When our ancestors conspired themselves in clothes, that changed their habitual style of life. Primitive karosses made life easier and allowed them to geographically expand their habitats. With that novelty, humans acquired themselves protection from heat in the South and frost in the North.
The Form As the Content
Eventually, the outwear fell under the influence of not only climate, but culture, religion, politics and economy. In Ancient Greece and Persia, women enveloped from head to toes, so to find shelter from lusty looks of men. Ancient Assyrians used veils and shawls, so to demonstrate their elite status. Assyrian slaves and prostitutes were under threat of punishment for failure to wear veils.
In the Roman Empire, the high-necked dress could indicate at religious cult, such as Early Christianity.
Contrary to the proverb that states that clothes do not make the man, in the past clothes were the key factor determining the attitude to a man. Outfit was an eloquent primal tool for communication of one’s age, social status, family position and professional background.
Fashion or Need?
All above characteristic of men and, of course, women, who eagerly followed the fashion trends even in the times, when mankind did not even have the phenomenon of fashion. At early stages of Islam, Hijab became popular among not only Muslims and women from Judaist casts, as well. Hijab meant that its owner was from a rich/well-off family, presuming she was of has status and influential.
1,400 years ago, the first dispute associated with the Muslim women’s dressing code took place. It is still ongoing.
The interest to Hijab grows from year to year. Starting from 1 February 2013, mankind celebrates the Day of Hijab every year. World’s lead fashion houses do not ignore that new trend. Very recently D&G produced a Hijab collection with Muslim prints, while Nike released a collection of brand Burkinis.
Often, on the other side, are cases, when significant masses protest against that. One year ago, women in Iran organized a public protest going under the moto “My Secret Freedom”, during which they would take off their Hijabs. That protest resulted in a serious social and political crisis in the country.
Attitude to Hijab is not homogenous. So, what is it and what are its various types?
Hijab is any women outwear that conforms to the principles of Shariah. Contrary to wide spread opinion, Hijab tradition offers numerous variations that root out from cultural an historic evolution of a nation, its traditions and, of course, climatic characteristics of a particular country.
Clothes for Muslim Women -Types and Differences
At present, there exist several types of clothes for Muslim women. Modern world, once in while, sees some novelties.
Let us be reminded, that Hijab means several types of clothing worn all over the Muslim world, although some models appeared in the pre-Islamic ages. Primitively speaking, Hijab is a scarf or a kerchief that covers the head and hair. Sometimes, it envelopes the neck and ears, but not mandatorily. The face remains open.
Hijab is considered the most liberal of all Muslim clothing attributes and it is widely spread far beyond the borders of the Muslim countries. Hijab may worn with modern dress.
Niqab is a special type of head-gear, black in color. Many consider it coverlet, for it blinds the face and leaves holes for eyes. Niqab is worn together with Abaya.
Niqab is very popular in the Middle East and is prohibited in some Western countries. Niqab is a subject of political disputes in Morocco, Tunisia and Azerbaijan.
Paranja — A long coverlet that fully conspires the body and the face, eyes included. Chachvan is a thick veil that covers eye-holes.
That particular outfit was characteristic to Afghanistan and Central Asia of the past. At present, in the majority of countries of the world, Paranja is deemed the most radical type of Muslim clothing.
Chadra is a large cloth that envelopes the head and the upper part of the body, leading the face open. It is a costume with a neck brooch to keep in place.
Chadra is, regularly, black, but it may be white or blue, and with some drawings. Very often they combine Chadra with Niqab, which combination makes the wearing process easier. Chadra is widely spread in Iran and Afghanistan, mainly.
Abaya is a soft cape that hides the shape of the boy. It reminds of a loose dress with sleeves and without a belt. Very often, it is decorated with embroidery, lace and beads.
Abaya is worn overhead an outfit, as a standalone element, together with Hijab or some head-gear.
A loose cape, that leaves the face open, but covers the hair, ears, shoulders and reaching the waist. Widely spread in the Middle East and Turkiya
Burque plus bikini – self-explanatory. Swimming suit for Muslim women, recently designed by Aheda Zanetti. 100% polyester and conforms to all Shariah principles, covers the head and does not draw attention to the waist. There are Burkinis for swimming and other types of sports.
Hijab – Some Interesting Facts
- In the Middle Ages, men of the Middle East wore Hijab as a symbol of elite status.
- Every country has its own Hijab style. In Iran, a Hijab is decorated with embroidery, contrast coloring and white threads, so to demonstrate the grief about Iman Hussein. In Saudi Arabia, women wear black Abaya. In Indonesia, Hijab is worn not only by Muslims, but women of other religions.
- In some countries, Hijab conspires the whole body and face. In the countries of the Persian Gulf, that outfit is a necessary protection from sand and sun.
- Once, Hijab meant alienation from public life, but in many countries it, on the contrary, is a symbol of struggle for equality and liberty.
- Paranja roots out from the Persian language (Faranga). It was a men’s loose outfit with long sleeves, later adopted by women. The peak of the Paranja tradition among Central Asian folks was in late 19th – early 20th century. Paranja was dictated by dry climate and Russian coquest of Central Asia.
- The first demonstrative rejection of Hijab tradition took place in Egypt in 1870-s.
- In the Middle East, tribal battles were mainly at night. Women dressed in black had chances to escape, while men in white proceeded to fight. Since that time, Abaya is traditionally black.
- In present-day Israel, there is a tiny substratum of ultra-orthodox women, who wear Niqab. That custom has nothing to do with history and religion. It is a manifestation of the Zniut, the principle of modesty.
- In Egypt, in some very poor families, small girls are indoctrinated to wear Niqab. Such families believe that it makes them look older – for the purpose of their soonest marriage and liberation of their families from burden.
- Hijab is mandatory in Yemen. In Iran, in 1936 to 1969, Hijab was banned. Islamic Revolution of 1979 made it mandatory. In Indonesia, Hijab is mandatory for residents of the Acheh Autonomous Province – in 2001, central government allowed religious leaders to impose that requirement, so to prevent separatism.