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A Guide to Common Islamic Clothing for Women

Islamic clothing varies by country, culture, religion, tribe, and even personal preference. Most Muslim clothes usually follow strict design and styles, particularly the ones worn by women.

Most clothes for Muslim women lean towards traditional designs and fabrics. They are generally conservative and modest. That being said, they can be fashionable and trendy too, as they come in a wide variety of colors and styles. The garments are referred to using various names depending on the country they come from. In the next section, we’ll talk about some of the most common Islamic clothes for Muslim women.


Have you ever seen a Muslim woman wear a piece of cloth on her head, sometimes fastened under her chin? That cloth is a headscarf called a hijab, and it’s made of a rectangular or square piece of fabric which is folded, worn over the head and wrapped around the chin. When a Muslim woman puts on a hijab, it covers most of her face and head. The word “hijab” is a perfect description of Muslim women's modest manner of dress. In other parts of the country, a hijab may be called a “shayla” or “tarhah.”


Khimar is a general term pertaining to the head or face veil worn by Muslim women. However, the word is sometimes used to refer to a kind of scarf which is draped over the entire top half of a woman's body, ending at her waist.


An abaya is a cloak for women that they are supposed to wear in public. It is usually made of black synthetic fiber, but embellished versions with colorful embroidery or sequins aren’t hard to find. It is typically worn from the top of a woman’s head, covering her entire body. At times, it is worn over the shoulders. It can be combined with a headscarf or face veil. It is also fastened to ensure that it is completely closed. It is particularly common in the Arab Gulf countries.


The Chador is another cloak worn by Muslim women. It covers the whole body, from the top of the head to the ground. It is kind of like the abaya; however, it is occasionally not fastened in the front. In Iran, it is usually worn without a face veil.


The jilbab was inspired by the Qur'an 33:59, which refers to an over-garment or cloak worn by Muslim women in public. It specifically makes use of a cloak similar to the abaya; the jilbab, however, is more fitted. It comes in a wide variety of fabrics and colors and is somewhat similar to a long tailored coat.


The burqa is commonly worn in Afghanistan and is sometimes referred to as a "niqab" face veil. This veil conceals every part of a woman’s body, including her eyes, which are hidden behind a mesh screen.


The niqab is a face veil worn by some Muslim women. Unlike the burqa, it may or may not leave a woman’s eyes uncovered.

Shalwar Kameez

Last but not least is the shalwar kameez. It is a pair of loose trousers worn with a long tunic. It is commonly worn in the Indian subcontinent and suits both Muslim men and women.

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