Hijabs and Their Religious Significance


The significance of hijabs in Islam is crucial to understand for the Muslims as well as non Muslims. This Arabic origin word can be literally translated into the word veil or cover. As Arabic is the language, in which all revelations about the religion Islam were imparted to the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), it is therefore used quite frequently throughout the Quran in lieu of modest and decent clothing that should be worn by all Muslims. Arabic is not the primary language of many Muslims, however, all seek to learn the language in order to be able to read and understand the Holy Quran. However, it has been translated into other languages including English and Urdu to make it easier for people to understand the important messages relayed in it.

According to the various interpretations of the holy Quran, it is commonly understood that the term hijabs refer to the head coverings or scarves worn by Muslim women. With the passage of time though, there have emerged numerous religious groups, who although follow the basic teachings of Islam, but have certain difference amongst them based on the way they interpret the teachings in the Holy Quran. Due to this sectarianism, the topic of hijabs has received numerous variant analyses.

The most fundamentalist group states that Hijabs mean covering the woman’s entire body from head to toe in loose fitting black outfits which conceal even the hands, feet and face except for the eyes. Opposed to that, the most liberal of the Muslims consider it only necessary to wear clothes which are decent and do not expose the body unnecessarily. The most common and probably the most moderate Muslims however do not agree with either of these versions. According to them, it is extremely important to cover the head with a scarf, referred to as the hijabs, but there is no restriction about wearing only the black loose fitted robes commonly referred to as abayas by them as long as the clothes worn are not promiscuous in any way.

The debate goes on and on between all the different opinionated Muslims of the world, but all are set in following what they believe is the true meaning of Hijabs. What all fail to understand is the religious significance of hijabs, which is to preach respectability and maintain integrity. The question should not be whether covering the hands and feet is correct or wearing pants is correct. The question under discussion should be what we learn from wearing clothes that do not expose the body for all to see. It not only teaches self respect, but also to respect others and their values and beliefs.