Maintaining Tradition with Islamic Traditional Clothing

In the past few decades, there has been a shift away from Islamic traditional clothing in some sectors of society. While women still wear clothing that reflects their culture and/or religion, the style, fabrics, and fashion all appear to purists to be Westernized. While some feel the newer designs are against the theory if not the actual teachings of the Koran, others believe the spirit is still the same. They feel they are maintaining tradition albeit in a different fashion – pun intended.

Islamic Traditional Clothing
Islamic traditional clothing has been an indicator of the support men and women have for the religious texts. For both men and women clothing reflect a belief in Islam and an understanding of certain religious precepts. For both men and women, the clothing are supposed to reflect their righteousness. For women, in particular, clothing needs to be indicative of their modesty.

Female Traditional Islamic Clothing
When it comes to women, the traditional clothing of Islamic women has been the burqa, the abaya and the hijab. Each has played a significant role in reflecting the culture and the religious beliefs of Islam.

1. Burqa: This is a garment that complete engulfs the body, covering it from head to toe. Traditionally, all women wore it. The only color considered proper for this article of traditional clothing was black. The veil covers the face completely

2. Abayas: This is a more common fixture of both modern and traditional clothing. Like the burqa, the outfit must reach to the ground. It needs to cover all but practical body parts. Traditionally, abayas are black in color and of a heavy plain material. They are frequently worn in conjunction with a hijab or headscarf.

3. Hijab: This is a form of headscarf. A basic part of traditional women Islamic clothing, its purpose is to conceal the neck and cover part of the head. It was frequently worn in conjunction with a niqab.

4. Niqab: A niqab is a peace of cloth. Not quite a veil, it covers the mouth and the nose. The only part visible is the eyes.

Modernity has dealt a blow to the wearing of the stereotypical Islamic traditional clothing. While the Abaya, Hijab and Jilbab remain popular in many countries, the Burqa and Niqab are not as popular in Western society. The various traditional outfits have also undergone a makeover. Yet, this does not indicate women have abandoned modesty. Modern Islam women have kept the spirit of the Koran alive and maintained modesty while becoming stylish.

Male Traditional Islamic Clothing
Many Western men have abandoned Islamic traditional clothing. They have shown a preference for Western attire. Considering the requirements of many types of employments, traditional may prove to be impractical or an actual safety hazard. For those who still wear traditional clothing for special occasions or at other times, the following items are part of Islamic traditional clothing for men.

1. Dishdash: Particularly popular in the UAE, this item of apparel is also called a thobe (taub), Kandoora or Suriyah. It is a long, white robe or tunic with sleeves. It may or may not be accessorized with a besht.

2. Besht: An outer cloak that may be worn over any article of clothing such as a Thobe or even western suits. It tends to be made of wool.

3. Keffiyeh: This is a head scarf. Traditionally, it is white in color, but this may vary according to your tribe. An agal is employed to keep it in place. Some models are now pre-molded or are simply tied around the head.

4. Agal: A black cord commonly used to keep an Arabic keffiyeh in place.

There are other types of Islamic traditional clothing for men. Modernization has occurred but in general, a modern Muslim male wears Western clothing and not updated traditional apparel. This, in particular, distinguishes male Islamic traditional clothing from that worn by females.

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