Muslim customs and traditions required that a woman’s body and face should not be seen by any man other than the woman’s husband and requires all women who have to venture out into the world to wear a traditional long dress and wear an outer garment. Read on know what a burqa is.
- A burqa is a very loose outer garment worn by women from head to toe following some Islamic traditions. The enveloping garment is worn for the specific purpose of hiding the female body when in public and only the hands are exposed. It is worn over regular daily clothing and can be removed when the woman goes back home and are not seen by any man who is not her husband, her father, uncle, brother, son or grandson.
- The burqa is made up of the light fabric that is worn by women when they leave the home. It is worn together with the head covering and the face-veil that covers the woman’s face below the lower eyelid. It is not worn indoors where the family is present. The burqa can also be spelled as burkha, burqua or burka. The veil that covers a woman’s face is called a purdah.
- It is believed and there were concrete evidence to prove that Arab women have worn the burqa even before the birth of Islam. Written works from the early 200 AD have passages that have praise to the “modesty of the pagan women of Arabia” that covered their head as well as their whole face.
- The wearing of the burqa differs among the Muslim countries. In North Western Pakistan near the Afghan border, the full Afghan chadri is worn by the women, frequently referred to as Shuttlecock Burqa for its resemblance to a badminton shuttlecock, with only a very small opening or a concealing net about the eyes. In Afghanistan before the reign of the Taliban, women in the cities seldom wore the chadri. It was only after the Taliban began to rule Afghanistan that women who goes to public places began to wear the chadri.
- Under the present Afghan regime, Afghan women are not required to wear the chadri but this is still imposed by local warlords in southern Afghanistan. In Kabul, the use of the chadri is on the decline and is variable for the rest of the country.
- In Pakistan, the wearing of the burqa has also declined and can only be seen in rural areas of the North-West Frontier Province, in some areas of Balochistan and Punjab and smaller cities like Mianwali.
- Acceptance of wearing the burqa by Muslim women living in the Western world is varied and has created controversies in Western Europe. The wearing of the burqa and face veils was also the subject of controversies in France and the United Kingdom. After a The fact-finding mission of thirty-two French law makers reported that access to public services and public transport should be blocked to those wearing the burqa, according to the report they submitted on the twenty-sixth of January 2010.
The Muslim dress code for women comes in many forms and burqa is just one of them. It is the most conservative garment used by Muslim women. Pakistani and Afghan women mainly wear the burqa. Blue is the main color of burqa, making it very easy to recognize.