • CHADOR: All enveloping black garment that leaves the face uncovered.

  • NIQAB: A veil that covers the face, exposing only the eyes.

  • BURQA: Full body garment that leaves only a mesh for seeing. Widely used in Afghanistan.


  • Filed under:  1 • Islam
    soundoff (30 Responses)
    1. nkengafac

      from a third world point of view i believe it is time for suits in DC to wake up and understand that the young must grow and that if you keep on slapping a guy, one day he will wake up and push back.
      The chinese are rising up against the constant soft power and wether or not we we like it we need to learn to share that power
      China has its bad sides but we all do

      February 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    2. Laleh

      And what about the loosely worn colourful scarves that you see in the streets of Tehran? (well it's not official but it's very common!)

      February 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    3. Fatima

      I am a Muslim woman living in the USA.
      I wear the hijaab by choice.

      As much as everyone tries to make it into a political symbol and 'hate symbol', I think we're creating a society of even more intolerance by passing laws on 'banning the burqa'.

      A lot of Muslim women out there WANT to wear it.

      Why strip them of that right?

      Bikini's, for instance, is what I see as a reason to parade around in what is essentially, underwear.
      It disgusts me.

      Yet, I'm not going to call for a ban on a bikini.

      People need to look past clothing, quit looking at petty issues like what I'm wearing today, and instead, should try and work together and perhaps try and make this world a better place for everyone to work together.

      It's a piece of cloth which I love to wear.

      Don't take it away from us.

      February 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Reply
    4. Dave

      Islam has to be one of the closed minded and backwards religions in the entire world. Does anybody really think that women in these messed up countries where they are forced to cover themselves in the streets that they are happy? No! If Muslims want to join the 21st century, they need to start some kind of talks, some kind of intelligent ideas as to how to behave and dress in the 21st century, not in the stone ages. If they want to cover up their women in Pakistan in Saudi Arabia etc...that is their problem but when they step on to an American airplane with all of this face covering and they are instantly treated as terrorists, they should never ever be surprised. How many idiot terrorists have worn this kind of garb to go on and blow themselves up?? Plenty! If they want to dress like this stay back in Saudi Arabia and if they want to enjoy Europe or any other modern place outside of their Muslim strongholds, they need to understand that nobody can be trusted, and not if they look like a potential terrorist.

      February 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Reply
    5. Erik B.

      A lot of Muslim women out there WANT to wear it.

      Why strip them of that right?

      Of course they should not be stripped of that right, but lots of Moslem women don't wear the scarf voluntarily, but because of social pressure. You could choose to show some sympathy and solidarity with your less lucky sisters by not wearing a scarf.

      And while the scarf is perfectly within Western tradition, (the Danish queen never leaves home with her hair uncovered), the veil is odious. It is a symbol of oppression and sexual apartheid and as such inimical to Western values and should be prohibited.

      February 5, 2010 at 11:09 am | Reply
    6. M.M

      A word of advice for all.

      ...Remember that the world is bigger the your eye perceives it to be. Dont let the words that come from your lips show the closeness of your mind. There are always both sides to a story and broad minded person will consider those sides before making a comment.

      February 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    7. abdelaziz

      hello,
      All Muslim scholars have agreed that Muslim women must cover their bodies except their hands and face.why do we assume that it is a sign of submission and oppression.?a lot of women wear hijab willingly including my mother,sisters,wife and my sisters-in-laws.Other scholars said that Muslim women have to cover their face too if they are very pretty lest they should not seduce men.anyway,all the garments above are seen as a sign of decency.

      February 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Reply
    8. Fred Brun

      Dave
      Your blog shows the intellectual level of the US education system. Have you ever left your hillbilly woods? You are living in a rogue state with a fascist ideology that is progressing backwards into the Stone Age. If a small minority of Muslims are not in favour of what the US is doing around the world, you should ask yourself the question why or are you incapable of thinking? If you can recall, Jews were made to wear a star on their clothing, I am sure not by choice. What happened to religious freedom? Oh let me think, it must be that hillbillies can decide what that means. Now that is a frightening thought.

