Research Paper Draft
Head coverings have been used by men and woman throughout the world for a very long time. Head coverings like the hijab are used in religions such as Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Islam is the religion founded by Muhammad. Muslims who follow Islam believe in one God called Allah and their bible is the Quran. Islam means “submission to God”. Some believe that according to the Quran, woman should cover themselves using body and/or head coverings specially when in the presence of a man. Others believe that the Quran does not state that woman must wear coverings and it is a matter of choice. However both would agree that both men and woman must dress modestly and do not show the body too much. Do head covering such as the hijab cause woman to be oppressed or is it merely a form of religious expression. This is a topic that has caused controversy and has been going on for years. Where did head covering and veiling originate from? Research reveals that veiling and head covering dates back to Assyrian text in 13B.C. At that time, wearing such garment was reserved only for elite and respectable women. Women of the lower class such as prostitutes were not allowed to wear veiling or head coverings. Also, the respectable women in ancient Greco-Roman, pre-Islamic Iranian, and Byzantine societies wore veiling. It was not until the reign of the Safavids in the Ottoman Empire, an area that extends through the Middle East and North Africa during the 16th century that the veil emerged as a symbol of social status among Muslims. Since the 19th century Muslims have embraced veiling as a cultural practice rather than simply an Islamic practice.
Many Muslims refer to hijab (head covering/scarf) as the Islamic dress code but the Hijab does not have anything to do with Islam. Wearing the Hijab was actually and old Jewish tradition that somehow made its way into the hadith books which is one of the teaching of Muslim religion. In Christianity woman also wear head coverings and the nuns cover their head at all times. In North Africa there is a tribe called Tuareg and the men in this tribe wear the hijab instead of the woman. This tradition of covering the head and body has been around for a very long time way before the Islamic religion.
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There are many different forms of coverings. There is the abaya which is an outer garment from the Najd region of the Middle East. The abaya covers from the head to the feet. It has become increasingly common amongst the conservative women in Pakistan. Traditional abayas are black and are a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head. There is also the burqa or chadari which is a traditional Central Asian style outer garment that covers the entire body and has a grille or mesh over the face for the woman to look out through. The niqaab is a veil that is tied on at the bridge of the nose and falls to cover the lower face. Also called the "half niqab” is the chador. The chador is an Iranian traditional outer garment that also exists in Turkey. It covers the head and body and is a full-length semicircle of fabric that comes down to the ground. The chador does not have slits for the hands and is held shut with the hands, teeth or simply wrapped under the arms. These are some of the most common traditional