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Muslim Clothing: Modern Traditions for women

If you live in the West, or in a westernized country, it’s often difficult to wear traditional Muslim clothing. You may feel as if everyone is staring at you, which defeats the purpose of women’s Muslim clothing: to allow women to be modest and discreet. However, there are ways to maintain tradition and still be modern and ordinary enough to satisfy modesty.

The hijab is vital to the Muslim woman. It covers her hair for modesty’s sake, and it gives her a constant reminder to be pure in the name of God. The hijab is the only unusual requirement of a woman's dress. The Quran specifies that a woman should be modest and cover everything but her face and hands; it does not specify that you should wear abaya and veil, which is guaranteed to make you stand out in Western society. That leaves a lot of leeway.

When you wear hijab in public, be cheerful and matter-of-fact about it; don’t allow anyone to embarrass you. If you aren’t comfortable wearing hijab in public, try wearing a chiffon scarf or something similarly modern-looking to cover your hair.

Wearing hijab and ensuring nothing shows but your hands and your face are enough to satisfy Muslim restrictions in clothing if you are a woman; but some women, even in the West, choose to veil their faces with the bashiya and the niqab. And though it’s not necessary according to the Quran, many women also choose to wear black because it’s so traditional a color for outer women’s clothing in Muslim countries.

The abaya is not necessary, but some women feel more comfortable wearing it as well. If you choose to wear abaya, don’t wear it to cover up ugliness; under the abaya, you should take care of yourself and present the best appearance you can.

Whatever you choose to wear, remember that the purpose of Muslim clothing for women is to deflect attention. According to the Quran, women should be modest, and part of modesty is not drawing attention to oneself. Bright, flashy colors are out, as is eye-catching jewelry. Because you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, you may choose a scarf to wear as hijab, and instead of abaya, you may choose to just dress modestly, with long sleeves and skirts, and shirts with high collars.

Women’s Matrimonial Clothing

The one time a woman should not worry about drawing attention to herself is at her wedding. Muslim matrimonial clothing is beautiful, celebrating the beauty of the ceremony, and a Muslim woman should dress like a queen while remaining modest and covering everything.

Traditional Muslim wedding clothing can be very expensive. A Muslim matrimonial dress may have thousands of hand-sewn glass beads and be shipped in from India or Pakistan. And there are other expenses, like henna painting, that can get quite expensive.

You can save a little money, though. Henna, obviously, has to be done fresh each time, but you can always consider renting a Muslim matrimonial dress from another girl; you can find rental dresses online, or if you live in a Muslim area, you may be able to ask around and find someone willing to rent her dress to you.

Regardless of your choice, you should remember to be proud of dressing as a Muslim. To wear clothing, even ordinary clothing that is different from standard clothing in the West takes courage. Wearing Muslim clothing to remind yourself of God is a mark of your own inner strength and faith, and you should never lose sight of that.
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