Types of Headscarves

We see it now and then. A woman wearing a hijab walking at the diag, in science classes and psychology lectures. There are Muslims on campus. We associate the word hijab with the headscarf Muslim women wear. Nonetheless, the word hijab itself does not mean headscarf. The original Arabic meaning is partition, curtain. The term is used commonly in Islamic guidelines for modesty in both men and women. 

Headscarves are also adorned in other religions, such as the Judeo-Christian faiths. Orthodox Jewish women wore headscarfs to cover their hair and as a form of modesty. Prior to the 18th century, wearing a headscarf was considered customary for Christian women in Europe, African and the Mediterranean.  It still is considered common in some Christian traditions today. Sikh men and women also wear the headscarf before moving on to the turban.


  1. Hijab
    This is the most common headscarf worn by most Muslim women. It covers the hair and neck, leaving the face visible. It comes in many different styles and colors.
  1. Niqab
    This head covering covers the face, hair and neck, leaving only the eyes visible. It is commonly worn by women in Arab countries, but more Muslim women in other countries are choosing to sport this.

  2. Burqa
    The term burqa and niqab are often used interchangeably but they are quite different. This headscarf covers everything including the eyes, leaving a mesh to see. This is common in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reportedly there were also some Jewish women sporting the head covering in Israel. There are currently 15 countries that ban this head covering, citing security reasons.
  1. Chador
    The chador is a body-length outer garment, usually black in colour, worn mainly by women in Iran. It is not secured at the front by buttons or clasps, so the woman holds it closed.

Recently there has been a surge of international brands that have started to produce headscarves and modest clothing, realizing that there is a large market and demand for modest clothing, especially Muslim women. Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Uniqlo are some of them.



Kavind March 20, 2023

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