Useful Tips

HOW TO DRESS A Muslim woman


Where and how do Muslim women dress in Russia?

How should women dress according to Sharia law, can this clothing be not only closed, but also fashionable - and why its quality is no less important than the length of the sleeve.

Tatyana Stolyar

In London in February, the first London Modest Fashion Week in history was held - an offshoot of the main fashion week with an eye on closed, restrained clothing suitable for women practicing Islam. In the spring, Nike provided Muslim women with high-tech hijabs. DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, and even earlier Uniqlo launched capsule collections for Muslim women. In November, Mattel made a fuss by introducing a Barbie doll in a hijab. According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, Muslims will spend $ 368 billion on clothing by 2021. Suddenly, the world looked with great curiosity at Muslim culture, especially fashion. The Blueprint figured out how things are in Russia with modest fashion.

Barbie, the prototype of which was the American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad

At the beginning of the year, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Culture Stanislav Govorukhin said that a quarter of the population of Russia consider themselves Muslims and, accordingly, follow Sharia law. In this set of rules, among other things, strict instructions are given regarding the appearance of a woman. “Muslims are the largest community in which the dress code is closely associated with religion. Moreover, clothing is not related to style, but rather is connected with the continuation of human benevolence, ”explains Irina Tsaregorodtseva, Ph.D. in History from the School of Oriental Studies at the Higher School of Economics. - The standards evolved gradually, in the first years of the existence of Islam there were no rules, their beginnings appeared towards the end of the life of the prophet Muhammad. He had several wives who covered themselves when men came into the house - and ordinary women began to imitate them. In the end, it became a hallmark of pious Muslim women. ” The main thing is inconspicuousness and modesty. A Muslim woman should not attract attention to herself by her appearance or behavior.

Over the years of the existence of Islam, clear rules have been developed for what a woman can and cannot do. To begin with, ideally (the concept of “desirable” is used in Sharia) everyone should wear black abayas - long, dark cloaks. But the minimum list of requirements is as follows: a dense natural opaque fabric that covers hands to the wrists and legs to the ankles, and a scarf that covers the neck and hair. The nuances are also important: no perfume - “so as not to attract other men”, you can’t pluck your eyebrows and dye, the ban on the image of living things, no heels and a certain length of hair - no shorter than the neck. Plus, Orthodox Muslim women are not photographed.

Asiya Bareeva for Bella Kareema, fall-winter 2016

“Once I worked in a beauty salon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Moscow, I remember how the sheikh’s wives came there: wrapped up in abai, and how they’ll be left alone with women - they take off their cloaks, exposing carat necklaces, expensive trouser suits and sophisticated styling , - shares his impressions with image maker and stylist Alsou Arna. She studied at fashion courses of Alexander Vasiliev at Moscow State University, is well known in Muslim circles and works in the direction of modest fashion. Alsou complains that it is difficult for adherents of Islam in Russia to dress according to the rules. At the meeting with The Blueprint, she comes in the skirt of the “eight-year-old prescription of some Arabian designer” and an H&M jacket.


Under the USSR, it was forbidden to demonstrate their religious affiliation, and therefore we do not have a culture of wearing and perceiving a Muslim costume. Here we add the typical problems for the Russian industry: lack of production, poor quality raw materials, lack of professional seamstresses and designers. “In the development of models, we are far behind the West. Every second goes to designers now, as they used to go to lawyers and journalists. But the majority do not have an understanding of religious specificity. ” This very specificity should be taken into account when doing business. So, according to Sharia law, it is forbidden to inflate prices, sell low-quality goods and generally cheat a client in any way. “And then the flow of favorable energy will close,” Alsou explains. As a stylist, she constantly has to check the rulebook. “When considering brands, I will always choose the one whose clothes last longer, even if they are less elegant. First of all, I pay attention to the quality of the goods - as the Qur'an prescribes, this is not discussed. ” Even Sharia does not allow wearing fakes, this is regarded as theft. There are no compromises in Islam, but there are nuances: for example, in Malaysia it is customary to wear hijabs of bright colors, in Chechnya and Dagestan they are elaborate and evening dresses, and embroidery is popular in Kazakhstan. By the way, do you know to distinguish a fashionable Muslim woman from a fashionable one? Everything is like everyone else - for shoes and a bag.

