It's an Abaya – Not a Burkha!

December 14, 2008 § 40 Comments

This is a little personal irk of mine. I always get slightly irritated when someone refers to what I’m wearing as a ‘Burkha’ and not an ‘Abaya’ in Pakistan.

When I say Abaya I mean this: [This design is aΒ  favourite of mine :P]

Or this:

And when I mean burkha, this is what I mean:

or this:

There is a difference! However, I think this has to do with linguistics. Pakistanis tend to call all outer-garments as burkhas, [Including the Hijab/Niqab sometimes] and Arabs differentiate between an Abaya and a Burkha. Usually the ‘burkha’ is an outer-garment worn from the head, for eg. in Afghanistan OR the golden face-covering worn only by old bedouin Women. And Abayas come from the shoulders and well, are slightly more ‘fashionable’.

I’ve realised, over here, people tend to think you’re a jahil if you’re in Hijab, I have a little personal satisfaction when I see their jaws drop when they hear me speak in English. πŸ˜‰

“O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outer garments close around themselves; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.”

(Surah al-Ahzab: 59)

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