Difference between Abaya and Hijab
Key difference: Abaya and hijab are two different kinds of clothing that are available to Islamic women. A hijab or hejab actually refers to the rules of covering up. However, in the usual everyday context, the word is used to refer to a scarf which covers the head. An abaya, on the other hand, can be described as a long robe or cloak, usually black in color. It is worn over the clothing and tends to cover the whole body.
Abaya and hijab are two different kinds of clothing that are available to Islamic women. Islamic women wear these cloths as a form of protection. They also act as a sign of modesty. Many claim that this clothing is decreed by the Islamic religion, culture and norms. Hence, many are times women are forced to wear these clothing in front of men by the social norms, elders and peers. However, many women choose to wear these clothing to represent their own belief in their religion and culture. They are worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty, privacy, and morality.
A hijab or hejab actually refers to the rules of covering up. In Arabic, the term ‘hijab’ literally means “a screen or curtain” and is used in the Qur'an to refer to a partition. Hijab also refers to a metaphysical dimension, where al-hijab refers to "the veil which separates man or the world from God”. Hijab can also be used to ‘refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women or men that conforms to a certain standard of modesty.’
However, in the usual everyday context, the word is used to refer to a scarf which covers the head. It is also often called a Khimār. A woman is expected to start wearing a hijab at the time of puberty and must start wearing other forms of covering as she grows up. The hijab must be worn in front of any non-Mahrams, which is essentially everyone except the woman’s spouse and unmarriageable relatives.
An abaya, on the other hand, can be described as a long robe or cloak, usually black in color. It is worn over the clothing and tends to cover the whole body. The styles of abaya vary, many often contain embroidery of some sort, while some may or may not include a hood. It can be said that an abaya is a type of a traditional hijab. Hijab here refers to the Islamic rules of covering up.
The abaya is usually made of georgette or other soft, flowing polyester fabrics. It has a front crossover opening and can be just pulled over regular clothing. It is often paired with a hijab and/or a niqab. Hijab here is the scarf which covers the head. The abaya is most common in the Islamic cultures on the Arabian Peninsula; however it has been readily adopted in other parts of the world.
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