      February 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    9. Helena

      @Erik B
      You obviously base your view on something you don't even know.
      Like many other you think the majority of women wear headscarves because they are oppressed when it's not the case.

      This is certainly the case for some women, but believe me if you travel to the middle east or even go in muslim families who live in the west. They only wear it because they feel comfortable with it. They feel closer to god. It's the way they practice their faith that's all. There is no oppression whatsoever.

      I do understand the will to help oppressed women, however do bear in mind that women are oppressed not because of islam (which CLEARLY condemn any form of disrespect or inequalities between men and women) but because of cultural ignorance.
      Women oppression is not only found in islam, have people forgotten all other forms of women oppresions? Taking the headscarf away won't make men realise that women are equal. it's education. and Islam encourages Education. I feel people have the wrong end of the stick here.

      If France desires Laicity for everyone, then they should also forbid jews to wear kippas, budhists to wear robes and nuns to wear veils. Why condemn islam only?

      February 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    10. Helena

      @Dave, your comment reflect ignorance and close mindedness. and you are the one who condemn islam? ahaha you're so funny.

      you obviously don't know anything about this religion and base your comments on what u see on tv and newspapers.
      Well done...Here's a good stupid american.

      February 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Reply
    11. Harry Wood

      From a Health & Safety point of veiw, surely its not very hygenic to be shrouded in a Burka in warm weather???????????????????

      February 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Reply
    12. Leonard de la Paor

      MUHAMMAD & WOMEN

      Anyone who has studied Quran & Hadith knows that Muhammad's wives after Khadija gave him a very hard time. They made fun of him behind his back. At one time he was going to divorce all of them.

      “Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, was a successful business woman, who was able to select whomever she wished as a husband. Thus, we know that women were able to have prominent positions in society and could wield a great deal of power before the rise of Islam. Under Islamic Law, however, women couldn’t so much as leave their houses without the permission of their husbands (and could only do so in the proper attire)”.

      The status of women in the Arab world is a source of frequent criticism against Islam.

      Women are of low intelligence and will be the majority in hell
      Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301)
      Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind." (Sahih Bukhari 3:48:826)
      Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: I observed prayer with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the 'Id day. He commenced with prayer before the sermon without Adhan and Iqama. He then stood up leaning on Bilal, and he commanded (them) to be on guard (against evil for the sake of) Allah, and he exhorted (them) on obedience to Him, and he preached to the people and admonished them. He then walked on till he came to the women and preached to them and admonished them, and asked them to give alms, for most of them are the fuel for Hell. A woman having a dark spot on the cheek stood up and said: Why is it so, Messenger of Allah? He said: For you grumble often and show ingratitude to your spouse. And then they began to give alms out of their ornaments such as their earrings and rings which they threw on to the cloth of Bilal. (Sahih Muslim 4:1926)
      [Muhammad said]: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is a proof of the lack of common sense. (Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, tr., Number 142.)
      The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said: "Yes." He said: "This is because of the deficiency of her mind." Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 2658.
      [Muhammad said], "O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?" He said: "O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious man astray." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 1462.)
      The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "I saw paradise and stretched my hands towards a bunch (of its fruits) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women." The people asked: "O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?" The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Because of their ungratefulness." It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 1052.)
      [Muhammad said], "O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?" He said: "O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious man astray." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 1462.)
      The Qur’an allows (or, perhaps, commands) men to beat their wives into subservience.
      Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret what Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great. (Qur’an 4:34, Mohammed Pickthall Translation.)
      Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great. (Qur’an 4:34, M.H. Shakir Translation.)
      Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because Allah has given The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient, and guard In (the husband’s) absence What Allah would have them guard. As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (Qur’an 4:34, Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation.)

