Muslim clothing for women is a protection. It saves us from the stares of other men, from the glaring of other women and protects us from harm. Women are lectured day in and day out regarding their attire, which can become tiring. But once a woman starts practicing what she wears, it becomes very comfortable and gives her the safety she may have been looking for.
An uncovered woman falls prey to many things, but most importantly to the stares of other men. She feels like eyes are following her at all times and she automatically begins to cover herself. It is a defense mechanism. Islam has certain laws to protect a woman so that she can feel safe.
The requirements for Muslim clothing for women are as follows:
1) The clothes must cover the whole body, excluding the hands and face. Women are allowed to uncover their hands and face even in pilgrimage. Their head should be covered, and the covering should fall to their shoulders, so as not to show their neck and bosom.
2) A woman is to cover her zeenat, which means beauty or adornment. There are two types of zeenat here. The natural beauty of a woman, which is her body and face. And there is the acquired beauty, which refers to jewelry and clothes. All these need to be covered at all times.
3) A woman’s clothing should be loose. The reason for this is so that the outline of her body is not visible to others. This all falls under natural beauty. Some people wear an abaya to fulfill this requirement; however, if your clothes are loose enough, an abaya is not necessary.
4) Muslim clothing for women requires that she wear thick enough clothes, so as not to reveal the color of her skin nor the shape of her body.
Women wear abayas and jilbabs. These are like long coats which fall to their feet. This loose fitting garment ensures that the woman’s body is not on display and is not revealing her zeenat. The headscarf she wears is called a hijab. It should be a thick enough covering so that her hair is not shown and it should be secured in place. Women have been given the permission to dress up in their finest attire for weddings and Eid celebrations. They are allowed to make brightly colored clothing for this important day, since it only comes once and is a celebration to be remembered.
Muslim clothing for women should also differentiate from men’s. They should keep their gazes lowered and away from impure thoughts. Women should not wear clothes that show off their status or those that can be identified as clothes worn by disbelievers. In modern Arabia, an abaya has become a fashion statement, with women wearing gem-encrusted bright and colorful apparel. The traditional, subtler abaya in a plain black is also available in most countries now and is spreading throughout most of the world. Muslim is the one religion on this Earth that gives equal respect to women.