Uniqlo x Hana Tajima, spring-summer 2017

“Compliant Muslim women find it very difficult to dress”

“It is very difficult for Muslim women to obey the laws to dress,” complains the PR specialist of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Moscow, Amina Bidzhieva, “therefore we are only happy when Uniqlo and other brands make lines for us. A couple of years ago I was thinking of opening a luxury boutique in the Vremena Goda shopping center, we contacted Dolce & Gabbana, they promised to extend the sleeves - to fit the outfits to our standards, but it didn’t happen. ” Now Arna and Bigzhieva are working on their own brand of clothing for Muslim women. But for now, the current modest fashion designers in Russia can be counted on the fingers. The most famous is Bella Kareema, operating since 2012 and having eight stores in Moscow, Nalchik, Kazan and other cities, as well as delivery throughout the country. The founders of the brand promote a European understanding of the Muslim costume: in their lookbooks there are pantsuits similar to pajamas, and bright prints, three-quarter sleeved blouses and cropped trousers. A few years ago, the founder of the brand left the team and became the head of the IFDC (Islamic Fashion & Design Council) in Russia: the consulate is engaged in the development and promotion of modest fashion, for example, they organize the forum of the same name at Moscow Halal Expo (annual exhibition of Muslim goods. - Ed.) .

Asiya Bareeva, SPRING SUMMER 2017

Bella Kareema work according to the mass-market model and regularly release collaborations, one of the most notable with the designer Asiya Bareeva, inspired by the North Caucasus Mountains. Until recently, Asia produced bold colorful multi-layer avant-garde clothes made in compliance with all the norms in a single copy, but still too surprising for Muslim women. Therefore, although the press called it a Muslim designer, in fact it was not Muslim women who bought it. Now Bareeva is moving away from liberties: “Let's be honest - my previous works do not fit the canons, this is pampering, I played, I respected the external attributes - length, closeness, but still my clothes were very attractive, but it should be the other way around. Now I took a break, went deeper into the study of laws and I want to make minimalistic laconic clothes according to all Sharia standards. The previous collections are a creative splash, and now a sense of duty speaks in me. ” At the same time, Asia has a very negative attitude towards modest fashion: “Fashion is a mindless consumption machine. All these Dolce & Gabbana collections are hypocrisy, they don’t go deep into Islam, it’s done without a soul. ”

Dolce & Gabbana,
fall winter 2016

“It's just awful, I was shocked when I saw”

With no less negative he recalls the sensational cover of the Russian L’Officiel with a non-Muslim hijab model: “It's just awful, I was shocked when I saw it.” Asia's opinion stands apart; most of the Muslim women we surveyed look positively at the integration of modest fashion into world fashion and the glossy promotion of women in Islam. “People get used to covered women, and that's good. Let a model in a hijab be better on the cover than a Muslim woman in tattoos and with tunnels, ”Alsu Arna shrugs.

Luxury brands of non-Muslim origin are not formally immersed in culture, but this does not stop them from being sold in Russia. And, for example, the department store TsUM quite consciously moving in the direction of Muslim customers. “The Central Department Store’s customers include representatives of various nations and cultures, therefore the assortment of the department store is designed to satisfy the desires of all customers,” the department’s press service comments. “Some brands make special collections and products, for example, in the spring-summer season exclusively in TsUM and Dolce & Gabbana boutiques in Moscow there will be a spring-summer collection of hijabs and abayas.”

Another successful domestic brand - YAND (Your Amazing Namaz Dress), as the name implies, dresses Muslim women for prayer (daily prayer, consisting of verses of the Koran. - Ed.). On average, satin dresses, as if from the wardrobe of an oriental princess, cost 50 thousand rubles. True, few can afford to buy modest fashion in this price range.


Shariah directs a woman to cover her head. Among Muslim women, there are many who do not refuse this sign of obedience to the will of Allah, despite the potential difficulties. But here is how to be covered? There are several ways: hijab, niqab and burqa.


Many people think that this is only a scarf. In fact, the hijab is the minimum level of concealment of the female body that every Muslim woman needs to adhere to. A hijab can be any clothing that covers the entire body of a woman, with the exception of the hands and oval face.

If the hijab includes trousers, then the tunic should be long - at least to the knee. Also, the hem of the clothes should be as long as possible. As for the restrictions on the decoration of a Muslim woman by color, they are minimal - the main thing is that they are not too bright, eye-catching colors. The fabric of the clothes and shawl should not be translucent. A Muslim woman is allowed to wear jewelry, but she is not allowed to look vulgar or screaming immodestly.

However, the choice of what to wear is huge. It can be trousers, tunics, sundresses, costume pairs and triples. In the presence of taste and imagination, all this can be successfully combined with a hat. Today on the Internet you can easily find illustrations and tips that will help you develop your own individual style.

In Russia, many Muslim women wear hijab. Some girls even set up Shariah clothing to help their faith sisters deal with the lack of appropriate clothing.

