In Muslim Countries, If A Woman Shaves her Head, Does She Still Have to Be 'Covered'?

Hello, Straightdopers; AMAPAC here with what must seem to be a, well, stupid question, but no disrespect is intended.

The question occurred to me as I idly paged through photographs of the Manson girls back during the trial when they shaved their heads; these photos were in the news because of Susan Atkins’ death today.

If a Muslim woman shaves her head, does she still have to remain ‘covered’?


I assume so! The head covering is about modesty and respect before one’s God, not to hide one’s hair or something.

It’s not really that different than the head coverings in about a million other cultures. Christians used to go to church with scarves and hats. Hasidic Jews still cover their heads and plenty of people go to synagogue with their heads covered. Sikhs must cover their head in Gurdvara and even lots of Hindus will cover their heads in temple.

I would imagine a woman shaving her head would be treated like a woman wearing pants.

I can’t really give a definite answer, but I think that in most places, they’d say that covering you’re head would still be necessary.

What I would like to say though is that just because one group of Muslims say that the rule on that stuff one way, that doesn’t really mean much. From what I understand, the rules that mandate women be covered, don’t actually say it as such. They say they must “dress modestly”. I can’t give a cite for this, but I remember hearing once about an ethnic group in Africa that took it to mean that women should not wear any clothes at all, because it wearing clothes you were being extravagant and showing off.

The practice of covering heads or whole bodies, depending on how you look at it, isn’t really a religious practice as it is a cultural standard of modesty. I don’t think that the answer to your question probably hinges on whether or not hair is the thing that the culture considers immodest.

I’m not Muslim btw, so it’s not exactly my specialty, but that’s my understanding from what I’ve read.

Plenty of African women are Muslim and have extremely short hair. I don’t think shaving their heads buy them any special consideration. Veiling is as much a cultural phenomena as a religious one.

In any case, the idea that your hair is your “crowning glory” that should only be seen by your husband is a Judeo-Christian one. The Islamic verses that justify veiling are quite different- they refer to Mohammed’s wives, and state that they should meet strangers “through a veil.” Most Islamic veils are expected to cover not just the hair, but the ears, the neck, and part of the bosom. It’s not really about the hair at all.