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Tudung (Hijab) - definitions and different meanings.....

Labels: Tudung/Hijab

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Definition from
Noun 1. tudung - a scarf worn around the head by Muslim women in Malaysia; conceals the hair but not the face
scarf - a garment worn around the head or neck or shoulders for warmth or decoration

Explanation from
(redirected from tudung) Also found in: Dictionary/thesaurus, Hutchinson 0.04 sec.

Hijab or ħijāb (حجاب) is the Arabic term for "cover" (noun), based on the root حجب meaning "to veil, to cover (verb), to screen, to shelter"

In some Arabic-speaking countries and Western countries, the word hijab primarily refers to women's head and body covering, but in Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality.[1] The word used in the Qur'an for a headscarf or veil is khimār (خمار).

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World by Macmillan Reference states about hijab:[2]
The term hijab or veil is not used in the Qur'an to refer to an article of clothing for women or men, rather it refers to a spatial curtain that divides or provides privacy. The Qur'an instructs the male believers (Muslims) to talk to wives of Muhammad behind a hijab. This hijab was the responsibility of the men and not the wives of Muhammad. However, in later Muslim societies this instruction specific to the wives of Muhammad was generalized, leading to the segregation of the Muslim men and women. The modesty in Qur'an concerns both men's and women's gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia. The clothing for women involves khumūr over the necklines and jilbab (cloaks) in public so that they may be identified and not harmed. Guidelines for covering of the entire body except for the hands, the feet, and the face, are found in texts of fiqh and hadith that are developed later.

Despite the same Qur'anic obligations being issued for men and women, rules regarding dress developed so that men were to cover from their navels to their knees, whereas a women were to cover all their bodies except what was essential, that is, the hands and face.
Texts implicating the value and purpose to the use of hijab


The Qur'an instructs Muslims to dress in a "modest" fashion. The following verses are generally interpreted as applying to all Muslim men and women.

Surah an-Nur ayah 31 states:

In the following verse, Muslim women are asked to draw their jalābib (when they go out), as a measure to distinguish themselves from others, so that they are not harassed.

Following verses give special directives to the wives of Muhammad though some commentators believe that all women should imitate their example.

The hadith (Arabic plural ahādīth) are traditions concerning the practices of the early Muslim community. They were transmitted orally for more than a century before the first collections were written down. The hadith, accepted as canonical by Sunni Muslims, took their final form some three centuries after Muhammad's death.

The Arabic word jilbab is translated as "cloak" in the following passage. Contemporary salafis insist that the jilbab worn today is the same garment mentioned in the Qur'an and the hadith; other translators have chosen to use less specific terms:
Aisha reported that Muhammad's wives went out at nighttime to open fields in the outskirts of Medina to relieve themselves. Umar bin Khattab said 'Muhammad, ask your ladies to observe veil,'
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubay ibn Ka'b used to ask me about it. Allah's Apostle became the bridegroom of Zaynab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Allah's Apostle remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Allah's Apostle got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of 'Aisha's room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of 'Aisha's room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon the Prophet hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed. Sahih Bukhari 7:65:375, Sahih Muslim 8:3334
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil.[3] Sunnan Abu Dawud 2:641
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: Asma bint Abu Bakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.[4] Sunnan Abu Dawud 32:4092
Narrated Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya, Ummul Mu'minin: When the verse "That they should cast their outer garments over their persons" was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.[5] Sunnan Abu Dawud 32:4090
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: 'Aisha used to say: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces."[6] Sahih Bukhari 6:60:282, Sunnan Abu Dawud 32:4091  [1]
Scholars' views on clothing that satisfies the demands of hijab

Traditionally, Muslims have recognized many different forms of clothing as satisfying the demands of hijab. Debate focussed on how much of the male or female body should be covered. Different scholars adopted different interpretations of the original texts. Sunnis recommend that women wear loose clothing that is not form fitting to the body either modest forms of western clothing (long shirts and skirts), or the more traditional jilbab, a high-necked loose robe that covers the arms and legs. A khumūr or shayla, a scarf or cowl that covers all but the face is also worn in many different styles. Most salafi (sunni) scholars encourage covering the face. Many of them say it is mandatory to cover the face. Other scholars oppose face covering, particularly in the west for personal safety where the woman may be a victim of islamophobia. These garments are very different in cut than most of the traditional forms of hijab, and they are worn worldwide by Muslimas.

