A Comprehensive Guide to 24 Commonly Asked Questions About Hijab

Nadia Ahmed August 12, 2022

What does hijab mean?

In the modern perspective, we know that the term ‘hijab’ is referred to as a head covering. But Islamically, the term ‘hijab’ has a broader perspective, it’s an Arabic word translated as a barrier or a partition’. But the Quran refers to head covering with the term ‘khimar’. 

Imam Abu’l-Fida ibn Kathir: “Khumur is the plural of khimar which means something that covers, and is what is used to cover the head. This is what is known among the people as a khimar.

In ancient times, women wore a head covering regardless of their beliefs. They used to wrap their head with a piece of cloth and pull it back over their shoulders. So, an ayah was revealed regarding the head covering.

“O prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters, and the women of believers to draw their jilbab all over the bodies. That will be better. That they should be known so to not be annoyed. And Allah is ever all-forgiving, most merciful”.

Quran (33:59)

This ayah states that the khimar should be pulled down in order to cover the bosoms, which is one of the beauties of women. So, the hijab is not just the head covering but also the way women should dress up.

Why do Muslim women wear hijab? And its importance in Islam.

The main belief of Islam is submitting your will to Allah(SWT). Its an obligation of all Muslims to follow the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is a guide for all Muslims on how to lead a better life.

There are a few ayahs specified in it about the dressing criteria for men and women. So, women wear the khimar or hijab because it’s an obligatory act for them. It is a representation of their faith and devotion to Allah(SWT). 

This act of practicing the hijab will protect her and honor her. This veil on her indicates the opposite gender that they can’t act casually with her or touch her or gaze at her beauty like she is an object. Today, women are objectified in many places, especially in the media. So, Islam honors its women by protecting them from being objectified, raising her status as no man can touch her in any way. 

Is hijab mandatory?

Yes, it is mandatory. Anything that Allah(SWT)  has commanded a Muslim becomes an obligation upon him. 

Rules of wearing a hijab?

According to the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH), there are six criteria that come under the practice of the hijab.

  1. The body of the woman should be covered fully from the head till below the ankle. The part of the body that can be exposed is the face, palm, and the part below the ankles.
  2. The outfit that the woman wore should not reveal her body shape and structure.
  3. The outfit should not be transparent. The body should not be visible through the cloth. 
  4. The outfit should not be so glamorous that it draws the attention of the opposite gender.
  5. The outfit should not be similar to that of the opposite gender.
  6. Lastly, it should not represent the specific identity of non-muslims. 

At what age do Muslims wear the hijab?

It’s an obligation for Muslim women to practice hijab after she reaches the age of puberty. But for girls before that age, it’s not mandatory.

Is hijab only for girls in Islam?

No, the hijab is for men and women. In fact, in the Quran, the first ayah regarding hijab is directed to the males and then to the females. 

It’s specified for men 

 “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (avoiding its concentration on a person’s body, or a certain part of it) and to be mindful of their chastity; in this, they will be more considerate for their own well-being and purity, and surely God is fully aware of all that they do”

(24: 30-31).

Then comes the ayah for the females:

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.”

Quran (24:31)

When can a woman take off her hijab?

Women can take off their head covering in the presence of their mahrams and other women. Mahrams are the males that a woman can’t get married to. 

Is it ok to show a little hair with a hijab?

NO, the main objective of head-covering is to cover your hair and not show off your beauty to non-mahrams. 

Is it haram to not wear a hijab?

 Anything that goes against the guidelines of Islam is considered haram. And the command to wear a hijab is clearly specified in the Quran. So, yes it is haram to not wear a hijab.

This video gives a beautiful message to women who don’t wear hijab. 

Why do some Muslims not wear the hijab?

Every woman has a different reason for not wearing the hijab. Some don’t wear it because of their personal choice or some don’t wear it because of their work. But the women who do wear it are not forced to do it. They do it as a devotion to their faith. 

Turban vs Hijab?

Hijab – Refer Question 1

Turban – It is a piece of cloth wrapped around the head. It is mostly worn by Sikh men. They also wear it as a religious obligation. 

Does the hijab stop Muslim women from achieving their goals?

Of Course not, Muslim women can work, work out, ride a bike or do anything while wearing a hijab. They achieve success in any field be it politics, sports, business, finance, and many more. There are examples of many hijabi Muslim women excelling in their career paths.


Zahra Lari

She is an Emirati figure skater. She is a five-time Emirati national champion.

Ibtihaj Mohammed

She is a fencer and a team member of the united states fencing. She is the first Muslim American woman to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab and winning a medal with it. 


Ilhan Abdullahi Omar

She is an American politician serving as a representative in the Minnesota 5th congregational district since 2019.

Aisha Mohammed Mussa

She is an Ethiopian engineer and politician, who is serving as the minister of irrigation and development of low-land areas. She earlier served as a defense minister.

