History or the Hijab

First mentions of a Veil

The History of the Hijab dates to its first mention with an Assyrian text in 13 B.C.  In the text there was a mention of a ‘veiling’ this was then described as something for the elite or ‘respectable’ women.  Other women of the community such as prostitutes or those of the lower classes were forbidden in the act of ‘veiling’

In the same practise women of higher authority and class in ancient Greco-Roman, Byzantine and Pre-Islamic Iranian societies also practised the act of ‘veiling’.

Long after in the time of the Safavids in the Ottoman Empire which covered an area that included the modern middle East and North Africa during in the 16th Century the Veil started to emerge as having the same meaning and being that of status for Muslims.  Since then the Veil has been embraced and in the 19th century wearing a veil or Hijab has become a part of cultural practice rather than that of an Islamic Practice.

The Veil Becomes A Hijab

That is the first known mention of a veiling and a brief journey through its development but the knowledge of a veil has come from its modern uses in the Islamic faith and is now known as a hijab, the history of the hijab and this knowledge tends to come from its descriptions and uses in the Qu’ran.

There are various interpretations applied to the reading of all ancient scripts no more than those of religious backgrounds.  They all have weighted reinforcement as to there validity and meaning and the Quran is not without its, there are several hadiths, or narrations describing the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad, believed to clarify and supplement the Qu’ranic description of the hijab.

The Hijab is referred to in the Quran multiple times but probably the verse used to defend its religious ethics the most is in the Surah 24:30-31

The believing men are enjoined to lower their gaze and conceal their genitals and the believing women are enjoined to lower their gaze and conceal their genitals, draw their headdress to cover their cleavage, and not to display their beauty, except that which has to be revealed, except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or eunuchs or children under age; and they should not strike their feet to draw attention to their hidden beauty. O believers, turn to God, that you may know bliss. (Qur’an 24:30-31)

In another verse, Muslim women are encouraged to draw their jilbab around them in public, as a means of distinguishing them from others so they would avoid harassment


O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

The history of the Hijab is varied. Vague to some but definitive to others, either way it has come a long way from its common misunderstanding as a way to hide but that to protect Islamic beliefs and in addition is now becoming not only a part of society but now it has also found itself playing a key role in modest fashion.