A woman wearing a headscarf in Kalkan, Turkey

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, an Islamic scholar well-known for historical contextualization of Muhammad's revelation[1](p.93), argues that Qur'an mentions khumūr only as a 7th century Arabian dress, but there is no command to wear it in specific. In his interpretation of verse 33:59, he argues that "they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble" and the context of the verse shows that the directive to wear jalābib was for a specific situation. He also believes that the special restrictions for wives of Muhammad are not applicable to all women at all times. He considers "head-covering" for women a cherished part of Muslim social custom and tradition but not compulsory.[7][8]

Most other scholars, however, have provided evidence as to why the hijab is mandated. There have been very few Muslim scholars who argued that covering the hair is not obligatory.

Some contemporary Muslims believe that the commandment to modesty must be interpreted with regard to the surrounding society. What is considered modest, or daring, in one society may not be considered so in another. It is important, they say, for believers to wear clothing that communicates modesty and reserve in the situations in which they find themselves.[9]
Women's dress

A woman wearing a burqa in Afghanistan
Detailed scholarly attention has been focused on prescribing female dress. Most scholars agree that the basic requirements are that when in the presence of someone of the opposite sex (other than a close family member - see mahram), a woman should cover her body, and walk and dress in a way which does not draw sexual attention to her. Some scholars go so far as to specify exactly which areas of the body must be covered. In some cases, this is everything save the eyes but most require everything save the face and hands to be covered. In nearly all Muslim cultures, young girls are not required to wear a hijab. There is not a single agreed age when a woman should begin wearing a hijab; however, in many Muslim countries, puberty is the dividing line.

In private, and in the presence of mahrams, the rules on dress are relaxed. However in the presence of husband, most scholars stress the importance of mutual freedom and pleasure of the husband and wife[10].

The burqa is the most observant example of this belief: not even a woman's eyes are visible. Originating in what is now Pakistan, it is more commonly associated with Afghanistan. Typically, a burqa is composed of many yards of light material pleated around a cap that fits over the top of the head. There is an embroidered openwork grille where the burqa passes over the eyes. This type of veil is cultural as well as religious.

Traditionally Muslims, Salafis particularly and others generally, believe that the garments known today as jilbab and khumūr are the very garments demanded by the Qur'an. However, Qur'an translators and commentators translate the Arabic into English words with a general meaning - such as veils, head-coverings and shawls.[11] While some scholars argue that verses 24:30-31 teach etiquette for male and female interactions, where khumūr is mentioned in reference to the clothing of Arab women in the 7th century, but there is no command to actually wear them in any specific way. Hence they consider head-covering a preferable practice but not a directive of the sharia (law).[12]
Men's dress

Although certain general standards are widely accepted, there has been little interest in narrowly prescribing what constitutes modest dress for Muslim men. Most mainstream scholars say that men should cover themselves from the navel to the knees; a minority say that the hadith that are held to require this are weak and possibly inauthentic. They argue that there are hadith indicating that the Islamic prophet Muħammad wore loose clothing that uncovered his thigh when riding camels, and hold that if Muħammad believed that this was permissible, then it is surely permissible for other Muslim males.

As a practical matter, however, the opinion that Muslim men must cover themselves between the navel and the knees is predominant, and most Muslims believe that a man who fails to observe this requirement during salah must perform the prayer again, properly covered, in order for it to be valid. Three of the four mathhabs, or schools of law, require that the knees be covered; the Maliki school recommends but does not require knee covering.

A woman wearing traditional dress in Selçuk, Turkey

A significant minority also consider that men should wear long sleeves in public, covering the arms up to the wrists. Such a law was in place in Iran for some time after the 1979 revolution.