Armed forces 

Saleha Jabeen

She is the first hijabi Muslim woman who is commissioned as the second lieutenant in Chicago in 2019. 

U.S. Air Force Chaplain 2nd Lt. Saleha Jabeen, speaks about her journey and what it means to her to be the first female Muslim candidate, on Dec. 18, 2019, at the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois. Jabeen began her journey in India and transitioned from a student of the corporate world to a student of faith. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales)


Raffia Arshad

She is the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to become a judge in the UK. 

Art and entertainment

Mona Haydar

She is the first hijab-wearing woman to break the stereotypes and became a rapper. Her first rap song about the hijab became a protest anthem of the year by the billboard.

Halima Aden

She was the first hijab-wearing model to walk the ramp for brands and designers. 


Melanie Elturk

She is the CEO of Haute Hijab, a leading hijab brand in the USA.

These are just a few Muslim women mentioned here. But there are many more of them around the world doing excellent work and working towards the upliftment of society. 

Countries where hijab is mandatory?

Muslim countries that have sharia law have made it mandatory for women to cover themselves in public. Countries like Saudi, Afghanistan 

How to wear a headscarf?

Wearing a headscarf is very simple and there are many different tutorials available on youtube on how to style the hijab in different ways.

How to wrap hair in a scarf?

There are many ways you can tie your hair under the hijab. You can either tie in a bun for long hair or if you have short hair, you can opt for a braid or ponytail. Tie the hair with a help of scrunchies which will keep your hair from coming out. (youtube link)

Types of hijab?

There are many different types of hijab for women to experiment many styles

  • Maxi: These hijabs are longer in length. So, it’s great for a layered look and chest coverage. 
  • Short-wrap: these hijabs are shorter in length and easy to style as you have less fabric to deal with. These are best for women who are newly practicing girls.
  • Instant: These hijabs are pre-stitched and easy to wear. You can just slip it over your head and you are ready to go. 
  • Crinkled: These are textured hijab that gives you a trendy look. The texture on the hijab adds volume to your hijab look. 
  • Printed: If you don’t want to be basic, you can opt for printed hijabs. There are many different prints that are available in the market. 
  • Ombre: ombre hijabs are shaded hijabs. These look amazing when wrapped around the head. There are two-shade and three-shade ombre hijabs available in the market.

How to wear hijab in trendy styles?

To wear your hijab in trendy ways, wrap it in different ways or add accessories to your hijab. You can add pearl burets, jeweled hijab pins, brooches, or headbands.

Where to buy a hijab?

There are many brands across the web which sell amazing hijabs. Popular brands which sell hijabs are Bella Hijabs, Haute Hijabs and Little Black Hijab. But if you can find all the modest brands and many categories of hijab on Modish Muslimah. 

What’s the ruling on dressing for women?

Refer Question 4

What is a burka?

The burqa A.K.A abaya is a traditional long robe worn by Muslim women across the world. Its available in many different styles

  • Open-front: Front-open abaya is like a robe worn over any outfit. This robe has a belt, zipper, or buttons at the front to fasten it. Front open abaya with a belt is more like a kimono. This abaya can be styled in many ways.
  • Kaftan abaya: Kaftan abaya or batwing abaya looks flattering and gives a beautiful flow. It gives proper coverage. 
  • Cape abaya: If you want a dressier look, you can opt for a cape abaya. The cape abaya is sure to make you feel like a princess. 
  • Sporty abaya: This abaya gives you athleisure and a modest look. It’s perfect for your morning walks or any sporting event. 
  • Party abaya: If you love some bling, then party abaya is perfect for you. 
  • Pleated abaya: Pleated abaya is another classy addition to the style of abayas. It will be perfect for mommy-to-be to accommodate the growing bump. 
  • Coat abaya: Feel warm and beat the winter chills in a coat abaya. These are perfect for a modest winter look. 

Why do women wear burkas?

When the ayah related to hijab was revealed, women at that time grabbed the shawls and wrapped them around their bodies. With time, people started wearing loose long robes in black color that covered their entire bodies. With the modest fashion revolution, the abaya is now available in many styles and shades but still maintaining its purpose.

Countries where the burqa is mandatory?

Countries with sharia law like some cities of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iran are the countries where abaya/burqa is mandatory. 

Hijab vs Burka vs Niqab?

Hijab: Hijab is the act of covering the whole body according to the criteria of the hijab. 

Burqa: It’s a long robe worn by Muslim women across the world to cover their bodies.

Niqab: Niqab is the piece of cloth that covers the face of Muslim women except for their eyes.

What is modest clothing?

Modest clothing is a piece of attire that is designed in a way that fulfills the criteria of the hijab. These clothes are trendy, stylish, modern, and most importantly modest.