Why Do Some Women Wear a Hijab?

Have You Ever Wondered...
-- Why do some women wear a hijab?
-- The hijab is most closely associated with which religion?
-- Do all Muslim women wear a hijab?


Have you ever seen a news report, television show, or movie that takes place somewhere in the Middle East? If so, you may have noticed that people in other countries around the world dress differently than you do.
It's not uncommon for different areas of the world to have different styles of dress. Factors such as climate and historical, cultural, and religious traditions can explain why the way you dress might seem completely foreign to someone from another part of the world.
If you've ever seen pictures or videos of people from the Middle East—or people in your own community who have Middle Eastern roots—you may have noticed that many, if not most, of the women wear a traditional headscarf known as a hijab.
A hijab is a headscarf or veil worn by many women who are Muslims or live in Muslim countries where Islam is the primary religion. Whether to wear a hijab or not is a decision that most Muslim women make when they reach puberty.
Some people believe Muslim women are required by law to wear a hijab, but that's only true in a few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and the Aceh Province of Indonesia. For Muslim women in other countries, the choice to wear a hijab depends upon religious, cultural, and political factors.
In the Quran, the holy book of Islam, the word "hijab" usually means "separation." However, the Quran doesn't explicitly require women to wear a hijab or otherwise be isolated or secluded from participation in public life.


Islamic tradition holds that the practice of wearing a hijab began with the prophet Muhammad's wives. He supposedly asked them to wear veils to set them apart and indicate their special status.
Today, many women choose to wear a hijab as a cultural practice to identify as a Muslim. Others may wear a hijab to conform to traditions set by their families and the countries in which they live. The hijab can also be a visible sign of a woman's passage into adulthood.
Others may choose not to wear a hijab in order to blend in and not draw attention to themselves. Rather than relying upon the hijab to maintain modesty, they dress modestly in other ways. Still others may choose not to wear a hijab in order to oppose what they perceive as religious oppression or a patriarchal society.



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