The Russian girl Catherine, who recently converted to Islam, told us her story. Catherine is 25 years old. She is a graduate of the journalism faculty of Moscow State University. For the sake of the hijab, she had to give up work on the air.

- Was it hard to abandon the air?

- No, the situation itself smoothly pushed me to this.

- Could you join the ranks of the unemployed because of the hijab?

- Not. At work, I was quite loyal to changing the style of my clothes. Many still do not associate this with Islam. They compliment my handkerchiefs, note how they suit me. I am sure it’s not hard to wear a scarf - it’s hard to decide on it.

I was not afraid to remain unemployed, because a good specialist is always in demand and can find a job.

- Why did you wear a hijab?

- At first, I did not attach much importance to wearing a hijab, but gradually the need to close increased in me. I began to feel overly open - probably this happens in parallel with the growth of faith. Putting on hiding clothes became a necessity for me, and therefore the transition to hijab was easy. My life was in no way complicated.

“However, not everyone is given this decision as easily as you?”- There are negative examples of discrimination against women because of a scarf both at work and at home, but there are more positive stories in my circle. Girls work, study and are happy with their appearance.


Nikab is a form of clothing in which only eyes and hands remain open. However, some women prefer to close their hands while wearing gloves. Niqab is popular in the countries of the Muslim East, especially in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The woman’s desire to close to the maximum corresponds to what was said in the Qur'an: “close everything that excites you,” “do not flaunt your beauty.” However, this method of hiding women’s body is not mandatory. Moreover, some Muslim scholars speak of the undesirability of wearing a niqab, citing the fact that it is he who makes female eyes the most attractive to the male gaze. This is confirmed by my personal observations: even the most ordinary girl, leaving only her eyes open, looks more attractive. However, this is true only if the space left for the eyes is greater than the required minimum. The same women who really want to close everything to the maximum, as it is written in the Qur'an, leave only a narrow strip open - even the eyebrows are not visible, and you can not see your eyes. At the same time, the girl herself sees perfectly.

The disadvantages of niqaba include the fact that it’s almost impossible to eat or drink in it, and it’s quite difficult to breathe through the material - especially in summer. Do not forget that wearing a niqab in a non-Muslim society is also dangerous. In addition to a closed face, niqab is no different from a hijab.

As already mentioned above, niqab is more common in the countries of the Muslim world, but there are Muslim women who practice wearing it in Russian conditions. One of them is our heroine.

Lina. He has been wearing a niqab for three years, and dressed him right after marriage.

“Why haven't you worn a niqab before?”

- Because it’s dangerous to go alone in an unaccompanied niqaba.

“Don't you go alone at all?”

- Only if necessary and not far from home.

- How do others react to you?

- Often scared. For example, at the entrance to the store, people immediately strain, but then, seeing that I didn’t come to explode, they calm down for potatoes.

“Yes, not easy.” Why then wear a niqab?

- It seems beautiful to me, I have always been admired by women who are completely closed.

Burqa (she is a veil, she is a burka)

The most radical way to conceal female beauty. It covers the woman's face completely, including the eyes, and also helps to mask even the contours of the female body. This exotic robe, loose cut and bright colors, originates on the head and falls down. In the eye area there is a “viewing window” taken by a cloth net. Thus, a woman, being completely closed, including her eyes, can see everything that happens in front of her. The burqa allows you to really hide "everything that excites" - even the contours of the female outlines.

What is convenient for the burqa? It is easier to breathe, you can drink and eat, use makeup (anyway, no one will see this on the street) and wear short-sleeved clothes. It is inconvenient because in it, all the same, it is hot, and the review is limited. Wearing a burqa is not necessary at all, but many women impute it to themselves as a rule, trying in the best way to follow the wishes of the Almighty regarding concealment of beauty.

In a non-Muslim society, only a few risk wearing a burqa. And then only those who travel only accompanied and on personal vehicles. Therefore, it was especially surprising to find on one of the Islamic forums an advertisement for the sale of burqa in Moscow. This is how the seller herself tells about her business.

Shafa, Russian Muslim.

- In fact, the burqa is not my main product at all - I sell any Muslim clothes. It’s just that when I lived in Afghanistan, I wore a local version of the chodri burqa (in Russian equivalent to “chadra”) and one of my Moscow friends, who often travels to Egypt, ordered me an Afghan chador. I brought her and grabbed two more for sale. Honestly, I was not sure of success, I rather brought it to expand the assortment. But, strangely enough, I managed to sell them and get a few more orders.

- Who were the customers?

