Friday, May 29, 2009

Everything I THINK makes a "Qu'ranic" Jilbab

The evolution of the Qu'ranic jilbab to what can be worn today has to follow some simple guidelines. It must a. be an overgarment (i.e something worn over one's regular clothing), b. loose fitting, c. not see-through, d. not be decorated in an ostentatious manner that increases one's social status, e. not resemble men's clothing, and f. not confuse people about whether you are affiliated with something that is only for the disbelievers such as a haraam behaviour or shirk. A simplification of the Qu'ranic jilbab (albeit a more colourful version) worn by the Prophet's wives (R.A) is the Saudi milhafah overhead abaya that may be cut to only reveal one eye or may be cut with a space for the niqab and is often open in style. It is an overhead abayaat that is cut like a farasha. If closed it is an Egyptian style referred to as Isdal. Only very recently did this type of abayaat evolve to have pronounced t-shaped sleeves. That is because the original garments worn by the Ansaar were more like floor length khimars/and Iranian chador clothes. Anyways, from this style is derived the the popular farasha (butterfly) shoulder cut abaya, and the thobe and bisht abayaat. The modesty of the overhead abayaat have recently been popularized again in the farasha, thobe, and bisht shoulder designs.The shoulder abayaat fell out of the scene a little ways when the shoulder/robe abaya came on the scene in the late 80s. Heading towards the nineties there was harsh debate whether it was appropriate for young Saudi ladies, lol, especially when the skin tight french cut became popular. When skin tight became a trend, the abaya stopped being proper jilbab. With 9/11 a renewed interest in preserving the name of Islam helped many sisters research their hijabs to better explain it to prejudiced persons and more modest loose fitting robe abayaat began to return, as well as more Western takes on the Qu'ranic classic, such as open styles (only hijab when also paired with a modest long dress underneath that is itself an overgarment not the undergarment).Before the open abaya ever hit the scene though, places like Turkey and Syria were manufacturing what are termed "jilbabs"----long modest loose-fitting floor length coats that opened, buttoned and zipped. In the West, sisters found it very hard to find long sleeved floor length dresses that were loose fitting, so many started wearing a long coat with a long loose skirt, and long loose tunic tops with long loose skirts, making the traditional hijab that conisted of one or two pieces, be composed with as many as four. Many sisters who could not find suitable tops lengthened their scarf "hijabs" into what is now termed "khimars"---waist or knee length, and paired them with long skirts that were an overgarment (not the outfit itself but what is worn on top of). Some call these garments more polished "prayer outfits". They are what is closest to what the women of Ansaar were wearing before the ayah revealing khimar was revealed, closer even than an overhead milhafaah abaya:D. Other sisters composed their jilbabs out of one peice of cloth, wrapping it around their bodies, some women with Iranian chadors, other bright traditional African patterns, and come with saris. Anyways, I have seen sisters recently wearing maxi dresses and jumpers with their khimars covering their chests and most of their arms with a modest loose fitting t-shirt underneath, and I do think that this is jilbab so long as the maxi is an overgarment and khimar is covering most of the arms. Also, layering tunic (over top of a tee or a tank) and a skirt (over some kind of bottom) so long as the fabric is not clingy or see through, also constitutes jilbab, and maxi worn as an overgarment with a box coat (not a spandex shrug or carina top) is also Westernized jilbab. The key is, the garment has to remain an overgarment. Even a loose robe abaya worn with nothing underneath of it but bra and panties will leave the indent of your belly button exposed if the wind hits you right. Since finding garments manufactured specifically for the purpose of jilbab was expensive and difficult, many turned to ethnic clothing that was loose and non-see-through enough to do the trick, and wore traditional African and Arab inner clothing as the outer layer. Modestly decorated takchita (some ARE worn to display social status), jalibiyia (some are worn too elaborately decorated to count as jilbab to beeeeeeeee careful), djellaba, long dresses, and caftans, all work as an outer layer provided they are worn as such with the same rules about what a jilbab must be in mind. They often make the most beautiful special occasions dressings.
InshaAllah I hope this post is useful to some of you.
Love Pixie

16 comments:

Stephanie said...

Assalamu Alaikum,
Mashallah Pixie for trying to show sisters the proper way to cover according to the Quran and Sunnah.
I too believe hijab should consist of a loose overgarment and a hijab that COVERS the chest. I will say that you may meet resistance from some sisters and I would have been one of them 1 or 2 years ago. We're all at different levels and that's okay, but I believe that you are doing the right thing in giving naseeha. I really like how you showed various ways that a sister can meet the requirement. Nice post, sister.

Iman said...