According to some hadith, Muslim men are asked not to wear gold jewellery or silk clothing. Some scholars says that these prohibitions should be generalized to prohibit the lavish display of wealth on one's person.[13]
Sartorial hijab as practiced

In more secular Muslim nations, such as Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, many women are choosing to wear the Hijab, Burqa, Niqab, etc. as an act of defiance against the secularization of society, but also because of the widespread growth of the Islamic revival in those areas. Similarly, increasing numbers of men are abandoning the Western dress of jeans and t-shirts, that dominated places like Egypt 20 to 30 years ago, in favour of more traditional Islamic clothing such as the Galabiyya.

In Iran many women, especially younger ones, have taken to wearing transparent Hijabs instead of Chadors to protest but keep within the law of the state.

The colors of this clothing varies. It is mostly black, but in many African countries women wear cloths of many different colours depending on their tribe, area, or family. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, a lot of Muslim women wear bright orange and red garments which look similar to the Hindu Sari.

In Turkey and Indonesia, the majority of women do not wear any kind of veil, except when they attend Friday Salat, while in many of the western Nations, where the majority of Muslims are from immigrant backgrounds, the majority of women choose to wear the veil as a way of keeping in touch with their heritage.

Some Muslims have criticized strict dress codes that they believe go beyond the demands of hijab, using Qur'an 66:1 (which is usually interpreted to apply to asceticism) to apply to dress codes as well; the verse suggests that it is wrong to refrain from what is permitted by God.
Types of sartorial hijab

Law and custom by country

Afghanistan Under the Taliban, the burqa was obligatory. Under the current government, it is technically optional but in southern Afghanistan it is de facto obligatory.
India There are no laws enforcing ħijāb in India as it is a secular, Hindu-majority country, but in some conservative, Muslim-majority areas, there is social pressure to cover. Many Indian Muslim women wear the burqa, although many others wear the dupatta or chunari.
Indonesia Headcovering is not obligatory under the law but some women choose to wear a headscarf referred to as a djilbab. In some areas headcovering is mandatory under Islamic law.
Iran The current Iranian government requires women to wear loose-fitting coats or cloaks in public such as the chador, as well as a head scarf that covers the hair.
Malaysia The headscarf is known as a tudung. Muslim women may freely choose whether or not to wear the headscarf, except for religious rites and ceremonies when the tudung must be worn.
Morocco The headscarf is not forbidden by law, but not encouraged by governmental institutions and generally frowned upon by urban middle and higher classes. It is becoming gradually more frequent in the north, but as it is not traditional, to wear one is considered rather a religious or political decision. In 2005, a schoolbook for basic religious education was heavily critized for picturing girl children with headscarfs.
Pakistan While Pakistan has no laws enforcing ħijāb, there are many parts of the country where there is strong social pressure for women to observe ħijāb, or purdah, which is a cultural practice observed even by some Hindus, pardah is a Persian word. Many Pakistani women who observe purdah wear a garment called the pak-chadar, a headscarf with attached veil. However, there are also many Pakistani women who simply wear a dupatta or chunari to cover their heads. These are long scarves, often made of a light material, that match the woman's garments.
Saudi Arabia The Saudi Arabian version of modest dress is composed of an abaya or loose robe, ħijāb or headcovering and niqāb or face veil. The Saudi niqāb usually leaves a long open slot for the eyes; the slot is held together by a string or narrow strip of cloth. Abaya and ħijāb are required; the niqāb is required for Muslim women but optional for other women.
Tunisia Tunisian authorities say they are encouraging women, instead, to "wear modest dress in line with Tunisian traditions i.e. no headscarf.[14]
Turkey In Turkey wearing religious symbols, including headscarfs for women, is prohibited in public schools and state buildings.

