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17 May '16

Abaya

Posted by Priyanka S in islamic clothes

What is the main difference between the Abaya of Muslim and non-Muslim women?

Probably the most significant difference between Muslim and non-Muslim women with regards to Abaya is that Muslim women are more willing to invest more in this clothing. They know that this is part of their lifestyle while for the non-Muslim woman, they are just adapting to the local way of dressing.

Why do some Muslim women wear Abaya while others dont?

While majority of Muslim women believe that wearing Abaya is a total requirement, there are also some who think that modesty is a state of mind. Instead of being covered, a small portion of Muslim women think that they can better demonstrate modesty through their behavior towards men and other people.

Does the color of the Abaya mean anything?

Generally, Muslim women can wear whatever color they want as long as it does not generate unnecessary attention to themselves. Because of this, the popular Abaya colors include green, gray, blue, black, and other earth-tone colors. But in several countries, black is the preferred color.

17 May '16

Kaftan Dresses

Posted by Priyanka S in islamic clothes

Kaftan (Caftan) Dress

A Kaftan is a considerably long gown with open front and long sleeves. At times it is worn over a dress as an overall gown. It is often buttoned at the front or is belted in the middle. Mostly a Kaftan has embroidery patterns or fine beads work, and its sleeves are wider than an average dress. This dress is essentially linked with Islamic cultures and the Muslim tradition, however many Hollywood actresses have also worn it for style. Kaftan that originated in the Middle East, is now quite popular among Muslim men and women.

Men’s Kaftan

Kaftan for men is a full length dress with collar, full sleeves and some embroidery on the front and sleeves. Men’s Kaftans are usually buttoned on the front. They are preferably made of cotton fabric. In Senegal men’s Kaftans are designed in cotton. In history, men wore Kaftans as court dresses. A Kaftan could be a general or nobleman’s bounty or it could be a symbol of rank and status. Turkish Kaftans were most popular among Ottoman rulers and in that era women in Turkey wore Kaftan with a sash. People in Southeast Asia liked wearing Kaftan in summer and tailored it in Batik fabric.

Women’s Kaftan

Women’s Kaftan is also known as Jalabiya. In the past it was a preferred dress among Moroccan women while the West African women called it Boubou and wore it as a pullover gown. Kaftan gained popularity in the West from 1960s onwards and became the fashionable attire of many film stars.

Fabric and Style in Women’s Kaftan

Women’s Kaftans are made in Silk Satin, Raw Silk, Chiffon, Georgette, and Habutai silk. They are classified as short and long kaftans. Shorter tunic style Kaftans can be used as trendy tops to wear over jeans and trousers. Longer Kaftans are full length or ankle length and carry the elegance of party wear. These garments carry traditional motifs, or they are embellished with sequins and zari work. Beaded embroidery, colorful floral and traditional patterns are distinguishing features of a Kaftan.

Modern trends in women’s Kaftan bring to mind a large rectangular piece of fine and soft fabric doubled with an opening in the middle which is taken as a hole for the neck. It is stitched up on the sides allowing reasonable opening space for arms and a self-tie belt in the middle section. The neckline is often decorated with attractive embroidery patterns or beads work. A Kaftan’s neckline can be square, round or V shaped. Some styles show buttons on the front.

Layered Kaftans designed in Chiffon impart style and elegance to women. These in bright, catchy colors are favorite party dresses that promise glamour, comfort and ease. In summer cotton Kaftans are preferred for casual wear. They are designed in cool pastels and slashed sleeve style.

Kaftan is a popular dress among Middle Eastern countries. People in many regions wear it for a national dress. It is a comfortable and cooler dress for both genders that allows everyone to carry themselves with grace and glamour.

