Afghan women residing in Afghanistan and abroad are posting photos of themselves on social media, dressed in traditional attire in a mark of protest against the Taliban’s burqa order.
What is Burqa?
A burqa or burka, also known as a chadaree in Afghanistan or a paranja in Central Asia, is an enveloping outer garment which covers the body and the face that is worn by women in some Islamic and Jewish traditions. The Arab version of the burqa is called the boshiya, and is usually black in color.
The term burqa is sometimes conflated with niqāb. In more precise usage, the niqab is a face veil that leaves the eyes uncovered, while a burqa covers the entire body from the top of the head to the ground, with only a mesh screen allowing the wearer to see in front of her.
The face veil was originally part of women’s dress among certain classes in the Byzantine Empire and was adopted into Muslim culture during the Arab conquest of the Middle East.
What Does The Scripture Say?
Despite legal requirements and prevalence in certain regions, most Islamic scholars and most contemporary Islamic jurists have agreed that Islam does not require women to cover their faces.
Although the Quran commands both men and women to behave modestly and contains no precise prescription for how women should dress. certain Quranic verses have been used in exegetical discussions of face veiling. Coming after a verse which instructs men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, verse 24:31 instructs women to do the same.
When veiling was discussed in early Islamic jurisprudence beyond the context of prayer, it was generally considered an “issue of social status and physical safety”. Later, during the medieval era, Islamic jurists began to devote more attention to the notion of awra (intimate parts) and the question of whether women should cover their faces.
Reasons for wearing a burqa vary. A woman may choose to wear it to express her piety, modesty, rejection of Western culture, political views, and cultural views among other reasons. A woman may also wear a burqa on being forced to do so by law, as it is the case of Afghanistan during the Taliban rule.
Image: Dittrich, P