- My friend bought a veil to wear it in Egypt. Another girl said that she would wear it in Moscow, although she herself came to buy it even without a scarf. Another buyer - a man - refused to say why she needed him.

“You said you wore the veil yourself?”

- Yes, when I lived in Afghanistan. But on her last visit, she changed her veil to niqab, black glasses, gloves and a spacious robe - the effect was the same as in the burqa, but more democratic by Afghan standards. In Afghanistan, the veil is now losing its popularity. Personally, I prefer to completely close. I would like to do this in Moscow, but, unfortunately, this is unrealistic, and I confine myself to a hijab.

We talked with the first Shafina buyer of the veil - Galia.

Gallia - Tatar, Muslim.

“Why did you buy the veil.”

- To wear it in Egypt. I wanted to close as much as possible, and the veil seemed to me more convenient than a niqab. In the East, it’s better to shut everything down, since women of European appearance stand out very much from the crowd, attracting the attention of local men. The goal of the Muslim woman is not to stand out.

- How do you dress in Moscow?

Чадру я здесь не ношу – очень бросается в глаза. Да и небезопасно это для жизни и здоровья носящей, а мусульмане не должны подвергать свою жизнь и здоровье намеренному риску. Я социально активна, учусь, поэтому никаб и паранджа сделали бы это для меня затруднительным. А вот в Египте я с радостью одеваю паранджу, мой муж говорит, что я выгляжу в ней как блуждающая палатка, а мне хорошо и удобно, только вот жарко…

В России женщинам, которые носят мусульманскую одежду, часто говорят: «не надо делать этого – ведь вы живете в светском государстве». We see how, under the pretext of secularism, they are trying to ban the wearing of the hijab in the West. However, a secular democratic society gives each individual the right to decide how he should look and dress. Someone prefers to dye their hair green and braid them in afro-braids, someone makes a tattoo on their freshly shaven head, someone walks with spectacular piercings on their stomachs - all these people do not bother the minds and glances of “secular” passers-by. The clergy in the cassock and nuns respect. Only Muslim women in a “secular”, “democratic” society are in a situation where secularism and democracy actually only live on the lips, and not in the minds and hearts of fellow citizens. But it would be great if, together with the right to look vulgar and defiant, the right to look modest and hide was approved and confirmed, what others put on display. Then every Russian woman could wear something that is more consistent with her ideas about modesty, whether it be a hijab, niqab or burqa.

(names of some girls changed at their request)

Modest clothes and wraps for women

Sheila. Sheila is a long rectangular scarf of different colors, revealing the face completely. The scarf is wrapped around the head in a free style and one end is thrown over the shoulder over the front. Such a black scarf can often be found in the Gulf countries.

Al amira. Unlike hijab al-amir, it consists of two pieces. One of them is adjacent to the head, the other is freely put on top, leaving the face unprotected. This hat is reminiscent of a short cape with a hat. Creativity is excluded: there is nothing to throw or drape. Al-Amira is common in Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. Since different colors are acceptable, this makes it possible to vary the design of the outfit.

Himar. This is a cloak reaching the waist and hiding the entire upper body except for the face. In cases where you need to hide your face, Himar is combined with niqab. Himar can also have different colors and patterns. This robe is longer than al-amir, since the Himar freely falls from the upper body to the floor, the shoulder area is almost not guessed. Here, women can also choose color options.

Hijab. A hijab is a headscarf, which also refers to "non-strict" Muslim furniture, but unlike a sheila, it is tightly scented around the neck and hides the entire upper body, except for the face and décolleté. Hijab is the most common type of concealing women's clothing, it is worn throughout the Muslim world, and in Tunisia, and in Saudi Arabia. Hijabs of different shades and styles open up Muslim women freedom for a fashionable combination. The hijab can also be cut so that it can be draped like a niqab - leaving only your eyes open.

Chadra. Chadra appeared in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, when women were prescribed closed clothing. This type of bedspread is common here, as in the entire Islamic world, for example, in Pakistan or Egypt, as well as on the Arabian Peninsula - in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq and Bahrain.

This is a long canvas that reaches the floor and hides the whole body from top to bottom. The silhouette of the figure is practically invisible, the face usually remains open. A cloth panel is sewn into the veil, holding it at the crown and reliably hiding the hairline. Translated, the word "chadra" means "tent." She does not fasten on clothes; women usually hold them from the front in front. Sometimes under the veil they put on another smaller canvas.

Dupatta. Dupatta is popular in South Asia - a long scarf that is draped around the top of the head and shoulders in a free style. It is worn with long skirts or dresses.