5 things you didn’t know about religious veils

For the Muslim Times' collection of articles about Hijab

For the Muslim Times’ collection of articles about Hijab


By Abed Awad, who is an attorney, a national Islamic law expert and an adjunct law professor at Rutgers School of Law and Pace Law School. 

Here are five things you might not know about religious head coverings.

1. In Mediterranean societies, rich and classy women wore veils.

Assyrian law required free women to cover their heads in public. Prostitutes and slave women were prohibited from veiling. Greek and Persian society had similar requirements. Zoroastrian free women, for example, wore full body coverings and headdresses.

2. Some Jewish traditions consider a woman’s hair too sexy

Veiling in Jewish law is related to modesty. The veil in today’s Jewish communities depends on the religious denomination. Some Hasidic women, for example, shave their heads after their wedding and repeat the shaving monthly, wearing a wig in lieu of hair. Other Jewish women wear a scarf to cover their hair. More liberal branches of Judaism reject veiling altogether.

3. Apostle Paul said Christian women should wear veils.

Consistent with the cultural perceptions at the time, Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, explained:

“For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.”

Later, Tertullian, an early father of Christianity, wrote a detailed code for women’s head coverings called “On the Veiling of Virgins.” Head coverings are still common in conservative Catholic communities, as well as Anabaptists such as the Amish and some Mennonite Christians.

4. Quran never mentions the word “veil”

In verse 24:31, the Quran says:

“Tell he believing women to avert their eyes, and safeguard their private parts, and not to expose their attractions except what is visible. And let them wrap their shawls (khimar) around their breasts …

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Categories: Arab World, Asia, Highlight, Hijab, Religion, Women

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2 replies

  1. nice article, unfortunately less and less women care about veiling these days………….in the name of freedom immorality and vulgarity is rising despite irreparable damages

  2. Writer needs to know that the word used in the verse mentioned (24:31) is Khumur, which is plural of Khimar (which the writer has used wrongfully). Khumur in arabic means “headscarf” or “head-cover” NOT shawl as he has misinterpreted it very conveniently to mislead a few into believing that covering the head is not a part of our religion. It is! Hence, the translation would say “and to draw their headcovers over their bosoms”. Either do a bit research or don’t misinterpret the verses of Quran pls.

    Yet those who don’t cover their heads it’s their personal choice. Only the Almighty has the right to judge that female not men or other women.

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