17 May '16

Islamic Clothing for Women

Posted by Priyanka S in islamic clothes

Understanding Women Hijab, Abaya for woman and other Islamic and Muslim Clothing

Muslims follow the religion of Islam. As part of their religion they believe Allah to be their Creator, God and sustainer. Allah revealed the Quran (Islamic religion’s holy and noble book) and in it Allah has provided the commandments to all human beings to believe in only one creator (Allah), provided the guidance to live ones life, the concept of life and death, punishment and rewards after death in the next life, and many other such commandments.

Since the creation of the heavens and the earth, Allah has revealed his message to prophets and messengers. Some of the prophets included Jesus (son of Mary), Jacob, Joseph and Muhammad. Allah revealed his message on his prophets and messengers in the form of scriptures and holy books. These books include Bible, Torah and the Quran. Overtime,  Allah’s message was changed by the people for various reasons. Allah sent Muhammad (saws) as the last prophet and revealed his last book, the Quran (also referred to as Koran) on Muhammad. The Quran has remained unchanged since its revelation more than 1500 years ago as Allah has promised that it would be free from any human changes until the day of judgment.

The foundations regarding Islamic Clothing are mentioned in the Quran and through Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) teachings and practices. The primary purpose of Islamic Clothing is to cover a man and a woman’s body as prescribed by Islamic law. This article briefly delineates the various forms of Islamic Clothing worn by Muslims across the world.

The common Islamic teachings require women to cover all their bodies with the exception of the front part of the face and hands (from the wrist area to the fingers). All other areas are required to be covered.

Understanding the concept of “Islamic clothing” also requires an understanding of the term mahram and non-mahram. Although Muslim men and women are required to dress modestly at all times, a Muslim women is usually not subject to the same Islamic teachings in front of mahram men. Mahram men include husbands, brothers, fathers, fathers-in-law,  sons and certain other close relationships. Everyone else not permitted in Islamic religion fall under the category of non-mahram.

Abaya

Abaya are robes like dresses that Muslim women wear on top of regular clothing. The primary purpose of wearing an abaya is to completely cover oneself so as not to expose any bodily attributes or beauty as Islam instructs women to guard their beauty from all men except those who are specifically allowed.

Head abaya

Certain religious interpretations require a women to dress in clothing that should not expose any body formations whatsoever. In such cases, Muslim women wear abaya dresses that rest on top of their heads and extend below the ankles. This ensures that a women’s body formations stay hidden from men who are not lawful to a woman.

Black abaya

Black abaya are more commonly worn in black in most middle eastern countries, especially those in the Guf region. These countries include Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and other neighboring countries.

White abaya

These abayas are populary worn in Far Eastern muslim countries.

Colored abaya

As abaya are popularly worn among Muslim women, abaya designers have created new abaya fashions and have designed embroidered and colored abaya. These abaya are popularly worn in Jordan, western countries and are also now being worn in Middle Eastern countries.

Abaya dresses come in many types of fabrics. However, Rayon/Polyester material is the most common fabric used in their manufacture. Other fabrics used include cotton, chiffone and georgette.

Jilbab

The word Jilbab refers to “something that covers”. Jilbab are often used synonymously with Abayas. However, new clothing trends set Jilbab apart from Abaya dresses. Jilbabs are more fashionable and western looking long coat like dresses that cover the body. Most women weart Jilbab over regular clothing.

Hijab

Hijab is a headcover that Muslim women usually wear to cover their hair and head. The word Hijab is a derivative of the Arabic word “hajaba” that means “to conceal”. Certain Islamic interpretations refer to Hijab as covering the face as well as the head. The most common interpretation refers to covering the head and the hair.

The requirements for covering the hair is in the most common and accepted Islamic teachings that requires Muslim women not to show any bodily hair to men whom they are not related to in certain relations. For example, Muslim women do not have to cover their head and thus can show their hair to their fathers, husbands, sons, fathers and other men who are specifically allowed as “mahram” (legal). For all others that are not specified in the Islamic teachings, the Muslim women are required to cover their head and head hair.

