Moslem Women's Headscarf


I once read about Moslem women’s headscarf
being a symbol of faith rather than traditional garment and was brooding since.

If anybody knows more about it, could the
headcloth be compared to the small crucifix,
Christians use to wear around their necks
(or the like)?

And, if Moslems and Christians are in fact
brothers in faith…-, no question.
We would certainly expect that our crucifix
is tolerated anywere in the world, wouldn’t


Don’t hold your breath. I still remember when I was in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, I took my desert top off to keep it from getting dirty so I could crawl under one of our HUMMVs. On my dogtag chain was a gold crucifix (I’m Catholic). After I got out from under the Hummer some Royal Saudi Air Force personnel were in the area and got upset because my crucifix was visible. They told me not to display the crucifix and began to lecture me about my wrongdoing. At this time I had been marooned in this sandpit going on to seven months and we all had a feeling, it was in January 1991, that a world of hurt was going to break loose real soon. I was tired, homesick, and just plain irritated at the moment so I basically told them that I didn’t give one flying ratfuck about what they were saying and got in the Hummer and drove off, making sure to dust them real good in the process. If there was religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia, then it wasn’t where we were at. Made you wonder what the hell you were fighting for to begin with.

Another curious thing I witnessed in Saudi Arabia was the interesting little island nation of Bahrain. It was connected to the Arabian peninsula via a long causway into the Persian Gulf. Bahrain had bars, hookers, and all sorts of decadent western entertainment. During one R&R I noticed quite a few Saudis partying up and tearing into the ladies. I guess that long causway ride gave them time to sober up and adjust their robes and headgear before reentering Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Muslims did not, in any sense of the word, consider us brothers in faith. Our chaplains had to go around with the official title of “Morale Officers” so the Saudis would not be offended about any possible non-Islamic services on their holy ground.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

This covering is called the hijab.

I must admit that I am biased against the hijab. More so than I have a right to be, since it is not my religion. It is my observation that the more women are required to cover up, the more suppressed they are.

IMO, the hijab is not equivalent to a cross (or a pentagram, star of david, etc. …) The hijab is removed once the woman is in the privacy of her home: it is only worn in public. Its purpose is to hide the woman’s beauty, not to symoblize her faith.

For a nice rationalization of the hijab, check this out:

Interesting page Zyada. The hijab is not worn by all muslims, and is not like the cricifix (they are not allowed to use symbols to represent their religion, like Christians, Jews, pagans, etc. do). Many women in Turkey do not wear the hijab from day to day. They dress in a more western manner (and by far are one of the few Muslim countries who are very Secular.). For many muslims the Hijab is a sign of modesty, much like wearing a hat in public was for western women in the 50’s (well in America at least). I remember watching a travel show, where they were in Cairo, and one of the female hosts asked about the Hijab, and the woman she asked replied that it was a personal choice, and not something that was mandated by Islamic law (as they said…the Taliban would disagree).

As to the comment about Muslims and Christians being brothers in faith,it depends where you go. In Saudi Arabia i hear it’s against the law to preach anything but Islam,or to wear crucifixes, or any non muslim related item. On the other hand in Turkey, they have no problems as a whole with Christians, and there is even a Catholic diocese in Turkey. My Cypriot-Turkish friend is so secular he believes that no religion is better than another. His family even celebrates Christmas, and he is definately Muslim! So, it depends on how much religion has influenced government and society.

Like many religious, most people know scarecly little about what their religion preaches.

I have talked to many Jehovah’s Witness, Mormans and Muslims that are shocked, when they find out the goings on about their religions. Most Christians are too not knowlegeable. In fact I have met quite a few Catholics that brag about they shouldn’t know about their religion as the “Mystery” is what makes is beautiful.

I believe religion has much good use but like anything can be misplace.


I thank you all for your replies…, but

I am in fact not very satisfied with what
we got from the thread up to now… :wink:

Definitely a subject I have to address again
some day.

Oh Could This Really Be (!), that the islam
or rather what its followers achieved so far,
makes it so difficult to quote or present
one single comprehensive opinion about
symbols worn to represent one’s faith (I
have thought that our own religion and its
many unnecessary divisions made things

Or the other thing I mentioned: the very
small gap between christians and moslems.

Unsatisfactory, as I wrote above… :frowning:

QuickSort, I don’t understand what your problem is. You asked reasonable questions and got reasonable answers. Namely: (1) the headscarf is for modesty, and is not symbolic, (2) tolerance is not as widespread as you thought.

I think maybe what you need to do is:

(1) Go back to whoever told your that the scarf is symbolic, and ask them for more details, and

(2) Figure out where you got this idea about Moslems and Christians being “brothers in faith” and find out more about what that means.

Good luck!

The answer to the question is very simple - Muslim women observe HIJAB (covering the head and the body) because Allah has told them to do so.

“O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed…” (Qur’an 33:59)

This from

which offers much more information in response to the question “Hijab - repression or liberation?”