I thought I may start a post here and there about culture and/or questions I have been asked about living here in Dubai, the first of which is going to be an explanation of Muslim veils. I myself really didnt understand the various types of veils worn by Muslim women all over the world, nor the different names and meanings, so (hopefully!) my readers will find this informative. Actually, the issue of the Muslim veil has been in the news quite a bit lately (DISCLAIMER: this is NOT a political post OR blog!).
Muslim women wear a veil as a form of modesty, as instructed by the Qur’ran; which type of veil (or if they wear one at all) is typically determined by things such as where they live, their approach to the writings in the Qur’ran, in addition to others. (Wikipedia explains it well :))
The 3 most prevalent veils that I have seen in my (short) time here so far are:
- Hajib: Arabic word for screen or curtain. It is a headscarf, covering the hair and neck. Usually I’ve seen it worn with an abaya (long, black robes), but one will also seen colored/embroidered variations with jeans, dresses, etc.
- Niqab: Covers the face, in addition to the hair and neck. There is a slit open for the eyes. Per Wikipedia (I know, I know): “…the two most common forms [of a niqab] are the half niqab and the gulf-style or full niqab. The half niqab is a simple length of fabric with elastic or ties and is worn around the face. This garment typically leaves the eyes and part of the forehead visible. The gulf-style or full niqab completely covers the face. It consists of an upper band that is tied around the forehead, together with a long wide piece of fabric which covers the face, leaving an opening for the eyes…contrary to common belief, eyeveils do not generally restrict vision any more than a dark pair of sunglasses would.”
- Burqa: Provides the most coverage to the wearer, covering the hair, face and eyes (a mesh screen is over the eyes).
Now I am far from an expert on Muslim culture, scripture, tradition and the like, so please take my limited information with a grain of salt and feel free to leave a comment should you have additional information or a question! I’m always trying to learn, and hopefully this provides some basic insight about a new topic and a different culture. Until next time…