What Do Muslim Women Wear on Their Heads?

Muslim women commonly wear a head cover called a hijab, which simply means “screen” or “cover” in Arabic. Mainly worn by women, a hijab is also sometimes worn by men as a symbol of modesty.

There are several forms of headwear commonly worn by Muslim women, each varying slightly in appearance. These include the shayla, khimar, chador, niqab and burqa. They are typically wrapped around the head and shoulders and sometimes cover the face and torso. These articles of clothing are worn in respect to the beliefs of Muslim women, to promote modesty and to help establish and present their identities. Not all Muslim women wear these coverings, and it is a common misconception that women of the Muslim faith are forced to wear a hijab or other religious headwear, according to Saulat Pervez for the 877-WHY-ISLAM project.