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List of Hijab Styles by Region

posted on: Oct 12, 2022

A diagram showing the varying hijab styles, Photo Credit: IstiZada

By: Caroline Umphlet / Arab America Contributing Writer

The hijab, a religious headscarf, is worn by Muslim women to cover their hair and neck. It is an expression of their faith and personal relationship with God and it symbolizes modesty and privacy in Islam. Ultimately, it is the woman’s choice on whether she prefers to wear one or not. Given its long history, styles of the hijab differ by region, country, and culture. There are endless methods to wrap it and ways to incorporate it into an outfit and no correct or one way that a hijab must be worn. Here is a list of popular hijab styles from some Arab countries, varying by region. As a disclaimer, these are generalizations and of course, women from any country can wear the hijab as they prefer.

The Levant

Syrian students, Photo Credit: Johnny Shahan from UNICEF

Syrian women often wear their hijabs tightly wrapped around to frame their face and secured with pins, sporting the Amira style. They wear the color white to symbolize purity and goodness. They also tend to use an undercap to ensure no hair is showing and that the hijab stays in place. 

A common wrap for palestinian women is tight to the forehead and a little looser around the neck. 

The typical Lebanese style is similar to Syria, with it wrapped fully framing the face and draping around the neck, resembling the Shayla style from the above photo. Although, Lebanon is also known for being more accepting to women who choose to not cover their hair at all.

North Africa

An example of a Khimar style hijab, Photo Credit: Ali Baba

A good amount of Egyptian hijabi women prefer a more draped look. A Khimar is common to see, where the fabric reaches all the way down to the naval or sometimes the upper leg. This style is loose and very comfortable.Second, a theme in Egypt is the up-do or turban style. With this style, the hijab covers all of the hair but is tied up in the back. Another common option in Egypt is for women to cover their hair like the amira style, but have the second time they wrap the scarf around their head be more loose, to give the draped look again.

Women in Tunisia, Photo Credit: Cultural Detective

Tunisia and Morocco are similar in that there are many different colors. They tend to wear the Amira or Shayla styles as well.

Gulf Countries

A woman wearing a niqab, Photo Credit: Pinterest

The gulf countries tend to see more full-coverage wear of the hijab. Saudi Arabia is known for then niqab, but for other Gulf countries, like Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar, it is common to see a black hijab draped around the head and a full length black abaya.

An Omani style colorful hijab, Photo Credit: Flickr

It is common for Omani women to start the headscarf covering right above their hairline and pin the scarf below their chin. A thinner scarf is usually worn due to the brutal heat.

Similar to in Oman, in Yemen, we see a style of hijab covering the neck, forehead, and cheeks, and secured with a pin below the chin. Again, a thinner scarf is used because of the drastic heat. Wearing the niqab is also common here. The color of the hijab is usually black.

Regardless of the style, hijabs are a beautiful expression of faith and can show a lot of personality. Each person is subject to their own interpretation of the Quran and how much of their hair/face/body that they want to cover. It is best to ask a scholar and respect others’ personal choices.

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