To enable Muslim women to abide by the Islamic teachings, manufacturers have designed many forms and designs of Hijab. Certain are basic scarves and shawls like fabrics that Muslim women can use to cover their hair by folding the scarves and shawls in a certain patterns. Others are sewn to better fit the head area, and to cover the hair without the hair slipping out of the Hijab. Others Hijab styles come in a pair in which one piece serves as a hijab cap that covers the hair while a shawl covers general coverage of the head area. Hijab capscan be matched with shawls of various types as well.

Hijab garments are most commonly available in cotton and polyester blend fabrics. Cotton is more commonly used in the summer as cotton is a breathable fabric and allows Muslim women to stay cool in the summer months. Polyester blend fabrics however are most commonly and widely used.

Scarves / Shawls

Scarves and Shawls are worn as Hijab to cover the head fully, the neck and the upper chest areas of the body. Scarves and shawls worn for this purpose usually have larger dimensions to provide coverage of the mentioned areas. As scarves and shawls are worn by non-Muslim women as well, Muslim women find larger selection of designs and colors and therefore use them as Hijab.

Arabic Clothing

Arabic Clothing refers to thobes and other long dresses. These are kaftan dresses or similar and in some cases resemble long maxi dresses as well. These are embroidered and mostly fully sleeve dresses.

Niqab

Niqab is a garment that enables Muslim women to cover their faces from non-mahram men. Niqab is widely used by Muslim women who believe in the Islamic teachings of covering ones face also (besides the head and hair) from non-mahram men. Figure 5 illustrates Niqab.

Long Skirts

As Muslim women are required to cover themselves from top to toe, long skirts are popular among Muslim women. These popular skirts extend all the way upto the ankles to provide full coverage of the legs.

Long Muslim skirts are commonly found in western markets and, therefore, are less challenging to find and wear for Muslim women.

Long Blouses

As mentioned earlier, one of the primary requirements of dressing up in front of non-mahram men is that Muslim women dress modestly and not reveal their bodies in the nude or by wearing tight clothing that reveals body shapes and contours. As wearing trousers sometimes makes it challenging to meet that requirement, Muslim women prefer wearing long tops, kurta, and blouses to cover the hip and waist area.

 

17 May '16

Islamic Clothing

Posted by Priyanka S in islamic clothes

Dishdasha

Dishdasha or Thobes are the long robes worn by men and women in the Middle East. These garments are also referred to as thobes. Dishdasha worn by men are mostly plain while women's dishdasha are colorful and more fashionable. Dishdasha is considered to be a modest form of clothing as in contrast to western clothing, it is less revealing and does not outwardly reveal shapes and body contours. This form of attire is worn more popularly in Arabic speaking and Middle Eastern countries.

Abaya

To read more about Abaya, visit information on Abayas section.


 

Islamic Clothing Resources

Following are some of other Muslim Clothing resources that provide an insight into the various types of clothing that Muslim women wear.

 

 

10 May '16

Hijab

Posted by Priyanka S in hijab, Islamic culture

Hijab

Does the Quran strictly say that women should wear hijab?

Islam doesn’t provide an exact description about what Muslim women can wear. That’s the reason why Muslims from all over the world have different forms of hijab. But it makes clear that the head and body of the woman should be covered in such a manner that the hair and figure should not be displayed. The book provides guidelines that govern behavior as well. For example, the verse states, “…say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof” (Quran 24:30-31)

Are some Muslim women forced to wear hijab?

For the majority of Muslim women, wearing hijab is a choice; it is part of their personality and their identity. But in some instances, they are required to wear it in public places. Some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, for example, require women to wear hijab to cover their body. Also, Muslim families usually require their women to follow the code of Islamic dressing. The head of the family has the responsibility of ensuring that Islamic teachings are implemented in the family. With this in view he might compel his wife, sisters or daughters to observe hijab. Such a compulsion is similar to people being compelled to follow rules for their own safety, for a proper organization of society and the well-being of the whole society.


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