      February 6, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    13. Ben Rose

      I thought we were past religious conflicts? Why such a modern, secular state like France need to pass a law that would in itself go against everything that the Rights of Man stand for? Do we no longer believe in the freedom of religion? The burqa or any other covering for women in any religion (Nuns, Orthodox Jewish women) is a tradition, not a political dimension of Islam? What idiot came up with that one? Political? It's nothing more than a tradition? I have already resolved to protest France as a Nazi-like State? What's to stop them from creating another Auschwitz? Yes, granted there is the minority that are fundamentalists and misunderstand the Koran...but don't punish the women. Don't punish those who are unfortunately classified with the radicals. This is just a legislation brought out from fear. When we don't understand something we fear it and try to repel it. How can France do this to its people? I thought it was a modern nation. Now I know that it hasn't progressed since the time of Robiespierre.

      February 7, 2010 at 5:42 am | Reply
    14. Bashir Baba

      People should realise that religious issues are sensitive and weigh what they say about other people's religions. The European countries are the propagators of human right and self expression. What happens to the muslim woman's right who is deprived from wearing her veil due to some anti-islam laws?

      People post comments on issues they know nothing or little on. Islam is a religion for all ages and there is nothing like archaic islam. It is a complete way of life which will stand the test of time and generations.

      There is need for America and Eurpean countirs to look inwards and re-examine their foreign policies. Did they fing WMD in iraq? The answer is obvious and they have turned iraq into war-torn country.

      February 7, 2010 at 10:05 am | Reply
    15. Mohammed Dimari.

      The French government is constantly trying to sell the notion that muslim women are being oppressed and that they wear the veil,niqab etc against their will.

      First of all,wearing the veil is an obligation in Islam(Qur'an,Chapter 24:Verse 31),however,some muslim women wear the veil and some others don't.Its their choice to make.

      Secondly,when has one's way of dressing become a political symbol.If the women wearing the veil or burqa are violating any constitutional law,then the government has every right to ban the veil but this is not the case in France.This is a baseless argument.

      Thirdly,I strongly detest what Ayaan Hirsi said about Mr Ramadan trying to 'tranquilize people into believing that Islam is a religion of peace' and that muslims carry explosive devices in their underwears.Islam is a religion of peace.Lets not blame Islam and muslims for the terrible actions of some misguided individuals who know nothing about the teachings of Islam.Therefore,Ayaan Hirsi should stop stereotyping.

      February 8, 2010 at 4:59 am | Reply
    16. sara

      it is the divine right of every humen to live the lifestyle as they wanted.

      February 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    17. Christine Karstens

      100 % with Fatima and Helena !

      February 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Reply
    18. Fernando F.

      I found the woman in the Hijab plain gorgeous.

      February 8, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply
    19. Ben Rose

      Unfortunately, France is not trying to ban the burqa because it "is an oppression of women." The truth being is that in the past decade there has been a growing fear of Islam as a religion. We see more and more Muslims immigrating to these European nations. And granted that many of them assimilate to the European culture, the European Christians who've lived in Europe for centuries are afraid of a change. This is no change like a new leader in power, this change they're mistakenly afraid of is a change in lifestyle. There was a projected estimate that soon Muslims will be the majority in England. That won't go so well with the Queen, who is the head of the Anglican church. These European nations are afraid that they'll become a Muslim nation and that they're people (Anglo-Saxons) will become oppressed. This is just a fear and it is fixating on everyone's minds that the only way to not be oppressed is to be the oppressor. Banning the burqa is the first step in trying to dissuade Muslims from France and soon Europe as a whole. Europe wants to keep itself as Europe not the "northern sphere of Islam."

      Now this is not to say that I'm justifying France's actions. I strongly condemn them as being Nazi-like. Here in the United States there is a tradition of protecting the freedoms of oppressed people in the world. Granted that we haven't always lived up to our ideals, we do have some responsibility on the verbal level. The United States, and all other nations must condemn France's actions if it allows the ban on the burqa. This is an atrocity to human rights and if my government, or any other government stays silent, then its as if we are committing the action ourselves.

