Why and When Do Muslim Girls Wear the Hijab?

Wearing a Veil: Religious, Cultural, Political, Fashionable Reasons

The hijab is a veil worn by some Muslim women. Wearing a hijab is part religion, part culture, part political statement, even part fashion. Most of the time it is a woman’s personal choice.

Islamic History

Although the Quran doesn't clearly say women should be veiled or kept away from participation in public life, oral traditions say that the practice was originally just for the Prophet Muhammad's wives.

None of the main Islamic religious texts specifically say that women should be veiled and how.

Is there a Law?

Until 1979, Saudi Arabia was the only Muslim-majority country that required that women wear a veil in public—and that law included both native and foreign women, regardless of their religion. Today, veiling is legally required for women in only four countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and the Aceh Province of Indonesia.

In Iran, the hijab was imposed on women after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Today, women caught improperly veiled in Iran are fined or punished.

In Afghanistan, some women wear a burqa that covers the woman's entire body and head with a mesh opening for the eyes.

Who Wears the Veil and At What Age?

In some societies, married women wear a veil; in others, veil wearing begins after puberty. Some girls start younger.

Some women or cultures prefer dark colors; others wear a full range of colors. Some veils are sheer scarves tied around the neck and upper shoulders, while other women wear full-body black and opaque coats, with gloves and thick socks.

Why Muslim Women Wear the Veil

Some women wear a hijab as a cultural religious Muslim practice and as a way to reconnect deeply with their culture and religion.

Some African-American Muslims adopt it as a sign of self-affirmation after generations of their ancestors were forced to unveil and become slaves.

Some wish to be identified as Muslims.

Some say the hijab gives them a sense of freedom, liberation from having to choose clothing, or having to deal with a bad hair day.

Some choose to do it because their family, friends, and community do it.

Some girls adopt it to show that they are adults.

Why Muslim Women Do Not Wear the Veil

Some Muslim women choose to stop veiling after realizing that the scriptures don’t demand it.

Some say they can be modest without the hijab.

Some believe the hijab is a distraction from serious issues like poverty, domestic violence, government oppression, and patriarchy.

Source: Why and When Do Muslim Girls Wear the Hijab?
Huda. "Why and When Do Muslim Girls Wear the Hijab?" Learn Religions, Aug. 26, 2020.

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