The use of the Islamic veil is inscribed in traditions of the Middle East, including among the main precepts of Islamic law, the so-called dress patterns are established. In the case of women, it is mandatory to wear veils, although it depends on the type, here we will show you the top 5 in the Middle East, which varies in all types of veils, which decorates only part of the face, which covers the head and the body, but it reveals the face and that covers completely face, head, hands and body.
The abaya and the hijab are considered the most famous garments of the Middle East, according to a testimony of a woman from the Middle East during an interview by Shout!.
Heyam Abdulrahman, a fellow Yemeni Canadian intern in Washington I talked to explained that the differences between a hijab and an abaya are considerable, since they are two very different garments. A hijab is a headscarf or cover worn by women in compliance with Islamic modesty standards, and an abaya is a long robe or mantle that covers a woman's body and is usually placed over another garment. In some cases, a woman will wear a hijab and an abaya together, although some Muslim women or women living in Islamic countries may decide to use only a hijab.
Abaya is typically used in the Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, while women from other predominantly Muslim countries may use a different type of streetwear or wear none at all, however, the most commonly used garment in the Middle East is the abaya. While some women meet the other conditions by only wearing clothes that fit well and that completely covers the arms and legs, some women can wear a garment over these for additional coverage.
In Iran, women can wear a loose raincoat, called manteau or a chador, which is a large piece of cloth draped over the head and body. Women from other countries can carry a jilbab, which is a long coat-dress that often the front buttons, or the abaya, so we present the most used clothes in the Middle East.
The strictest veils of the Middle East are the burqa and niqab. The first consists of a long veil that completely covers the head and body to have a certain vision without showing the face.
The Burka is the traditional dress of the Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan. Even the extremist current of the Taliban mandated its use and from this, from the vision of the West associated with this veil with the terrorist regime of the Taliban.
That is why certain regions have proposed to prevent its use, especially in schools and hospitals. An initiative that in each case has faced criticism from various human rights groups.
France, Spain, Holland and Belgium, among others, are some of the countries where the prohibition of burka was proposed. In many countries in the Middle East, the burqa is seen as a demonstration of faith in Islam.
The niqab is a long robe that completely covers the body and head, barely exposes the woman's eyes. This is the only difference he has with the burka.
The etymological root of this word is in the Arabic term "naqaba", which means "to pierce" because it has only two holes for the eyes. In the Muslim world, the use of this veil predominates in regions of Wahhabist influence, Saudi Arabia, that Islamic wave of Wahhabism stands out for its rigorous application of sharia.
The chador is another veil that covers the woman from the head to the feet, but exposes the face and hands.
The chador is usually black and contains a long robe (abaya, in Arabic) to hide the shape of the body and a veil to cover the hair and neck.
It is used mostly in communities of Shiite women, mainly in countries like Iran or Iraq. Even the term comes from the Persian "chaddar".
The shayla is a long rectangular veil that is used to wrap the head and fixes on the shoulders. It does not allow the woman to exhibit the hair, but the face, it is currently used in the countries of Persian Gulf, normally have different colors and may even have gauze-type prints or transparencies.
The table below shows in what percentage each type of dresses are used in the Middle East:
I am grateful for Heyam Abdulrahman's time, advice and review of a first draft of this article.
Heyam Abdulrahman is an Intern at the International Civil Society Action Network through the Washington Center program. She is a Yemeni Canadian majoring in International Relations at the University of Calgary in Canada. Instagram @heyamm.k.