Historical and cultural explanations

John Esposito, professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, writes that the customs of veiling and seclusion of women in early Islam were assimilated from the conquered Persian and Byzantine societies and then later on they were viewed as appropriate expressions of Quranic norms and values. The Qur'an does not stipulate veiling or seclusion; on the contrary, it tends to emphasize the participation of religious responsibility of both men and women in society.[15] He claims that "in the midst of rapid social and economic change when traditional security and support systems are increasingly eroded and replaced by the state, (...) hijab maintains that the state has failed to provide equal rights for men and women because the debate has been conducted within the Islamic framework, which provides women with equivalent rather than equal rights within the family."[16]

Bloom and Blair also write that the Qur'an doesn't require women to wear veils; rather, it was a social habit picked up with the expansion of Islam. In fact, since it was impractical for working women to wear veils, "A veiled woman silently announced that her husband was rich enough to keep her idle."[17]
Debate and controversy

The veil has become a subject of great controversy in non-Muslim countries with significant Muslim minorities, such as France and Britain, where it has been seized upon as a symbol of oppression of Muslim women and the “backwardness” of Islam. Senior British government minister Jack Straw was recently drawn into the debate after he suggested that communication with some of the Muslim members of his constituency would be made significantly easier if they ceased covering their faces.[18]

Such arguments highlight the much greater significance and symbolism the veil has assumed in recent times. It can no longer be seen in purely religious terms, but is now an important aspect of a wider cultural debate that first emerged during colonial times. Writers such as Leila Ahmed and Karen Armstrong have highlighted how the veil became a symbol of resistance to colonialism, particularly in Egypt in the latter part of the 19th Century, and again today in the post-colonial period. In The Battle for God, Armstrong writes:

“The veiled woman has, over the years, become a symbol of Islamic self-assertion and a rejection of Western cultural hegemony.” [19]

While in Women and Gender, Ahmed states:

“…it was the discourses of the West, and specifically the discourse of colonial domination, that in the first place determined the meaning of the veil in geopolitical discourses and thereby set the terms for its emergence as a symbol of resistance.” [20]

The issue of the veil has thus been “hijacked” to a degree by cultural essentialists on both sides of the divide. Arguments against veiling have been co-opted, along with wider “feminist” discourse, to create a colonial “feminism” that uses questions of Muslim women’s dress amongst others to justify “patriarchal colonialism in the service of particular political ends.”[20] Thus, efforts to improve the situation of women in Arab (and other non-Western) societies are judged purely on what they wear. Meanwhile, for Islamists, rejection of “Western” modes of dress is not enough: resistance and independence can only be demonstrated by the “wholesale affirmation of indigenous culture”[20] – a prime example being the wearing of the veil.

Critics of conservative interpretations of the hijab point out that while many claim wearing it does not necessarily signify oppression, those for whom it does are not always free to state their true views on the matter.

Dress guidelines in Banda Aceh (Indonesia). The text at the bottom reads: Following the leading Islam principles according to article 13, paragraph 1, every Muslim has to wear Islamic clothing. Whosoever does not follow these accepted Islamic customs will be punished with Tazir crime.
In several countries, most notably Saudi Arabia and Iran[23] women must wear the national version of Islamic dress or face punishment by religious police. While some women wholeheartedly embrace the rules, others protest by observing the rules in slipshod or inconsistent fashion, or flouting them whenever possible.

Some women have dared more pointed protest. As early as 1905, Bengali writer Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain criticised it in her utopian fantasy Sultana's Dream. Iranian-American novelist Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Marjane Satrapi, author of the graphic novel Persepolis, and Parvin Darabi who has authored Rage Against the Veil are some of the famous opponents of compulsory veiling. In 2006 Jack Straw the former UK Foreign Secretary caused controversy when he revealed that he had asked Muslim women to uncover their faces at his constituency meetings.

Turkey and Tunisia are the only Muslim countries where the law prohibits the wearing of hijab in government buildings, schools, and universities. See Ali Khan, Suppressive Rulings.

The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools (2004) and the banning of the niqab in the Belgian city of Maaseik[24] (2006) are seen by some (mostly those who support a conservative interpretation of female hijab) to be part of a general trend of Islamophobia in the Western world.

Tracing the Victorian law of coverture, Legal Scholar L. Ali Khan provides a critique of the British male elite that wishes to impose its own "comfort views" to unveil Muslim women from Asia, Africa, and Middle East.[25]

Some women choose to wear styles that are more ostentatiously restrictive than local mores might require - perhaps as a sign of Islamic enthusiasm and or piety.