Assalamu 3alaikum,
I want to thank you for reinforcing the need for "proper" hijab and for explaining very clearly and repeatedly what is required of the believing women concerning our attire. It has helped me tremendously, and inshallah I am now taking steps to improve my dress and to follow the example of the Prophet's (saws) wives, and the women of the sahaba's dress more closely. Mashallah, I love your blog, and thanks again :)
Iman, UK

Pixie said...

Stephanie: wa alaykom e salaam ramatullah wa barakto. I know, four years ago you would never have caught me dead wearing an abaya or saying feet were anything of awrah:D Still struggles sometimes though. Love my hijab though.

Pixie said...

Iman: wa alaykom e salaam ramatullah wa barakato!!!! Jazzakallah kheiran for some positive feedback. Many are not happy when you say simply what the Qu'ran states, alas. I am not saying they have to, only that the Qu'ran says we are to. I think we need more good hijab rolemodels, and thak fully more modest loose Western clothing has been recently in Vogue.

Almallena said...

Asalaam walikum sis

JazakhAllah Khair for posting these pics. Very useful. Now the question is again, with maxi dresses and long skirts, is it still a jilbab if you dont wear anything under it even though its loose? I mean most people dont wear pants under their skirts. Ya know?


Someone mentioned about the feet being part of the awarah, well thats a difference of opinion, because some of the Tabeen women did not cover their feet. In the hanafi school of thought feet are considered whats part of what is ordinary. So just wanted to point that out there. :). Not saying its wrong to cover up your feet if you believe your feet must be covered, just letting it be known that feet can be shown with the hanafi school of thought.

Pixie said...

Almallena: wa alaykom e salaam ramatullah wa barakto---jazzakallah kheiran for explaining on feet:D

I always am wearing something under my maxis and skirts---pants in the winter and sun dresses or a mini skirt /shorts and a tee in the summer. If the maxi or skirt isn't loose enough to wear a cotton jalibiyia under it I don't feel safe wearing it.Some sisters I know wear slip dresses.

Mariam said...

The girl in the grey and white, Sabrina. is actually wearing pants which wouldn't be considered jilbab, but I guess you couldn't tell eh ;)

Pixie said...

Miriam: I did say some sisters are of the opinion that really really baggy pants (the kind you could wear a mini skirt under) with a long top are hijab, I am just not of that opinion. I do think you could argue that though so I don't go pants, haraam, I just go, not jilbab to me:D But better baggy pants than skinnies. So long as the tunic is long enough or the girl doesn't move get up and move around it looks appropriate. Just not jilbab to me. Thanks for pointing that out though. If it was a skirt I'd love it. In my collage:D it is a skirt cuz she's not moving.

cairo girl said...

Pixie~
Nice post! i was wanting to know where u know of a moroccan caftan online store? i am dying for one with a belt.

Pixie said...

Cairo Girl: I found sme gorgeous ones on ebay. Search "Takchita" sometimes you find deals.

noorsjourney said...

Asslamu aleikum,

JazakAllah Khair for such a lovely and informative blog. I can tell that you are as equally passionate about modesty as you are about style! May Allah SWT reward you for all of your hard work and please keep blogging! The deen needs you!

Heather said...

I have the purple abaya shown in the last set of photos, the one with the colorful accents on the sleeves and going around the collar and down the front! The fabric tends to wrap around my legs (it's cotton, not peachskin), so it's a tripping hazard. : )

Anonymous said...

Asalaamu Alaikum
OMG I was totally looking for something like this because I love covering myself modestly according to the Quran and Sunnah, but sometimes abayas can get boring, sadly but truthfully lol. So Jazakillah khair

Also, I had a question. I'm Paki, and I usually always wear salwar kameez b/c my parents don't like jeans and I'm glad I grew up with that attitude =]... anyway, I was wondering, do u think wearing salwar kameez with a large chador or even a suitable 'dopata' would be acceptable? I usually get the really big chadors, pin it from the back, and alhumdulillah everything is covered except a teeeeny little bit of the salwar from the bottom. I'd like to hear your input about this inshallah.
Jazakallah once again. Wasalaam

Ceritanya Yuyun said...

Assalamaualaikum ...thanks for the post , i found the answer for my question on one of your post ( i did ask before i read this post)..

Ceritanya Yuyun said...

Assalamaualaikum ...thanks for the post , i found the answer for my question on one of your post ( i did ask before i read this post)..

Anonymous said...

Hello from Spain:

I´m a female university teacher and I don´t know the difference between "jilbab", "abaya" and "chador". Could you explain it to me, please?

Thank you all very much.

Maria