Behind the Veil
Contrary to the belief of many, the Hijab has a long and rich history across many cultural traditions. If you were to travel through countries in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South Eastern Europe, you’d see a diverse range of Hijabs with different colors, patterns and prints and a unifying factor far bigger than the fashion itself – a modest woman, strong in her faith.
While many people outside the Islamic religion are familiar with the word Hijab, there are many misconceptions around the veil and the meaning behind wearing it. Ready to learn more? Here are six things you didn’t know about the Hijab.
The Meaning of Hijab
In English translation, Hijab means veil. The word Hijab is derived from the Arabic root Hajaba, meaning to hide from view or conceal and the terms is generally used among Muslims in reference to the head-scarf and long garments that Muslim women wear. Hijab for many Muslim women is a way of not only dressing but also living.
The Veil’s History
The Hijab originated in pre-Islamic societies, representing an upper cla$$ status. In Mediterranean societies, women with wealth wore veils, prostitutes and slave women were prohibited from wearing the veil. Greek and Persian society followed similar rules. The Apostle Paul encouraged women to wear veils and his letter to the Corinthians said “For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.” Today, the veil also exists in other cultures and religions including Judaism and Christianity, mostly in conservative Catholic communities, and Anabaptists including the Amish and some Mennonite Christians.
Not A Requirement
Women wear Hijab for a number of reasons, many as a matter of faith or personal comfort, not because they are forced too. Many people believe that Islam mandates wearing Hijab, but that isn’t the case. However, the text of the Qu’ran encourages women to cover their hair. Most Arab and Muslim countries allow women to choose whether to practice wearing Hijab or not. Some societies and communities, including certain extremist groups, mandate by law that women wear Hijab and other forms of covering, but for cultural reasons more so than religious ones.
Covering The Face Is Not Mandatory
Many people think that wearing a face veil is mandatory for proper Hijab, when in fact, for a woman to follow proper Hijab, is to wear enough to cover her hair, neck and bosom. Not only is covering the face not mandatory, there is no evidence that says that Muslim women are required to cover their faces.
Varies in Style and Practice
All Hijabs are not the same. The style and practice of Hijab varies from country to country depending on that area’s traditions. These veils vary in color, fabric and length in which it covers areas of the body, including the hair and face. They also vary in style, including simple, sporty and even more embellished and elaborate styles. There are other terms used to describe particular types of Hijabs, including the Khimaar and Jilab that vary in style.
The Qu’Ran never uses the word Veil
In the Qu’Ran, Hijab is a reference to the screen that separated the Prophet Mohammed’s wives from the people, and while Muslim scholars often interpret the shawl in verse 24:31 of the Qu’Ran to mean veil, the verse doesn’t reference covering the head, but covering the cleavage.
Culled from: EMPOWEREDNEWSWIRE