Abaya

Abaya

Overview
The abaya "cloak" sometimes also called an aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe
Robe
A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment. A robe is distinguished from a cape or cloak by the fact that it usually has sleeves. The English word robe derives from Middle English robe , borrowed from Old French robe , itself taken from the Frankish word *rouba , and is related to the word rob...

-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world including in Turkey, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

.
Traditional abayat are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands.
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Encyclopedia
The abaya "cloak" sometimes also called an aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe
Robe
A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment. A robe is distinguished from a cape or cloak by the fact that it usually has sleeves. The English word robe derives from Middle English robe , borrowed from Old French robe , itself taken from the Frankish word *rouba , and is related to the word rob...

-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world including in Turkey, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

.
Traditional abayat are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqāb
Niqab
A niqab is a cloth which covers the face, worn by some Muslim women as a part of sartorial hijāb...

, a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women choose to wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.

The Indonesian and Malaysian women's kebaya
Kebaya
A Kebaya is a traditional blouse-dress combination worn by women in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Burma, Singapore, southern Thailand. It is sometimes made from sheer material and usually worn with a sarong or batik kain panjang, or other traditional woven garment such as ikat, songket with a...

, gets its name from the abaya.

Rationale


The rationale behind the abaya is dealt with at greater length in the article Niqab.

Often the Quranic quote:

O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and the women of the faithful, to draw their wraps over them. They will thus be recognised and no harm will come to them. God is forgiving and kind.33:59 (Translated by Ahmed Ali)


is given as the argument for abaya. The abaya is most common in countries with large Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 Muslim populations, as the entire body, including face and hands are considered elements of the awrah
Awrah
Awrah or Awrat is a term used within Islam which denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with clothing. Exposing the awrah is unlawful in Islam and is regarded as sin...

- that which should be concealed in public from males unrelated by blood or marriage.

Countries


Outside the few Arab states and Saudi Arabia, in nations with large Muslim populations, such as India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 it is uncommon and considered undesirable, however many in those countries do wear it.

Middle East


Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 requires women to cover in public. ( the law in Saudi Arabia also requires men to cover most of their bodies in public. for example, men can not wear shorts etc in public parks or malls anywhere in saudi) to cover mo Covering is enforced by the religious police, the muṭṭawwi‘īn
Mutaween
The word mutaween most literally means "volunteers" in the Arabic language, and is commonly used as a casual term for the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police of Saudi Arabia....

(also known as the muttawwa). In Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 the cover is often referred to as a chador
Chador
A chādor or chādar is an outer garment or open cloak worn by many Iranian women and female teenagers in public spaces. Wearing this garment is one possible way in which a Muslim woman can follow the Islamic dress code known as ḥijāb. A chador is a full-body-length semicircle of fabric that is...

. In South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, it is known as a burqa
Burqa
A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic religion to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering , plus the head-covering , plus the face-veil .-Etymology:A speculative and unattested etymology...

.

United Kingdom


Abayas are not restricted to the East. In cosmopolitan cities such as London, abayas are worn by many Muslim women. There are several shops and online stores selling abayas in the U.K.

Styles


Abayat are known by various names but serve the same purpose, which is to cover. Contemporary models are usually caftans, cut from light, flowing fabrics like crepe
Crape
Crape is a silk, wool, or polyester fabric of a gauzy texture, having a peculiar crisp or crimpy appearance....

, georgette
Georgette (fabric)
Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabric named after the early 20th century French modiste, Georgette de la Plante. Originally made of silk and later of rayon or blends, modern georgette is often made of synthetic filament yarns...

, and chiffon
Chiffon (fabric)
Chiffon, , from the French word for a cloth or rag, is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough...

. Styles differ from region to region: some abayat have embroidery on black material while others are brightly coloured and have different forms of artwork across them.

See also


  • List of types of sartorial hijab
  • Islam and clothing
    Islam and clothing
    Adherents of Islam are concerned with clothing in two contexts: clothing for everyday wear, inside and outside the house; and clothing required in specifically religious contexts....

  • Alyashmac Abaya & Jalabyia home page