      Let's not forget what happened to Job. Job was, as the Bible goes, one of the 3 advisors to the Pharaoh of Egypt concerning the "Jewish problem." While one said to kill the Jews and the other said to keep them as citizens, Job stayed silent and so he was punished severely. Let's not stand silent. Tea party, anyone?

      February 9, 2010 at 1:05 am | Reply
    20. Fred Brun

      Harry,

      Since you have no idea of other peoples culture, you should concentrate on watching the Jerry Springer show.

      February 9, 2010 at 1:22 am | Reply
    21. Dr. Zahed Islam

      The Iranian Headscraves are called 'Ruposh' and the apron, the Iranian young girls use to cover the body is called ' Mantu'. Iranian style is the best.

      February 9, 2010 at 2:57 am | Reply
    22. Dr. Zahed Islam

      Dear Amanpour, please post few pictures of the Iranian girls wearing their style of Hijab. I think that's the best for Muslim girls.

      February 9, 2010 at 3:03 am | Reply
    23. Dr. Zahed Islam

      The Iranian Headscraves are called 'Rusari' and the apron, the Iranian young girls wear to cover the body is called ' Mantu'.

      February 9, 2010 at 5:59 am | Reply
    24. Dr. Zahed Islam

      Sorry, the Iranian Headscraves are called 'Rusari' and the apron, the Iranian young girls wear to cover the body is called ' Mantu'.

      February 9, 2010 at 6:00 am | Reply
    25. Jam

      My point of view is as simple as ABC, pls this so called face covered thing should be ban cuz its a threat to the innocents lives trust me and its has to do with no religion but the Islam and Muslims who cares, everything bad comes from this religion and is the fact, they have no sympathy for human lives. I bet U dressing like Ninja? OMG wht kind of pple r this!!!!

      February 9, 2010 at 10:41 am | Reply
    26. Cattori Alf

      Dear Hristiane & the Team. My english is really bad. So, to begin writing somes thoughts. For example: about Chadors or any others kind of wearing, in A same muslim Comunity. I was during somes old Hollyday, in Tunesie. But, where i realized how this People function, happened in Srinagar. cradle of A Civilization. Where Shaha Khan builded the most famous "Moghul Gardens". As A gift for her Nuur Jahaan. Is A wonderful, powerful and cordial Peapole. So, to speek about wearing styles, it depents a lot between sunnit or shiite. (Sorry for the spelling)..to be continue. Alf10, Thanks for read me.

      February 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    27. Naveed Ahmad Ch

      i wounder why, males are so much worried about the women's right, i have seen in our times that some people, men wearing burka and putting their picture on net. seem to me as it was a signal to rise such conflicts. we as humans doing many things which are not upto the mark which ever religion we belive in. So, it is not worthy fighting our that.

      if a woman feel protected in hijab or burka she must have that choice and if feel uncomfortable or she don't want to she can decide by her self.

      February 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    28. Lynn

      Correction, Abdelaziz and Mohammed,
      Neither the Quran NOR a majority of scholars say that covering like this is a requirement in Islam.

      What it DOES say and what the scholars agree on is that she should be MODEST. Men and culture have defined 'modest' to be this type of covering. In non-Muslim countries, wearing this stands out and is the exact opposite of modest.

      February 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Reply
    29. GEETANJALI

      Thank you so much !
      This information with pictures is totally new to me !
      It is a great help,coz I thought everything as one n the same !

      February 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    30. Katie

      Fatima, I agree. I am a Christian-Jewish American, but I recognize that wearing the hijab and other head coverings, when not forced, is a beautiful symbol of your religion. It shouldn't be banned, but it also shouldn't be forced.

      February 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Reply

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