Hijab vs Veil: Difference and Comparison

Scarves and veils of various colors and forms were worn in innumerable cultures even earlier than Islam emerged in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century.

Head coverings are still worn in several religions today, especially Conservative Judaism and Catholicism. Here the difference is dealt with between two such wearables, Hijab and Veil.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hijab is a headscarf Muslim women wear, covering the hair and neck while leaving the face visible.
  2. The veil is a general term for a piece of fabric used to cover or conceal the face or head in various cultural and religious contexts.
  3. Hijab is a specific form of veiling within the Islamic tradition, while veils serve a broader range of purposes across different cultures and religions.

Hijab vs Veil

Hijab is a term used to refer to a headscarf that covers the hair, ears, and neck, and is worn by some Muslim women as a sign of modesty and religious observance. Veil is a more general term that refers to any piece of cloth that covers part or all of a person’s face or body, and it is not necessarily associated with any specific religion or culture.

Hijab vs Veil

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Hijab is a concept of a Muslim woman’s commitment to modesty in dress. This phrase also refers to a specific piece of clothing. A headpiece, similar to a scarf, is included in it.

Women in Islamic countries wear this. The goal is to fully conceal their head and hair. It is a sign of their religious belief. Hijab is available in a variety of forms that vary as per the culture and the preferences of the ladies who use it.

A veil is a piece of garment that is utilized to cover an object or an individual if understood in the most basic form.

Veils have been used primarily for religious reasons all through history and across world cultures, and are most commonly utilized for covering or dressing women.

Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonHijabVeil
MeaningIt denotes the act of concealment, although it is frequently used to denote the headscarves dressed by Muslim women.A piece of cloth worn to conceal the face or a sacred object.
Religion Associated with Islam.Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Covers Wraps a woman’s hair, neck, and may even cover her arms.Some are elaborate and cover the entire head, while others are pinned to the hair.
PurposeReligious only.Religious and for wedding purposes.
Gender Worn by women.Generally, by women but in some cultures, even men have to wear it.

What is a Hijab?

Hijab although refers to a scarf worn by Muslim women, the name also refers to the practice of hiding in general. These scarves are available in a variety of styles and shades.

The kind most commonly used in the West leaves the face clean while covering the head and neck. No hijab conceals the face.

The term hijab, which means “hidden barrier,” is very important in the Qur’an. It’s a wall or something that seems like one, that separates one person from the other.

It is important to note that the Prophet’s wife approved this kind of hijab. The hijabs of the prophets’ spouses were imposed since they were the prophets’ wives. She wore a garment around her neck, not just outside but also inside.

It was recognized in Arabia before Muhammad’s time. It was a symbol of people’s social rank at the time. The hijab, which covers the body from head to neck but not the face, was only available to wealthy Muslims.

Hijab is required for women in some nations. If a female does not cover her head with the hijab in such areas, she is seen to be disrespecting the faith and performing a sin.

On the other side, the hijab has been outlawed in various countries in recent years. It’s because the hijab is seen as robbing women of their freedom and uniqueness in some Islamic communities.


What is Veil?

A veil is a piece of fabric or a draping material that is worn to conceal a portion of the face or head or a significant object. In Asian, African, and European traditions, veiling has a rich history.

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the practice has taken on various forms. Veiling is most linked with women and holy artifacts, while in some societies, men are supposed to wear veils instead of women.

Veiling appears to be playing a part in some western secular situations, such as wedding traditions, in addition to its religious importance.

The first documented incidence of females wearing veils is found in an Assyrian law code from the 13th century BC, which only allowed noblewomen to wear them and prohibited prostitutes and ordinary women from doing so.

Veiling and isolation of women were also practiced amongst the Persian elite, according to Greek writings. Monuments from Persepolis represent ladies both veiled and revealed, suggesting that it was seen as a sign of higher status.

Chapel veils were formerly a common practice among early Christians. It was a symbol of humility and modesty. This custom was carried on into the earliest Catholic church.

Veils are still carried by some Catholic modern women, though they are not as popular as they once were. It is against tradition for a woman to be considered as having a lower status than a male.

Instead, the veil conceals and protects what is precious and prized. The veil is thought to be a mark of respect for God’s will. 


Main Differences Between Hijab and Veil

  1. The term hijab denotes the act of concealment, although it is frequently used to denote the headscarves dressed by Muslim women. A veil, on the other hand, is a piece of cloth worn to conceal the face or a sacred object.
  2. Hijab is associated with Islam while the veil is associated with religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  3. A hijab wraps a woman’s hair, neck, and may even cover her arms while veils are elaborate and cover the entire head and some are even pinned to the hair.
  4. Hijab is worn for religious purposes only while veils are worn for religious as well as for wedding purposes.
  5. Hijabs are worn by women only in Islam while veils are worn by women but in some cultures, even men have to wear them.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 07 24T192851.282
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/palgrave.pcs.2100146

Last Updated : 24 July, 2023

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