In her discussion of findings from interviews of university-educated Moroccan Muslim women who choose to wear the Hijab, Hessini argues that wearing the Hijab is used as a method of separation of women from men when women work and therefore step into what is perceived to be the men’s public space, so in this case, when women have the right and are able to work, a method has been found to maintain the traditional societal arrangements.[26]
Elements of hijab besides clothing

Both genders are told to lower their gaze and not to stare at each other in public .
See also

Islam and clothing
Islamic dress controversy in Europe
Religious habit, the distinctive clothing of certain religious orders
Taliban treatment of women

1.  Esposito, John (2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512558-4. , p.112
2.  Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2003), p.721, New York : Macmillan Reference USA
3.  Abū Dawud is considered the third most authentic collection (after Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). However, not all hadiths in Abu Dawud are authentic.
4.  The collector, Abū Dawud, considered this hadith weak. Some later scholars have disagreed with Abū Dawud
5.  Abū Dawud classed this hadith as authentic
6.  This translation may be problematic; it is unclear what Arabic words have been translated as "veil", "apron", "face" and "bosom"
7.  Ghamidi, Javed (2001). "Norms of Gender Interaction (The Social Law of Islam)", Mizan. Dar ul-Ishraq. OCLC 52901690.Mizan&rft.atitle=[http nov  islaw  2.html%20Norms%20of%20Gender%20Interaction]The Social Law of Islam rft.aulast=Ghamidi&rft.aufirst=Javed&"
8.  The Qur'anic Concept of Hijab, Renaissance, Al-Mawrid Institute, Vol. 6, No. 11, November, 1996.[2]
9.  Women in Islam: Hijab, Ibrahim B. Syed, 2001
10. Heba G. Kotb M.D., Sexuality in Islam, PhD Thesis, Maimonides University, 2004
11.  See collection of Qur'an translations, compared verse by verse
12.  Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Mizan, Chapter: The Social Law of Islam, Al-Mawrid.
13.  Shehzad Saleem. Wearing Silk, Renaissance-Monthly Islamic Journal, 9(6), June, 1999
14.  Tunisia attacked over headscarves 26 September 2006
15.  John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path,, p.98, 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2005.
16.  Haddad/Esposito pg.xvii
17.  Bloom, Jonathan; Blair, Sheila (2002). Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09422-1. , p.46-47
18.  "Straw’s veil comments spark anger", BBC News Online, 2006-10-05. Retrieved on 2007-04-18.2006-10-05">
19.  p.295, Armstrong, K, 2001, “The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam”, London, HarperCollinsRoutledge
20.  p.235, Ahmed, L, 1992, “Women and Gender in Islam” Historical Roots of a Modern Debate,” Yale University Press
21.  ibid, p.244
22.  ibid, p.244
23.  Institute for Secularization of Islamic Society "Against Hijab" This article deals with the compulsory aspect of hijab since the Islamic Revolution
24.  [3]
25.  [4]
26.  Hessini, L., 1994, Wearing the Hijab in Contemporary Morocco: Choice and Identity, in Göçek, F. M. & Balaghi, S., Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity & Power, New York, Columbia University Press
El Guindi, Fadwa -- Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance, Berg, 1999.
See the website detailing the ethics of the hijab
External links

BBC drawings of different types of Islamic women's clothing
Contemporary Muslim opinion

The Islamic Modest Dress by Morteza Motahhari
Niqab Page
Niqab is not required
The Last Straw!PDF (251 KiB)
News articles

Video debate on Lebanese TV about the Hijab Trancript
In Germany, Debate Over Muslim Headscarf Rages On World Politics Watch 29 November 2006
Southport MP joins hijab debate
NPR article "Dutch Weigh Ban on Traditional Islamic Dress," All Things Considered, January 31, 2006
CBC Story "Muslim girl ejected from tournament for wearing hijab", Sunday, February 25, 2007
Middle Eastern women may have vitamin D deficiency (for not exposed to enough sunlight, Science Research)(Reuters)

Precious Modesty
Burqa sewing pattern
Different Hijab Styles
Egyptian Hijab
Kuwaiti Hijab

Posted by inaali at 18:03

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