It’s easy to get lost in all the panic around the #BurkiniBan, types of clothing worn by Muslim women, and what each of them really means.
But it’s not all that scary when you know what’s going down.
“Aren’t you hot in that, love?”
Hijabs are commonly used to describe a headscarf, niqabs refer to the face veil, and burkas are a little open to interpretation, sometimes referring to a garment that drapes from the head all the way down, which may or may not cover the face.
Sure, it feels hot sometimes… like when it’s hot outside and everyone is hot anyway! Or as GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain put it earlier this week, when you find yourself cooking over a hot stove in a headscarf (not recommended).
“What’s that fancy dress you have on there?”
Well, it’s basically just a maxi dress. Both abayya and jilbaabs refer to a light and airy long-sleeved dress, preferred by some Muslim women, as they believe it fulfils their religious requirements.
“So what’s a hijabi?”
Behind all of these dress codes is the religious principle of hijab in Islam. So all of these women are sometimes referred to as hijabies. Men can be hijabies too…
The rule of hijab applies to men and women. In the Qur’an, it is as much about behaviour as it is about physical appearance. Both genders are encouraged to be modest and mindful of God.
“But you look oppressed. Can I save you please?”
The point is, hijab is a choice. And even if someone looks different to you, it does not mean you are superior to or freer than them. They don’t need saving!
“It’s a shame you can’t be yourself.”
Hijabs, niqabs, burkas, abayyas and jilbabs come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Our beauty is in our differences, so there’s no point lumping everyone in the same box. Plus, have you not seen the hijabi fashionistas of Instagram? Each blogger chooses her style (or several).
Choice. That is the point. So perhaps it’s time we stop regulating different types of dress, start understanding each other, and embrace our freedom of choice.