Hijabs may be quite colorful or boldly printed.

Facts on Wearing a Hijab

by Michelle Powell-Smith

The hijab is a veil or headcovering worn by Muslim women. The hijab covers the hair, ears, neck and chest. It does not cover the eyes or body, and is typically worn with modest, but modern attire. Hijabs are available in a variety of colors and styles, from simple and sporty to heavily embellished and elaborate, allowing women to match their hijab to their clothing and the occasion.

Why Wear Hijab?

While Islam does not mandate wearing hijab, the text of the Qur'an encourages women to cover their hair. Hijab and other forms of covering, including much more drastic ones, like the abaya, are mandated by law in some societies and communities for cultural reasons rather than religious ones. Women choose to wear hijab for a variety of reasons. While some women may wear hijab because it is required by law in their country, others choose to wear hijab as a matter of faith or personal comfort.

Simple Hijabs

The simple one-piece or two-piece hijab is favored for young girls, sporting activities and ease. A one-piece hijab is made from a stretch knit fabric and simply pulls on over the head. It requires no pinning or arranging and stays in place on the head with limited effort. The two-piece version is also a pullover style. For women unfamiliar with a hijab, but wearing one for cultural reasons, the one-piece or two-piece knit hijab offers an easy alternative. Some hijabs come with a snug-fitting bonnet at one end, attached to the long, rectangular hijab. This style is also easy to wear, and can be more fashionable.

The Rectangular Hijab

The rectangular hijab is a long, rectangular scarf that can be worn in a number of ways to create a flattering and stylish look and is the most often-worn type of hijab. Drape the hijab over the head, leaving one side quite short and the other much longer. Pin the hijab at the nape of the neck and artfully drape it to cover the head, chest and neck. Additional pins secure the hijab into place.

Underscarves and Bonnets

Underscarves and bonnets are worn beneath square or rectangular hijab as well as any hijab made of sheer fabric or lace. Bonnets are quite simple, tying at the nape of the neck. The bonnet keeps the hair covered and provides a secure foundation for the hijab. Modern underscarf options include knit or stretch lace tubes designed to hold the hair in place and provide additional modesty. A larger underscarf may be used in place of tube-style scarves or bonnets for sheer hijab to provide coverage. Underscarves allow a wider variety of wraps and styling options for rectangular hijab.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

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